Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 1, 2019

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 1, 2019

On March 1, 1778, the Georgia legislature confiscated property owned by 117 people after labeling them traitors.

On March 3, 1779, the British Army met America forces in Screven County, Georgia.

On March 3, 1779, 238 years ago [] , the first major battle of the British Army’s push into the American South took place at Brier Creek at the old road between Savannah and Augusta. According to Battle and President of the Brier Creek Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution Craig Wildi, the American loss resulted in the deaths of at least 200 patriots.

Studies done by Battle in conjunction with other professional organizations have uncovered evidence that some of Georgia’s soldiers who lost their lives in the fight for independence may still lie in graves at the battle site.

“This was the 16th bloodiest of all battle sites throughout the Revolutionary War,” Battle said. “We found so many artifacts under our original permit, Georgia DNR (Department of natural Resources) shut the study down.”

The land around the battle site is public, managed by Georgia DNR as part of the Tuckahoe Wildlife Management Area. The wildlife management area is about 15,000 acres. Battle and Wildi said they want 500-600 acres set aside to fully study the site, but said DNR hasn’t been willing to dedicate more than about five acres for site preservation and management.

Last year, the Sons of the American Revolution held a commemorative event to place flags in honor of those who died at the battlefield. Because the event was hosted by a non-profit organization, Wildi said Georgia DNR waived the requirements for certain liability insurance policies and other fees for group events. This year, he said they are requiring the group to pay for those requirements; payments the small non-profit says it can’t afford.

During the surveys for and original push for the Palmetto Pipeline, bulldozers and other equipment were brought onto the site to widen roads across it inside the wildlife management area. The proposed pipeline map originally had the right of way slated to cross the battlefield. While both said they were relieved the pipeline was stopped, they say other challenges remain in saving the site.

The Articles of Confederation were ratified on March 1, 1781.

The nation was guided by the Articles of Confederation until the implementation of the current U.S. Constitution in 1789.

The critical distinction between the Articles of Confederation and the U.S. Constitution —the primacy of the states under the Articles—is best understood by comparing the following lines.

The Articles of Confederation begin:

“To all to whom these Present shall come, we the undersigned Delegates of the States”

By contrast, the Constitution begins:

“We the People of the United States do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

On March 2, 1807, the Congress passed legislation outlawing the importation of slaves from Africa or anywhere outside the United States.

On March 3, 1820, Congress passed the Missouri Compromise.

In February 1819, Representative James Tallmadge of New York introduced a bill that would admit Missouri into the Union as a state where slavery was prohibited. At the time, there were 11 free states and 10 slave states. Southern congressmen feared that the entrance of Missouri as a free state would upset the balance of power between North and South, as the North far outdistanced the South in population, and thus, U.S. representatives. Opponents to the bill also questioned the congressional precedent of prohibiting the expansion of slavery into a territory where slave status was favored.

Even after Alabama was granted statehood in December 1819 with no prohibition on its practice of slavery, Congress remained deadlocked on the issue of Missouri. Finally, a compromise was reached. On March 3, 1820, Congress passed a bill granting Missouri statehood as a slave state under the condition that slavery was to be forever prohibited in the rest of the Louisiana Purchase north of the 36th parallel, which runs approximately along the southern border of Missouri. In addition, Maine, formerly part of Massachusetts, was admitted as a free state, thus preserving the balance between Northern and Southern senators.

The Missouri Compromise, although criticized by many on both sides of the slavery debate, succeeded in keeping the Union together for more than 30 years.

On March 2, 1836, Texas declared its independence from Mexico.

Texas Flag 1836-39

On March 3, 1845, Congress overrode a Presidential veto for the first time.

The United States Congress passed the first Reconstruction Act on March 2, 1867.

On March 2, 1874, Gov. Smith signed legislation allowing anyone fined for a criminal conviction to arrange for a third party to pay the fine in exchange for the convict’s labor.

On March 3, 1874, Governor Joseph Brown signed legislation permitting persons or companies to lease Georgia prisoners for terms from one to five years, with the Governor setting the rates.

The act required the humane treatment of convicts and limited them to a ten-hour work day, with Sunday off. Equally important, leases had to free the state from all costs associated with prisoner maintenance. Once all state convicts were leased, the law provided that all state penitentiary officers and employees be discharged.

On March 1, 1875, Governor James Smith signed legislation making cruelty to animals a misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $50.

Paul Broun, Sr. was born on March 1, 1916, in Shellman, Georgia, and served 38 years in the Georgia legislature.

Broun was first elected to the state senate in 1962 in a historic election that took place after the federal courts struck down Georgia’s long-established county unit election system. Broun was one of several new senators elected in a class that included Jimmy Carter, the future president of the United States; Leroy Johnson, the first black legislator elected in Georgia since Reconstruction; and politicians like Hugh Gillis, Culver Kidd, and Bobby Rowan, who would have a lasting impact on legislative politics.

