Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 10, 2021

10
Jun

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 10, 2021

Bridget Bishop was the first person hanged after being convicted of practicing witchcraft in the Salem witch trials on June 10, 1692.

On June 10, 1793, Washington, DC officially replaced Philadelphia as the Capital of the United States. To honor Washington, today we will adopt a smugly superior attitude, name-drop constantly, and speak condescendingly to those who currently live in the states we used to live in.

Rebecca Latimer Felton was born on June 10, 1835 in Decatur, Georgia and later became the first woman to serve in the United States Senate after being appointed by Governor Thomas Hardwick to fill a vacancy in 1922.

The United States Naval Academy graduated its first class on June 10, 1854.

The Girl Scouts of America were incorporated in Washington, DC on June 10, 1915.

The Republican National Convention in Cleveland became the first political convention broadcast on the radio on June 10, 1924.

Alcoholics Anonymous was founded on June 10, 1935.

President John F. Kennedy signed the 1963 Equal Pay Act on June 10, 1963.

I am delighted today to approve the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which prohibits arbitrary discrimination against women in the payment of wages. This act represents many years of effort by labor, management, and several private organizations unassociated with labor or management, to call attention to the unconscionable practice of paying female employees less wages than male employees for the same job. This measure adds to our laws another structure basic to democracy. It will add protection at the working place to the women, the same rights at the working place in a sense that they have enjoyed at the polling place.

While much remains to be done to achieve full equality of economic opportunity–for the average woman worker earns only 60 percent of the average wage for men–this legislation is a significant step forward.

Apple Computer shipped the first Apple II computers on June 10, 1977.

Coca-Cola introduced Classic Coke on June 10, 1985.

 

 

Ray Charles, who was born in Albany, Georgia died on June 10, 2004.

Dennis Trudeau, a former Mayor of Grovetown, will receive an award from France for his service during WWII, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Trudeau, 94, will receive the Legion of Honour, France’s highest honor for civil and military accomplishments. He was a prisoner of war in WWII and fought in Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944.

During his service in WWII, he was wounded in his legs and back before being captured by German forces. He worked as a POW on a railway at a coal mine until being freed May 13, 1945.

He enlisted in the U.S. Army after the war and served until 1967. He worked as a civil signal instructor for the military until 1975 and served seven terms as Grovetown mayor before becoming a city councilman.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed filed to raise funds for a campaign for Mayor, according to the Associated Press via AccessWDUN.

A document Reed’s campaign team filed with the Georgia ethics commission opens the door for Reed to start accepting political contributions for the 2021 race. He jumped in one month after current Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced she won’t seek reelection to a second term.

He was elected mayor in 2009 at age 40 after serving in the Georgia legislature. He spent two terms in the mayor’s office, leaving at the end of 2017 as his administration was dogged by a federal investigation into city contracts and finances.

The FBI began investigating corruption associated with Atlanta City Hall in 2015 and has charged a half-dozen members of Reed’s administration, including his chief financial officer. In an interview last month with WSB-TV, Reed said he is cleared because “the Justice Department under William Barr looked into every aspect of my life for more than three years and took no action.” The charges, he said, were related to the “individual behavior” of certain people in his administration.

“Anything on my watch, I take responsibility for,” Reed told the Atlanta TV station. “I’m sorry I didn’t see it faster, and certainly after what I’ve been through personally, but more importantly what our city was taken through, I would do everything in my power to make sure it didn’t happen again.”

Reed’s campaign paperwork comes as the former mayor plans to celebrate his 52nd birthday with a fundraising party Thursday. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported it obtained an invitation that spelled out donor levels from $25,000 for hosts and $1,000 for guests.

Frankly, I’d be willing to accept a moderate amount of corruption if it meant cleaning up street crime.

From the AJC Political Insider:

Sure, he’s likely the frontrunner in the race to succeed incumbent Keisha Lance Bottoms, who famously opted against a run for a second term just weeks ago. He’s by far the biggest name in the crowded race. He’s got a network of donors and a track record.

