Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 22, 2019


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 22, 2019

The British Parliament repealed the Stamp Act on February 22, 1766.

Georgia’s first Governor Archibald Bulloch died mysteriously on February 22, 1777.

[Bulloch] became a leader in the state’s Liberty Party and was elected to the Commons House of Assembly in 1768, to the post of speaker of the Georgia Royal Assembly in 1772 and finally to the Continental Congress in 1775.

On June 20, 1776, Bulloch was elected the first president and commander in chief of Georgia’s temporary government, posts he held until February 5, 1777, when Georgia adopted its state constitution. Just over three weeks later, on February 22, 1777, Georgia faced a British invasion, and the state’s new government granted Bulloch executive power to head off the British forces. A few hours later, Bulloch was dead. The cause of his death remains unknown but unsubstantiated rumors of his poisoning persist.

[H]e is also known as the great-great-grandfather of America’s 26th president, Theodore Roosevelt.

On February 24, 1803, the United States Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Marshall decided the case of Marbury v. Madison, enunciating the principle of judicial review under which the Court has authority to review Congressional action and hold them unconstitutional.

In writing the decision, John Marshall argued that acts of Congress in conflict with the Constitution are not law and therefore are non-binding to the courts, and that the judiciary’s first responsibility is always to uphold the Constitution. If two laws conflict, Marshall wrote, the court bears responsibility for deciding which law applies in any given case.

The first Georgia state law allowing divorce was signed on February 22, 1850 by Governor George Towns.

President elect Abraham Lincoln arrived in Washington, DC on February 23, 1861.

Union troops under General George Thomas attacked Confederates led by General Joseph Johnston near Dalton, Georgia on February 24, 1864.

Casualties were light. Thomas suffered fewer than 300 men killed, wounded, or captured, while Johnston lost around 140 troops. The Union generals did learn a valuable lesson, however; a direct attack against Rocky Face Ridge was foolish. Three months later, Sherman, in command after Grant was promoted to commander of all forces, sent part of his army further south to another gap that was undefended by the Confederates. The intelligence garnered from the Battle of Dalton helped pave the way for a Union victory that summer.

The first prisoners of war were moved to Andersonville on February 24, 1864.

The Atlanta Journal was first published on February 24, 1883.

The Cyclorama painting of the Battle of Atlanta went on display on Edgewood Avenue on February 22, 1892. The Atlanta History Center recently began the process of moving the Cyclorama to a new building from its long-time home in Grant Park.

On February 23, 1945, United States Marines raised the American flag on Mount Suribachi, the highest point on the Pacific island Iwo Jima.

This first flag-raising was photographed by Marine photographer Sgt. Louis R. Lowery. On Lowery’s way down Mt. Suribachi, he ran into AP photographer Joe Rosenthal and two other Marine photographers, PFC Bob Campbell and PFC Bill Genaust, who was shooting movies, informing them that the flag-raising they were looking for had already occurred, but encouraging them to check out the view from the top of the hill. The three men continued up the volcano.

Once atop Mt. Suribachi, Rosenthal attempted but was unable to find the soldiers involved in the first flag-raising, deciding instead to photograph the second flag-raising, which featured a much bigger and more photogenic Stars and Stripes. Lowery’s film was sent back to military headquarters for processing via ordinary army post–and took a month to arrive. Rosenthal’s film was sent by seaplane to Guam, and sent from there via radio-photo to the United States. The photograph so impressed President Roosevelt that he ordered the men pictured in it to return home for a publicity tour. Rosenthal later won a Pulitzer Prize for the photo, but for years was forced to deny erroneous reports that he personally staged the second flag-raising and attempted to pass it off as the original.

Although the famous photograph has long led people to believe that the flag-raising was a turning point in the fight for Iwo Jima, vicious fighting to control the island actually continued for 31 more days.

Today, the first and second flags flown atop Mt. Suribachi are held at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle, Virginia.

