Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 4, 2019

4
Mar

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 4, 2019

On March 4, 1762, legislation was passed by the Georgia General Assembly requiring church attendance on Sundays.

The first Session of the United States Congress was held on March 4, 1789 at Federal Hall in New York City. Congress would not have a quorum for another month.

On March 4, 1861, Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated as President of the United States.

In his inaugural address, Lincoln promised not to interfere with the institution of slavery where it existed, and pledged to suspend the activities of the federal government temporarily in areas of hostility. However, he also took a firm stance against secession and the seizure of federal property. The government, insisted Lincoln, would “hold, occupy, and possess” its property and collect its taxes. He closed his remarks with an eloquent reminder of the nation’s common heritage:

“In your hand, my fellow countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath in Heaven to destroy the government, while I shall have the most solemn one to preserve, protect, and defend it… We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

Also on March 4, 1861, the Confederate Congress adopted a first national flag.

Confederate 1st National Flag 1

This flag is depicted with varying numbers of stars – originally adopted with seven stars, by December 1861, a version with thirteen stars was flying.

Confederate 1st National Flag 2

Ronald Reagan and Nancy Davis were married on March 4, 1952 in Los Angeles, California.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

More than 16,000 Georgia homes lost power during storms over the weekend, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

In the Columbus area, more than 11,000 Georgia Power residents had no electricity about 4:30 p.m. Sunday. About 800 in Macon were also without power.

Across the state, more than 16,000 residents lost electricity. At least one tornado was reported in Houston County. In other areas, such as Peach and Crawford, the storms left significant damage behind, including downed trees and damaged buildings.

Two-inch hail was reported at the Middle Georgia Regional Airport in Bibb County but there was no damage.

Governor Brian Kemp will declare an emergency in at least three counties following the storms, according to the AJC.

The governor’s office said Monday he will declare emergencies in Grady, Harris and Talbot counties, and that more could be added as emergency officials report back. The declarations free up state resources to respond to the disaster.

Kemp plans to travel to the area at 1 p.m. Monday by helicopter to assess the damage with state officials.

Under the Gold Dome Today

TBD SENATE RULES UPON ADJOURNMENT

8:00 AM SENATE BANKING & FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS MEZZ 1

8:00 AM SENATE HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES 450 CAP

8:00 AM SENATE EDUCATION & YOUTH 307 CLOB<

9:00 AM SENATE ETHICS 307 CLOB

9:00 AM SENATE RETIREMENT 310 CLOB

9:30 AM SENATE ETHICS – Voting and Elections Subcommittee 307 CLOB

10:00 AM SENATE TRANSPORTATION 310 CLOB

10:00 AM SENATE JUDICIARY 307 CLOB

1:00 PM SENATE INSURANCE & LABOR 310 CLOB

2:00 PM SENATE EDUCATION & YOUTH 307 CLOB

2:00 PM SENATE PUBLIC SAFETY – CANCELLED MEZZ 1

4:00 PM SENATE JUDICIARY 307 CLOB

8:00 AM HOUSE TRANSPORTATION 506 CLOB<

8:00 AM HOUSE INSURANCE 606 CLOB

8:30 AM HOUSE Regulated Industries Occupational/Professional Licensing Subcommittee 415 CLOB

9:00 AM HOUSE RULES 341 CAP

10:00 AM HOUSE FLOOR SESSION (LD 26) House Chamber

1:00 PM HOUSE Resource Management Subcommittee of Natural Resources & Environment 515 CLOB

1:00 PM HOUSE Regulated Industries Regulatory Subcommittee 403 CAP

1:00 PM HOUSE Academic Innovation Subcommittee of Education 406 CLOB

1:30 PM HOUSE HUMAN RELATIONS & AGING 506 CLOB

1:30 PM HOUSE Regulated Industries Gaming Subcommittee 415 CLOB

2:00 PM HOUSE CODE REVISION 415 CLOB

2:00 PM HOUSE JUDICIARY (CIVIL) 132 CAP

2:00 PM HOUSE Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Subcommittee 403 CAP

2:00 PM HOUSE EDUCATION 406 CLOB

2:00 PM HOUSE BANKS AND BANKING 341 CAP

2:30 PM HOUSE Ways and Means Subcommittee on Public Finance and Policy 133 CAP

3:00 PM HOUSE ENERGY, UTILITIES AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS 403 CAP