He’s also trailed by the cloud of a federal corruption investigation that began during his tenure and has already ensnared several members of his administration, including former top deputies. He says he’s done nothing wrong, and he hasn’t been charged with any crime.

But we also want to highlight another question: Can Reed — a proud Democrat — wind up as the preferred choice for Republicans in the nonpartisan race for City Hall? Because the relatively small number of GOP voters in the city could be the deciding factor in a close contest.

One insider called it the “I hate Kasim but I hate crime even more” electorate.

Georgia sold nearly $1.1 billion dollars in General Obligation Bonds, according to a press release.

Governor Brian P. Kemp announced the State of Georgia successfully sold $1.097 billion in two different series of general obligation bonds to fund new construction projects and equipment, make repairs and renovations to existing facilities, and purchase and retire outstanding bonds to achieve debt service savings. The Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission – responsible for issuing the state’s bonds – approved the bond sale at its meeting today.

“Thanks to conservative leadership and our decision to safely re-open Georgia’s economy, Georgia has maintained our coveted triple-A bond rating, balanced our budgets, and cut taxes,” said Governor Kemp. “This bond sale allows us to build and update various infrastructure projects, and create good-paying jobs for hardworking Georgians across the state. Due to low interest rates here in the Peach State, we will be saving taxpayers dollars for years to come while also ensuring Georgia continues to lead the nation in economic recovery.”

“We are extremely pleased with the bids we received. These were the result of the State’s strong credit position and prudent financial management, all of which was reflected in the pre-sale interest, the variety and type of accounts participating, and the post-sale follow-through. As we approached the sale date, the bond market was demonstrating a lot of strength, but it proved to be even stronger than we were expecting. One bidder mentioned that they have not seen as great a demand or reception as they saw on our bonds,” said Diana Pope, Director of the Commission’s Financing and Investment

The bond issues were sold on a competitive basis via four different bids with investors showing high demand for Georgia’s triple A rated bonds. The overall true interest rate cost for the bonds was 1.7420%, which was the second lowest ever for an issue of the State’s general obligation bonds. The interest on all the bonds is exempt from Georgia state income taxation for in-state residents and a large portion of the bonds also are exempt from federal income taxes.

Two of the bids were for the 2021A bonds which are exempt from federal income taxes. The state achieved rates of 0.3212% for the five-year bonds; 0.7084% for a small ten-year bonds piece; and 1.7354% for the twenty-year bonds, for a blended rate of 1.7035% for the 2021A tax-exempt bonds. Two of the bids were for the 2021B bonds which are subject to federal income taxes, with those rates at 0.5633% for the five-year bonds and 1.9279% for the twenty-year bonds, for a blended rate of 1.8596% for the federally taxable 2021B bonds.

The largest amount of funding provides $304.7 million for local school systems’ K-12 and state schools projects. The second largest amount of funding provides over $250.9 million for Board of Regents projects for the University System of Georgia. Public safety related agencies will receive almost $156 million for facilities and equipment. The Department of Technical and Adult Education will benefit from $112.9 million for new and renovated facilities. The Department of Transportation will receive $112.5 million for roads, bridges, and rail projects. The Savannah-Georgia Convention Center Authority will receive $90 million for its expansion project in Savannah. A number of other agencies such as public libraries and health related agencies will also funds for improving their facilities and equipment for providing services to their respective constituencies.

Fitch, Moody’s, and Standard & Poor’s rating agencies assigned their triple-A bond rating with a stable outlook to the State’s General Obligation Bonds last week.

Governor Kemp announced a public-private partnership to increase the cloud computing workforce, according to a press release.

Governor Brian P. Kemp announced a collaborative initiative between the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG), the Georgia Department of Education (GADOE), the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG), and Amazon Web Services (AWS) to provide cloud computing training and education to 5,500 learners statewide by 2024. Through this initiative, high schools and technical colleges in Georgia will offer cloud computing courses and credentials that align with skills needed to pursue in-demand technical careers.

