Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 2, 2020

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 2, 2020

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

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

Texas Flag 1836-39

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 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. President Johnson’s remarks can be read here.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

From Georgia Public Broadcasting:

President Donald Trump will visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta to discuss preparation for an outbreak of Coronavirus, according to WSB-TV.

President Donald Trump is set to visit the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday as he tries to calm growing fears about the coronavirus outbreak, a senior White House official told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The visit was scheduled a day after health officials confirmed the first death in the U.S. from the coronavirus, leading the president to issue new restrictions on foreign travel and warn that additional cases of the illness are “likely.”

It will be the president’s eighth visit to Georgia and his first to the sprawling CDC complex.

Vice President Mike Pence, who Trump has tasked with leading the coronavirus response, also announced the State Department would issue a “do not travel” alert for parts of Italy and South Korea affected by the virus.

Governor Brian Kemp named a Coronavirus Task Force to oversee state preparations, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

The governor acted following a morning phone conversation with Vice President Mike Pence, who is heading the Trump administration’s federal response effort to the virus, which also goes by the name COVID-19.

“The Trump administration understands that states and local governments are standing on the front lines of COVID-19,” Kemp said. “In accordance with the administration’s initiatives, Georgia’s coronavirus task force represents a coalition of subject-matter experts from the private and public sectors who will work together on preventative measures, strategic deployment of resources and collaboration across all levels of government.”

“We’re asking everyone to remain calm,” Kemp told reporters during a briefing Friday afternoon. “We have no confirmed cases in Georgia, but we want to be prepared for whatever comes our way.”

From the Gainesville Times:

Members of the task force include the following:Felipe den Brok, director of the City of Atlanta’s Office of Emergency Preparedness

Homer Bryson, director of Georgia Emergency Management & Homeland Security Agency

Maj. Gen. Tom Carden, adjutant general of the Georgia National Guard

Chris Carr, attorney general

Sharon Cooper, chair of the State House Health & Human Services Committee

Greg Dozier, commissioner of the Technical College System of Georgia

Cherie Drenzek, state epidemiologist with the Georgia Department of Public Health

Tim Fleming, chief of staff with the Office of the Governor

John Haupert, Grady Health System CEO

John King, insurance and safety fire commissioner

Dr. Colleen Kraft, director of Emory University Clinical Virology Research Laboratory

Ryan Loke, health care adviser in the Office of the Governor

John Selden, general manager of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport

Lorri Smith, COO with the Office of the Governor

Dr. Kathleen Toomey, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health

Dr. Ben Watson, chair of the State Senate Health & Human Services Committee

Richard Woods, state school superintendent

Steve Wrigley, chancellor of the University System of Georgia

From the Augusta Chronicle:

East Central Health District in Augusta, which would take a lead role in the event of a pandemic, is following guidance from the department and communicating with local hospitals, said District Director Stephen Goggans.

Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is one of the U.S. airports where international passengers were being screened and the department previously said it was following about 200 travelers who were self-quarantined and monitoring their temperatures and symptoms, although the state has had no confirmed cases yet.

The state was among those who received test kits from CDC that contained a faulty element but is hoping to get new test kits next week and to validate those within a week or so, said Public Health spokeswoman Nancy Nydam.

AU Medical Center, like most hospitals, has a pandemic plan and trains for it, said Dr. Jose Vazquez, chief of infectious diseases at Augusta University. It also has a coronavirus task force that meets weekly to go over and update plans and new information, he said.

Richmond County School System works closely with the public health department and would follow guidance from it should an outbreak occur, spokeswoman Lynthia Ross said.

Jay Markwalter, executive director of the Georgia Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus, said all of the state’s tourism boards are monitoring cancellations, following CDC precautions and reviewing their crisis plans.

From the AJC:

Shipments into the state’s ports will drop up to 40% in March and April, according to projections by the agency that manages that traffic.

Package delivery giant UPS is still making deliveries in most areas worldwide, but said it has suspended all international travel for employees that isn’t business-critical. It also has expanded distribution of face masks to its workers not only in mainland China but in northern Italy.

Home Depot said it has a team, led by medical experts, that is monitoring the coronavirus situation. The company has told employees who recently traveled to Asia to quarantine themselves for 14 days.

