Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 26, 2019

26
Mar

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 26, 2019

On March 26, 1734, the British House of Commons voted £10,000 to subsidize the Georgia colony, down from £26,000 the previous year.

On March 26, 1920, This Side of Paradise, the debut novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald was published. The author was 23 years old.

On March 26, 1982, a groundbreaking ceremony was held in Washington, DC for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial; the design approved a couple weeks earlier was by 21-year old Yale architecture student Maya Lin.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp issued Executive Orders suspending Rebecca McFerrin from her position as Clerk of Court for McIntosh County and appointing a commission to investigate the indictment of Thomasville Mayor Greg Hobbs and recommend whether to suspend him.

The Brunswick News has more on the McFerrin episode.

State Rep. Sam Park (D-Lawrenceville) was snapped while talking on his cell phone while alone in the HOV lane downtown, according to 11Alive.

Jim Shumake was stuck in standstill traffic, Wednesday, heading south on the Downtown Connector, when he noticed Rep. Sam Park (D-Lawrenceville) next to him in the HOV lane by himself, talking on a cell phone.

Shumake said he recognized the lawmaker because he had an official tag on his car – SR 101, for “State Representative, District 101.”

“He was not only on his phone, he was driving without hands on the wheel, having a deep conversation in the HOV lane,” Shumake said. “If that was anybody else, we would have been pulled over or received a ticket.”

Park sent [11Alive] an email instead:

“Thank you for reaching out, and allowing me to respond via the following statement regarding the Facebook from yesterday:

“Yesterday, I was heading to my Industry and Labor and Higher Education Committees [at the State Capitol in downtown Atlanta], but got stuck in traffic due to a car accident near the City of Atlanta. To ensure I would not be late to my 2pm hearing, I got onto the HOV lane so I would not miss a vote. I also gave my colleagues a call to update them with where I was. I take very seriously my duties as a State Representative, and I apologize for driving in the HOV lane. I appreciate voters holding me accountable.”

Under the Gold Dome Today

8:00 AM HOUSE MOTOR VEHICLES 515 CLOB
8:00 AM HOUSE JUDICIARY (NON-CIVIL) 132 CAP
8:30 AM HOUSE HB 31 – FY20 BUDGET CONFERENCE COMMITTEE 403 CAP
9:00 AM HOUSE RULES 341 CAP
10:00 AM HOUSE FLOOR SESSION (LD 37) House Chamber
TBD SENATE RULES UPON ADJOURNMENT 450 CAP
12:00 PM HOUSE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY 606 CLOB
1:00 PM SENATE ETHICS – CANCELLED 307 CLOB
1:00 PM HOUSE JUVENILE JUSTICE 515 CLOB
1:00 PM HOUSE Academic Innovation Subcommittee of Education 415 CLOB
2:00 PM SENATE REGULATED INDUSTRIES & UTILITIES 450 CAP
2:00 PM SENATE STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT – CANCELED 307 CLOB
2:00 PM HOUSE JUDICIARY (CIVIL) 132 CAP
2:00 PM HOUSE HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES 606 CLOB
2:00 PM HOUSE DEFENSE AND VETERANS AFFAIRS 415 CLOB
2:30 PM HOUSE RETIREMENT 515 CLOB
3:00 PM NSENATE ATURAL RESOURCES & ENVIRONMENT – CANCELED 310 CLOB
3:00 PM HOUSE SPECIAL RULES 415 CLOB
4:00 PM ASENATE GRICULTURE & CONSUMER AFFAIRS 450 CAP
4:00 PM SENATE TRANSPORTATION 310 CLOB

SENATE RULES CALENDAR

HB 26 – Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact; enter into an interstate compact (H&HS-14th) Belton-112th

HB 264 – Public officials’ conduct and lobbyist disclosure; persons promoting or opposing any matter regarding the EMSC Program are subject to transparency and lobbyist disclosure laws; provide (Substitute)(RULES-53rd) Werkheiser-157th