On February 23, 1954, the first children in the U.S. were inoculated against polio using a vaccine developed by Dr. Jonas Salk.

On February 22, 1976, a series of U.S. Postage stamps commemorating the Bicentennial was issued, featuring the state flags.


On February 24, 1988, the United States Supreme Court held in the case of Hustler Magazine v. Falwell, that the First Amendment protects publishers against claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress where the plaintiff is a public figure being parodied by the publication.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Under The Gold Dome Today – Legislative Day 20

8:00 AM HOUSE Regulated Industries Occupational/Professional Licensing Subcommittee 606 CLOB

8:00 AM HOUSE Lumsden Subcommittee of Public Safety & Homeland Security 406 CLOB



9:30 AM HOUSE FLOOR SESSION (LD 20) House Chamber





1:00 PM HOUSE Regulated Industries Low THC Oil Access Subcommittee 406 CLOB


HR 1 – Nathan Deal Judicial Center; naming the forthcoming new state appellate judicial complex (SI&P-53rd) Ralston-7th

SB 67 – Capital Outlay Funds; eligibility for regular funding, advance funding for educational facilities; destroyed by fire or natural disaster; provide (APPROP-11th)

SB 99 – Department of Natural Resources’ Online Licensing System; allow applicants to make an anatomical gift; provide(NR&E-7th)

SB 32 – Torts; conditions upon immunity from civil liability in instances of rendering emergency care; provide (Substitute)(SJUDY-32nd)


Modified Open Rule

HB 167 – Insurance; employees of licensed property and casualty insurers to adjust residential property insurance claims of $1,000.00 or less without obtaining an adjuster license; allow (Ins-Taylor-173rd)

Modified Structured Rule

HB 99 – Insurance; provide for modernization and updates (Substitute)(Ins-Smith-134th)

HB 225 – Motor vehicles; reference date to federal regulations regarding the safe operation of commercial motor vehicles and carriers; update (MotV-Rich-97th)

HB 246 – Evidence; revise manner by which depositions taken at the instance of state are paid (JudyNC-Silcox-52nd)

Georgia First Lady Marty Kemp visited the University of Georgia Veterinary Teaching Hospital, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

Georgia’s first lady Marty Kemp this week toured the Veterinary Teaching Hospital at the University of Georgia along with her daughter Lucy Kemp, UGA President Jere W. Morehead and several others.

Kemp, who has loved animals ever since getting her first horse, Flare, at a young age, is no stranger to the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine hospital. In 2006, she brought in a foal named Loula, who had reared up, fallen back and broken her tailbone.

The tour led Kemp through the small animal teaching hospital, where she got to meet a puppy about to undergo surgery, and the zoological medicine area, where a giant anaconda was being treated. It also included the parts of the hospital used for diagnostic imaging, the food animal treatment center, and the equine performance arena, where horses are checked for lameness and other ailments.

Kemp was impressed by how the teaching hospital has grown since her tenure as a student at UGA.

“It’s ramped up about 100 times since I was here,” she said. “What’s going on here, is just awesome.”

Currently, the Kemps have three dogs, a barn cat, two sheep, a goat, four horses and two chickens.

The Georgia Senate Insurance Committee recommended passage of Senate Bill 56 by Sen. Chuck Hufstetler (R-Rome), according to the Rome News Tribune.

Legislation aimed at so-called surprise medical bills in Georgia passed out of a Senate committee Thursday to await a full chamber vote.

“The No. 1 reason to me is the consumers … What we are attempting to do is get the consumers out of the middle of this,” said Sen. Chuck Hufstetler, R-Rome, who is sponsoring SB 56.

The issue commonly arises in emergency rooms or in other instances when a patient with insurance coverage has unscheduled care. If a provider is out-of-network, the portion of the bill not covered by an insurer can be astronomical. And, sometimes weeks later, the patient gets a bill for the balance.

Hufstetler said he fully expects the legislation to change in some ways as it moves through the process. In the end, it would have to meet with approval in the House, which is reviewing a proposal that just requires patients to be notified of out-of-network care.