And Coca-Cola Company has suspended non-essential international business travel to and from Italy, as well as the Asia Pacific region. It also installed screening for fevers in offices and manufacturing operations that are in areas particularly hard hit by the virus.

Under the Gold Dome Today – Legislative Day 22

8:00 AM SENATE APPROPRIATIONS 341 CAP

9:00 AM HOUSE RULES 341 CAP

10:00 AM HOUSE FLOOR SESSION (LD 22) House Chamber

TBD SENATE RULES UPON ADJOURNMENT 450 CAP

1:00 PM SENATE INSURANCE & LABOR 310 CLOB

1:00 PM SENATE FINANCE MEZZ 1

1:00 PM HOUSE PUBLIC SAFETY AND HOMELAND SECURITY 606 CLOB

1:00 PM HOUSE JUDICIARY NON-CIVIL 406 CLOB

1:30 PM HOUSE WORKING GROUP ON CREATIVE ARTS AND ENT 403 CAP

2:00 PM SENATE EDUCATION & YOUTH 307 CLOB

2:00 PM SENATE PUBLIC SAFETY MEZZ 1

2:00 PM HOUSE Environmental Quality Sub Natl Resources and Envt 515 CLOB

2:00 PM HOUSE Income Tax Sub Ways and Means 133 CAP

2:30 PM HOUSE Ad Valorem Tax Sub Ways and Means 133 CAP

2:45 PM HOUSE Tax Expenditure Sub Ways and Means 133 CAP

3:00 PM SENATE HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES 450 CAP

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

3:00 PM HOUSE HIGHER EDUCATION 606 CLOB

3:00 PM HOUSE Public Finance and Policy Sub Ways and Means 133 CAP

3:00 PM HOUSE Resource Management Sub  Natl Resources and Envt 515 CLOB

4:00 PM SENATE JUDICIARY 307 CLOB

SENATE RULES CALENDAR

SB 271 – Law Assistants; rename as law clerks and staff attorneys (RET-18th)

SB 301 – Detainers; inmates charged with subsequent felony offenses under sentence and in custody; temporary custody provisions; revise (Substitute)(PUB SAF-19th)

SB 351 – Secretary of State; nonbinding, advisory referendum election; continue the advancement of time from standard time to daylight saving time; provide (GvtO-1st)

SB 373 – Nonprofit Corporations; directors and officers of electric membership corporations and foreign electric cooperatives; provisions; change (JUDY-18th)

SB 374 – Final Remedies and Special Proceedings; new requirements under the “Georgia Civil Practice Act” for settlement offers and arrangements; revise and provide (I&L-18th)

SB 393 – Law Enforcement Officers and Agencies; duties and powers; revise; campus policemen and other security personnel of the university system; arrests for felony offenses (Substitute)(PUB SAF-17th)

SB 396 – State Symbols; pecan as the official state nut; designate (AG&CA-20th)

SB 435 – “The Debbie Vance Act”; court imposing sentence may grant the relief of vacatur for convictions and sentences of defendants; provide(Substitute)(JUDY-17th)

HOUSE RULES CALENDAR

Modified Open Rule

HB 900 – Special license plates; logo design issued to support breast cancer related programs; amend (MotV-Silcox-52nd)

Modified Structured Rule

HB 486 – Professions and businesses; power and duties of the Division of Electrical Contractors as to the approval of continuing education courses; change (Substitute)(RegI-Washburn-141st)

HB 578 – Human Services, Department of; review of certain law enforcement conviction data with regard to persons seeking to become volunteers, interns, students, or employees; provide (Substitute)(H&HS-Dempsey-13th)

HB 816 – Professions and businesses; chiropractors may own professional corporations with physicians; provide (RegI-Mathiak-73rd)

HB 823 – Crimes and offenses; lifetime disqualification from operating a commercial motor vehicle by persons convicted of trafficking other persons for labor or sexual servitude; provide (Substitute)(MotV-Gaines-117th)

HB 861 – Motor vehicles; commercial carriers; amend certain definitions (MotV-Wiedower-119th)

HB 914 – Professions and businesses; military spouses licensed in other states to practice certain professions and occupations in this state; provide (Substitute)(GAff-Clark-147th)

