King George III approved of the passage of the Stamp Act legislation on March 22, 1765 designed to pay for some of the costs the UK incurred in protecting the colonies, but it would lead to the movement that culminated in the American Revolution.
Lyman Hall was elected to the Continental Congress on March 21, 1775 from St. John’s Parish; the next year he would sign the Declaration of Independence as a representative from Georgia.
Patrick Henry addressed the Virginia Convention in Richmond on March 23, 1775, stating, “I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”
March 20, 1854 saw a meeting in Ripon, Wisconsin that is generally considered the founding of the Republican Party.
[F]ormer members of the Whig Party meet to establish a new party to oppose the spread of slavery into the western territories. The Whig Party, which was formed in 1834 to oppose the “tyranny” of President Andrew Jackson, had shown itself incapable of coping with the national crisis over slavery.
The Civil War firmly identified the Republican Party as the party of the victorious North, and after the war the Republican-dominated Congress forced a “Radical Reconstruction” policy on the South, which saw the passage of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the Constitution and the granting of equal rights to all Southern citizens. By 1876, the Republican Party had lost control of the South, but it continued to dominate the presidency until the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933.
On March 23, 1861, the Georgia Secession Convention adopted a new state Constitution to be submitted to a referendum of the voters on the first Tuesday in July and then adjourned.
The Georgia State Capitol was completed on March 20, 1889. Ron Daniels, the Poet Laureate of GaPundit, has written an ode to the Gold Dome:
Well I guess it was back in eighteen eighty nine,
When a couple of boys in Dahlonega went down in a mine,
And found it was slap full of gold.
Then these folks in Atlanta wanted to keep growing,
So they told the legislature the Capitol had to be going,
And so those politicos said “Good Bye Milledgeville! Our attorneys will be in touch.”
Now the Capitol had been moved before,
Savannah, Louisville, and more,
They’d even moved it down to Macon on an overloaded poultry wagon.
Atlanta sure wanted to lend the State a hand,
Giving the legislature plenty of land,
Hammers started swingin’ and, boy howdy, they sure were buildin’.
The architect of this here building was feeling bold,
Covering the building’s dome all in beautiful gold,
Leaving the gold mine empty, and leaving someone with the shaft.
Well, Governor Gordon was slap full of delight,
When his eyes did recognize that impressive sight,
On March 20, 1889, a completed Capitol building.
He grabbed the keys and a few words he spoke,
The words he uttered were no joke,
“Boys when you’re hot, you’re hot! Now thanks a lot.”
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Beer and Wine Revenue Act on March 22, 1933, allowing the sale of alcoholic beverages, and later that year, the federal Prohibition was ended.
The first Masters golf tournament began on March 22, 1934 in Augusta, Georgia.
The state prohibition on all alcoholic beverages ended on March 22, 1935 with Governor Eugene Talmadge’s signature of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act.
On March 21, 1941, Governor Eugene Talmadge signed legislation establishing the Eastern Standard Time Zone as the only Time Zone in Georgia. Prior to that, Georgia observed two different time zones.
On March 20, 1943, Governor Ellis Arnall signed legislation authorizing a referendum to amend the Georgia Constitution and make the Public Service Commission a Constitutional agency.
On March 20, 1965, President Lyndon Baines Johnson notified Alabama Governor George Wallace that Alabama National Guard troops would be called up to maintain order during a third march from Selma to Montgomery. Within five months, the Voting Rights Act would be passed by Congress.
On March 21, 1965, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. led more than 3000 protesters in a march from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery.
The United States Congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment on March 22, 1972; it would fail to garner enough state ratifications.
On March 21, 1980, President Jimmy Carter announced the U.S. boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.
On March 20, 1982, this song was #1 on the Billboard charts:
Pixies released Surfer Rosa on March 21, 1988.
Former Georgia Governor and United States Senator Herman Talmadge died on March 21, 2002.
Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections
Governor Brian Kemp yesterday updated Georgians on the COVID-19 situation. From his press office:
“This afternoon, I am saddened to announce that we have lost ten Georgians to COVID-19. Our hearts are broken for their families and friends, and our prayers go out to everyone affected. In the weeks ahead, I would ask all Georgians to keep these families and communities in your thoughts and prayers as they grapple with this loss.”