“It does have transparency but it doesn’t change (balance-billing)… I think they will know exactly how they are getting hosed, but they will still be getting hosed,” Hufstetler said.

That statement by Senator Hufstetler is the Quote of the Week.

The Georgia House Governmental Affairs Committee recommended passage of House Bill 316 by State Rep. Barry Fleming (R-Harlem), according to the Statesboro Herald.

Georgia voters could soon get new electronic touchscreen voting machines that print a paper ballot under fast-moving legislation approved Thursday by a House subcommittee and then by the full committee.

The full committee vote split 13 to 6 along party lines, with Republicans in support.

The bill’s author, Republican state Rep. Barry Fleming of Harlem, said he believed electronic ballot markers better captured voter intent, citing the possibility of stray marks throwing off tabulation of hand-marked paper ballots. Fleming also said electronic ballot markers are the only real way to accommodate all Georgians, including disabled voters, with one system.

Initial cost estimates approach $150 million for electronic ballot markers, the same amount included in bond funding in Kemp’s 2020 budget proposal. Initial costs for hand-marked paper ballots approach $30 million.

A federal lawsuit filed by election security advocates and individual voters that challenges Georgia’s use of paperless electronic voting machines remains pending. A letter sent Monday by Bruce Brown, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs, to lawyers for the state says the electronic ballot-marking machines authorized by the bill “will not provide secure or auditable elections or resolve the issues raised in the litigation.”

From the AJC:

The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Barry Fleming, said the legislation strengthens democracy and increases confidence in election results.

“We would now introduce to Georgia voting on paper ballots” said Fleming, a Republican from Harlem. “You would be able to look at that piece of paper and confirm that your choices are correct.”

“We’re dedicated to making sure as election officials that there’s no tampering with the system,” said Rockdale County Elections Supervisor Cynthia Willingham. “Voters have said they like electronic voting, but they like a piece of paper in their hand.”

If the voting machine legislation, House Bill 316, becomes law, Georgia election officials would seek competitive bids from voting system companies.

Then, voters could test the ballot-marking devices during municipal elections this November before statewide implementation in time for the 2020 presidential primary election.

State Rep. Chuck Efstration (R-Dacula) introduced House Bill 426 to enhance penalties for hate crimes, according to the AJC.

“There are certain crimes that are so severe that they require appropriate criminal punishment to (match) the heinousness of the offense,” said Efstration, a former assistant district attorney.

If House Bill 426 becomes law, a person convicted of a crime and proven to have been motivated by bias would face punishment ranging from three months to a year and a fine of up to $5,000 for a misdemeanor offense to at least two years in prison for a felony offense.

Georgia is one of five states that does not have a hate crimes law on the books. A 2000 hate crimes law was struck down by the Georgia Supreme Court in 2004 for being “unconstitutionally vague.”

Gwinnett County has become a political battleground, according to the AJC.

Nearly two years before the next election, candidates are already making a beeline to the diverse suburban county. The first presidential candidate to visit Georgia held a rally at a high school smack in the middle of the county, and a vast field of Democrats is forming to contest a newly opened U.S. House seat.

Suddenly on the defensive, Republicans are trying to shore up the county, long a linchpin in any election strategy. It was no coincidence, then, that Ivanka Trump decided to visit Gwinnett this week for a business-friendly meeting, joined by Gov. Brian Kemp and UPS executives.

The March 19 vote on expanding MARTA in Gwinnett only heightens the competition. Democrats see the special election as a test run for the presidential race and are using the referendum to hone get-out-the-vote strategies and gather data on likely voters that’s sure to come in handy next year.

“Gwinnett has to be a destination for presidential candidates and for conversation about our Democratic Party’s future because soon the country will look like Gwinnett. It will be a melting pot,” [Gwinnett Democratic Party Chair Bianca] Keaton said. “We have got to show up for that with answers on how we win. Diversity comes with challenges that people often don’t want to talk about, they want to gloss over. But you have to see race, you have to see culture to have a conversation.”