Broun was elected to nineteen consecutive terms in the senate, where he served as the chairman of the Appropriations Committee and the University System Committee.

Dorothy Felton was born on March 1, 1929, and served as the first Republican woman elected to the Georgia legislature.

Dorothy Felton was the first Republican woman elected to the Georgia General Assembly and eventually became the longest-serving Republican and the longest-serving woman of either party in the state legislature. She also worked for more than a quarter of a century for the right of the Sandy Springs community of Fulton County to incorporate as a municipality, a goal that was not achieved until four years after she retired from elective office.

Felton was first elected to the state House of Representatives in 1974 from a district in Sandy Springs.

On March 2, 1950, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for the beginning of construction of Buford Dam, which would create Lake Lanier.

President Lyndon B. Johnson attended ceremonies at Lockheed in Marietta for the first C-5A aircraft to come off the assembly line on March 2, 1968.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Under the Gold Dome Today

8:00 AM SENATE EDUCATION & YOUTH 307 CLOB

8:00 AM HOUSE JUDICIARY (NON-CIVIL) 132 CAP

8:00 AM HOUSE AGRICULTURE & CONSUMER AFFAIRS 403 CAP

8:00 AM HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON ACCESS TO QUALITY HEALTH CARE 341 CAP

8:00 AM HOUSE Lumsden Subcommittee on Public Safety and Homeland Security 415 CLOB

8:30 AM HOUSE Transportation Resolutions Subcommittee 506 CLOB

8:30 AM HOUSE REGULATED INDUSTRIES 606 CLOB

9:30 AM HOUSE FLOOR SESSION (LD 25) House Chamber

TBD SENATE RULES UPON ADJOURNMENT 450 CAP

12:00 PM SENATE AGRICULTURE AND CONSUMER AFFAIRS 310 CLOB

12:00 PM SENATE REGULATED INDUSTRIES & UTILITIES 450 CAP

12:00 PM HOUSE JUDICIARY (CIVIL) 132 CAP

12:00 PM HOUSE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT & TOURISM 406 CLOB

1:00 PM SENATE URBAN AFFAIRS MEZZ 1

1:00 PM HOUSE JUDICIARY (CIVIL) 132 CAP

1:00 PM HOUSE HIGHER EDUCATION 506 CLOB

1:00 PM HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS 606 CLOB

1:30 PM SENATE TRANSPORTATION 450 CAP

3:00 PM SENATE REAPPORTIONMENT & REDISTRICTING 450 CAP

4:00 PM SENATE SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY MEZZ 1

SENATE RULES CALENDAR

SB 37 – Statute of Frauds; clarify that a mutual agreement to modify an existing promise, agreement, contract; shall be in writing and subject to statute of frauds (Substitute) (B&FI-3rd)
SB – 182 Seafood; mariculture development; legislative findings; definitions; unlawful acts; permitting; provide (Substitute) (NR&E-3rd)
SB 158 – “Anti-Human Trafficking Protective Response Act” (JUDY-17th)
SB 97 – Self-Service Storage Facilities; limit fees charged and collected by selfservice storage facilities for the late payment of rent; provide (AG&CA-23rd)
SB 120 – “Georgia Tax Credit Business Case Act” (Substitute) (FIN-56th)
SB 133 – Insurance; modernization and updates; provide (I&L-16th)
SB 154 – Georgia Coroner’s Training Council; hearing complaints from outside parties regarding coroners; provide (JUDY-51st)

HOUSE RULES CALENDAR

Modified Open Rule
HB 279 – Revenue and taxation; certain law enforcement officers may use department vehicles relative to certain approved off-duty jobs; provide (PS&HS-Lumsden-12th)
HB 396 – Crimes and offenses; unlawful for a person with intent to defraud a creditor’s rights to deed or otherwise transfer title to real property to another person without the knowledge or consent of such other person; provide (Substitute)(Judy-Washburn-141st)

Modified Structured Rule
HB 39 – Physical Therapy Licensure Compact Act; enter into an interstate compact (IntC-Belton-112th)
HB 193 – Banking and finance; banks and credit unions to offer savings promotion raffle accounts in which deposits to a savings account enter a depositor in a raffle; allow (Substitute)(B&B-Dunahoo-30th)
HB 281 – Crimes and offenses; pimping and pandering; increase penalty provisions (Substitute)(JudyNC-Anulewicz-42nd)
HB 290 – Health; pilot program to provide preexposure assistance to persons at risk of HIV infection; establish (Substitute)(H&HS-Cooper-43rd)

Governor Brian Kemp announced a $150 million dollar solar development in Early County, according to the Albany Herald.

