Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 12, 2020


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 12, 2020

On March 12, 1739, James Oglethorpe, recognized as the Founder of Georgia, wrote the Georgia Trustees, urging them to continue the ban on slavery in the new colony.

Juliette Gordon Low held the first meeting of the Girl Guides, which would later be renamed the Girl Scouts, in her home in Savannah, Georgia on March 12, 1912.

Gianni Agnelli was born on March 12, 1921 in Turin, Italy, and would come to be the wealthiest man in Italy, head and principal shareholder of Fiat, and recognized as an Italian Senator for Life in 1991. Among those who follow fashion, Agnelli has long been recognized as an archetype of the Italian approach to menswear.

His style was about more than clothes—it was an attitude, a philosophical response to absurdity. Watching him could tell you how to live, how to behave. In Italy, they call it sprezzatura, making the difficult look easy. Americans are gonzo, a spirit personified by Hunter S. Thompson, who defined it as a man who learns to fly by falling out of a plane. Agnelli might look gonzo—especially on nights when he showed up in boots and an ill-fitting tie—but was, in fact, sprezzatura; he knew how to fly all along. “When he was not perfectly dressed, it was contrived,” says Taki Theodoracopulos, the writer, columnist, socialite and son of a Greek shipping tycoon. Taki is one of the few surviving members of Agnelli’s social circle. “The tie askew, the unbuttoned shirt—nothing was an accident. Or, to put it another way, it was meant to be an accident, which made it even more stylish.”

Clarence Thomas, originally from Pin Point, Georgia, was sworn in to the United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit on March 12, 1990.

R.E.M. was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 12, 2007.

Happy birthday to former Atlanta Braves slugger Dale Murphy.

Dennis Trudeau, former Mayor of Grovetown, Georgia, will receive the Legion of Honor from France, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Trudeau, 94, was a prisoner of war in WWII and fought in Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944. He joined the Canadian army in 1942 and was assigned to the first Canadian Parachute Battalion of the British sixth airborne division following training in England.

He was wounded in his legs and back before being captured by German forces. He was forced with other POWs to work on a railway at a coal mine until being freed May 13, 1945.

The Legion of Honour is given to French citizens and foreign nationals who have served France or the ideals it upholds. The honor is given to individuals who have contributed to the country professionally and to veterans who risked their lives during WWII fighting on French soil.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Thirty-one coronavirus cases have been preliminarily identified or confirmed, according to the AJC.

Georgia authorities announced late Wednesday the state had nine additional confirmed and presumed cases of the disease caused by coronavirus, bringing the total number of patients sickened by COVID-19 to 31 across the state.

Gov. Brian Kemp’s office said there are six new confirmed cases and three new presumptive positive cases of the disease, and health officials said the source of infection of most of them is unknown.

In all, there are 12 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 19 presumed positive cases awaiting more testing across a dozen counties in Georgia. Most of the cases are in metro Atlanta, but several have been reported in more rural parts of the state.

Governor Brian Kemp asked the General Assembly for $100 million in funding for the state’s response to the coronavirus, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

The emergency funds would come from the state’s reserves — which lawmakers and state leaders have been reluctant to touch since the Great Recession —

The additional money will go toward Georgia’s Emergency Management Agency and then Department of Public Health to assist coronavirus response efforts.

“I am requesting this funding out of an abundance of caution to ensure that we have all of the necessary medical personnel, equipment, and supplies to keep Georgians healthy and safe in the weeks ahead,” Kemp said in a statement. “I look forward to working with lawmakers to secure this appropriation, and I deeply appreciate their support in this time of need for communities across Georgia.”

The request comes the same day House and Senate Appropriations leaders came together during a conference committee to hash out a final Fiscal Year 2020 budget.

Kaleb McMichen, a spokesman for House Speaker David Ralston, said Ralston “fully supports” Kemp’s request to address coronavirus response needs.

“Speaker Ralston is committed to ensuring adequate resources are available, and he is confident in the federal, state and local personnel who are working tirelessly to manage this situation,” he said in a statement.

From the Capitol Beat News Service via the Gwinnett Daily Post:

“The spread of coronavirus represents a significant threat to our state’s health network, financial well-being and, most importantly, the health and safety of our citizenry,” Kemp wrote in a letter to the chairmen of the state House and Senate Appropriations committees. “Therefore, we must be ready to respond quickly and thoroughly to any outbreak of disease within our state.”

The CDC will fund $14 million for coronavirus fighting in Georgia, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Georgia will get more than $14 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to battle the new coronavirus, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced today. The state saw five new presumed positive cases of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, raising the number to 16, the University of South Carolina Aiken announced it will extend Spring Break due to concerns about the virus, and Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center in Augusta is postponing an event Saturday for blind and visually impaired veterans.