HB 59 – Education; military students enroll in public school based on official military orders prior to physically establishing residency; allow (Substitute)(ED&Y-32nd) Belton-112th

HB 83 – Quality Basic Education Act; recess for students in kindergarten and grades one through five; provide (ED&Y-53rd) Douglas-78th

HB 323 – Insurance; administration of claims by pharmacy benefit managers; revise provisions (Substitute)(H&HS-53rd) Knight-130th

HB 171 – Motor vehicles; use of mounts on windshields for the support of wireless telecommunications devices and stand-alone electronic devices under certain circumstances; allow (Substitute)(PUB SAF-29th) Barr-103rd

HB 213 – Georgia Hemp Farming Act; enact (Substitute)(AG&CA-7th) Corbett-174th

HB 253 – Professions and businesses; occupational therapists; update and revise various provisions (RI&U-32nd) Hawkins-27th

HB 315 – Local government; certain agreements from consultants who enter into contracts or arrangements to prepare or develop requirements for bids; provide (Substitute)(GvtO-24th) Newton-123rd

HB 344 – Sales and use tax; mission to advance arts shall not be required to be an organization’s primary mission in order to obtain an exemption for certain sales of tickets for admission to fine arts performances; provide (FIN-14th) Gambill-15th

HB 346 – Property; prohibit retaliation by a landlord against a tenant for taking certain actions (Substitute)(JUDY-23rd) Cooper-43rd

HB 373 – Labor, Department of; employment security; change certain provisions (Substitute)(I&L-20th) Werkheiser-157th

HB 392 – Board of Public Safety; expense allowance and travel cost reimbursement for members in like fashion as other state boards and commissions; provide (GvtO-7th) Wiedower-119th

HB 459 – Education; driver’s license verification system for school bus drivers; provide (Substitute)(PUB SAF-56th) Ehrhart-36th

HB 493 – Private Permitting Review and Inspection Act; enact (Substitute)(RI&U-30th) Tanner-9th

HOUSE RULES CALENDAR

Modified Open Rule

SB 75 – State Board of Veterinary Medicine; professional health program for impaired veterinarians; provide (Substitute)(A&CA-Pirkle-155th) Black-8th

SB 79 – Outdoor Advertising; references to the term “mechanical” in relation to multiple message signs; remove (Substitute)(Trans-Corbett-174th) Gooch-51st

SB 207 – Georgia Board for Physician Workforce; change name; board’s membership; revise (Substitute)(H&HS-Cooper-43rd) Burke-11th

Modified Structured Rule

SB 9 – Invasion of Privacy; sexual extortion; prohibit; definitions; elements of the crime; provide (Substitute)(JudyNC-Setzler-35th) Jones II-22nd

SB 29 – Waiver of Immunity for Motor Vehicle Claims; definition to clarify sheriff, deputy sheriff, other agent, servant, or employee of sheriff’s office; include (Judy-Boddie-62nd) Jones II-22nd

SB 83 – Quality Basic Education; elective courses in History and Literature of the Old and New Testament Eras; provisions; revise (Substitute)(Ed-Jasperse-11th) Mullis-53rd

SB 118 – Insurance; Georgia Telemedicine Act; modernize; Telemedicine Act the Telehealth Act; rename (Substitute)(Ins-Taylor-173rd) Unterman-45th

SB 153 – Trauma Scene Cleanup Services; comprehensive regulation; provide (RegI-Powell-32nd) Harper-7th

SB 157 – Public Funds; when funds shall be considered to held by a depository; specify; State Depository Board certain policies andprocedures related to deposit placement programs; establish (B&B-Washburn-141st) Kennedy-18th

SB 158 – “Anti-Human Trafficking Protective Response Act” (Substitute)(JuvJ-Reeves-34th) Strickland-17th

SB 168 – Nurses; certain definitions; revise (Substitute)(H&HS-Cooper-43rd) Kirk-13th

Structured Rule

SB 65 – Alternative Ad Valorem Tax on Motor Vehicles; transfer of a title between legal entities owned by the same person; not constitute a taxable event; provide (Substitute)(W&M-Blackmon-146th) Harper-7th

SB 127 – Motor Fuel Tax; electronic filing of certain reports; require (W&M-Carpenter-4th) Hufstetler-52nd

Georgia Health News covers the passage of two bills in the General Assembly yesterday.