“The tech industry in Georgia is rapidly growing with exciting job opportunities for Georgians,” said Governor Kemp. “This collaboration with AWS will ensure our citizens have access to innovative training and education to help prepare them for tech jobs in Georgia.”

The state of Georgia will work with the AWS Academy program to provide educational institutions with no-cost, ready-to-teach, cloud computing curricula that prepares students for industry-recognized AWS Certifications and in-demand cloud jobs. Educators at participating institutions will receive instructor training taught by AWS experts and access to a limited number of AWS Certification exams at no cost as they qualify to become AWS Academy accredited educators. Students can also access self-paced online training courses and labs from AWS.

“The use of cloud-based technologies is growing rapidly in Georgia, which means there is greater demand for a workforce skilled in this area,” said TCSG Commissioner Greg Dozier. “We are excited to launch this partnership because it will provide students and existing information technology workers with the most up-to-date training available to ensure success in this growing field.”

For K-12 institutions, this collaboration supports the Georgia Department of Education’s mission to prepare students for success in the global economy. “We are committed to expanding opportunities for all students, preparing them for life and for rewarding careers,” said Richard Woods, Georgia State School Superintendent. “We have a goal to certify 1,200 K-12 students across our state in cloud computing, giving them a pathway to a career in this thriving industry.”

This commitment to providing technical skills training and education across the state is designed to fill in-demand cloud computing jobs in urban, rural, and diverse communities throughout Georgia. This includes available jobs from organizations across various sectors in roles such as software development, cloud architecture, data science, cyber security, cloud support engineers, and more. According to Economic Modeling Specialist International (EMSI), there are over 125,000 cloud computing jobs available in Georgia. For individuals who are unemployed or underemployed, cloud computing skills training offers an opportunity for workers to reskill and re-enter the workforce.

“At AWS, we are committed to working with education, policy, and industry leaders to provide opportunities for individuals to embrace lifelong learning, said Kim Majerus, Leader, U.S. Education, State and Local Government at AWS. “We applaud the state of Georgia for investing in the future and current workforce to enable citizens to be at the forefront of rapidly changing technology that is driving today’s digital economy.”

Technology has redefined Georgia’s job landscape, with tech jobs in Atlanta increasing by 46 percent since 2010. In addition, the city was named one of the 5 U.S. Cities Poised to Become Tomorrow’s Tech Mecca in 2017. In support of the growing tech industry in the state, AWS will work with TAG to connect cloud talent to employment opportunities. This collaboration will also help to support the rural jobs initiative by connecting tech learners in rural communities to in-demand careers in cloud computing with TAG member companies.

“Members of TAG expect us to fuel the innovation economy,” said President & CEO Larry Williams. “They challenged us to spark the imagination of students and prepare them today for the exciting careers of tomorrow. Through programs like TAG-Ed and the numerous scholarships we offer, we’ve done that and more. We also know that the path between skilled workers and company needs runs through all communities, including those in rural parts of a state. In our home state, we partner with TCSG to develop and recruit talent right where they live in rural Georgia so they are ready to work remotely for top technology companies, including AWS.”

Governor Kemp spoke to WABE about the GOP State Convention and his reelection.

[I]n an interview with WABE News, Kemp said he is not swayed by “an orchestrated course of boos from political operatives and other folks,” and thinks the convention went “as good as it could go.”

“This state is, I think, still a Republican-leaning state,” Kemp said, pointing to Republican 2020 victories in the Georgia General Assembly and the Public Service Commissioner races. “But we’ve got to stay focused and united to be able to continue to make that happen. We saw in the [Senate] runoff when people get distracted. It is not a good formula for Republicans. And I think we can all learn from that.”

“I can’t control what other people are doing in politics. I learned that a long time ago,” Kemp said. “I’m staying focused on what I need to be doing, obviously serving as the governor in the greatest state in the country.”

Kemp said he relished the opportunity to take hours at the convention talking to people who have been influenced by Trump’s criticism directly.

“It gave me an opportunity to push back on some of the lies they’ve been told, quite honestly, in some of the things that they see floating around,” he said.