“Life as we know it has changed dramatically over the past few weeks. Across Georgia, children are home from school, and many Georgians are working remotely. Public gatherings are few and far between – for good reason – while some healthcare facilities, including Georgia hospitals, are ramping up capacity, seeing more and more patients, and providing critical treatment for those in need. Leaders at the federal, state, and local level are working hard to make the right calls and keep people safe. There are no easy answers, and the guidance continues to change as we fight to stop the spread of COVID-19.”
“Moving forward, we must remain dynamic and responsive. To weather the storm, we have to stay united in this fight. Georgians deserve to have the facts so they can make the right decisions for their families. They need as much information as possible to keep their loved ones safe.”
“Yesterday, there were 197 cases of COVID-19 in Georgia spanning twenty-nine counties with three confirmed deaths. Today, there are 287 cases of COVID-19 spanning thirty-six counties, including Bibb, Early, Glynn, Laurens, Muscogee, and Peach where we previously had none. And we are actively investigating confirmed cases in certain long-term care facilities, which present a unique and time-sensitive challenge. So far, the Department of Public Health’s state lab has conducted 508 tests for COVID-19 with 113 positives.”
“State officials have deployed mobile testing sites in certain regions of Georgia with more on the way. Commercial labs have conducted 1,323 tests for COVID-19 with 174 positives. Due to volume, some commercial tests are taking longer than the standard forty-eight hours to get results back. We are urging these labs to process tests in a timely fashion.”
“This morning, I was encouraged by news from the White House that vaccine development and anti-viral therapies are moving along quicker than originally expected. I applaud the Trump administration’s leadership in removing unnecessary red tape and outdated rules to deliver real solutions for American families in this crisis.”
“Even with these developments, we must start prioritizing COVID-19 tests for our most vulnerable populations as well as the people responsible for their care and safety. This action will conserve precious medical supplies – like masks, shoe covers, and gowns – which are becoming increasingly difficult to find due to overuse, export bans, and hoarding. Health officials on the state and national level urge the public’s immediate cooperation.”
“Georgia’s elderly; those with chronic, underlying health conditions; those who live in a long-term care facility like an assisted living facility or nursing home; and those serving on the front lines as a healthcare worker, first responder, long-term care facility staffer, or law enforcement need these tests. The best way to serve the public is to protect the people who are protecting us.”
“As many of you know, I recently declared a public health state of emergency and authorized GEMA to work with the Georgia National Guard to activate up to 2,000 troops to assist in emergency preparedness and response efforts. On Monday, the Georgia General Assembly convened for a special session to ratify the public health state of emergency. I am deeply grateful to the House and Senate for taking swift action so we can deploy all necessary resources to help Georgians in this time of need. We also continue to update the appropriations chairmen on how we plan to use emergency spending in the amended budget. Unlike other states of emergency, this declaration allows the Department of Public Health to direct specific healthcare action in extraordinary circumstances. We are moving forward using the advice of health officials and emergency management officials at all levels of government.”
“Already, we have learned of looming supply shortages at specific hospitals in Georgia. We have taken immediate action, working with federal officials to secure more tests as well as critically needed materials from the national stockpile. We are coordinating supply delivery to healthcare facilities in need. We are grateful to those who have offered up their inventory to help others. Your sacrifice is literally saving lives.”
“Earlier today, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued new guidance to the American healthcare workforce asking for a delay in elective procedures to conserve medical supplies and free up medical staff. DPH, GEMA, and I urge health facilities to follow this guidance, too. Without question, we are going to need these resources in the weeks ahead. As the number of cases continues to rise in communities across Georgia, hospital bed space remains a serious concern. State agencies are working in tandem to determine existing capacity and run the numbers on potential needs. This work is ongoing, and we will continue to provide updates as the situation changes.”
