Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 8, 2018

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 8, 2018

Bridget Bishop was the first person hanged after being convicted of practicing witchcraft in the Salem witch trials on June 10, 1692.

Georgia’s colonial charter, signed by King George II was witnessed on June 9, 1732.

Click here for the full text of Georgia’s Royal Charter from 1732.

Click here to see the oldest copy of Georgia’s Royal Charter, which was presented to Georgia by South Carolina.

The Battle of Bloody Marsh was fought between Spanish forces and colonists under James Oglethorpe on St Simons Island, Georgia in 1742 on a date that is variously cited as June 9 or June 7, 1742. Thus began the rivalry between Georgia and Florida.

On June 9, 1772, the first naval attack of the Revolutionary War took place near Providence, Rhode Island, as HMS Gaspee, a British tax enforcement ship was baited into running aground and attacked by a boarding party the next day.

On June 10, 1793, Washington, DC officially replaced Philadelphia as the Capital of the United States. To honor Washington, DC, today we will adopt a smugly superior attitude, name-drop constantly, and speak condescendingly to those who currently live in the states we used to live in.

Rebecca Latimer Felton was born on June 10, 1835 in Decatur, Georgia and later became the first woman to serve in the United States Senate after being appointed by Governor Thomas Hardwick to fill a vacancy in 1922.

The United States Naval Academy graduated its first class on June 10, 1854.

On June 9, 1864, Gen. W.T. Sherman moved his troops to Big Shanty, Georgia, now called Kennesaw, and beginning a four-week period sometimes called the Battle of Marietta.

The Girl Scouts of America were incorporated in Washington, DC on June 10, 1915.

The Republican National Convention in Cleveland became the first political convention broadcast on the radio on June 10, 1924.

Alcoholics Anonymous was founded on June 10, 1935.

The first Porsche automobile was completed on June 8, 1948.

President John F. Kennedy signed the 1963 Equal Pay Act on June 10, 1963.

I AM delighted today to approve the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which prohibits arbitrary discrimination against women in the payment of wages. This act represents many years of effort by labor, management, and several private organizations unassociated with labor or management, to call attention to the unconscionable practice of paying female employees less wages than male employees for the same job. This measure adds to our laws another structure basic to democracy. It will add protection at the working place to the women, the same rights at the working place in a sense that they have enjoyed at the polling place.

While much remains to be done to achieve full equality of economic opportunity–for the average woman worker earns only 60 percent of the average wage for men–this legislation is a significant step forward.

Cream was formed on June 9, 1966 by Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, and Jack Bruce.

On June 9, 1973, Secretariat won the Belmont Stakes and the Triple Crown, the first to win all three of the Triple Crown races since 1948. Secretariat was bred by Christopher Chenery, a graduate of Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, whose jockeys wore blue-and-white silks in honor of Chenery’s alma mater.

Apple Computer shipped the first Apple II computers on June 10, 1977.

Ghostbusters was released on June 8, 1984.

Coca-Cola introduced Classic Coke on June 10, 1985.

On June 8, 2004, Georgia hosted the G-8 summit meeting of the world’s major industrial democracies, which included representatives from the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, and the United Kingdom, plus a representative from the European Union. The 30th meeting of the G-8 was held at Sea Island at the Cloister.

Ray Charles, who was born in Albany, Georgia died on June 10, 2004.

Those of you who attended the 2003 Inaugural of Governor Sonny Perdue will remember that Ray Charles played that night.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Best story I’ve read in a while is right here. Go ahead and check it out, it’s short but awesome.

The Sandra Deal Secret Reading Garden at North Hall Middle School, named after Georgia’s First Lady, was dedicated, according to the Gainesville Times.

That garden, The Sandra Deal Secret Reading Garden, was dedicated to her on Thursday, June 7, in front of former co-workers, friends and family. As first lady, Deal has been an advocate for literacy — she’s read at schools in every county in Georgia — and said she hopes the garden gives students at the school where she taught an opportunity to learn even more than they do in the classroom.

“I always love being outdoors,” Deal said. “And I just thought it was wonderful for children to have the opportunity to know about nature and to develop an interest in it and protect it and take pride in it, so this was the way we decided to do it.”

David Allen, founding chairman and chairman emeritus of the Georgia Natural Resources Foundation, was the one who funded the garden. After getting to know Deal and working closely with her, he surprised her with a $1,000 check to go toward something that developed Georgia’s natural resources.

State Senator Josh McKoon has endorsed Senator David Shafer for Lt. Governor in an email to his supporters.

My friend,

When I was a candidate for Secretary of State, I focused on my own campaign and stayed out of the other contested races. I had preferences, but I largely kept them to myself.

My wife Jacqueline and I both voted for David Shafer for Lieutenant Governor. He is the real deal. As executive director of the Georgia Republican Party in the early 1990s, he helped lay the groundwork for the Republican majorities we now enjoy. Then he ran for office himself and has spent the last sixteen years delivering on the campaign promises that Republicans made to win that majority.

