Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 11, 2020

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 11, 2020

On February 11, 1733, the first military formation in Georgia was held, as male colonists assembled with their muskets.

On February 11, 1776, Georgia Royal Governor Sir James Wright escaped from house arrest in Savannah to a waiting British warship HMS Scarborough.

Burt Reynolds was born on February 11, 1936 in Lansing, Michigan, though some accounts say Waycross, Georgia. Beginning with Deliverance, filmed along the Chattooga River in North Georgia in 1972, Georgia rose to number three in the nation for film production while Reynolds’s star rose to prominence. Other Reynolds movies filmed in Georgia include The Longest Yard, Gator, Smokey and the Bandit, Cannonball Run, and Sharky’s Machine.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Under the Gold Dome Today

9:00 AM HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS GENERAL GOVERNMENT 341 CAP

1:00 PM SENATE APPROPRIATIONS- JUDICIAL SUB 450 CAP

1:00 PM SENATE EDUCATION & YOUTH 310 CLOB

1:00 PM HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS PUBLIC SAFETY 606 CLOB

1:00 PM HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS HIGHER EDUCATION 341 CAP

1:00 PM HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS HEALTH 506 CLOB

2:00 PM SENATE HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES MEZZ 1

2:00 PM SENATE NATURAL RESOURCES & ENVIRONMENT 310 CLOB

3:00 PM SENATE APPROPRIATIONS- AGRICULTURE SUB 307 CLOB

3:00 PM SENATE APPROPRIATIONS- TRANSPORTATION SUB 450 CAP

4:00 PM SENATE AGRICULTURE & CONSUMER AFFAIRS 450 CAP

Governor Brian Kemp announced that Georgia set a new record for annual exports, according to CBS46.

According to a press release from Governor Kemp, the state of Georgia tallied $41.2 billion in exports and $143.3 billion in overall international trade.

The previous record was set in 2018.

“This exciting news for Georgia exports affirms what we know to be true: you can truly make anything and send it anywhere in the world from right here in Georgia,” said Governor Kemp.

The top five customers for Georgia products were Canada, Mexico, China, and Singapore, the governor’s office wrote.

Ten percent of Georgia’s exports – more than $4.2 billion – came from Georgia’s agriculture industry. Poultry, cotton, and peanuts remain top sellers.

U.S. District Judge Eleanor L. Ross rebuffed Georgia’s motion for summary judgment on a voting lawsuit, according to 11Alive.

According to the suit, Kemp, in his role as secretary of state, was accused of using a racially-biased methodology for removing as many as 700,000 legitimate voters from the state’s voter rolls during a period between 2016 and 2018.

The suit claimed that the secretary of state’s office had not sent notice of the removal to the individual voters involved.

In this week’s ruling, federal District Judge Eleanor L. Ross said that the defendant, Kemp, “appears to contend that despite the language and express agreement outlined in the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding), Georgia’s SOS did not utilize the information generated by such lists to prompt any review of its voter registrants.”

Judge Ross went on to say that Kemp argues “that the Crosscheck lists requested by the Plaintiffs have no bearing on the ‘implementation of programs and activities’ affecting Georgia’s voter rolls, and Georgia is under no obligation to maintain them. As such, Defendant maintains that he is entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law because the plain meaning of the language in the NVRA (National Voter Registration Act of 1993) does not encompass the Crosscheck lists (because the Georgia SOS never fully utilized them).”

“The Court disagrees,” Ross said in her summary, “finding sufficient evidence in the record that would cast a genuine dispute as to the material facts on this issue.”

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas will speak in Atlanta today, according to the AJC.

“We are extremely honored and excited that Justice Thomas will make the trip to his native Georgia to celebrate with us the opening of our new judicial center,” Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Harold D. Melton said in a statement.

Gov. Brian Kemp, former Gov. Nathan Deal, State Attorney General Christopher Carr and other federal, state and local officials are expected to attend the dedication. The new building houses the Supreme Court of Georgia and the Court of Appeals of Georgia. The state’s new Business Court also will be located there.

President Trump allocated $93.6 million for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The Savannah Harbor Expansion Project is set to remain on track after the Trump Administration requested $93.6 million to fully fund the project in the Fiscal Year 2021 budget, which was released Monday, Feb. 10.

This is the fourth year in a row SHEP will receive full federal funding from the Trump administration, pending Congressional passage of the annual appropriations bill.

Rep. Buddy Carter said when he took office five years ago, SHEP was the top priority and he was proud that the project would receive full funding again this year.

