Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 24, 2021

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 24, 2021

On June 24, 1497, John Cabot first sighted North America, claiming it for the British Crown.

On June 24, 1795, the United States Senate voted to ratify Jay’s Treaty between the UK and United States. The terms of the treaty required an appropriation from the U.S. House of Representatives to implement it, and Congressional opponents tried to defeat the appropriation, which was approved by a 51-48 margin on April 30, 1796. Click here for more background on the treaty and controversy.

On June 24, 1853, President Franklin Pierce signed the Gadsden Purchase, acquiring what it now southern Arizona and New Mexico from Mexico.

General Robert E. Lee led the Army of Northern Virginia across the Potomac River toward Pennsylvania on June 24, 1863.

John R. Lynch was the first African-American elected Chairman of the Republican National Convention on June 24, 1884; Lynch was nominated by Theodore Roosevelt.

Woodrow Wilson married Ellen Louise Axson of Rome, Georgia in Savannah on June 24, 1885.

On June 24, 1948, the Soviet Union blockaded West Berlin from all road, rail, and barge traffic.

Following World War II, Germany was divided into occupation zones. The United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and, eventually, France, were given specific zones to occupy in which they were to accept the surrender of Nazi forces and restore order. The Soviet Union occupied most of eastern Germany, while the other Allied nations occupied western Germany. The German capital of Berlin was similarly divided into four zones of occupation.

The United States response came just two days after the Soviets began their blockade. A massive airlift of supplies into West Berlin was undertaken in what was to become one of the greatest logistical efforts in history. For the Soviets, the escapade quickly became a diplomatic embarrassment. Russia looked like an international bully that was trying to starve men, women, and children into submission. And the successful American airlift merely served to accentuate the technological superiority of the United States over the Soviet Union. On May 12, 1949, the Soviets officially ended the blockade.

General Lucius D. Clay of Marietta, Georgia was military Governor of occupied Germany at that time.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show was released in West Germany on June 24, 1977. It’s astounding.

Rickey Henderson made his major league debut with the Oakland A’s on June 24, 1979, stealing his first base.

On June 24, 1982, the Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution was defeated, having garnered the ratification of thirty-five states, three shy of the requisite Constitutional Majority.

Hopes for ratification before the deadline next Wednesday were dashed this week when the amendment was rejected by the Illinois House and the Florida Senate, two states in which supporters felt they had a fighting chance.

Had Illinois and Florida ratified the amendment, there was at least some chance that either Oklahoma or North Carolina would have provided the final needed vote.

Prospects were far slimmer in the other nonratifying states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and Virginia.

Phyllis Schlafly, a leader of a group called Stop-ERA, hailed the defeat of the amendment tonight, saying: ”They realized E.R.A. is dead and I think that that is an admission they have lost the battle. My feeling is that E.R.A. will take its place with the prohibition and the child labor amendments as ones which did not have enough support of the American people to be in the Constitution.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp announced that the current Public Health Emergency Order will end July 1, 2021, according to the Gainesville Times.

Kemp made the announcement Tuesday, signing a fresh extension of the extraordinary powers granted to him by lawmakers that will expire at 12 a.m. on July 1.

“Thanks to those efforts, more Georgians are getting vaccinated, our economic momentum is strong, and people are getting back to normal,” Kemp said in a statement. “We have emerged resilient, and I thank all Georgians for doing their part.”

This was the first use of Georgia’s public health emergency law. It grants Kemp sweeping powers to suspend laws and state regulations. He can use it to commandeer private property, take over hospitals, shut down schools, offer temporary housing and welfare payments, and take money directly from the state treasury without legislative authorization.

The governor says he will hold on to some extraordinary powers, saying he will issue a different kind of emergency order suspending state rules and regulations to help state agencies and businesses fully recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Governor Kemp responded to President Biden’s speech on crime issues, according to WALB.

“Today, we see more of the same from Democrats in Washington, D.C., the White House, and across the country. It is the left’s anti-police, soft-on-crime stances that are endangering families and making our streets less safe — not the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans to protect themselves and their loved ones. It’s no secret why gun sales have spiked across the country. Americans are taking their safety into their own hands because of a far-left agenda that puts criminals ahead of keeping families safe.”

“This administration and their allies are trying to use a nationwide crime spree that their own policies created to undermine the Second Amendment. As long as I’m Governor, that nonsense will stop at Georgia’s border. I won’t give an inch on protecting Georgians’ gun rights, and I will always stand alongside our brave men and women in law enforcement.”

Georgia’s legislative reapportionment committees released the dates and times for their next Town Hall meetings:

· Monday, June 28, 2021, from 5 – 7 p.m. in room 341 of the State Capitol;
· Tuesday, June 29, 2021, from 5 – 7 p.m. at South Forsyth High School (Cafeteria) in Cumming;
· Wednesday, June 30, 2021, from 5 – 7 p.m. at Dalton State College, Gignilliat Hall, Room 144, 650 College Drive, Dalton, GA 30720.