David and I differ stylistically. Where I led by drawing public attention to issues I cared about and building grassroots coalitions, David led by drafting and passing laws.

In fact, he is perhaps the most successful conservative lawmaker in the history of the state. He wrote Georgia’s zero based budgeting law requiring every penny of state spending to be justified. He wrote the constitutional amendment that capped the state income tax. He served on the conference committee that wrote the final draft of the ethics law that was the centerpiece of my first campaign. He worked incredibly hard to deliver the first ever limitation on lobbyist gifts in Georgia history. His name has been attached to virtually every pro-life bill during his tenure in the Senate.

While I was calling for more transparency in our legislature, David Shafer led the effort as Senate President Pro Tempore to fund the wiring of every committee meeting room in the Capitol and broadcast our meetings live on the Internet and archive those broadcasts forever. He made it so that every Georgian can watch the Senate operate without taking time off work or traveling to Atlanta, leveling the playing field for people who cannot afford to hire lobbyists to be their eyes and ears at the Capitol.

David Shafer is exactly what we need in our next Lieutenant Governor. That is why he has been endorsed by virtually every conservative leader and organization in the county – Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, American Conservative Union, National Rifle Association, Georgia Right To Life, Citizens for Trump and many others.

I am proud to add my endorsement. If you believe in the causes I have championed over the last eight years at our State Capitol, the single best thing you could do to see that they get a fair shake in the future is to support and vote for David Shafer for Lieutenant Governor.

David’s opponent in the runoff, a gentleman who served in the General Assembly for a half decade, is running around the state portraying himself as a “reformer” and “outsider.” He offers no reforms. He simply makes one attack after another on David Shafer. These attacks are false and unfair and exactly what is wrong with politics today. Here is the truth. David Shafer is the real reformer in the race for Lieutenant Governor. On issues of ethics and transparency, David Shafer has provided real leadership and made real reforms.

I appreciate your support of me. I hope you will join me in supporting David Shafer for Lieutenant Governor.

God Bless You,

Josh McKoon

The Georgia Composite Medical Board suspended the license of the “dancing doctor,” according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The Georgia Composite Medical Board suspended Dr. Windell Boutte’s license to practice medicine on Thursday, days after videos of the Lilburn doctor surfaced of her dancing and singing while operating on patients.

Boutte’s “continued practice of medicine poses a threat to the public health, safety and welfare and imperatively requires emergency action,” the board said in its ruling.

Boutte’s team declined to comment.

The AJC‘s account of the malpractice allegations are chilling.

With her wedding just two months away, Icilma Cornelius arrived at the Lilburn office of Dr. Windell Boutte to prepare for her special day.

The 54-year-old bride-to-be came to the doctor’s full-service medical spa and cosmetic surgery center for Botox and another anti-wrinkle treatment. While there, the staff recommended cosmetic surgery that could give her a flat stomach before she married. Cornelius agreed to the surgical makeover by Boutte, whose website promotes the doctor as “nationally and internationally known” and a “doctor to the stars!”

After eight hours of surgery in Boutte’s medical office, Cornelius’ heart stopped and a chaotic scene developed. The office wasn’t equipped to handle the emergency and had to call 911. Paramedics got the patient’s heart going, but getting her in the ambulance was delayed. Worried about possible infection from open incisions, Boutte and an employee sutured Cornelius’ skin, and then, because the stretcher wouldn’t fit in the elevator, paramedics had to carry it down stairs.

Cornelius made it to the hospital, but her injuries were catastrophic: Permanent brain damage, caused by lack of oxygen, left Cornelius unable to do almost anything for herself.

Every surgery comes with risks, but the risks can increase when a facility doesn’t have the equipment, protocols and staff to handle emergencies.

CVS will open drop-off points for unused prescription drugs at 24 locations in Georgia, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Two dozen CVS stores in Georgia will soon become prescription drug collection points as part of a national drug take back campaign, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr and CVS Health announced Wednesday.

At a joint news conference with Carr, CVS said it is installing “safe medication disposal units” at 750 locations nationwide, which complements Carr’s efforts in Georgia to reduce the amount of unused and unneeded prescription medications in households.

“Unfortunately, our very own medicine cabinets can be a conduit for opioid misuse,” Carr said. “We have to continue to forge innovative partnerships to strengthen our response to the opioid crisis, and CVS Health’s new initiative in Georgia is a great example of that type of collaboration. They want to make it easier than ever before to safely dispose of any unused, expired prescription drugs, getting them out of the hands of those who might otherwise abuse them.”

The Statesboro Herald headline writer got to drop this one: “Council tables booze, talks weed: Boro to consider ‘cite and release,’ decriminalization.”

Statesboro City Council didn’t talk about alcohol enforcement Tuesday, but for the first time in collective memory, members ventured into a discussion of marijuana.

The four proposed Alcoholic Beverages Ordinance amendments, including the one with options for letting patrons ages 18–20 into bars for musical performances, were tabled until a work session. It is slated for 7:30 a.m. next Tuesday.

