Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 25, 2018


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 25, 2018

James Oglethorpe won reelection to the British Parliament while in America on April 25, 1734.

The United States declared war on Spain on April 25, 1898.

On April 25, 1996, Georgia Governor Zell Miller signed Senate Bill 519 designating English the official language of Georgia.

Click here for the text of the bill.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal met with Stockbridge elected officials to discuss legislation creating a new City of Eagles Landing, according to CBS46.

Stockbridge Mayor Anthony Ford told CBS46 News that the meeting went well but he says the governor had concerns with how the bills will affect the bond rating for Stockbridge and other cities in Georgia.

“It could set a bad precedent for the whole state of Georgia. Of course, he’s [] savvy. The last 8 years the state has grown economically. He’s that type of individual and that type of governor so he’s concerned about that,” said Ford. “I asked him to veto these bills and that’s what I hope he does.”

The governor also said he’s not leaning one way or the other and still wants to review the facts. He has two weeks to decide if he’ll sign the legislation into law. If it does become law, people who live in what could be the new city will vote on it in November.

If Gov. Nathan Deal signs the bills and voters approve the proposal, parts of Stockbridge would be de-annexed, leaving the city of Stockbridge with all of its previous debt.

Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle is on a bus tour of the state for his gubernatorial campaign, stopping in West Georgia, according to The LaGrange Daily News.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle continued his bus tour around the state on Tuesday, making a stop at Lafayette Square in downtown LaGrange. Cagle, one of nine candidates running for governor of Georgia, reminded supporters that he’s served under two governors and has been through the ebb and flow of the economy.

“We have so much to be thankful for,” Cagle said. “We have seen in the private sector 670,000 plus jobs created all across Georgia. There have been 40,000 businesses that have been created in Georgia as well. Our venture capital presence is also quadrupled as a state.”

“When I became lieutenant governor, I said I’m going to do something big and bold, and I wanted to create these college and career academies all over Georgia,” Cagle said. “As lieutenant governor, I’ve been able to do 46 of them, but I want you to know as governor every student is going to have access to a college and career academy.”

The Covington News covered Cagle’s stop in Newton County:

Cagle told the 125 or so who braved rainy weather to greet him at the final stop on the first day of a two-week bus tour that he believes in incentives that help create jobs in the state.

“I do believe in incentivizing things that do grow the economy and create good paying jobs for our citizens,” he said. “As long as it has a return on its investment. You see, the $26 billion budget within the state, I believe is, as governor when I present it, needs to be viewed in the context that I’m making an investment of your dollars. And I need to know what that return is going to be.”

He also talked about the importance of providing a good education.

“Education is a prime example. If we don’t succeed in education in getting our kids the ability to be self-reliant, then what are they going to do? They turn to a life of crime. What’s the cost of a life of crime? Thirty thousand dollars a year incarceration. Government dependency? Another $30,000 a year, probably. This is why it’s important that we become effective and efficient in meeting our goals around education, where people can become self-sufficient.”

State Senator Chuck Payne (R-Dalton) took to the offense against his Republican primary opponents. From the Times-Free Press:

State Sen. Chuck Payne told his opponent Tuesday evening that he was tired of the lies he’s been spreading, that he “illustrates all that I’m working against.”

The trigger? A letter Payne’s challenger, Scott Tidwell, sent residents this week. It says Tidwell is running for office May 22, and that he has a lovely wife of 24 years, and that he has four children, and that he works at a local funeral home.

Also: “Our current Senator has aligned with the left-wing Democrats at our state capitol on the issue of illegal immigration.”

“For my opponent to continue to go around and saying I’m for illegal immigration — I’m not,” he continued. “And that’s not honest. And that’s not truth. I have committed myself from the time I started this that I’m going to be honest.”

“Scott,” Payne said Tuesday, during the forum hosted by the Dalton Daily Citizen-News, “you were already a loser before you even came out of the gate.”

From the Dalton Daily Citizen:

The man he is challenging in the May 22 Republican Party primary, incumbent Chuck Payne of Dalton, said Tidwell is “misinforming” voters about both the bill and his vote against it.

“He says I sided with Democrats and with illegal aliens. That just isn’t true,” Payne said.

Payne was one of two Republicans who joined with three Democrats in a 5-4 vote against the bill in the Senate Public Safety Committee in the past session.

“This was a state driver’s license bill, not an immigration bill,” he said. “I read through these bills before I vote on them, and all this bill would have done was increase government. It wouldn’t deny any driver’s license to anyone. At the end of the day, everyone who is driving in Georgia would still be driving.”