3:00 PM HOUSE HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES 606 CLOB

3:00 PM HOUSE Ways and Means Subcommittee on Ad Valorem 133 CAP

SENATE RULES CALENDAR

SB 153 – Trauma Scene Cleanup Services; comprehensive regulation; provide (Substitute) (RI&U-7th)
SB 31 – Law Enforcement Officers and Agencies; performing any duty at the scene of an emergency; law enforcement officers shall not be liable; clarify (PUB SAF-33rd)
SB 60 – “Jeremy Nelson and Nick Blakely Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act” (Substitute) (ED&Y-9th)
SB 83 – Quality Basic Education; elective courses in History and Literature of the Old and New Testament Eras; provisions; revise (Substitute) (ED&Y-53rd)
SB 100 – Telephone System for the Physically Impaired; state-wide dual party relay service and audible universal information access service; provisions; change (RI&U-9th)
SB 117 – Public Retirement Systems Standards Law; that does not require an individual to pay the full actuarial cost of obtaining such creditable service; prohibit passage of any law (RET-8th)
SB 119 – “Georgia Measuring Success Act” (FIN-56th)
SB 140 – World War I Centennial Commission; sunset provisions; extend (VM&HS-15th)
SB 142 – Insurance; statement indicating that the subscriber’s health policy is fully insured is included on a subscriber’s health insurance identification card; require (I&L-20th)
SB 157 – Public Funds; when funds shall be considered to held by a depository; specify; State Depository Board certain policies and procedures related to deposit placement programs; establish (B&FI-18th)
SB 168 – Nurses; certain definitions; revise (H&HS-13th)
SB 170 – State and Other Flags; Honor and Remember flag as the state’s emblem of the service and sacrifice of the members of the armed forces; designate (VM&HS-14th)
SB 191 – Courts; law assistants as law clerks and staff attorneys; rename (JUDY-18th)

HOUSE RULES CALENDAR

Modified Structured Rule
HB 76 – Alcoholic beverages; counties and municipalities may regulate alcohol licenses as to certain distances in a manner that is less but not more restrictive than those distances specified by the state; provisions (Substitute)(RegI-Stephens-164th)

HB 233 – Pharmacy Anti-Steering and Transparency Act; enact (Substitute)(H&HS-Knight-130th)

HB 234 – Anti-Human Trafficking Protective Response Act; enact (Substitute)(JuvJ-Efstration-104th)

HB 374 – Health; administer medications to residents under hospice care pursuant to a physician’s written orders; authorize certified medication aides (Substitute) (HumR-LaHood-175th)

Structured Rule
HB 426 – Criminal procedure; imposition of punishment for crimes involving bias or prejudice; revise criteria (Substitute)(JudyNC-Efstration-104th)

The State House Economic Development and Tourism Committee passed out House Resolution 327 by State Rep. Ron Stephens, which would put a casino gambling referendum on the ballot, according to the AJC.

House Resolution 327 would ask voters during the November 2020 election if they believed the state’s Constitution should be amended to allow “licensed destination resort facilities where casino gaming is permitted.”

Tax and licensing revenues would be directed to bolster the Georgia Lottery-funded HOPE Scholarship.

“This bill does one thing and one thing only,” Stephens said. “It allows the public to finally make a decision on whether they want to have destination (gaming) resorts or not.”

Gov. Brian Kemp, Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan and House Speaker David Ralston all said this week that while they don’t personally support gambling, they they won’t stand in the way of the constitutional amendment.

Senate Bill 182 to regulate oyster cultivation passed the Georgia Senate, according to The Brunswick News.

“In the early 20th Century, Georgia was one of the top producers of shellfish in the nation, if not the No. 1 producer,” Ligon said. “But, unfortunately, through overharvesting of our oysters, the industry declined and is just very small — there are only about eight producers that harvest our wild oysters in our state now. But states around us and up and down our coast have expanded their shellfish industries by allowing the harvesting, or the farming, of oysters in our coastal waters. This is done by seeding oysters on a cage, placing them in the river and then harvesting them when they mature.”

“In Georgia, our wild oysters are primarily in clusters, which are not really favored by restaurants. And although they are very tasty and very good, it’s difficult to market them. The farmed oysters, though, are grown and they come out on a single shell, which make them very marketable for selling in restaurants and other places. So, this is a tremendous opportunity for our state. There are projections that the industry could grow to be a $40-50 million industry.”