“Fortunately, we continue to receive offers from the private sector – including Walmart, Atlanta Motor Speedway, and UPS to name a few – to utilize private real estate and other resources should the need arise. At the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Forsyth, Georgia, GEMA has almost completed installation of a new patient isolation zone ready for emergency housing units. Hard Labor Creek State Park is still an asset at our disposal with seven trailers on site if patients with COVID-19 have no alternative housing during recovery.”
“In accordance with the public health state of emergency, all elementary, secondary, and post-secondary public schools closed yesterday, March 18, through March 31. In many circumstances, online learning will continue, and both the University System of Georgia and the Technical College System of Georgia have moved to online learning for students through the end of this semester. On a case by case basis, school officials are working to accommodate students who require in-person clinical experience to complete their coursework.”
“Sadly, misinformation is rampant in times of crisis. I want to thank all of the Georgians who have alerted my office to potential scams. We are working hard to keep people apprised of what we discover, and I encourage people to continue to rely on official sources for information. If you see something suspicious, let us know. Part of our response includes a new COVID-19 hotline for constituents. On average, our team receives around 700 to 800 calls each day to share public health information and connect people with resources for assistance. The number is 1-844-442-2681. Again, that’s 1-844-442-2681.”
“Right now, there are 209 passengers from the Grand Princess Cruise Ship remaining at Dobbins Air Reserve Base. Officials are making plans to get people to their home states when they can safely return.”
“As a husband and father of three girls, I understand the concerns and fears felt by people across our great state. Despite all of the unknowns, know that we are working to prepare for – and respond to – any scenario. Our top priority is the safety of our citizens in every part of Georgia. As we work to flatten the curve and keep communities safe, we are mindful of our small businesses affected by this crisis.”
“They are the lifeblood of local communities and employ millions of hardworking Georgians. As a small businessperson for over three decades, I understand the stress and strain this pandemic has on Georgia entrepreneurs and job creators. Yesterday, the U.S. Small Business Administration processed Georgia’s paperwork to allow small business owners to apply directly for economic injury loans. The application is now available online directly through SBA.”
“To stop the spread of coronavirus, we must follow the guidance from federal and state health organizations and leaders: regularly wash your hands, practice social distancing, protect the elderly and chronically ill, and stay home, especially if you are sick. If you are experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19, call your doctor or an urgent care clinic. Do not show up at the emergency room or your doctor’s office unannounced.”
“Remain calm, act responsibly, and help us urge your fellow Georgians to follow medical recommendations. Right now, I am not mandating business closures, shutting down public events, or forcing people to go into quarantine. I am, however, leaning on the advice of medical professionals and scientists and urging local officials to do what’s in the best interests of their communities to keep people safe and stop the spread of coronavirus. We are in this fight together, and we will emerge stronger than ever.”
“Please continue to pray for the law enforcement community, our first responders, and the healthcare providers across our state who are doing everything in their power to get us out of harm’s way and save lives. To all of the business owners who stepped up to offer assistance, who had to make tough decisions for the greater good, the future may seem uncertain, but we stand with you.”
The Covid 19 virus will likely impact state revenues and expenditures, complicating the yet-to-pass FY 2021 budget. From the AJC:
How the state funds the rest of the $27.5 billion budget — which runs through June 30 — is an open question that state leaders know a business-crippling coronavirus pandemic will make extremely difficult to answer. The budget they just passed could be in ruins in a month or so as tax revenue dries up, and state leaders will have to look for answers, quickly.
Because so much of the budget has been spent since the state is nearing the end of its fiscal year, the choices will be few: On the table could be new spending cuts, siphoning the state’s reserves, or stopping or delaying payments.
“There is just so much that is unknown,” said Kelly Farr, the governor’s budget director.
“This is something none of us saw coming,” House Appropriations Chairman Terry England, R-Auburn, told colleagues last week.
Despite an economy that was viewed as strong before the coronavirus outbreak, Kemp built the fiscal 2020 and 2021 budgets with projections of fairly slow revenue growth, much lower than in most nonrecession years in Georgia. With the stock market tanking, unemployment likely to at least temporarily soar and Georgians staying home as requested, even those conservative estimates may be fanciful.