The new money is from $8.3 billion in emergency funding to combat the virus that causes COVID-19 that was passed by Congress last week and signed Friday by President Trump. The $ 14,786,284 that the state will receive is part of $560 million being distributed directly to state and local governments to fight the emerging infection, which has already infected more than 1,100 people in the U.S. and killed 30, according to a running total from Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

Savannah postponed the St. Patrick’s Day festivities, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Savannah Mayor Van Johnson addressed the postponement of the Savannah’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities. He said the events are not canceled, but the city is “not holding it at this time”.

“Public safety has to trump everything else. The health department is supporting our decision. I would never forgive myself if we were to have an outbreak and we didn’t do everything we could to avoid it,” Johnson said.

According to Johnson, the city government is working with Savannah’s Waterfront, which is a coalition of River Street and other downtown businesses, as well as the Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee, and could make arrangements to hold the festivities at a later date.

The decision was driven by Johnson’s and the city council’s desire to avoid hosting large public events that would increase the likelihood of the spread of the coronavirus.

Emory University is closing graduate and undergraduate classes and dorms and moving online, according to WSB-TV.

Emory University announced Thursday night that students’ spring break will be extended until March 22 and after that, graduate and undergraduate classes will be done through remote learning.

“Residential learning will be suspended for the remainder of the semester while the university remains open,” the university said in a news release.

Emory said that students who are able should remain at home following the break. It also said students could collect their belongings through March 22.

Albany has an outbreak, according to the Albany Herald. Camden County has had a case, according to The Brunswick News.

South Georgia Medical Center in Valdosta previously treated a coronavirus patient who was later diagnosed in Florida, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

The patient is the same individual in the announcement of a presumptive positive case of coronavirus by the Georgia Department of Public Health’s South Health District, said Kristin Patten, public information officer for the district.

Citing the diagnosis and possible exposure of some SGMC team members to the patient, SGMC enacted its exposure protocol as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control, with consultation from the Department of Public Health, according to a statement from SGMC.

The Richmond County Board of Elections is working to provide sanitizer for early voting, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

There was no hand sanitizer Wednesday at Augusta’s early voting site, the Linda Beazley Room at Augusta Municipal Building, when a poll worker told a Chronicle reporter that staff only wiped down voting machines once a day.

Bailey said later Wednesday a shipment of sanitizer had arrived, and workers were wiping the machines “several times a day.” The practice will continue with the alcohol wipes to disinfect once they arrive, she said.

There are no known cases in Augusta, but the Georgia Secretary of State and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidelines Monday to stop possible spread of the virus.

Floyd County closed its public schools for two days and the Sheriff will suspend some services, according to the Rome News Tribune.

Under the Gold Dome Today – Crossover Day




10:00 AM HOUSE FLOOR SESSION (LD 28) House Chamber












SB 423 – “Max Gruver Act”; expanded definition of hazing; provide; enact (Substitute)(JUDY-56th)

SB 463 – Primaries and Elections; provisions and references regarding direct recording electronic voting machines; remove (Substitute)(ETHICS-18th)

SB 416 – Office of College and Career Transitions; change the name to Office of College and Career Academies (Substitute)(H ED-53rd)

SR 844 – Deputy Nicolas Blane Dixon Memorial Bridge; Hall County; dedicate (Substitute)(TRANS-49th)

SR 885 – General Obligation Debt; make loans or grants; counties, municipalities, consolidated governments, and local authorities; airports; authorize the state -CA(Substitute)(TRANS-7th)

SB 375 – Cigarettes and Tobacco Related Products; additional penalties regarding any person under 21 years of age; provide; definition of vapor product; revise (Substitute)(RI&U-53rd)

SB 411 – Electric Membership Corporations; comply with certain requirements in determining the rates for attachments to utility poles by communications service providers; require (Substitute)(RI&U-18th)

SB 489 – Lighting Equipment of Motor Vehicles; requiring an amber strobe light upon low-speed vehicles; provisions; repeal (TRANS-51st)

SB 426 – Air Quality; reporting of any unpermitted release of ethylene oxide to the Environmental Protection Division of the Department of Natural Resources; provide(Substitute)(NR&E-17th)

SB 408 – Sick Leave for Care of Immediate Family Members; sunset provision relating to such sick leave requirements; repeal (I&L-17th)SB 404Development Impact Fees; education; provide (Substitute)(ED&Y-27th)

SR 776 – General Assembly; development impact fees for educational purposes; provide -CA (ED&Y-27th)

SR 818 – Right to Register and Vote; only citizens of the United States shall have a right to vote in elections; clarify-CA (GvtO-27th)