“What we’ve decided to do is to bring stakeholders together in a work session as it relates to alcoholic beverages within our community, and then make a decision once we’ve spoken to all of the stakeholders and we’ve got a clear understanding of how it’s going to affect our community,” said Mayor Jonathan McCollar.

Later in the meeting, Councilman Sam Lee Jones brought up the possibility of decriminalizing possession of less than 1 ounce of marijuana in Municipal Court. To be clear, even decriminalization does not mean  legalization, and Tuesday’s discussion quickly moved toward the less dramatic step of making misdemeanor possession a “cite and release” offense.

Savannah City Council told staff to cut $11 million from the proposed FY 2019 budget, according to the Savannah Morning News.

On Thursday, the Savannah City Council directed [City Manager Rob] Hernandez to figure out over the next week what cuts can be made to make up for the anticipated loss in revenue, as the mayor and aldermen prepare to reduce the controversial fire fee by more than half in the face of widespread opposition.

As proposed by the council, a property tax increase is not an option and the city would retain the one mill tax rate decrease that was approved in conjunction with the fire fee as part of the 2018 budget.

The council’s vote came after DeLoach announced on Wednesday a proposal to reduce the fee by 53 percent, which would bring the fee to $120 for residential properties. The city is also offering discounts of up to 20 percent until June 15, which would bring the total to $96.

The Macon Telegraph tries to figure out what drivers can still do when the new distracted driving law goes into effect on July 1.

“There’s been a lot of confusion about this,” Harris Blackwood, director of the the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety said Wednesday morning.

The state highway safety agency recently consulted with a couple of legal authorities about what is banned under the bill passed by this year’s Georgia General Assembly.

“The rule of thumb here is you can listen to your radio app as long as you don’t touch your phone when driving on the road,” according to Heads UP Georgia’s website.

The law also prohibits holding your phone, tablet or computer while stopped at traffic lights.

“Nobody’s trying to keep people from listening to music,” Blackwood said. “We’re trying to keep people from making videos of themselves driving at high rates of speed or taking selfies going down the road.”

It’s complicated, so if you’re a driver, we suggest reading the story in its entirety.

Macon-Bibb County residents may pay different property tax rates depending on whether they’re in the city or the unincorporated portion of the county, according to the Macon Telegraph.

County commissioners are continuing to work on a 2019 budget plan that now proposes increasing the rate by 3 mills, bringing it to 21 mills, which would cost about $693 annually for a $100,000 property.

If property taxes are raised another 3 mills this year to support county government operations, people living within the former city limits would still pay about $100 less than before consolidation for a home valued at $100,000.

Meanwhile, people who lived in unincorporated Bibb before consolidation would shell out about $300 more on property taxes than they did in 2013.

Mark Niesse of the AJC writes about Republican legislators who buck leadership.

Seven of the 10 legislators who vote “no” most often are Republicans, according to an analysis of voting records over the past two years by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Republicans control almost two-thirds of the seats in the Georgia General Assembly, but they don’t always vote in lockstep. Some Republican lawmakers fight their own party’s leaders when it comes to votes on issues such as taxes, transportation, spending and the size of government.

State Rep. Calvin Smyre, a Democrat who served in leadership before the party lost its majority in 2004, said principled opposition is tolerated. But outright obstruction can cross the line, he said.

“When you’re in the minority, your role is often to be in the opposition,” said Smyre, D-Columbus. “At the same time, you still have to collaborate and come together on major issues that affect quality of life.”

David Wickert of the AJC writes about criticism of plans to expand transit in Atlanta.

The number of passenger trips on MARTA trains and buses fell 22 percent over the last decade, an Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis of federal transit data found.

Even as their customer base shrinks, MARTA and other local transit agencies are planning what critics say is an ill-advised building boom. Critics say it makes no sense to build expensive transit lines when fewer people are using them. Supporters say more transit is needed to address metro Atlanta’s awful traffic congestion.

MARTA plans to build 21 miles of light rail and 18 miles of bus rapid transit lines. Gwinnett County may extend MARTA rail service to Norcross. Fulton, Cobb and DeKalb counties also are mulling transit expansions.

Benita Dodd, vice president of the fiscally conservative Georgia Public Policy Foundation, said fewer people are using transit because they have more and better options. She said it’s a bad idea to spend billions of dollars on new rail lines when ride-hailing services and autonomous vehicles may transform America’s transportation network in coming decades.

“It’s a huge mistake to take two steps back into 19th-century technology when there’s so much promising technology in front of us,” Dodd said.

The Henry County Commission named members to a committee considering a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) for the November 2019 ballot, according to the Henry Herald.

The fifth iteration of the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax would take effect in 2020 if approved by voters in a referendum in 2019.

A SPLOST referendum is required to detail what projects will be pursued with the sales tax.

[Henry County transportation projects director Roque] Romero said the committee would include one member appointed by each member of the BOC, one member appointed by the county manager, one member appointed by the county chairperson, and one member appointed by the Henry County Municipal Association.

At the May 22 work session of the BOC, commissioners recommended one member per city, but that move was not made.

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