· Tuesday, July 6, 2021, from 5 – 7 p.m. in Athens;
· Wednesday, July 7, 2021, from 5 – 7 p.m. in Augusta;

· Monday, July 26, 2021, from 5 – 7 p.m. in Brunswick;
· Tuesday, July 27, 2021, from 5 – 7 p.m. in Albany;
· Wednesday, July 28, 2021, from 5 – 7 p.m. in Columbus;
· Thursday, July 29, 2021, from 5 – 7 p.m. in Macon;
· Friday, July 30, 2021, from 5 – 7 p.m. via virtual participation only.

The University System of Georgia Board of Regents named Teresa MacCartney as acting Chancellor, according to the Associated Press via the Athens Banner Herald.

Regents voted unanimously Wednesday to name MacCartney to take the reins from outgoing Chancellor Steve Wrigley when he retires June 30.

But the “acting” title could signify that they expect MacCartney, now the system’s executive vice chancellor of administration, to hold the post for only a short while. Otherwise, she might have been given an interim title, as Wrigley was given before regents decided he should lead the system permanently.

Regents met by videoconference and weren’t available for questions. A spokesperson for the system couldn’t immediately answer how long MacCartney was expected to lead the 340,000-student system, although regents said in a news release that the search for a permanent chancellor continues.

“I appreciate the Board’s confidence in me to ensure USG and our 26 institutions remain focused during this transition on doing all we can to help more Georgians’ earn their college degrees,” MacCartney said in a statement.

“Y’all watch this!” Salvage crews working to finish removing the wreck of MV Golden Ray from the water off St Simons Island will bring to bear a new tool, according to WTOC.

Salvage crews who have spent seven months dismantling an overturned cargo ship along the Georgia coast may turn to using explosives to cut through some of the thickest steel on the remaining half of the hulking vessel.

It’s not certain whether workers will need to use the charges, which are designed to focus explosions along a straight line to cut through tough materials like steel, said Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Himes, a spokesman for the command team.

Salvage crews have been using anchor chain attached to winches and pulleys on a towering crane to saw through the shipwreck, often with workers using torches to cut through thicker steel ahead of the chain.

Himes said explosive charges would be used to cut through several thick steel supports inside the hull if the cutting chain is unable to maneuver around them. Team leaders decided explosives would be safer than having men with torches working inside the ship.

“It’s about safety,” Himes said. “If we don’t have to use this, we won’t.”

“There could be a loud boom,” Himes said, “and we want to make people understand what it is and what it isn’t.”

Former United States Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-Atlanta) will speak in Statesboro today at a noon meeting hosted by her group, Greater Georgia Action, according to the Statesboro Herald.

[Since the January runoff won by now-Senator Raphael Warnock] Loeffler then launched Greater Georgia Action Inc., a 501-c-4 nonprofit organization, in February, saying it would promote voter registration and engagement and election transparency.

Several media commentators have described Greater Georgia Action as an attempted conservative counterbalance or rival to Stacey Abrams’ Fair Fight Action organization.

Ads for Thursday’s event state that Loeffler will “discuss Greater Georgia’s mission.” It’s an open event, with no tickets mentioned.

A new judge will preside over the lawsuit seeking to stop the split of the Augusta Judicial Circuit by the Georgia General Assembly, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

The official July 1 startup date for the Columbia County Judicial Circuit set when Gov. Brian Kemp signed Senate Bill 9 into law is on hold because a temporary injunction was granted last week.

On Tuesday afternoon, Senior Judge Adele Grubbs was appointed to preside over the case. Grubbs took senior status in 2016. Her active legal career spanned 50 years and included service as a prosecutor, juvenile court judge and Superior Court judge, with her final two years as chief judge of the Cobb County Superior Court.

Also Tuesday, Fleming, a Republican member of the state House from Harlem who supported the bill to create a separate judicial circuit for Columbia County, filed notice under a state statute that allows certain government officials to impose a continuance and stay proceedings in legal cases. Fleming’s document says he has legislative meetings.

Saunders’ lawsuit filed in April contends the splitting of the Augusta Judicial Circuit will violate the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the separation of powers between the three branches of government, and deny residents of the three counties the right to effective and efficient access to court services.

I am docking three points from the Augusta Chronicle for incorrect use of the word “comprising” elsewhere in the article.

The 2021 Georgia Police and Fire Games included drone competitions, according to AccessWDUN.

“The first stage was agility and speed,” [Gainesville Police Sgt. Chris]Jones said. “We had a number of obstacles they had to do, which was all timed with some difficulty as far as popping balloons, chasing balloons that are flying away, things like that.”

When the three competing drone teams moved into stage two, things became a lot more realistic through a hypothetical scenario.

“Second part of this is a scenario-based response,” Jones said. “An officer does a traffic stop, gets in a foot chase, and then we lose radio contact.”

State Rep. Gerald Greene (R-Cuthbert) has published a note on committees and working groups during the inter-session period in the Albany Herald.