SB 40 – Sexual Assault By Persons with Supervisory or Disciplinary Authority; sexual contact between an employee and student enrolled at such school; prohibit (Substitute)(JUDY-2nd)

SB 410 – Ad Valorem Tax Appeals; alternative means of recovering costs of litigation and attorney’s fees; provide (FIN-18th)

SB 272 – Controlled Substances; sale to and by minors of drug products containing dextromethorphan; prohibit (H&HS-29th)

SB 412 – Property Insurance; meaning; revise; parameters under which certain contracts, agreements, or instruments may be canceled; (Substitute)(I&L-29th)

SB 101 – ‘Coach Safely Act’; enact (Substitute)(ED&Y-21st)

SB 379 – Barbers and Cosmetologists; certain provisions; change (Substitute)(RI&U-23rd)

SB 486 – Effectiveness of Educational Programs; administration of either the SAT or the ACT to all public schools students in grade 11; require(Substitute)(ED&Y-9th)

SB 493 – Selling and Other Trade Practices; legislative findings; standards for cybersecurity programs to protect businesses from liability; provide (VM&HS-14th)

SR 841 – Legislative Acts; void; people of this state may petition the judiciary for declaratory relief from certain acts of this state that violate the laws or Constitution of this state or the Constitution of the United States; provide -CA (Substitute)(JUDY-18th)

SB 413 – Conflicts of Interest in Zoning Actions; definition of the term applicant; expand (SLGO(G)-9th)

SB 418 – Georgia State Indemnification Fund; when indemnification shall be paid in instances of a heart attack; public safety officer resulting in certain disabilities or death; revise (Substitute)(PUB SAF-14th)

SB 428 – “Fair Business Practices Act of 1975”; deceptive practice of musical performance; without recording group’s permission; prohibit (RI&U-46th)

SB 432 – Life Insurance; annual notification of policy owners and requested beneficiaries of the existence of such policies; require(Substitute)(I&L-16th)

SB 446 – Cash Bonds; unclaimed cash bonds; provide(Substitute)(PUB SAF-20th)

SB 464 – “Georgia Uniform Mediation”; uniform laws governing mediation and participants in mediation; provide; enact (JUDY-18th)

SB 476 – Animal Protection; pet dealers to microchip dogs and cats; provide (S&T-32nd)

SB 477 – Investigation of Family Violence; terminology used in determining whom to arrest; revise(Substitute)(JUDY-32nd)

SB 479 – Rules of the Road; use of a stand-alone electronic device; persons under 18 years of age while operating a motor vehicle; prohibit (Substitute)(PUB SAF-9th)

SB 480 – State Administrative Organization; compensation to be paid from sales and use tax collections on a contingency basis; authorize (FIN-52nd)

SB 484 – Health; Solemn Covenant of the States to Award Prizes for Curing Diseases; adopt (I COOP-32nd)

SR 854 – Article V of the United States Constitution; a convention of the states; apply (RULES-46th)

SB 102 – “Unlocking the Promise Community Schools Act;” enact (Substitute)(ED&Y-10th)

SB 226 – Use of Safety Belts in Passenger Vehicles; all occupants of a passenger vehicle shall be restrained by a seat safety belt; provide (PUB SAF-29th)

SB 349 – Local Boards of Education; feminine hygiene products in certain restrooms used by students; provide (Substitute)(ED&Y-35th)

SB 451 – Deficiencies Connected with Improvements to Realty and Resulting Injuries; actions that may be brought pursuant to Code Section 9-3-51; clarify (JUDY-18th)

SB 384 – Solid Waste Management; location of any municipal solid waste disposal facility within certain distance of a blackwater river; flows directly into the ocean; prohibit(Substitute)(NR&E-3rd)

SB 288 – Criminal History Record Information; automatic restriction; final disposition other than a conviction; provide (Substitute)(JUDY-43rd)

SB 327 – Labor and Industrial Relations; employers to provide reasonable break time to employee to express breast milk for nursing child; require (Substitute)(I&L-48th)

SB 400 – “Move on When Ready Act” and Dual Credit Courses; Office of Student Achievement to establish objectives and participation targets for the program; require (Substitute)(H ED-42nd)


Modified Structured Rule

HB 93 – Water pollution and surface-water use; notice to local governing authorities prior to the dewatering of coal combustion residual surface impoundments; provide (Substitute)(NR&E-Williams-145th)

HB 720 – Criminal procedure; term of probation shall follow the mandatory term of imprisonment for persons convicted of a sexual offense; clarify (Substitute)(JudyNC-Sainz-180th)