The state House passed a high-profile bill Monday that would allow Gov. Brian Kemp to seek health care “waivers’’ from the federal government to expand and improve coverage in Georgia.

And in another big vote, the Senate approved a bill to change Georgia’s controversial certificate-of-need system regulating medical providers.

These votes were part of a flurry of action Monday on major legislation affecting health care in Georgia, including on issues such as HIV, prescription drugs, services for seniors, and a Medicaid budget hole.

The certificate-of need bill that passed the Senate would be less sweeping than an original House proposal restructuring the health care regulatory process.

CON regulates how health care facilities function in Georgia. A provider must get a “certificate of need” from the state to proceed with a major project, such as building or expanding a medical facility or changing what services are available to patients.

Senate Bill 106, the Medicaid waiver bill, passed the Georgia State Senate and is headed to Governor Kemp’s desk, according to AccessWDUN.

The measure authorizing Kemp’s office to pursue a Medicaid waiver passed the House on a 104-67 vote, largely along partisan lines with Republicans in support.

A waiver will give Georgia the flexibility to expand Medicaid more conservatively than federal rules typically allow. The legislation also caps eligibility for any Medicaid expansion to those at or below the federal poverty level, limiting the number of Georgians who could be covered.

In addition to the Medicaid waiver, the bill would allow for another waiver seeking to help stabilize prices on Georgia’s private insurance markets.

Any waiver plan would need to be approved by the federal government.

Republicans arguing for the bill said the measure could lead to lower private insurance premiums and allow Georgia to customize a targeted health care plan.

A Frankenbill has been created in the State Senate in which House Bill 68 received a transplant from Senate Bill 173, according to the Rome News Tribune.

The Georgia Educational Scholarship Act — a measure that would divert public school funds to scholarships for private school students under certain conditions — has found new life through House Bill 68 which has been restructured to included the entire once dead Senate Bill 173.

It is a legal move to attach a dead bill to one that has crossed over from one chamber of the Georgia General Assembly to the other as long as both bills fall under the same Georgia code. This is what freshman republican Sen. Greg Dolezal, R-Cumming, has done by adding the Georgia Educational Scholarship Act to a bill that prohibits certain entities from being student scholarship organizations.

The brand new House Bill 68 has limited changes to the original voucher bill, including language that states a student can only qualify for an account if they meet all of the conditions listed by the bill. Students would have to have parents residing in Georgia, spend the prior year in a public school when full time equivalence was taken (October and March), live in a family with an income at 150 percent of the poverty level, been adopted into foster care, have a parent who is currently in the military, have one of the 11 qualifying disabilities and has a documented case of bullying.

Senate Bill 66 to regulate 5G cellular technology passed the State House yesterday, according to the AJC.

The Georgia House voted 159-3 on Monday to give final approval to Senate Bill 66, which creates statewide regulations for cellphone companies to set up 5G technology equipment on public land. 5G is roughly 10 times faster than cellphones on existing 4G networks.

The legislation applies to companies like AT&T and Verizon that want to install small cells, which are wireless transmitters and receivers about the size of a mini-fridge.

“Now they know they have guaranteed access and a guaranteed process,” said House Ways and Means Chairman Brett Harrell, a Republican from Snellville. “They’re not going to get any impediments with local governments because they know what to expect.”

More than 22 states have already passed similar legislation, said Todd Edwards of the Association County Commissioners of Georgia, which advocates for county governments.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger visited Jekyll Island to speak to local elections officials, according to The Brunswick News.

Elections officials from all over the state flocked to the Institute of Voter Registrars of Georgia’s 50th conference and the Georgia Election Officials Associations’ 34th, both of which started Sunday and will continue through Wednesday in the Jekyll Island Convention Center.