Senate Rules Committee Chairman Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga, asked Ligon, in a somewhat joking tone, if he could describe different varieties of oysters.

“I’ll be glad to,” Ligon said. “Well, you have the wild oysters, which are called diploid oysters — they have two chromosomes. The oysters that we’ll be harvesting are triploid oysters, and they have three chromosomes. They are produced by tetraploid oyster, which has four chromosomes, with one that has two chromosomes, and you get the oyster we’ll be planting.”

Former Governor Nathan Deal supports a Gwinnett transit referendum, according to the AJC.

Former Gov. Nathan Deal said Friday that he wants Gwinnett County residents to vote “yes” for a public transportation partnership with MARTA.

Deal said adding more transit options — including heavy rail connected to MARTA’s Gold Line — is “what’s right for Gwinnett County.”

Gwinnett County Public Schools will work with state officials to train principals, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Gov. Brian Kemp’s office recently announced his Governor’s Office of Student Achievement and the Georgia Department of Education will work with Gwinnett County Public Schools to offer training for principals. The collaboration will be offered through the Governor’s School Leadership Academy, which was launched last year to support school-level leaders.

“Strong, effective leadership is key to transforming Georgia’s struggling schools and equipping our students with the right tools to ensure their future success in life,” Kemp said in a statement. “I wholeheartedly support this partnership to provide high-caliber training and leadership skills to current and aspiring school principals.”

“What a school is able to offer its students has a ceiling, and that ceiling is leadership,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said in a statement. “The Governor’s School Leadership Academy allows us to work directly to improve the capacity of principals and aspiring principals in our state, ultimately to the benefit of students.

“I appreciate the opportunity to partner with Governor Kemp, the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement, and Gwinnett County Public Schools — which have pioneered this work — to make this opportunity a reality for Georgia school leaders.”

The Albany Herald looks at farming conditions after Hurricane Matthew.

Just four months removed from Hurricane Michael — the devastating October storm that contributed to more than $2 billion in agricultural-related damage — farmers are unsure of how to proceed. Crop insurance does not fully cover those losses.

Farmers are also unsettled about the current tariffs and how they will impact commodity prices that are already extremely low.

“There’s certainly hope for higher prices, but it doesn’t look like there will be on the row crop side,” Rabinowitz said. “There may be a little bit of an increase on corn, but the fact that we’re going to see increased acreage in the U.S. just because prices have gone up a little means that, overall, it’s not going to be that impactful.”

The Augusta Commission may end a program using goats to clear foliage, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

An Augusta Commission committee voted last week to end the program, and the full commission could concur Tuesday. Interim Animal Services Director Crystal Eskola recently told the commission that the number of goats is down to 17 and that 42 have died from dog attacks, snake bites or other issues.

The goat program sprang out of a discussion in 2014 at the Richmond County Board of Health about controlling mosquitoes in the city’s hundreds of overgrown detention ponds by using grazing goats to clear them. The idea was quickly championed by board member and Commissioner Marion Williams. He remains one of the strongest advocates for the program and has repeatedly said all the city needs to do is put the goats out and they will eat anything there and that the program will work as is.

The City of Statesboro will hold a public meeting to discuss transit, according to the Statesboro Herald.

Augusta Regional Airport will have flights to Dallas, Texas again, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Duluth City Council member Kirkland Carden wants city employees to have the day off for elections, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

“This extra holiday will encourage city employees to vote and participate in the electoral processes,” Carden said.

Carden said he got the idea from the city of Sandusky, Ohio, which recently decided to give up its Columbus Day holiday to instead make election day a paid holiday for city employees. NPR reported on the Ohio town’s decision a month ago, saying the Sandusky’s leaders decided to make the change in late January.

Seven right whale calves have been spotted off the Atlantic coast, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Seven new calves is good news. But it does not signal that all is well with these imperiled giants.

DNR senior wildlife biologist Clay George said the species, estimated at only about 425 whales, requires approximately 20 calves per year to grow. The last time the count was that high was in 2013, with 20 calves.

The recent decline in calving is exacerbated by continuing high rates of mortality and injury from vessel strikes and entanglements in commercial fishing rope.

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