“A lot of the folks, especially the newer ones to the convention, they just don’t understand that they’re seeing a biased opinion or political narrative on some website or some email they’re getting. So it was refreshing in a lot of ways to be able to talk to people about that.”

“I think they appreciated, quite honestly, that I was willing to show up when others wouldn’t,” Kemp said.

There’s more good stuff in that article, and I recommend reading it in its entirety.

More judicial circuits are looking at splitting off part of their jurisdictions, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Since Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law the bill that creates a separate judicial circuit for Columbia County, leaving Richmond and Burke counties alone in the Augusta Judicial Circuit, members in at least three other circuits have expressed interest in splitting from their fellow circuit mates, according to the Administrative Office of the Courts.

For the attorney who filed the lawsuit seeking to stop the split of the Augusta Judicial Circuit, Jack Long, it’s a bad trend that smells of racism.

If this first judicial split is finalized, Georgia will see more white majority counties split away from their fellow circuit mates which, like Richmond and Burke counties, may be more racially diverse, Long said.

In a recent court filing, Long was even more blunt: this will return Georgia to the Jim Crow system of justice where votes by Blacks are diluted and disenfranchised in white majority counties. The splitting of the Augusta Judicial Circuit quickly followed on the heels of the election of the first Black district attorney, Jared Williams, over white incumbent candidate Natalie Paine.

According to the story, the other circuits considering splitting include the Griffin Judicial Circuit (Fayette, Pike, Spalding, Upson Counties), the Western Judicial Circuit (Clarke and Oconee Counties), and the Alcovy Judicial Circuit (Newton and Walton Counties).

Gwinnett County estimates speed cameras may net them more than $4 million dollars per year, according to the Associated Press via AccessWDUN.

The Gwinnett Police Citizens Advisory Board voted to recommend decriminalization possession of small amounts of marijuana, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The Gwinnett Police Citizens Advisory Board voted last month to recommend county commissioners to change Gwinnett County Ordinance 66.3, which deals with marijuana possession. It will present the written copy of that resolution, effectively “memorializing” last month’s decision according to board chairman Sean Goldstein, at its June 15 meeting.

The recommended change is to make possession of less than an ounce of marijuana a county ordinance violation, punishable by a fine or community service, rather than a criminal act.

If the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners adopts the recommended change, the punishment for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana would be either a $150 fine or up to 20 hours of community service, according to a copy of the proposed resolution that the Daily Post has obtained.

The current ordinance states possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is a misdemeanor crime with the punishment being up to a year in prison or fine of as much as $1,000 — or possibly both together — or having to do public works service for up to a year. That is essentially the same punishment under a state code section that lists marijuana possession as a criminal offense.

The Gwinnett ordinance change would give police a choice. They could issue the ticket under the county ordinance or they could charge a person with a crime under state law, according to Goldstein.

“(Federal and state marijuana laws) can still apply,” Goldstein said. “It’s up to the officer really to decide — he has discretion to decide — whether to charge under the ordinance, or whether to charge under the state law. The state law does still apply …”

The Georgia Department of Driver Services announced that licensed drivers 64 and older may renew their non-commercial license online, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News.

While mail-in and fax options have been available since August 2020, this new online service gives this important group another choice when conducting their licensing business.

“DDS continues working to ensure efficient, safe and customer friendly options within the law,” DDS Commissioner Spencer R. Moore said. “Many experienced drivers are tech savvy and will appreciate having this online renewal service at their fingertips.”

Georgia law requires that customers 64 years of age and older take and pass a vision exam prior to receiving or renewing a driver’s license. A rule change approved shortly after the pandemic allows these customers to remotely submit their vision exam results that have been completed by a licensed optometrist, ophthalmologist or eye doctor.

Tammy Stokes, Chief Judge of the Chatham County Recorder’s Court, announced she will run for Superior Court, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Recorder’s Court Chief Judge Tammy Stokes is running for Chatham County Superior Court judge to fill the seat vacated by Judge Louisa Abbot, who is retiring after her term. Stokes has spent 17 years in Recorder’s Court and was appointed chief judge in 2012. She is the first Black woman judge in the county.