Raffensperger spoke to the assembled officials about new elections legislation.

“As many of you know, recently we just passed House Bill 316, which is the new voting machine bill, and in it, we had several pieces of legislation that we think moves Georgia forward and we think it’s a very positive development for all of us,” Raffensperger said.

All voting systems in the state now require a printed ballot component, which creates a paper trail and allows elections officials to perform more accurate recounts, Raffensperger said.

Sea Island‘s exemption  has been removed from a bill governing beach protection, according to The Brunswick News.

The portion of House Bill 445 that included an exemption for the Sea Island spit was removed from the bill on Monday.

Sen. William Ligon, R-White Oak, said Monday that a substitute bill was offered to the Senate Rules Committee and was unanimously adopted by the committee. The substitute bill did not include the exemption language regarding the Sea Island spit, a portion of beach-front land below the Cloister Hotel.

The Brunswick News reported Saturday that Sea Island requested and received special treatment for H.B. 445. Department of Natural Resources staff said the bill’s language crafting process was standard operating procedure.

Congressman Buddy Carter (R-Pooler) continues to support “all of the above” energy policies despite local opposition to some forms, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Resolutions opposing offshore drilling and seismic testing are moving through state and local governments, including a resolution that passed unanimously Monday in Pooler and twin resolutions making their way through the Georgia Senate and House of Representatives.

But U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, who began his political career on Pooler’s city council and served as mayor from 1996 to 2004 before being elected to the Georgia house and then senate, is unswayed by the opposition from his adopted hometown. Carter’s congressional district encompasses all the coastal counties.

“I continue to support an all-of-the-above energy policy,” he said in an email Tuesday. “It is irresponsible to not at least see what is out there off the coast.”

Karen Handel announced to no one’s surprise that she will run for Congress, according to WABE.

Georgia’s 6th U.S. House District flipped last November, with Republican incumbent Karen Handel narrowly losing to Democrat Lucy McBath, a political newcomer.

Now, Handel says she’s ready to flip the former Republican stronghold district back.

“Join me today,” Handel asks in a feel-good campaign commercial posted to YouTube. “Together, we will take back the 6th,” she concludes.

The Chatham County Commission committed to funding $700k toward construction of a behavioral health center, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The center is a component of the county’s long-term strategic plan, which calls for the county to address mental health issues by educating the public, increasing early intervention, removing barriers, and increasing access to treatment.

“I can’t say enough about how proud I am that this is a role that this county has taken and it’s being noticed across the country,” said Commissioner Helen Stone.

The 30-bed center will effectively serve as the mental health “emergency room” on a short-term basis with a 23-hour maximum stay unit and longer term unit expected to serve patients for an average of eight days, according to the staff report. The agreement calls for Gateway to serve at least 100 unduplicated patients each month.

Some Savannah residents want to see only one African-American candidate for mayor, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The Trigon Group’s community meeting at the Bolton Street Baptist Church will center on garnering support for just one candidate from the African-American community and include a presentation on African-American voters, according to a flier promoting the event.

“We can’t win supporting two candidates,” the flier states.

Both black candidates said Monday they do not intend on dropping out of the race.

Bibb County is considering paying bonuses to attract and retain deputies and jail officers, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Buford City Schools will create its own police department and hire two school resource officers, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Whitfield County Commissioners will likely tear down Administrative Building 2, which has fallen into disrepair, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen.

Bobby Williams was sworn in as a new Augusta Commissioner, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Williams won a special election to fill the unexpired term of the late Commissioner Andrew Jefferson, which runs through the end of 2020. After Jefferson died, Williams had a conversation with his uncle, William Mills, about whether he should run for the seat. Once they decided to run, “we worked hard,” Mills said. “We never thought about losing.”

Williams was able to win outright in a four-man race that many had widely expected would need to go to a runoff. He got 50.87 percent of the 976 votes cast, according to previous reports in The Augusta Chronicle.

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