Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

10
May

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Georgia and American History

Savannah received news of the battle at Lexington on May 10, 1775, leading to a raid of British gunpowder for the colonial effort. On the same day in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Second Continental Congress met.

On May 10, 1863, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson died a week after being shot at by his own troops.

He died, as he had wished, on the Sabbath, May 10, 1863, with these last words: “Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees.”

On May 10, 1865, Confederate President Jefferson Davis was captured by Union troops near Irwinville, Georgia.

On May 10, 1869, a ceremonial “Golden Spike” was driven in Promontory, Utah, symbolizing completion of a transcontinental railroad line joining the Union Pacific Railroad and the Central Pacific Railroad.

The first observance of Mother’s Day was May 10, 1908 at St Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia. On May 9, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first official “Mother’s Day.”

On May 10, 2006, Georgia State School Superintendent Linda Schrenko, a Republican, pled guilty to federal charges of fraud and money laundering, beginning a streak of Republican State School Supers to leave office under a cloud.

The Museum of Flight at Richard B. Russell Regional Airport in Floyd County is in the process of acquiring a retired F-14 Tomcat for display.

“We’re looking at over the road but [the fuselage is] a super-load, which is even more complex to arrange than the wings, which were classified as an oversized load,” said Christine Lewis, director of the Museum of Flight.

Plans are to reassemble the supersonic fighter plane for display at the museum, which houses an array of historic aircraft and military memorabilia. Lewis and her crew have already made four trips to the national museum in Richmond to bring back parts. In March they successfully detached the wings, which were picked up and delivered Monday.

Still, they’re hoping to have the final piece of “Sweet Little Miss” in their hands by October. Volunteers, many of whom are former military aviators and mechanics, will then get to work on reassembling the supersonic fighter plane. The F-14 Tomcat replaced the Navy’s F-4 Phantom II in the mid 1970s and was used into the early 2000s as an interceptor, a spy plane and for air and ground attacks.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Sarah Fay Campbell of the Newnan Times-Herald writes about Governor Deal’s veto spree.

Several of the bills were local legislation, including adding fees for Spalding County State Court, creating a charter for the city of Reynolds, changing the charter of the city of Stonecrest and providing governing authorities for Jonesboro, Morrow, Lovejoy and Lake City.

For some of those bills, the bill sponsors requested the veto. A bill that would annex the Fulton County Industrial District into the city of South Fulton was also vetoed. The FCID is the only remaining unincorporated part of Fulton County. It cannot be annexed because of a constitutional amendment from 1979, Deal stated.

SB 315 deals with cyber security and would have created the crime of unauthorized computer access.

As technology continues to advance, “a robust discussion on cyber security policy that meets the needs of the public and industry stakeholders is of crucial importance,” Deal said in the veto statement.

The bill would make it a crime to intentionally access a computer or computer network without authority.

“However, certain components of the legislation have led to concerns regarding national security implications and other potential ramifications,” Deal said. “Consequently, while intending to protect against online breaches and hacks, SB 315 may inadvertently hinder the ability of government and private industries to do so.”

Nick Bowman of The Gainesville Times writes about legislation Deal signed.

Distracted driving. Alcohol sales on Sunday. An income tax cut. The splitting of Stockbridge. Criminal justice reform — Gov. Nathan Deal has signed a huge number of weighty bills coming out of the 2018 legislative session.

Deal finished signing legislation from the recent Georgia General Assembly session on Tuesday, May 8. Dozens of bills were signed in the days after the session concluded, but Deal also vetoed a record 21 bills this year.

On May 2, Deal signed House Bill 673 into law, which tightens up Georgia’s distracted driving restrictions for motorists.

It will be a crime to operate a phone with any part of the body while driving when House Bill 673 hits the streets in July, and the bill’s sponsor told The Times this month that the new law will save lives and lower auto insurance premiums for Georgia car owners.