“That just goes to show you that this president understands the importance of infrastructure and the importance of a project like this that has a benefit to cost ratio of 7.3 to 1, one of the highest benefit to cost ratios in the country of any project in the county,” Carter said.

“Arguably, this is the most significant economic development project in the southeast since the interstate system.”

From the AJC:

Georgia U.S. Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler and U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, whose district includes Savannah, praised Trump for setting aside enough money to keep the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project on schedule.

“President Trump continues to make Georgia’s infrastructure projects a top priority by requesting full funding for SHEP for the fourth consecutive year,” Perdue said in a statement. “Finally, after 20 years of attempts to deepen the port five feet to accommodate the larger Post Panamax ships, the Trump Administration has SHEP on track for completion.”

State tax revenues were up in January, according to News4Jax.

Gov. Brian Kemp announced Monday that tax collections rose 4.5% in January compared to the same month in 2019. Overall tax collections for the budget year, which began July 1, are now up $133 million, or nearly 1%.

That still leaves the state on pace to be far short of the $800 million in new revenue that Kemp and lawmakers projected for this year when they passed the budget last spring. But it’s a little good news as House members this week grind through the painful process of ratifying cuts that Kemp imposed earlier on state agencies. It could also brighten the picture for next year’s budget, which lawmakers will write in the next few months.

Kemp was already projecting a revenue upswing, foreseeing growth of $410 million this year, but it would take a sharper recovery to substantially ease cuts. House members are poring through changes to this year’s budget this week and are expected to pass an amended spending plan as early as next week. But they have little room to maneuver with Kemp having already ordered agencies to hold down spending.

Democratic candidates for President are beginning to announce Georgia endorsements. Elizabeth Warren announced a trio of suburban Atlanta school board members and Mike Bloomberg announced an Atlanta City Council member’s endorsement.

Democrat Teresa Tomlinson says United States Senator David Perdue (R-Sea Island) is vulnerable in November, according to the Statesboro Herald.

Increasing federal budget deficits — despite Perdue’s campaigning on the need to balance the budget — and the effect President Donald Trump’s trade policies have on Georgia farmers are reasons she suggested for that vulnerability.

When she spoke to local Democrats at Luetta Moore Park in Statesboro Feb. 4, Tomlinson asserted that Georgia isn’t “a really red state,” meaning as solidly Republican as some other states. She observed that Democrats have been rebuilding here, beginning with the 2014 elections.

“In 2016, Donald Trump won the state of Georgia with 50.4% of the vote,” Tomlinson said. “That man almost lost the majority vote in Georgia.”

Then, in 2018, Republican Brian Kemp was elected governor by a slightly narrower margin over Stacey Abrams. Tomlinson called Abrams “a loud and proud Democrat like me.”

Former Atlanta City Council member Alex Wan has $48,000 on hand in his campaign for State House District 57, according to Patch.com.

State Rep. Matt Gurtler has not yet announced whether he’ll run for reelection or for another seat, according to Fetch Your News.

Hall County State Court Judge John Breakfield announced he will run for reelection, according to the Gainesville Times.

State Sen. Jesse Stone (R-Waynesboro) announced on Facebook that he will not run for reelection.

Jason Anavitarte announced he will run for the State Senate District 31 seat being vacated by Sen. Bill Heath.

Tricia Hise annnounced she is running for the State Senate District 50 seat being vacated by Sen. John Wilkinson, according to NowHabersham.

Whitfield County Commissioners affirmed their “deep commitment” to protecting the Second Amendment, but declined to declare the county a Second Amendment sanctuary, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News.

Members of the Whitfield County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution Monday night declaring their “deep commitment to protecting Whitfield County citizens’ Second Amendment rights.”

But the resolution didn’t name Whitfield County a Second Amendment sanctuary.

Rather, commissioners voted 4-0 to approve a resolution saying that Whitfield County will “stand as a constitutional rights protection county for Second Amendment rights by opposing any efforts, by any entity, to restrict those rights. Opposition may include any lawful means available under the U.S. Constitution and the laws of Georgia, including taking or joining legal action.” Board Chairman Lynn Laughter typically votes only in the event of a tie.

Twin Pines Minerals withdrew an application to mine near the Okefenokee Swamp, according to The Brunswick News.

The company filed notice with the Army Corps of Engineers, saying it will reduce the size of the permit area before resubmitting its application.

It is not unusual for a company to withdraw an application to modify plans, Corps officials said.

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