“While metro Atlanta and other urban areas continue to grow and thrive, we have work to do in rural Georgia. We must create a bright and promising future for all Georgians – regardless of zip code,” Kemp said Thursday. “Through strategic partnerships with private-sector leaders like Silicon Ranch, our electric cooperatives have made great strides as economic development engines for local communities across Georgia. This is a promising first step toward ‘A New Day in Rural Georgia’ powered by the sun.”

Kemp announced that the first of Silicon Ranch’s three projects, a 102.5-megawatt solar farm built in partnership with Walton EMC to help support Facebook’s data center in Newton County, is already under construction in Blakely. Silicon Ranch will hire more than 400 craft workers for the 10-month construction project, the majority of whom are being recruited from the local community and surrounding region.

“This innovative project will result in Georgia-made products providing energy in Georgia communities to power Georgia homes and Georgia businesses,” Kemp said.

The power generated from Silicon Ranch’s two other solar farms in Early County will be sold to Green Power EMC, the renewable energy supplier for 38 Georgia EMCs and provide low-cost and reliable solar energy to more than 30 EMCs across the state.

The Georgia State House passed their FY 2020 state budget, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Republican Rep. Terry England of Auburn, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said the House budget includes $611 million more than the 2019 amended budget, a 2.26 percent increase.

Republican Gov. Brian Kemp’s budget proposal had called for $3,000 pay raises for teachers, shy of his campaign pledge to raise salaries by $5,000.

The House budget would raise salaries for teachers by $2,775, but it extends that pay raise to more than 9,000 other certified employees including psychologists, counselors, social workers and special education specialists.

England said the raises represent an 8.1 percent increase to the base teacher starting salary, the largest pay increase for teachers in state history.

The budget also funds the state’s Quality Basic Education formula for the second year in a row after more than a decade of cutbacks.

The State Senate will consider SB 182 by Sen. William Ligon, regulating oyster cultivation, according to The Brunswick News.

House Bill 530 by State Rep. Bill Hitchens would change rules on homeschooling, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Parents who homeschool their children would have to submit attendance and disciplinary records under a bill introduced to address the deaths of two Effingham County children.

State Rep. Bill Hitchens, R-Rincon, said he and three other lawmakers introduced House Bill 530 Thursday, which would prohibit parents from removing children from public school to avoid complying with laws about attendance, discipline, parental involvement or parental responsibilities.

Hitchens said the bill is still a work in progress. “We have struggled with language and feel certain what was introduced will probably not be the final product,” he said.

Hitchens and Burns have said they are trying to prevent another case like the one in Effingham County, where siblings Mary and Elwyn Crocker Jr. were pulled out of public school to be homeschooled and were found buried behind their family’s house in the Guyton area Dec. 20.

Currently, the only reporting required from parents who homeschool their children in Georgia is a once-a-year notice with the child’s name, age and address.

House Bill 93 by Rep. Rick Williams (R-Milledgeville) passed the State House Natural Resources and Environment Committee and would require public notice of some changes to coal ash ponds, according to The Brunswick News.

Dade County Commissioner Robert Goff called out State Rep. Colton Moore (R-Trenton) for actions the Commissioner says could hurt the local community, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Moore, R-Trenton, has made a name for himself in his freshman session by publicly bucking prominent Republicans — particularly House Speaker David Ralston. Moore’s was one of two “no” votes against a resolution to name a new judicial complex after former Gov. Nathan Deal. Ralston sponsored the resolution. Last week, Moore was also one of 10 representatives who signed a resolution asking Ralston to step down.

In response, Dade County Commissioner Robert Goff told KWNTV in Trenton in an email that he worried Moore’s actions could lead to less state funding for the community. In particular, Goff said county leaders could find themselves whiffing on grant applications.

“It wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened,” Goff told the Times Free Press on Thursday. ““That’s for sure. It happens all the time when money is to be given out and you’ve got someone fighting the system and the powers. We tried to build a relationship [with state leaders]. And it seems like things he’s done is not helping that relationship.”

Moore told the Times Free Press he does not believe his actions will cost Northwest Georgia state money. In the counties of Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade, Gordon, Murray, Walker and Whitfield in November, Gov. Brian Kemp earned 82,800 votes, about 80 percent of the electorate in the region.

Statewide, Kemp beat Democrat Stacey Abrams by about 54,000 votes.

“[Goff] needs to remember that there’s a new governor in town,” Moore said. “His name is Brian Kemp. I don’t think the governor is going to leave District 1 or Dade County behind.”

Former State Senator Curt Thompson (D-Norcross) announced he will run for Gwinnett County Chair in 2020, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

“I’m running because we need to be building a bridge in Gwinnett to a brighter future — one that works for all of us in Gwinnett, not just some of us, not just those who have been here for a long time but all of us,” Thompson told his fellow Democrats. “We’ve got to make sure that bridge includes all of us.”