HB 968 – Civil practice; clarify actions that may be brought pursuant to Code Section 9-3-51 regarding deficiencies in connection with improvements to realty (Substitute)(Judy-Efstration-104th)

HB 972 – Public utilities and public transportation; penalties for violations of pipeline safety standards and regulations prescribed and enforced by the Public Service Commission; provide (Substitute)(EU&T-Houston-170th)

HB 1003 – Ogeechee Judicial Circuit; provide additional judge of the superior courts (Judy-Burns-159th)

Congressman John Lewis (D-Atlanta) joined the crowd yesterday at the commemoration of the 55th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, according to the AJC.

Voting rights activists, including Lewis, were beaten by law enforcement on March 7, 1965, when they crossed the bridge as part of a voting rights march to Montgomery, Ala.

Each year, Lewis and other civil rights leaders, plus throngs of others, have re-enacted the march. This year, his participation was in doubt because he is undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer.

Lewis greeted marchers, including former Georgia candidate for Gov. Stacey Abrams and Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., at the apex of the bridge.

“I’m inspired to come back to this bridge and to see so many people who are gathered here today,” he told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Rolling Stone magazine continues its hagiography of Georgia Governor Democrat Stacey Abrams.

Stacey Abrams slips out of a chauffeured black Escalade and through the hotel caterers’ entrance. She snakes down the hallway to the step-and-repeat, where she snaps a few quick photos with Democratic Party officials, sweeps past the cash bar, slowing to shake hands with Congressman Hank Johnson, then ducks through the ballroom’s side door to take her place at Table One.

This is her third year headlining the Gwinnett County Democrats’ annual gala. Fifteen years ago, Gwinnett was a mostly rural, majority-white Republican stronghold. Today, it’s Atlanta’s largest suburb, the state’s most racially diverse county, and the epicenter of Georgia’s transformation into a battleground state.

Now, with $21 million raised in 2019 alone, Fair Fight is training similar teams in 18 states. “I don’t have the capacity to sit still and wait for the next term, the next opportunity for me to stand for an office that let’s me do the work,” Abrams says.

But the narrative that she is bad with money runs contrary to the rest of Abrams’ biography, being a successful tax attorney, co-founding a thriving financial-services firm, and as city attorney going toe-to-toe with then-NBA commissioner David Stern during negotiations over the WNBA’s Dream moving to Atlanta. (“He screamed at me. It’s my claim to fame. Made me really popular with my brothers.”)

Coincidentally, Abrams’ role with the Dream meant she was, briefly, the lawyer for Georgia’s newest U.S. senator, Kelly Loeffler, a bitcoin market executive who Gov. Kemp appointed in December. Abrams negotiated the team’s deal with the NBA when Loeffler and her partner purchased it in 2011. But that doesn’t make them allies. “I deeply disagree with the policy positions she has espoused and the approach she is taking, and I do not support her,” Abrams says. “I’m going to be very actively involved in ensuring that a Democrat wins that seat.”

Abrams ended up settling her outstanding debt this past May with the money she made from her bestselling 2018 memoir, Lead From the Outside. She’s now in the final stages of writing her next book, Our Time Is Now, on voter suppression, scheduled to hit bookstores in June. When we sat down to talk in January, she’d just received word she’d sold yet another book, the details of which she wasn’t ready to publicly disclose. One of her earlier romance novels is being developed into a television show at CBS, and she’s working with the Emmy- and Oscar-nominated director Liz Garbus on a documentary about the history of voter suppression.

“I’m a good loser,” Abrams concedes, reflecting on the 14 months since her loss to Kemp. But even with everything she has going on, there’s always space for new ideas, bigger ambitions, and more cells on the spreadsheet.

Candidate Qualifying starts today.

Advanced In-Person Early Voting for the March 24 Presidential Preference Primary also begins today.

From the Gwinnett Daily Post:

This week will mark candidate qualifying in Georgia for local, state and federal offices, except president. Several offices are up for election this year including: county commission chairman; commissioners for districts 1 and 3; school board districts 1, 3 and 5; sheriff; district attorney; tax commissioner; clerk of superior court; every seat in the Georgia General Assembly; every U.S. House district in the state; and both of Georgia’s U.S. Senate seats.