Macon-Bibb County Mayor Lester Miller has scheduled a press conference today to announce changes to the solid waste program, according to 13WMAZ.

Dalton City Council will hold a called meeting this afternoon, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News.

The Glynn County Board of Education adopted a budget and tentative property tax millage rate for 2022, according to The Brunswick News.

The district will begin the fiscal year with a $23.4 million general fund balance, and the estimated ending fund balance is $20.7 million.

The budget currently does not adjust the millage rate, but the final decision on whether to change the millage rate will be made after tax digest numbers are sent in July, said Andrea Preston, assistant superintendent of finances.

Around 60 new employee positions are budgeted for the upcoming school year. Many of those will be funded through CARES Act money distributed through the federal government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“CARES Act (money) lasts for three years, what we have,” Preston said. “This is over a three-year period, these positions will be available to us.”

Glynn County Schools received $3.4 million in 2020 during the first round of CARES Act funding. The second round sent $14.4 million to the local district.

The third round originally allocated $32.2 million for Glynn County Schools, with a caveat that 20 percent must be spent on loss of learning remediation, but district staff later learned that around 65 percent of that money will be distributed and states would be required to apply for the remainder through a grant application process.

Rome continues working on its budget for FY2022, according to the Rome News Tribune.

The overall tax digest, the taxable value of property in the city, increased by 10.26%, more than $124 million, pending appeals.

The bulk of that increased property value inside the city limits was commercial real estate.

Residential property values inside the city were up somewhere between 3% to 5%.

The city Finance Committee, chaired by Commissioner Sundai Stevenson, agreed to hold the line on the city’s maintenance and operation tax levy at 8.151 mills.

They also agreed to roll back the capital budget tax levy from 1.935 mills to 1.826 mills, which will generate the same amount of revenue since property tax values have increased. The city schools levy will remain at 17.450.

City Manager Sammy Rich and Rhinehart are expecting to be able to use some of the American Rescue Plan Act money from the federal government, about $11.5 million, to offset some of the city capital budget needs.

“We’re still kind of clamoring to figure that out (where the city can spend ARP money),” Rich told the committee.

Half of the those funds, approximately $5.75 million, will be allocated to the city this year with the remainder distributed in 2022. According to the ARP rules, the money must be spent, or at least encumbered, by the end of December 2024.

The Columbia County School District will seek public input on its strategic plan, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Chris Minor will serve as Director of Gwinnett County’s Parks and Recreation Department, the first African-American to do so, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

“I’m honored to be able to hold this position,” Minor said. “The historical context of it is not lost on me, but it’s not something I dwell on. I want to be a good parks and recreation director, regardless of the color of my skin. I am here to serve all people.”

Sixth Congressional District Race Shaping Up

Karen Handel, former U.S. Rep. from the Sixth District will lead Carroll Tomorrow and the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, according to AthensCEO.com.

Karen Handel has been selected by the leadership of Carroll Tomorrow as the economic development organization’s new president and chief executive officer. She will also serve in the same role for the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce. The announcement was made this week by Loy Howard, chair of the Carroll Tomorrow Board of Directors, following an extensive executive search process.

“Early in the process, the search committee identified several key traits we were looking for in a candidate,” according to Howard. “The ability to develop and execute Carroll Tomorrow’s vision for the community was at the top of that list. Leadership was also a very strong component. The board believes Karen has the ability and experiences to lead our organization forward and put us on an even higher platform than we are today to maintain and create new jobs in Carroll County while at the same time continue our work with local elected leaders to build a pro-business environment.”

“The opportunity to lead an economic development organization and chamber of commerce as a one- stop-shop for business and community development is a challenge that I am prepared to tackle,” Handel said. “I believe my experiences on the local, state and national levels will add value to the investors and community as a whole. I plan on Carroll County being my home for a long time.”

Maggie’s List, a PAC supporting conservative women, endorsed Republican Suzi Voyles for Congress in the Sixth District, according to FoxNews.

“Voters made history in 2020 by electing the largest-ever group of conservative women to federal office, and we are ready to build upon those gains in upcoming elections,” Maggie’s List President Sandra Mortham told Fox News.

Also making the first round of endorsements are GOP candidates Susan Voyles (GA-6), Tamika Hamilton (CA-3), April Becker (NV-3), Lisa Scheller (PA-7) and Monica De La Cruz-Hernandez (TX-15).

Republican Jake Evans has resigned as Chair of the Georgia State Ethics Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, possibly to seek the GOP nomination in the Sixth District, according to the AJC Political Insider.

The chairman of the Georgia ethics commission is stepping down after nearly five years on the panel, setting the stage for a likely run for the U.S. House in the Atlanta suburbs.

Jake Evans said Monday it has been a “supreme honor” leading the commission, though he didn’t elaborate on his next step after his June 30 resignation.

“We made great strides in making Georgia politics transparent and ethical,” he said. “I will forever cherish this chapter of public service and trust in God’s plan for me and my family.”

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