“Right now, those assumptions are tenuous,” Rep. Andrew Welch, R-McDonough, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, said last week.
In a conference call between governors and President Donald Trump on Thursday, Kemp made his case for federal help.
“Unlike the recession, when things went down slowly, when states had time to prepare at the end of the year, we’re all facing drastic revenue drops,” Kemp said. “The idea of a block grant to the states to help fill revenue shortfalls would be something I’d like for you to consider.”
Trump responded, “We’ll consider everything you said.”
The Federal tax filing deadline has been pushed from April 15, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.
“We are moving Tax Day from April 15 to July 15,” Secretary Steven Mnuchin tweeted. “All taxpayers and businesses will have this additional time to file and make payments without interest or penalties.”
He said he was acting at President Donald Trump’s direction.
Mnuchin said Americans with refunds should still file now.
“I encourage all taxpayers who may have tax refunds to file now to get your money,” he wrote.
That delay could impact the state budget, according to the AJC.
The state’s fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30. So the decision will move the filing deadline into fiscal 2021, the next fiscal year.
The state collects roughly $2.8 billion worth of income taxes in March and April. At least some of those payments will now likely be delayed with the movement of the filing deadline if the state follows the federal government’s lead.
Meanwhile, the state was already facing a potential shortfall this fiscal year as businesses close, Georgians lose jobs and economic activity in general slows dramatically in response to the virus.
Income taxes are the top source of revenue for the state, and Georgia collects about 20 percent of its income taxes in March and April.
The state has about $2.6 billion-$2.7 billion in reserves, enough to fund services for about a month without other revenue. Kemp has already committed $100 million worth of reserves to fight the pandemic.
The Georgia Board of Nursing approved expedited credentialing for out-of-state nurses to respond to the Covid 19 crisis, according to the AJC.
The Georgia Board of Nursing recently approved an expedited review process for out-of-state nurses to better respond to the public health threat.
Temporary licenses will be reviewed in less than 24 hours. Regular licenses will be reviewed within seven days.
“Fighting, defeating and overcoming coronavirus in Georgia and across the country will require enlisting the help of the best and brightest medical professionals available,” said Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, whose office houses the Georgia Board of Nursing. “Regulatory barriers should not get in the way of public health.”
Licensed practice nurses, registered nurses and advanced practice registered nurses who have an active license anywhere in the U.S. will be eligible to apply.
Rasmussen reports that a quarter of self-identified Republicans are willing to delay November’s elections, according to the Daily Caller.
One-in-four respondents to a Rasmussen Reports survey, which was released Thursday, said they are already prepared to delay 2020’s presidential election. The seemingly high response came as local and state governments have suspended numerous services across the country in an attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19.
To be sure, a majority of respondents still are opposed to taking such a measure.
“The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 25% of Likely U.S. Voters think the November election should be delayed if necessary as coronavirus panic grips the nation,” the study reported. “Sixty-two percent (62%) are opposed to any such delay, but another 13% are undecided.”
When it came to suspending upcoming state primaries, respondents were much more supportive of suspending activities. Nearly half, 48%, of all voters said state primary elections should be delayed due to the COVID-19 threat, while 37% disagreed and said these elections should go ahead as scheduled.
United States Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-Atlanta) has come under fire for stock trades made after a briefing on the coronavirus, according to the Associated Press via the Gainesville Times.
Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who is up for re-election this year against Gainesville’s Rep. Doug Collins, sold off hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of stock in late January, as senators began to get briefings on the coronavirus, according to Senate records.
The Daily Beast first reported that Loeffler dropped the stock in late January. The senator is married to Jeffrey Sprecher, the chairman and CEO of Intercontinental Exchange, which owns the New York Stock Exchange.
In a tweet early Friday morning, Loeffler said the report was a “ridiculous & baseless attack” and that she doesn’t make investment decisions for her portfolio.
“Investment decisions are made by multiple third-party advisors without my or my husband’s knowledge or involvement,” she tweeted.
She wrote that she was informed of the decisions three weeks after they were made.
U.S. Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler both were wealthy before they arrived on Capitol Hill, but there is new scrutiny surrounding financial decisions they and other members have made during the coronavirus pandemic.