“As members of the legal community, I know how integral all of you are to the judiciary, our court system, and to the citizens we serve. I especially appreciate the patience, diligence, and cooperation you have shown the courts from the earliest days of the pandemic and throughout this past year,” Stokes said in the letter. “We have all worked and pulled together to help guide Savannah through this time of unprecedented challenge and I look forward to continuing those combined efforts in Superior Court.”

The race for Superior Court Judge will be in 2022. Abbot’s term expires Dec. 31, 2022. Recorder’s Court typically handles traffic citations and city ordinances violations.

Stokes, a Savannah native, told the Savannah Morning News she gave considerable thought to running for Superior Court Judge after being a caregiver to her parents, who died last year six months apart.

“I’ve always had an interest in criminal law, and Recorder’s Court is a criminal court. So, that’s been perfect for me,” Stokes said. “I’ve always found divorce cases and child custody cases interesting and challenging, and it’s a lot of what I used to do when I was in private practice. I’m ready for the new challenge, and I’m really excited about it.”

WTOC asks when Georgia Department of Labor offices will reopen.

Commissioner Mark Butler says the Department of Labor is planning to reopen offices, but he wasn’t able to give an exact date. However, he wants Georgians to realize local GDOL offices, like the one in Hinesville, are not unemployment offices. It is a GDOL Career Center.

Butler says this means many of the unemployment issues some are trying to get resolved will not get resolved when the offices reopen. For example, if you’re waiting on an appeal hearing or eligibility review, Butler says that’s not done at the office. It’s done over the phone.

What you can do when the offices reopen is get help getting back into the workforce.

As for why the Career Centers are not open yet, when the GDOL is focusing on re-employment, Butler says there are a few reasons. One is those in the GDOL’s re-employment division are still assisting with the unemployment division.

Butler also says it is possible some Career Centers will remain closed, as many re-employment services can be found online at employgeorgia.com.

The Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles re-elected Terry Barnard as Chair, according to the Albany Herald.

Barnard will begin serving a seventh term as chairman starting on July 1. He will become the third-longest serving chair in board history at the completion of the new term. Board Member Jacqueline Bunn was elected to serve as vice chairwoman.

“Serving as chairman of this respected board is no small thing and I consider it an honor that the members have again asked me to serve,” Barnard said in a news release.

“Our 73% parole completion success rate remains well above the national average because our members vote cases based on public safety,” Barnard stated. “We continue to follow scientific guidelines regarding parole decisions. Our decisions are data-driven and informed.”

“We, as a parole board, continue to protect the public, serve victims and provide offenders with opportunities for positive change.”

Barnard served 16 years in the state legislature prior to his appointment to the board.

The Bulloch County Board of Education is expected to vote to adopt a $151 million dollar budget for FY 2022, according to the Statesboro Herald.

The Bulloch County Board of Education is slated to approve fiscal year 2022 budgets Thursday evening with projected revenues totaling $151.3 million, including $102.5 million in the school system’s general fund, and requiring no tax increase.

These budgets also include a 2% locally initiated raise in base pay for the school system’s employees. Yet with many instructional expenses shifted from the general fund to a special fund that receives federal money, an unprecedented $13.1 million single-year growth in the general fund balance is projected.

Having benefited from two previous federal stimulus packages, the county school system is now budgeting for $23.5 million expected from the American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA.

Baldwin County Commissioners are considering suing the State of Georgia over budgetary issues, according to 13WMAZ.

Baldwin County commissioners asked their lawyers to sue the State of Georgia over an agreement paying the county to provide fire services at the old Central State Hospital grounds.

It’s a part of a 50-year contract, but the state isn’t planning on paying it anymore.

Attorney Andy Welch will represent the county.

According to Baldwin County Manager Carlos Tobar, more than $600,000 was due to the county in 2020.

Comments ( 0 )