“Insurance rates have increased dramatically all over the state, especially in the metro areas. We decided to look at that and go through a study committee, and … it kept coming back to distracted driving,” said John Carson, R-Marietta.

The Augusta Chronicle looks at the cyber security bill vetoed by Gov. Deal.

A group of hackers who claim to have penetrated the city of Augusta’s web site and some local businesses and a university said it will disband now that Gov. Nathan Deal has vetoed the legislation that upset them.

The group called itself SB315 after Senate Bill 315, which would have created the crime of unauthorized access of a computer, making it a “midemeanor of a high and aggravated nature” punishable by up to a year in jail.

“SB315 is disbanded,” said an email Tuesday night from a hacker who identified himself only by his first name, Dave, and uses an email address of augustadave. “The bill brought us into existence; the governor’s veto makes us disappear. There will be no more attacks. We thank everyone who voiced their opposition to the bill, and we thank Governor Deal for listening to them.”

In protest of the legislation, the hackers apparently broke into the websites for a church and two Augusta restaurants, posting music files on some sites as well as a link to an article denouncing the legislation, and claimed to have stolen passwords for city of Augusta emails that they mailed to The Augusta Chronicle. The city said none of the passwords were valid and some of the email addresses were for people who had not worked for the city for years.

Governor Nathan Deal signed Senate Bill 333 by Sen Ellis Black (R-Valdosta), to give municipal governments more flexibility in pension plans, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

Black sponsored SB 333 at the request of the Georgia Municipal Association.

SB 333 would encourage greater savings by local government employees and reduce costs to local governments in offering deferred compensation plans by allowing auto enrollment in compliance with federal law, according to state officials.

Studies show that roughly 85-90 percent of employees who are automatically enrolled into a deferred compensation plan continue contributions toward their retirement. In contrast, studies show participation in plans without automatic enrollment is, on average, less than 50 percent.

“We greatly appreciate Sen. Black carrying this legislation in the Senate” said GMA Executive Director Larry Hanson. “Due to his efforts, municipal employees will undoubtedly benefit from increased retirement savings in the future.”

`Government-owned industrial parks in Columbia and Richmond Counties are eligible for favorable tax credit under legislation signed by Deal, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

House Bill 843, signed into law this month by Gov. Nathan Deal, would extend the state’s “tier 1” job-tax credits to Richmond County’s 1,800-acre Augusta Corporate Park as well as the 270-acre White Oak Business Park under construction in Columbia County at the Appling-Harlem exit on Interstate 20.

The bill, co-sponsored by Rep. Barry Fleming (R-Harlem), is especially beneficial to Columbia County, whose “tier 4” status – the state’s highest level – capped its state payroll tax breaks at $1,250 per job in most parts of the county. The new law enables the affluent county to offer up to $4,000 in per-job incentives beyond its designated “military zone” boundary, which terminated at the south side of I-20.

HB 843 amends existing state law so that tier 1 status applies to “any census tract in a county that contains a federal military installation with a garrison of at least 5,000 federal or military personnel” that also has an “industrial park that is owned and operated by a governmental entity.”

Fort Gordon has roughly 28,000 active-duty personnel, federal employees and contractors. The vast majority of its 55,000 acres are within Richmond County, which this year was bumped up to tier 2 status by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs after spending years as a tier 1.

State Senator David Shafer announced that Mike Huckabee has endorsed his campaign for Lieutenant Governor. From a press release:

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has endorsed David Shafer for Lieutenant Governor of Georgia.

Huckabee today released a statement praising Shafer’s conservative record and endorsing his candidacy:

”David Shafer is a rock solid conservative. He is unapologetically pro-life, a fearless defender of the Second Amendment and a staunch supporter of the President. He is a budget hawk who has fought for lower taxes. He understands that the role of government is to protect our God given rights and liberties. I am proud to endorse David Shafer for Lieutenant Governor of Georgia.”

At the same time, Shafer received the endorsement of HuckPAC, a political action committee founded by Huckabee to elect conservatives nationwide.