Senate rules prohibit members from profiting off of inside information they learn through their elected offices that is not available to the public. Both Perdue and Loeffler deny wrong-doing and say third-party advisers make financial decisions on their behalf.
Perdue in nearly 100 transactions bought and sold in equal amounts, although exact figures cannot be determined because senators are only required to report transactions within ranges. Loeffler unloaded stocks at a much more rapid pace than she made purchases, taking money out of the market.
Loeffler, in tweets posted shortly after midnight, dismissed the criticism.
“This is a ridiculous and baseless attack,” she wrote. “I do not make investment decisions for my portfolio. Investment decisions are made by multiple third-party advisors without my or my husband’s knowledge or involvement.”
Loeffler’s financial disclosures were first analyzed in a Daily Beast article that said she or her spouse, Jeff Sprecher, whose company owns the New York Stock Exchange, sold more than $1 million in stocks in the days and weeks after attending the Jan. 24 briefing.
Between Jan. 24 and Feb. 14, by contrast, Loeffler reported selling stock jointly owned with her husband worth between $1,275,000 and $3,100,000, according to transaction reports filed with Senate ethics officials. On Feb. 14, she also purchased the Citrix stock and another $100,000 to $250,000 in technology company Oracle, which has seen its share price decline by more than 18 percent since then.
The 15 stocks that Loeffler reported selling have lost more than a third of their value, on average, since she reported offloading them. She initially reported many of the transactions as sales of stock owned by her husband. Last week she amended the filing to note that most of them were jointly owned.
The full scope of Loeffler’s portfolio and its particular holdings is not yet known. Senators are required to regularly disclose that information, but in January she requested an extension from Senate ethics officials. A full accounting of her finances will not be public until May.
When Loeffler assumed office, she immediately became the wealthiest member of Congress. The Atlanta businesswoman, whose husband is the chairman and CEO of the New York Stock Exchange, has a fortune estimated at $500 million.
My Thoughts on the Loeffler Trades
1.) The Daily Beast reported trading in the range of $1.275 million to $3.1 million dollars out of an estimated $500 million net worth. That’s less than half-a-percent of their net worth, roughly equivalent to me moving the change and dollar bills from my right pants pocket to the left because I discovered a hole in the right pocket.
That’s not to suggest that stealing is somehow less wrong if you’re rich. Or that theft is okay if it’s only a little bit of your net worth. But I’d suggest that someone that wealthy is unlikely to risk jail or even losing their current job for what is essentially pocket change.
But it is politically disadvantageous for Sen. Loeffler to argue that a couple million dollars here or there is meaningless to her life.
2.) Anyone who has been reading the news over the last four months had to have been getting nervous about their exposure to the stock market, especially to companies that do substantial business overseas.
For example, let’s look at Delta Air Lines.
On January 29, 2020, Delta announced it was halving its number of flights to China due to the coronavirus. From the AJC:
Delta Air Lines plans to temporarily reduce its flight schedule to China in half, due to concerns about the coronavirus outbreak.
The reduction will bring Delta’s China service from 42 weekly flights between the U.S. and China to 21 a week.
The reduced schedule will be displayed on Delta’s website starting Feb. 1, at which time the airline will reach out to customers whose itineraries are affected.
That would have alerted someone who trades stocks professionally that overseas investments might be getting riskier. At that time, Delta was trading in the mid-50 dollar range.
Beginning around February 21, Delta stock began a precipitous slide from closing near $58 on that day to closing under $34 by March 12th. Now. it’s in the low-20 dollar range.
That’s not to suggest that watching a single company and its stock price is a great tool for making your investment choices. But it does indicate that someone watching the Atlanta news and thinking about economics would have been alerted that maybe their portfolio might need revision to maintain the desired risk portfolio.
I will assume the Sprecher-Loeffler family have better investment advice than I could ever give them. If anything, I’d have expected more trading as the stock markets cratered, but perhaps “panic now” is not the message the owner of the NYSE wants to convey.
But in any case, if it’s true that Sen. Loeffler’s assets are managed in a blind trust, I think there’s really nothing to see here.