Gwinnett’s politics have morphed with the explosive growth. Hillary Clinton narrowly won the county in 2016, breaking a string of GOP victories that stretched to Jimmy Carter’s presidency, and Stacey Abrams carried the county by 14 percentage points in November’s race for governor.

Robins Air Force Base contributed more than $31.5 billion to the Georgia economy, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Robins Air Force Base pumped $3.15 billion into the Georgia economy for fiscal 2018, up 9.6 percent from the previous year.

That’s an increase of $276 million over the 2017 fiscal year, Col. Lyle Drew, 78th Air Base Wing commander, told media representatives Thursday.

“That is a huge increase as you think about just only 12 months of impact … that has not only to the base but certainly to the community,“ Drew said.

“When we take a look at the population of the base, those that come every day from those 78 counties around Middle Georgia, we’ve increased the population (by) about 1,000,” Drew said.

The fiscal 2017 statement reported Robins’ workforce at 22,257.

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office is warning citizens about a man impersonating a law enforcement officer, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

The woman described the man who pulled her over as a white male about 40 years old, of medium build with light brown or blonde hair. She said he was around 5’10″-5’11″ tall.

He wore a brown button-down style shirt with no badge or identification displayed on the shirt. The woman said he had some type of badge on his belt and had a firearm holstered around the small of his back.

“The sheriff’s office does not employ any unmarked cars in our fleet, but we do utilize several unmarked pickup trucks that are used by specialized units,” Sheriff Douglas Hanks said. “Traffic stops are not encouraged by deputies operating these vehicles but are sometimes unavoidable … the sheriff’s office has verified that no traffic stops were conducted by our personnel in that area at the time reported by the victim.”

Tybee Island broke ground on a new Tybee Island Marine Science Center, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The $4 million building designed by Savannah-based Sottile & Sottile has been in the works for more than 10 years. Situated to make a minimal impact on the dunes and to catch prevailing winds for passive cooling and ventilation, the building will feature a clear glass and naturally weathered wood facade with two distinct galleries. With 5,400 square feet in its main floor, it will host interpretive exhibits, a retail shop, outdoor educational programming, an amphitheater, and other outdoor recreational elements.

The project is expected to be complete in about a year. Until then, the north end of the lot and the northern-most beach crossover will be closed.

The nonprofit science center will be launching a campaign to raise an estimated $1.2 million for the new center’s exhibits and furnishings.

Southeast Georgia Health System broke ground on a new $140 million dollar hospital, according to The Brunswick News.

The Emergency Care Center will be expanded to add 15 exam and treatment rooms, for a total of 50. Sixteen operating rooms, endoscopy suites, a post-anesthesia care unit and pre-and post-recovery bays will also be added.

“It matters that we have a hospital with modern architecture and the latest infrastructure,” said Erick Bournigal, chief of staff at the Brunswick hospital campus.

The groundbreaking ceremony officially kicked off work on a new surgical services tower and inpatient floor that will consist of 32 private patient rooms.

The Augusta Economic Development Authority elected Richmond County Tax Commissioner Steven Kendrick as Chair, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Tracy Taylor was elected Chair of the Dougherty County Republican Party, according to the Albany Herald.

“While running for office, I had the privilege of traveling across the state and meeting a lot of people in the Republican Party who were, frankly, pleasantly surprised to see a young African-American man running as a Republican, which is not exactly a popular thing in our country at this time,” Taylor said Thursday. “But they saw that I embrace the conservative values of the Republican Party, and people throughout the party, including Gov. Brian Kemp, have told me they’d like to see me in a leadership position.”

In the most-Gwinnett thing ever, the Board of Commissioners voted to buy a Waffle House in order to create a new road interchange, according to AccessWDUN.

The Gwinnett County Board of Education approved a contract to build a new addition to Brookwood High School, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

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