Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 8, 2019


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 8, 2019

Congress passed the second part of the Militia Act on May 8, 1792, requiring all able-bodied white male citizens to be enrolled in the militia.

A Constitutional Convention convened on May 8, 1798 in Louisville, Georgia to rewrite the state Constitution after the Yazoo Land Fraud.

The Southern Baptist Convention was formed in Augusta, Georgia on May 8, 1845.

On May 8, 1864, Union forces under Sherman continued to engage Confederates at the Battle of Rocky Face Ridge four miles west of Dalton, Georgia, seizing Blue Mountain.

Elsewhere on the same day, the Army of the Potomac under Grant reached Spotsylvania Court House in Virginia and found that Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia had beaten them there from the Battle of the Wilderness.

Grant’s Army of the Potomac remained engaged against Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia in the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House through May 21, 1864.

Governor Sonny Perdue signed legislation designating the current state flag on May 8, 2003.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp yesterday signed the “Heartbeat” bill, according to CNN.

Currently in Georgia, women are allowed to undergo abortion procedures up to their 20th week of pregnancy. Starting on January 1, the bill Kemp signed generally would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as six weeks into a pregnancy — when many women don’t yet know they’re pregnant.

“(The bill) is very simple but also very powerful: a declaration that all life has value, that all life matters, and that all life is worthy of protection,” Kemp, flanked by supporters of the bill, said Tuesday morning before signing the legislation at the state Capitol.

“I realize that some may challenge it in a court of law. But our job is to do what is right, not what is easy. We are called to be strong and courageous, and we will not back down. We will always continue to fight for life.”

The legislation says that “no abortion is authorized or shall be performed if the unborn child has been determined to have a human heartbeat.” It includes some exceptions, including if the pregnancy risks the life or poses substantial and irreversible physical harm to the pregnant woman.

From the AJC:

Supporters filled a ceremonial room in Kemp’s office and applauded House Bill 481, which outlaws most abortions once a doctor can detect a fetus’ “heartbeat” — usually about six weeks into a pregnancy and before many women know they’re pregnant.

In signing the bill in Georgia, Kemp kept a promise he made during his 2018 campaign.

“All life has value, all life matters and all life is worthy of protection,” Kemp said. “I’m signing this bill to ensure all Georgians have the opportunity to live, grow, learn and prosper in the great state of Georgia.”

An Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll conducted last month found that about 49% of Georgia voters surveyed oppose the bill, with about 44% saying they support it.

From FetchYourNews:

Speaker Ralston spoke at [the] bill signing ceremony:

At its core, House Bill 481 – appropriately known at the LIFE Act – is about protecting those who truly cannot protect themselves.

But, as I close, I’d like to acknowledge and thank the strongest supporter of this legislation – our Governor, Brian Kemp.

Governor Kemp is a leader whose compass does not bend with the polls or pundits. He was clear from the beginning that making Georgia a leader in protecting life was a top priority.

Governor, thank you for your leadership – I’m honored to serve with you.

From the Valdosta Daily Times:

“I thank God for this day,” said a tearful Rachel Mary Guy, a pro-life advocate in Georgia who was deemed medically futile as a fetus. “Every day I fight and I pray that abortion ends, but I truly never thought that we would see a day like this.”

A conservative majority on the nation’s high court has emboldened pro-life advocates, who see an opportunity to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that has protected a woman’s right to an abortion.

Savannah‘s film industry is not afraid of repercussions from the bill signing, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Attorney Charles “Bo” Bowen said the legislation, known as the “Heartbeat bill” will likely never go into effect. Bowen founded the Savannah Film Alliance in 2015 and currently serves on numerous local corporate, banking, transportation and entertainment boards and councils.

Bowen said actors are not the ones who make location decisions.

“It’s investors,” Bowen said. “And as long as they can get the best deal here, they’ll film here.”

Bowen said Georgia’s reputation, however, will take a hit.

“Georgia needs a reputation for moving forward,” Bowen said. “In the best case scenario, this (abortion bill) will affect, but not cripple the industry.”

Democrat Emily Leslie, who is running for State House District 106, condemned the legislation, according to

“In defiance of popular mandate, the rights of women, and the settled laws of this nation, Governor Kemp has signed House Bill 481 into law. This far-right extremist bill has no purpose but to punish the vulnerable and marginalized, and to strip women of their legal protection, their bodily autonomy, and their rights. As he did during the campaign, Governor Kemp shows a profound ignorance of the law, disrespect for the rights of women, and little regard for trying to bring our state together and ease political tensions.”

