Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 21, 2018

21
Mar

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 21, 2018

Lyman Hall was elected to the Continental Congress on March 21, 1775 from St. John’s Parish; the next year he would sign the Declaration of Independence as a representative from Georgia.

On March 21, 1941, Governor Eugene Talmadge signed legislation establishing the Eastern Standard Time Zone as the only Time Zone in Georgia. Prior to that, Georgia observed two different time zones.

On March 21, 1965, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. led more than 3000 protesters in a march from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery.

On March 21, 1980, President Jimmy Carter announced the U.S. boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.

Georgia Governor and United States Senator Herman Talmadge died on March 21, 2002.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

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Governor Nathan Deal yesterday announced Georgia has expanded its market in Peru, while presenting 40 Georgia businesses with GLOBE (Georgia Launching Opportunities By Exporting) Awards at the 2018 Go Global reception at the Atlanta History Center.

“The Go Global event highlights the importance of international partnerships for maintaining our competitive edge and generating new investments across the state,” said Deal. “Georgia businesses offer a diversified variety of exports including chemicals, plastics, poultry, paper and aerospace products, which provide the foundation for long-term growth in the international marketplace. In the last decade, Georgia’s exports to Peru have increased by 42 percent and expanding representation to this market will continue to strengthen this relationship. I applaud all of our Go Global Award winners for cultivating new international connections and for having such a tremendous impact on Georgia’s economic success. With our strong international presence, Georgia is ready and able to support companies looking to achieve new levels of success through global commerce.”

“International business continues to soar in Georgia,” said GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson. “As we announce the expansion of our international footprint into Peru, we also celebrate 40 Georgia businesses who have entered new markets in 2017. I am proud of the important work these companies have done to keep us competitive in the global economy, and I appreciate the hard work of our international trade team in Atlanta and offices around the world in helping Georgia’s companies grow and compete on the world stage.”

LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE MEETINGS

8:00 AM SENATE APPROPRIATIONS 341 CAP

8:00 AM HOUSE INSURANCE 606 CLOB

9:00 AM HOUSE RULES 341 CAP

UPON RECESS SENATE RULES 450 CAP

1:00 PM INSURANCE AND LABOR – CANCELED 310 CLOB

1:00 PM HOUSE JUVENILE JUSTICE 415 CLOB

UPON ADJMT OF RULES SENATE PUBLIC SAFETY MEZZ 1

2:00 PM SENATE TRANSPORTATION – CANCELLED 310 CLOB

2:00 PM HOUSE HEALTH & HUMAN SVCS 606 CLOB

2:00 PM HOUSE BUDGET AND FISCAL AFFAIRS OVERSIGHT 506 CLOB

3:00 PM SENATE EDUCATION 450 CAP

3:00 PM SENATE FINANCE – CANCELED MEZZ 1

3:00 PM HOUSE APPROP PUBLIC SAFETY 406 CLOB

3:30 PM HOUSE STATE PLANNING AND COMM AFF 515 CLOB

4:00 PM SENATE JUDICIARY 307 CLOB

SENATE RULES CALENDAR

HB 149 – Law enforcement; comprehensive regulation of trauma scene cleanup services; provisions (Substitute) (PUB SAF-56th) Powell-32nd
HB 398 – Peace Officers’ Annuity and Benefit Fund; update a cross-reference; provisions (RET-8th) Battles-15th
HB 419 – Fireworks; certain counties further regulate use or ignition; enable authority (Substitute) (PUB SAF-56th) Silcox-52nd
HB 494 – Early care and learning; safety of children in early care and education programs; revise certain provisions (Substitute) (ED&Y-50th) Dempsey-13th
HB 671 – Special license plates; Georgia Beekeepers Association; establish (Substitute) (PUB SAF-50th) Dunahoo-30th
HB 700 – Georgia Student Finance Authority; service cancelable educational loans; include graduate degree programs (VM&HS-1st) Belton-112th
HB 701 – State employment; drug testing; allow testing for all forms of opioids (H&HS-53rd) Tanner-9th
HB 718 – Education; certain absences of students with parents in service of the armed forces of the United States; excuse (ED&Y-43rd) Scott-76th
HB 739 – Tracy Rainey Act; enact (ED&Y-1st) Williams-168th
HB 740 – Education; local school system to conduct certain screenings, assessments, and reviews prior to expelling a student; require (Substitute) (ED&Y-30th) Nix-69th
HB 779 – Emergency management; homeland security division; provisions (Substitute) (PUB SAF-46th) Powell-32nd
HB 780 – Banking and finance; changes to provisions applicable to financial institutions; provide (Substitute) (B&FI-18th) Williamson-115th
HB 843 – Revenue and taxation; tax credits; include any census tract in a county that contains a federal military installation and industrial park (ED&T-20th) Shaw-176th
HB 878 – Insurance; cancellation of an insurance policy by an insured; change certain provisions (I&L-16th) Clark-147th
HB 886 – Sales and use tax; exemption for agricultural machinery and equipment; provisions (AG&CA-50th) Watson-172nd