After the Democratic Party’s meeting, Thompson said he decided to announce his candidacy early to give himself time to build up grassroots support. He pointed out that campaigns are getting started earlier and earlier now to build up their support bases.

“Partly that is the nature of campaigning these days,” Thompson said. “Also you’re talking about the second largest county in the state. There are over 900,000 people who live here and over 500,000 registered voters … If you’re running a grassroots campaign, you have to start early.”

The former legislator served in the state Senate for years until he was defeated by new state Sen. Sheikh Rahman, D-Lawrenceville, during the 2018 Democratic primary. After that loss, his name began circulating as a possible candidate for commission chairman in the later half of last year.

Columbia County voters will decide whether to renew the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for Education (E-SPLOST) in a March 19 referendum, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

The Columbia County School System is asking voters March 19 to continue the Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax to build new schools and renovate existing facilities to prepare for more students. The one-cent per dollar sales tax will generate between $115 million and $140 million for school projects from 2022 to 2027.

The school system is projecting growth of 579 students in the 2019-20 school year with more expected as Fort Gordon prepares for the relocation of the U.S. Army Cyber Command in 2020. Four out of five high schools already struggle with overcrowding, and Army Cyber Command employees are expected to have older children, creating more of a space issue in middle and high schools.

“The continuation of this ESPLOST is critical to our being able to provide proper facilities in Columbia County for our students,” Superintendent Sandra Carraway said.

Voters approved the ESPLOST in 1997 and has been renewed every five years. Since its inception, the school system has built 16 schools.

The Georgia Ports Authority says that a new Hall County Inland Port will help the economy, according to AccessWDUN.

Serving as a hub for both import and exports, the Gainesville terminal will provide access to the direct rail route from the Port of Savannah’s Garden City Terminal.

GPA’s chief administrative officer, James McCurry, said the port will not only better serve Georgia, but will be efficient for the United States in its entirety.

“We call this the ‘Mega Rail Project,’” McCurry said. “It’s taking the CSX and Norfolk Southern railyards that are separated today and combining them,” he said.

According to McCurry, the combination of the railyards gives way for more expansion on the railways, and GPA the access to handle over a million container lifts with additional cranes and overhead capacity.

Former Bibb County School Superintendent Romain Dallemand was sentenced in federal court, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Dallemand’s sentencing to eight months in prison and a restitution payment of nearly $300,000 comes in the wake of his 2017 guilty plea to a lone tax-evasion charge which stems from a tax-filing transgression half a decade earlier. He had faced a maximum of three years behind bars.

Federal prosecutors had contended that Dallemand received roughly $460,000 in bribe payments from people with business interests connected to the school system. He took the stand in October as the government’s key witness. But despite prosecutors’ contentions and Dallemand’s own admissions to accepting bribes around 2012 and later, jurors acquitted the two men accused of paying him off.

In August 2017, Dallemand pleaded guilty to tax evasion for filing that false tax return for 2012 in which he under-reported his income and over-reported itemized deductions.

His guilty plea to the false tax filing came in exchange for his extensive cooperation with the FBI and Internal Revenue Service in their probe of alleged corruption involving the Bibb schools.

Georgia Court of Appeals Judges Ken Hodges and Elizabeth Gobeil spoke in Albany, according to the Albany Herald.

Gobiel was in Albany Wednesday and Thursday with local favorite son Ken Hodges, who was elected to a vacant seat on the Court of Appeals last year and now serves on one of five three-judge panels with Gobiel. She and Hodges spoke at a meeting of the Dougherty Bar Association on Wednesday and mixed and mingled with members of the Dougherty Sertoma Club on Thursday, a first “judge’s road trip” for the Thomaston native.

“Panels on the Court of Appeals sometimes travel outside Atlanta, but Judge Hodges encouraged me to take the opportunity to get out into different communities and talk with the citizens of the state,” Gobeil said of the visit to Albany. “And he was right. This has been really invigorating. I love to learn about new areas of the state.

“The Georgia Court of Appeals is the busiest appellate court in the nation,” Hodges said. Added Gobeil, “From the time I took my place on the bench on June 5, 2018, I believe I heard the numbers that there had been more than 200 filings per judge in 2018. So, yes, even though you have to pay attention to each case, it’s difficult to focus your attention on each case.

Gobeil and Hodges currently serve on a panel that also includes Judge Christian Coomer. Starting next month, the pair will serve on a panel with Chief Judge Stephen Dillard, who makes panel assignments. Both Hodges and Gobeil say they’ve developed a rapport in the short time they’ve served together on the court.

“Elizabeth and I actually have a lot of similarities,” Hodges said. “Both of us went to Emory and graduated from law school at the University of Georgia. And both of us grew up in small towns on the Flint River. We have mutual friends, but we never connected until we were on the court.

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