This is, ultimately, class-warfare purveyed by a left-wing media outlet. It’s the same kind of resentment that stokes the pro-Sanders
bern flame. But somehow, some Republicans will buy it, either because they harbor resentments against Loeffler because she’s rich, or because she was chosen by Gov. Kemp, or because they’re unwilling to think critically and ask themselves if they really think it’s likely someone will risk jail over money they wouldn’t even stop to pick up off the floor.
Former Republican Congressman Bob Barr has published at least two recent pieces on why conservatives should be careful of emergency executive powers. And Barr was an early supporter of Brian Kemp in the 2018 election cycle, so I think he clearly is not writing out of concern that Gov. Kemp will become power drunk.
On Monday, we witnessed a Republican-dominated legislature trying to come to terms with balancing their felt need to “do something” with their jealous guarding of the legislative prerogative and their Constitutional role as a check and balance against unfettered executive power. It’s worth keeping in mind throughout this crisis that maintaining our Constitutional balance and order is vital to the preservation of life in our nation.
On March 16, Barr published a piece titled, “We Should All Pay Far Closer Attention to ‘Emergency’ Declarations.”
One of America’s least-revered Presidents happens to be one of the most gifted in his understanding of history and human nature. It was in 1776 that future President John Adams identified “fear” as “the foundation of most governments.” Adams might also have had in mind the words of a British contemporary, Edmund Burke, who in 1757 noted that “No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.”
Watching videos in recent days of adult women fighting over the last multi-pack of toilet paper to place in their already overflowing grocery carts illustrates that human behavior has not changed in the centuries since Burke’s observation. And considering the number of officials at the federal, state and municipal levels who are declaring states of “emergency” in the face of the Covid-19 virus, confirms that it remains as easy in 2020 to use fear as a tool with which to expand government power as it was in the 18th Century.
This not to say that the Covid-19 virus is neither a serious threat to the health and well-being of Americans from coast to coast nor a legitimate reason for governments to take action to limit and reverse its spread. The virus remains a serious public health threat and it would be highly irresponsible for federal, state and local governments not to enact health-related measures to control the virus.
What is unsettling is the unquestioning manner by which people simply accept measures undertaken in the name of an “emergency” that directly and significantly undermine other, constitutionally guaranteed rights.
That citizens, Members of Congress, governors, and mayors everywhere are jumping on the “emergency declaration” bandwagon with little if any accountability and virtually no public debate as to the scope and precedential effects of such extraordinary measures, facilitates further erosion of our constitutionally guaranteed rights that already have been greatly diminished.
Bob followed that piece up two days later, writing “Beware the ‘Emergency’ Declaration.”
In his 2004 book, “Against Leviathan – Government Power and a Free Society,” Robert Higgs explains how our federal government has transformed from one of “defined and limited” powers as envisioned by our Founders, into one driven by a “Crisis Constitution.” As Higgs clearly establishes, we are living in “an age of permanent emergency.”
The still-developing COVID-19 pandemic illustrates that this “emergency” mindset today is directing the hands of government leaders, not only in our nation’s capital, but in statehouses and city councils across the country.
It is by now clear that the COVID-19 pandemic represents a serious health problem. At a minimum, individuals should be heeding common sense hygiene rules ranging from the personal – washing hands frequently – to the socially interactive – minimize contacts with high-risk populations such as the elderly and infirm.
In this environment, Nanny State officials, ever eager to expand their turf, have seized on the COVID-19 pandemic to justify expanding power in areas they have long sought to control, most notably, 2nd Amendment rights. For example, a new COVID-19 declaration by the Mayor of Champaign, Illinois includes the power to ban the sale of firearms, ammunition, alcohol, and gasoline, as well as confiscate and take ownership of any private property.
In this latest crisis, as in earlier ones, cries for governments at all levels “to do something” quickly drown out reasoned warnings that many such measures go beyond constitutionally permissible bounds, even past boundaries that routinely have been expanded by presidents, legislators, and judges fearful that if they do not heed calls “do something” they will be blamed if further problems occur.