Barry Robbins, who holds the District 1 seat on the Whitfield County Board of Commissioners, and Mike Cowan, who is challenging him in the GOP primary, also were part of the forum. Cowan held that seat for 14 years, from 1997 to 2010. He came off the board due to term limits.

Democratic candidates for Governor Stacey Abrams and State Evans debated at Columbus State University, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

Protecting access to abortion services to reduce unwanted pregnancies was among the first question for the candidates.

Touting an endorsement from Planned Parenthood, Abrams said the decision about having a child is important and she will continue to do as governor what she has done over the last 11 years. “I’ll be a staunch defender of reproduction choices in the state of Georgia,” she said.

Evans said she stands on her record when it comes to women’s rights to choose and reproductive freedom. She was practically giving birth to her daughter on the day the state Legislature tried to limit abortion to 20 weeks. “I recorded to make my voice heard,” she said.

When asked about restoring the HOPE Scholarship, both candidates said they support the idea if elected governor.

“Hope is vitally important to all Georgia students to have access to higher education,” said Evans, an attorney. “I’m a product of the HOPE Scholarship.”

Congressman Rick Allen (R-Augusta) spoke to The Statesboro Herald about current legislation.

Congressman Rick Allen, R-Georgia 12th District, said he is proud of the five-year Farm Bill he helped vote out of the House Agriculture Committee last week and that it will be good for the district’s farmers.

Allen is one of three representatives from Georgia, two Republicans and one Democrat, on the 46-member committee. The legislation, officially the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, is often called the Farm Bill, but would authorize all of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s programs, with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program being by far the largest part, for five years. This legislation would replace the 2014 bill and set the course of SNAP, farm assistance and rural development programs through fiscal year 2023.

“As a member of the House Ag Committee I was thrilled to work with my colleagues to craft a Farm Bill that works for our Georgia 12th farmers,” Allen said in a phone interview Monday.

The bill maintains previously established spending caps and provides “actually a little less,” in spending, he said.

“Obviously it makes significant changes to provide certainty for our farmers to ensure that our country has an abundant food supply,” Allen said. “Our farm economy is obviously not what it was five years ago when the last farm bill was written. Our farm income is down 52 percent.”


Piedmont Healthcare and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia inked a deal to keep the Atlanta-based healthcare chain in-network, according to The Henry Herald.

Friday night, three days after Gov. Nathan Deal announced a handshake agreement between Piedmont Healthcare and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia, the two organizations put ink to paper and signed the new agreement.

The agreement ensures that Anthem Blue Cross members can see their Piedmont doctors and visit Piedmont hospitals as “in network” without incurring higher out-of-pocket costs, including covering visits and services delivered since April 1.

“Preserving the relationship between the patient and their preferred healthcare provider has been our number one goal during this entire negotiation,” said Kevin Brown, Piedmont Healthcare President and Chief Operating Officer. “We know this has been difficult for our patients, and we are glad to finally have a resolution that restores and protects patient care.”

“Orange Crush” hit Tybee Island, racking up 36 arrests over the weekend, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Police made 36 arrests throughout Orange Crush weekend – an increase from last year’s tally of 31. In 2016, 42 arrests were made.

Citations were down from last year. Police handed out 104 citations this year, 76 fewer than last year’s total of 180.

Tybee Mayor Jason Buelterman said gun violence was his greatest fear about Orange Crush.

This year, one person was arrested for discharging a gun while under the influence.

Chatham County Sheriff’s Office deputies confiscated four guns, two of which were stolen. Tybee Island police confiscated six guns, including two from a convicted felon.

Augusta Commission will consider funding a feasibility study about bringing whitewater rafting to the Savannah River, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp has created a panel to research upgrading Georgia’s voting system, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Richmond County Elections Director Lynn Bailey and state Rep. Barry Fleming, R-Harlem, have been named to a state panel charged with looking at options for a new voting system in Georgia.

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp announced this week that he and Fleming will co-chair the bipartisan group, which includes several state legislators and six more county elections officials.

The Secure, Accessible and Fair, or SAFE, Commission will “conduct thorough discussions on all options,” such as using all hand-marked paper ballots or all electronic machines with a paper trail, Kemp said in a statement. Members will conduct a cost analysis of the options, research post-election audits, solicit feedback from around the state and provide recommendations to lawmakers prior to the next session of the Georgia General Assembly, he said.

Fleming chaired an earlier Governmental Affairs Special Subcommittee on Voting Technology, which was tasked with selecting new voting machines for Georgia. Kemp announced the new panel after the General Assembly failed to pass legislation to develop a new voting system.

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