Non-partisan seats up for grabs this year include chief magistrate, probate judge, four State Court judgeships and six Superior court judicial seats.

The Gwinnett Democratic Party will sign up the party’s candidates for local offices from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. until noon on Friday at the party’s headquarters in Gwinnett Place Mall, which is located at 2100 Pleasant Hill Road in Duluth.

Meanwhile, the Gwinnett Republican Party will sign up its candidates for local offices from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 9 a.m. until noon on Friday at Alice O’Lenick’s home, which is located at 2170 Luke Edwards Road in Dacula. O’Lenick, who is a member of the county’s elections board, can be reached at aliceolenick@att.net to make an appointment for filing qualifying paperwork.

Anyone running for local non-partisan local judicial seats — except Superior Court, which is technically considered a state office — will qualify at the county’s elections headquarters during regular business hours, starting at 9 a.m. on Monday and ending at noon on Friday.

Anyone running for congressional district, U.S. Senate or state office, including district attorney and seats in the Georgia General Assembly, will qualify for those offices at the state Capitol. Republicans will conduct qualifying in Room 216 while Democrats sign up their candidates in Room 230.

From the Rome News Tribune:

Floyd County voters will fill a congressional seat, four Georgia General Assembly seats, two county commission seats and three county school board seats. The offices of sheriff, clerk of court, district attorney, tax commissioner and coroner also are up for grabs.

Additionally, there are several nonpartisan judge seats that will be decided in a May 19 election. That’s also the date of the party primaries where voters will chose nominees to run for the partisan seats in the Nov. 3 general election.

The U.S. Congressional District 14 seat has drawn interest from at least 10 candidates since Rep. Tom Graves said he won’t seek reelection.

The Northwest Georgia district covers all of Floyd, Polk, Chattooga, Catoosa, Dade, Gordon, Haralson, Murray, Paulding, Walker and Whitifield counties and part of Pickens.

The qualifying fee is $5,220. The annual salary is $174,000.

Candidates qualify at the State Capitol in Atlanta. The Democratic Party of Georgia will be set up in Room 230; the Georgia Republican Party will be located in Room 216.

From the Augusta Chronicle:

Candidate qualifying runs through this week for five Augusta Commission seats, the Richmond County Marshal, four Superior Court judgeships (over the three-county Augusta Circuit) and two Richmond County State Court judgeships.

Only one of the judges has drawn declared opposition, but the three commission seats not held by incumbents have attracted 14 candidates so far who have filed declarations of their intent.

Only the congressman, district attorney and presiding civil and magistrate judge have had any announced opposition.

From The Brunswick News:

The chairwoman of Glynn County Democrats, Julie Jordan, announced she will challenge Don Hogan, R-St. Simons Island, in his reelection bid for state House seat 179.

No Republicans have announced opposition to Hogan.

State Rep. Jeff Jones, R-St. Simons Island, plans to run for reelection to the House District 167 seat. The only challenger to publicly announce a campaign is fellow Republican Buddy DeLoach.

In the state Senate District 3 race, Republicans Cody Smith and Sheila McNeill have announced they will seek the seat being vacated by the incumbent, Sen. William Ligon, R-White Oak. Cedric King, a Democrat, has announced his candidacy for the seat too.

U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter. R-1, will face fellow Republican Daniel Merritt in the primary. Lisa Ring, a Democrat who unsuccessfully challenged Carter in 2018, will run again this year. This time, she will face Barbara Seidman in the Democratic primary.

Glynn County Commission seats currently held by Allen Booker, Mike Browning, Peter Murphy and Bob Coleman — District 5, District 1, District 2 and At-large Post 2, respectively — will be on the ballot.

Coleman and Murphy have announced they will not run for reelection.

Republicans Cap Fendig and Mike Haugen have announced intentions to vie for the District 2 seat, while Bo Clark and Walter Rafolski, also Republicans, have said they intend to pursue the at-large seat.

Gwinnett County has been sued over allegations that the Board of Elections did not schedule sufficient early voting, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for Northern Georgia Thursday night by Washington D.C.-based organization The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law on behalf of Georgia State Conference of the NAACP, the Gwinnett County NAACP and the Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda.