“Once again, Governor Kemp shows who his real constituency is: the radical far-right interests who control him and his office. Not only does the Governor strike at fundamental rights, he will do untold economic and cultural damage to our state in the process of abusing his power. It is not only cisgender women and girls who may need access to abortion services, but all gender identities who have the capacity to become pregnant.”

“I call upon all Georgians to continue to make their voices heard in opposition to this repressive law, and will continue to support the efforts of a number of women’s, civil, and human rights organizations who are standing up for choice. Voters in my district, and across Georgia, are prepared to hold the Governor and his conservative legislative allies–allies like my opponent Brett Harrell–accountable in the next election.”

Daniel Merritt announced he will run for the Republican nomination in the First Congressional District, challenging incumbent Buddy Carter (R-GA), according to the Savannah Morning News.

Merritt has no political background.

Now he’s running for Congress. Many missed last week’s announcement, as it was overshadowed by Stacey Abrams’ decision not to challenge incumbent David Perdue for one of Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats.

For Coastal Georgia, Merritt’s declaration is almost as significant as Abrams’. Carter’s hold on his congressional seat is firm —district residents lean heavily conservative and the only projected Democratic challenger, Lisa Ring, is a progressive liberal who lost decisively to Carter last November.

The biggest threat to Carter is one from a fellow Republican. If he’s going to lose, it is more likely to be in a primary than a general election.

How Merritt differentiates himself from Carter is at the heart of discussions about his candidacy. Carter’s greatest vulnerability — his perceived affinity for President Donald Trump’s policies — is also his greatest strength within the Republican base. Carter recently evolved his stance on the issue — offshore oil exploration — he has most drawn criticism for.

There’s little room to attempt to run to the right of Carter, a la Gov. Brian Kemp versus Casey Cagle in the 2018 Republican gubernatorial contest. Especially with Carter already having more than $1.1 million in his campaign account.

Congressman Tom Graves (R-Ranger) held an information session on government services available to constituents, according to the Rome News Tribune.

The Ranger Republican said he plans to make Local Government Services Day an annual event.

“You want to better help and assist your communities and we want to help you do that,” Graves told the crowd.

His office assembled representatives from a range of agencies at Georgia Highlands College’s Heritage Hall. Each presented an overview of programs they offer, then handed out information and answered questions at their booths set up around the room.

Chattooga County Sole Commissioner Jason Winters said there was a wealth of useful information on tap. New to him was a U.S. Department of Agriculture program that awards grants of up to $7,500 to low-income seniors in rural communities to repair their homes.

Gwinnett County is unlikely to revise its transportation blueprint before the new Metro Atlanta transit agency comes online, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

There had been some talk about revising the Connect Gwinnett Transit Development Plan after the defeat of the county’s MARTA referendum in March, but Nash said that may not happen since The ATL’s submission period is coming up soon.

“I don’t think we have time to do that, particularly allowing for public input to fit their time table,” Nash, who also sits on The ATL board, said. “The (Connect Gwinnett) plan represents the best cumulative view of potential transit projects for Gwinnett.”

Implementation of the Connect Gwinnett Transit Development Plan was never contingent on the passage of the MARTA referendum which the county held in Gwinnett, although MARTA would have been contractually bound to use the plan as a guidebook for providing and expanding service to the county. Although voters rejected the proposed expansion of MARTA into the county, the Connect Gwinnett plan remains on the table.

Nash said the plan will serve as the basis for what the commissioners will consider sending to The ATL for inclusion in the regional transit plan this summer.

The Bibb County Commission voted against allowing alcohol sales by movie theaters, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Macon-Bibb County Mayor Robert Reichert was the tiebreaker for a county commission vote that comes a month after a request to sell beer and wine at the AmStar 16 movie theater was denied.

Southern Theatres, the operator of AmStart 16, has requested an appeal hearing on their alcohol license, according to Chris Floore, assistant to the county manager for Public Affairs.

The mayor’s swing vote on Tuesday night was made after the ordinance was tied 4-4. Reichert joined Commissioners Al Tillman, Scotty Shepherd, Larry Schlesinger and Virgil Watkins in voting against prohibiting current and future movie theaters from getting alcohol beverage licenses.

Those in favor of the ban were Commissioners Joe Allen, Bert Bivins, Valerie Wynn and Elaine Lucas. Commissioner Mallory Jones did not attend the commission meeting.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, by early 2017 alcohol was already being sold at more than 400 locations of three largest movie chains in the U.S.

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