HB 898 – Motor vehicles; fleet vehicles and fleet vehicle registration plans; revise provisions (Substitute) (PUB SAF-7th) Powell-32nd
HB 906 – Public records; public disclosure of personal information of certain foster parents; exclude (JUDY-18th) Dempsey-13th
HB 920 – Domestic relations; department’s information concerning the parties to an adoption under certain circumstances; allow for the use (H&HS-40th) Dempsey-13th
HB 765 – C.J.’s Law; enact (JUDY-35th) Thomas-56th
HB 995 – Local government; certain disclosures from consultants who enter into contracts to prepare requirements for bids; provide (Substitute) (ED&T-24th) Newton-123rd

HOUSE RULES CALENDAR

Modified Open Rule
SB 139 Focused Programs of Study; pathway in leadership; provide (Substitute)(Ed-Brockway-102nd) Hill-6th
SB 350 Notice of Information Practices By Institution or Agent; policy renewal to comport with federal law; update notice practices requirements (Ins-Blackmon-146th) Walker III-20th

Modified Structured Rule
SB 8 – “Surprise Billing and Consumer Protection Act”; health insurance; provide consumer protections; definitions (Substitute)(Ins-Smith-134th) Unterman-45th
SB 202 – Medical Assistance; increase in the personal needs allowance to be deducted from a nursing home resident’s income; provide (Substitute)(H&HS-Cooper-43rd) Rhett-33rd

Governor Nathan Deal expressed a preference for paper ballots if state legislators move forward with legislation to change voting procedures, according to the AJC.

The Republican said Tuesday an overhaul of the voting system is not on his agenda and that he’s likely to sign whatever emerges from the Legislature. But he said the push to require some sort of paper backup is a compelling one.

“I understand the argument that we need something on a paper ballot to be able to verify what is actually done,” he said. “Because otherwise it is very difficult to give comfort to some people that their vote is actually recorded.”

He added: “From what I have seen, it looks like a reasonable approach is being taken.”

House Bill 876, which preempts city and county bans on wood construction for buildings under five stories, heads to Gov. Deal’s desk, according to Jill Nolin with the Valdosta Daily Times.

Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul, whose city passed its ban in 2016, said last week that city officials there are considering their options as far as testing the constitutionality of the bill.

Paul said the ban started out in Sandy Springs as a quick way to stop low-quality development from coming to his city. It was a temporary solution meant to give the young city time to fine tune its plans for managing growth, he said.

But now, the mayor said safety concerns and the city’s capacity to respond to fires at high-density, high-rise structures are also driving the city’s push to stop Corbett’s bill. The city’s fire chief also testified against the bill at hearings.

“All we want is the ability to assess our own situation to make the decision affecting the lives of our first responders and residents,” Paul said. “That’s all we ask. We’re not trying to impose this on anybody else.”

Georgia State Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Jesse Stone, (R-Waynesboro) slowed two bills that would open state sovereign immunity to allow more lawsuits against the state, according to The Brunswick News.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Jesse Stone, R-Waynesboro, said two of the bills the committee was to consider Monday would not receive a vote, at the request of state Rep. Chuck Efstration, R-Dacula, the bill’s main sponsor.

Efstration updated the committee on the bill’s progress, and his negotiations with Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee Chairman William Ligon, R-White Oak.

“I spoke with Chairman Ligon before the committee meeting today — he raised some issues and had done some research on the bill, and so I’ve committed to him to work with him on that,” Efstration said. “I actually plan to be working on a committee substitute to address the concerns raised that I can then bring to him. I know that there are advocates who are also interested in the legislation.”

“My hope is to meet with them and come back before you, if the chair will hear it again this week, with language that’s been fully vetted, so that when the committee hears it, that the committee can take confidence that input’s been given to address the concerns that were raised.”