The group is seeking a temporary retraining order to block the county from using a plan laid out in Gwinnett’s 2020 budget where it would only have early voting at the county’s elections headquarters during the first week of early voting.

“Voters in Gwinnett County have historically been forced to endure long wait times to cast their ballots in elections,” Lawyers’ Committee Executive Director Kristen Clarke said. “This is yet another attempt at voter suppression, which is a direct violation of the constitutional rights. With the March 2020 primary election looming, it is imperative that Gwinnett County and other Georgia counties comply with the U.S. Constitution and permit all eligible voters to cast their ballot and have their voice heard.”

Lawyers Group officials said a hearing will be held before District Court Judge Steven Grimberg at 2 p.m. Monday at the federal courthouse in Atlanta.

The election board submitted its budget request for three full weeks of early voting for the presidential preference primary last summer. Department heads presented those budget requests to a citizens budget review committee and Gwinnett County commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash in late August.

But, the Lawyers Committee asserted the county pared back the elections board’s request for three full weeks at all sites with “little fanfare” and that the decision to do so violated the U.S. Constitution.

Under the plan adopted as part of the county’s budget, there will be 19 consecutive days of early voting, including two Saturdays and two Sundays, but the first Monday through Sunday will be at the headquarters on Grayson Highway only.

The Gainesville Times looks at the new voting system that will be in place for the Presidential Preference Primary.

The Gainesville Times also looks at the county Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for Education (E-SPLOST) referendum on the March 24 ballot.

Estimates vary slightly between the school systems, but in $180 million of total collections in E-SPLOST VI over five years, Hall County would receive between $133 million and $136 million, Gainesville would get between $41 million and $43 million, and Buford, between $3.6 million and $4 million. Buford doesn’t have a bond referendum.

But funding scenarios are different between the Gainesville and Hall school districts.

Hall County is hoping to pass a $258 million bond referendum, with an estimated total repayment of $320 million over 20 years. The interest rate could be about 1.75% percent, “which is historically, incredibly low,” Superintendent Will Schofield said.

Revenues from E-SPLOST, which, if approved by voters, would continue an additional penny per dollar on the sales tax, would cover about $10 million of bond repayments annually — assuming voters continue to pass E-SPLOST through the life on the bonds.

The remaining $6 million would come from a tax rate specifically for paying off the bonds — or a bond-reduction millage — that would be added to property tax bills.

Officials estimate that’s about an additional $100 per year on a $250,000 home, based on an initial 1 mill.

Schofield said, however, he’s hopeful the tax rate could be lessened by increases over the years in the property tax digest, rising E-SPLOST revenues and savings in closing three elementary schools as seven elementary school buildings are replaced with four.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is supporting legislation aimed at reducing voting lines, according to the AJC.

If lines last more than one hour, county election superintendents would have to split up precincts that have more than 2,000 voters, provide additional voting equipment or hire extra poll workers, according to Senate Bill 463.

“The right to vote is a most sacred democratic duty, and one that should not be inhibited by unnecessarily long lines,” Raffensperger said in a statement Friday.

Precinct managers would be required to keep track and report wait times, according to the legislation. Corrections would have to be made before the next general election.

The measure would also change how many touchscreens are needed in precincts.

House Bill 987 by State Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-Marietta) passed the State House with near unanimity and heads to the Senate, according to the AJC.

A plan to improve safety and oversight in Georgia’s senior care homes sailed through the House on Friday in a near-unanimous vote.

The proposal now heads to the Senate, and if it is adopted there and signed into law, it would increase training requirements and safety protections for seniors in assisted living and large personal care homes. It would also increase fines for abuse and neglect in homes in the rapidly growing industry that cares for thousands of elderly Georgians.

[Rep. Cooper] said the bill was a “carefully crafted compromise” that tried to balance concerns of senior advocates as well as the care industry.

“I’m a nurse,” said Cooper, who chairs the House Health and Human Services Committee. “I believe in prevention. This is a proactive approach.”

The bill, which will go next to the Senate, would require administrators who run assisted living facilities or large personal care homes to receive special training and licenses, similar to the requirements placed on nursing home administrators.