HB 761 – Public utilities and public transportation; eliminate percentage limitation as to the amount of the investments an electric membership corporation may make and maintain in a gas affiliate (Substitute)(EU&T-Carson-46th)

HB 833 – Waters, ports, and watercraft; promulgate rules and regulations regarding long-term anchoring; authorize (Substitute)(NR&E-Stephens-164th)

HB 857 – Conservation and natural resources; burning of certain chemically treated wood products for purposes of commercial energy generation; prohibit (Substitute)(NR&E-Powell-32nd)

HB 881 – Domestic relations; provisions relating to safe places for newborns; revise (Substitute)(H&HS-Cooper-43rd)

HB 901 – Georgia Environmental Finance Authority; power to make loan commitments and loans to local governments and nongovernment agencies for projects that permanently protect land and water; provide (Substitute)(NR&E-Cheokas-138th)

HB 906 – Heritage Trust Program; condition the method utilized for conveyance of heritage preserve property on the property’s amount of acreage (Substitute)(NR&E-Taylor-173rd)

HB 929 – Solid waste management; post-closure ground-water monitoring at closed coal combustion residual impoundments; provide (NR&E-Smith-133rd)

HB 991 – Healthcare Transparency and Accountability Act; enact (Substitute)(SCQHC-Hatchett-150th)

HB 993 – Health; vital records reports and data from the state registrar relating to child abuse reports; provide (JuvJ-Dempsey-13th)

HB 1015 – Georgia Carbon Sequestration Registry; inclusion of building products in construction on the registry; provide (Substitute)(NR&E-Wiedower-119th)

HB 1017 – Public officers and employees; revise when dependents qualify for a payment of indemnification for death under the Georgia State Indemnification Fund (PS&HS-LaRiccia-169th)

HB 1026 – Education; number of REACH scholars to be designated by participating school systems; revise (Ed-Dickey-140th)

HB 1039 – Contracts; additional protections for consumers who enter into service contracts that contain lengthy automatic renewal provisions; provide (A&CA-Watson-172nd)

HB 1070 – Condominiums; new insurance policy disclosure requirements for condominium associations and unit owners in the event of potential or actual claims filed against such policies; provide (Substitute)(Ins-Gaines-117th)

HB 1093 – Agriculture; provide for an Agricultural Commodity Commission for Wine and Grapes (A&CA-Meeks-178th)

Today is Crossover Day in the Georgia General Assembly, according to the AP via AccessWDUN.

It’s a midsession deadline by which bills must generally pass out of one chamber or the other to remain alive for the year and a last chance for some lawmakers to win approval for their proposals.

The state House is set to consider a full slate of legislation including a bill that would prohibit commercial power plants from burning types of chemically treated railroad ties.

The state Senate’s calendar includes a bill that would expand the penalties for hazing and another that would give county election officials discretion over the number of voting machines they’ll need for certain elections.

Lord, have mercy.

More than 700 early ballots have been cast in the Presidential Preference Primary in Bulloch County, according to the Statesboro Herald.

As of midday Tuesday, 728 Bulloch County residents had voted early in-person or returned mailed absentee ballots for the March 24 presidential preference primary.

That’s 1.6% of the county’s 45,313 registered voters, but there are still plenty of opportunities for more to participate.

The three weeks for advance voting opened March 2. In roughly the first six and a half days, 619 people had cast in-person advanced ballots, reported Bulloch County Election Supervisor Patricia Lanier Jones. This total, from 12:45 p.m. Tuesday, included 405 Democratic Party ballots and 214 Republican Party ballots.

Additionally, the county elections staff had mailed out 200 requested absentee ballots. Of these, 109 ballots had been returned as of midday Tuesday, including 55 Democratic ballots and 54 Republican ballots. The other 91 absentee ballots remained out to potentially be completed and returned, including 52 Democratic ballots and 39 Republican ballots.

The State Elections Board ordered Athens-Clarke County to use the new statewide voting system, according to 11Alive.

Athens-Clarke County is re-installing its new voting machines overnight. The county election board was ordered to start using them again by the state election board.

Athens-Clarke County pulled the state’s new voting machines last week due to concerns about voter privacy, and ordered them replaced with hand-marked paper ballots.

The state election board, chaired by Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, challenged the Athens-Clarke County decision by convening an “emergency” hearing in Athens Wednesday, one week after the county started using hand-marked paper ballots at its early voting site for the March 24 presidential primary.

Election board members said the Athens board made a premature judgment to pull the state voting machines, based on flimsy evidence. Clarke County is the only one of Georgia’s 159 counties that have challenged the new voting system.

Election board members voted to charge Athens-Clarke County $2,500 to cover costs of the state investigation. They also fined the county $5,000, but waived it if Clarke County voters could use the machines by Thursday morning.

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