Huckabee carried Georgia in his 2008 campaign for the Presidential nomination of the Republican Party.

A leading conservative member of the State Senate, Shafer has also been endorsed by Newt Gingrich, Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, National Rifle Association, GeorgiaCarry.org, Georgia Right To Life, Family Policy Alliance of Georgia, Georgia Conservatives In Action, Republican Liberty Caucus, Georgia Republican Assembly, National Federation of Republican Assemblies, GOPAC, Patriot Voices and Cut Taxes Now, among others.

Eighties Actress Alyssa Milano is raising money for Democrat Richard Dien Winfield in the 1oth Congressional District election, according to 11Alive.

The Glynn County Commission will discuss the proposed FY2019 budget in their meeting today, according to The Brunswick News.

Harris County School Superintendent Jimmy Martin Harrissays he was threatened with firing unless he resigns, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

Via email and phone, Ted Theus explained that superintendent Jimmy Martin has had personality conflicts with certain representatives on the seven-member board.

“As a Harris County resident, I was personally shocked to hear about the desire on the part of some to fire Dr. Martin, as I have heard nothing but positive things about him from neighbors and Harris County teachers that I have worked with in my law practice,” Theus said.

The agenda for Thursday night’s meeting, set to start at 6:30 p.m. in the board’s office, 132 Barnes Mill Road in Hamilton, has a closed session scheduled at the end of the meeting. The topic isn’t disclosed. That’s when the board will discuss firing Martin, Theus said.

Chatham County Probate Judge Tom Bourdeaux has been sued over alleged delays in issuance of weapons permits, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The suit, filed in Chatham County Superior Court on April 27, contends that plaintiffs Shane Montgomery and Williams Theodore Moore III have not been issued their Georgia Weapons Carry Licenses despite completing applications and being eligible for them.

They are joined in the suit by the GeorgiaCarry.org, a nonprofit group whose mission is to foster the rights of its members to keep and bear arms.

The suit contends that the group has many other members in Chatham County who are eligible to obtain the licenses and either have applied or will apply.

Bordeaux “routinely does not process (weapons carry license) applications for (GeorgiaCarry.Org) members and other residents in Chatham County within 35 days of application or within 10 days of receiving a background report,” the suit filed by Atlanta guns-rights lawyer John Monroe contends.

The Whitfield County Board of Education approved its largest-ever budget, including 2 percent pay raises, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen.

Sea turtle nesting season has begun on Georgia’s coast, according to The Brunswick News.

The Georgia sea turtle nesting season officially kicked off this week when a leatherback turtle shimmied onto the beach on Cumberland Island and laid her eggs, with hopes for a successful hatching.

Tuesday morning, state Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist Ashley Raybould announced on the Georgia Sea Turtle Cooperative group on Facebook that National Park Service wildlife biologist Doug Hoffman on Cumberland Island found the first nest of the year.

This marks the fifth consecutive year the first nest appeared on Cumberland Island. Nesting in the state has been on a 3 percent increase, and DNR Sea Turtle Program Coordinator Mark Dodd said in a statement Wednesday he expects an above-average nesting season.

“It’s an annual ritual, part of spring on the coast in Georgia,” Dodd said. “Everybody’s excited.”

The Lowndes County Board of Education is considering a rollback of the property tax millage rate, according to the Valdosta Times.

For the tentative budget, the total estimated revenues are $113,675,946 and the total estimated expenditures are $104,893,946. The total estimated fund balance for July 1 was $33,295,480, and the total estimated fund balance for June 30, 2019, was 42,077,480, according to number presented during the Lowndes County Board of Education meeting.

With $167 million in additional state funding for K-12 education, board member Brian Browning asked about the possibility of rolling the millage rate back since there is additional funding.

Superintendent Wes Taylor said LCS felt good about the fund balance presented.

“As soon as we know something definitive, we will come back and approach (the board) about that idea (of rolling back the millage rate),” Taylor said.

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