It would also require facilities to get certification for memory care units and employ staff who are more highly trained to care for people with dementia. The proposal also recognizes the complexities of caring for these residents and would require more around-the-clock staff on these special units. The bill also would require assisted living homes and memory care centers to have nurses on staff for a minimum number of hours each week, depending on how many people reside at the home.

The bill also would increase fines for deaths or serious injuries linked to poor care. Currently, many of the most serious cases of harm result in a state fine of mo more than $601. Under the bill, the minimum fine would roughly double, and cases where a home is cited in relation to death or serious harm would result in a minimum fine of $5,000.

State Rep. Kasey Carpenter (R-Dalton) and some Dalton City Council members disagree over proposed legislation on short term rentals, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News.

Carpenter has authored a bill in the state House of Representatives that would make it harder for local governments to ban homeowners from offering their homes for short-term rentals.

“I believe in the free market and the right to use your property the way you want to,” said Carpenter.

The bill, House Bill 523, is opposed by the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) and the Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG).

Carpenter originally said local governments can use nuisance laws, noise ordinances and other laws to crack down on those who abuse short-term rentals. But Carpenter said he has been working to try to find a compromise that might satisfy critics. He said recently the bill has been changed to allow local governments to crack down on “bad actors” such as “party houses,” houses which are rented out repeatedly for parties.

At a meeting of the Dalton Finance Committee last week, some council members said that, while they haven’t seen the latest version of the bill, they have concerns about any effort to limit their ability to regulate short-term rentals.

“The GMA opposes this. The (ACCG) opposes this,” said council member Annalee Harlan. “My concern is that it is tying our hands.”

“It’s taking local control away,” said Mayor David Pennington.

“I understand the property rights argument, and I support property rights,” said council member Gary Crews. “But if somebody has got one of these (short-term rentals) next door, it seems that is encroaching on your property rights, your neighborhood.”

Georgia Cyber Academy, boasting the largest enrollment of any state charter school, had its charter renewed by the Georgia Charter Commission, according to a press release:

Georgia’s State Charter Schools Commission voted to renew the charter for Georgia Cyber Academy for an additional three years. In recommending the renewal, the Charter Commission noted the school’s “significant academic growth” in conjunction with the school’s recent management and curriculum changes.

Georgia Cyber Academy is Georgia’s largest public school, serving approximately 9,000 students across all of the state’s 159 counties. GCA’s instruction is delivered in a completely virtual setting, with both teachers and students alike connected in a virtual classroom using computers and the internet.

Unlike other public schools, charter schools must have their charters reviewed and renewed on a regular basis. The charter is a contract between the school and the State Charter Schools Commission.

Georgia Cyber Academy is appreciative of the Commission’s confidence placed in the school to continue to serve students in Kindergarten through 12 th grade, and for noting the progress after changing school management, implementing new curriculum, reducing teacher to student ratios, and adding additional resources for classroom instruction.

GCA’s Head of School, Angela Lasseter, said of the renewal, “We are gratified by the confidence placed in Georgia Cyber Academy by the renewal of our charter. I appreciate their recognition of the results from changes made since I became Head of School, but I'm even more appreciative of the collaborative relationship with the Commission as we work together to unlock opportunities for each of our students.”

The Chairman of GCA’s school board, Kenneth Tennyson Asher, added “We thank the Commission for the renewal of our Charter. We appreciate the trust they have placed in our board, our staff, and our teachers, as well as the institutional changes we have made with a clear focus on the families we serve. We will continue to strive for excellence, every day.”

Port Wentworth City Administrator – and former State Rep. – Steve Davis has resigned, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Steve Davis resigned by letter dated Feb. 27, stating that his time with the city had become “untenable.”

Davis’ hiring and short tenure with the city was fraught with controversy.

Davis was hired in a surprise move at the Nov. 21, 2019, council meeting. The hiring was added to the agenda at that meeting by four members of the six member council. A quick vote followed and to the shock of Mayor Gary Norton and council members Bill Herrin and Linda Smith, Davis was voted in by council members Thomas Barbee, Mark Stephens, Shari Dyal and Debbie Johnson.

Since that time Dyal resigned her seat and Johnson unexpectedly died.

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