The Georgia Public Service Commission announced $139 million in savings for Georgia Power customers, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

The Georgia Public Service Commission said the savings for the utility’s customers is the result of a cut in the Nuclear Construction Cost Recovery fee connected to financing of construction on two nuclear power units at Plant Vogtle near Waynesboro, Ga.

The reduction in the fee comes with the federal corporate income tax rate being reduced this year from 35 percent to 21 percent, as well as an agreement between Georgia Power and Toshiba that ultimately resulted in lower construction costs on the nuclear expansion project, the PSC said.

Two candidates for Richmond County Board of Education District 7 will campaign in a runoff election, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Elliott Melvin Brown and Charlie Walker Jr. are headed into an April 17 runoff to represent District 7 on the Richmond County Board of Education after neither garnered the majority needed to win Tuesday night.

According to results not yet certified by the Richmond County Board of Elections, Walker was the top finisher with 366 votes, or 36.4 percent, to Brown’s 274 votes, or 27.2 percent.

Gwinnett County Commissioners voted to accept a donation of nine large dinosaur statues up to twelve feet tall.

The county’s Board of Commissioners approved the acceptance of nine dinosaur statues, worth $10,000, that are being donated to Gwinnett County’s Parks and Recreation Division by NDI Development. County Community Services Director Tina Fleming said the dinosaur statues will be used to promote fitness and exploration at the parks.

The statues, some of which are estimated to be about a dozen feet in height, will be deployed at parks through the end of 2018 with funds from a previously awarded National Recreation and Parks Association “Meet Me in the Park” grant.

The grant is funded by Disney.

“When we got the opportunity to get the donation of the dinosaurs, and since it was a Disney thing, we decided to do something that would engage both old and young to go hunt for a dinosaur in their favorite park,” Fleming said.

Bus rapid transit may be part of new plans for Gwinnett County, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Gwinnett Transportation Director Alan Chapman said that although the county’s Transit Development Plan isn’t finished yet, officials are at a stage where they know which direction it will point them. An update on the plan’s development was presented to county commissioners on Tuesday.

Bus rapid transit on roads such as Satellite Boulevard parallel to the north side of Interstate 85 appears to be a key part of the plan, but Chapman didn’t rule out rail being in Gwinnett’s future as well.

“On the high capacity side, financially it is a more reasonable option for us,” Chapman said. “Given our population density and our job density, at this point it seems like a more appropriate mode for us to pursue. We do think, at this point, that is one of the modes that we want to at least recommend to invest in to the public and our commissioners.

“We do think, with growth, there would be a chance that we might need some form of rail in the future.”

Gainesville is joining a national lawsuit against opioid manufacturers, according to the Gainesville Times.

Columbus City Council will consider a revised ordinance to allow open alcohol containers in part of downtown, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

A Camden County spaceport could be an economic boon to the coastal area, according to The Brunswick News.

The 15-month construction project would create 70 jobs to build the $9.2 million facility and it would generate $22.5 million to the local economy each year after it was built, the study suggested. That doesn’t include the 10,000 to 15,000 visitors who would come to the region to see a launch, he said.

Trey Hood, a political science professor at University of Georgia, also shared the results of public surveys conducted in 13 counties in Southeast Georgia. Support for the project has increased during early surveys, with more than 59 percent of registered voters polled saying they support the project.

Most of the increase in support has come after residents have learned more about the project and the possible benefits it could bring to the region.

The poll, commissioned by the Georgia Association of REALTORS, determined about 21 percent were opposed, 18 percent were neutral and two percent had no opinion.

Glynn County Tax Commissioner Jeff Chapman refused to answer verbal questions from County Commissioners, according to The Brunswick News.

[County Commissioner Mike] Browning proceeded to ask questions, but Chapman declined to answer. He said he was merely there to observe the meeting and would not answer any questions unless they were in writing.

“I’m not going to answer any questions, Commissioner Browning, so I’m taking a seat and let you tell the public what you think the situation is,” Chapman said.

Other commissioners took issue with Chapman’s refusal to answer verbal questions.

“Come on, commissioner. Come on now. If that’s how we’re going to do this, that’s not going to be a good working relationship,” said Commissioner Allen Booker.

“That’s what it’s come to,” Chapman responded.

The Bulloch County Board of Education has voted to issue $40 million in bonds backed by E-SPLOST proceeds.

Cynthia “Cyndy” Shubert-Jett won a seat on the Clermont Town Council by a 30-27 vote margin.

Mike Eason won a Special Election for Mayor of Dawsonville.

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