Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 25, 2022

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 25, 2022

On March 26, 1734, the British House of Commons voted for spending £10,000 to subsidize the Georgia colony, down from £26,000 the previous year.

The British Parliament closed the Port of Boston on March 25, 1774, passing the Boston Port Act in retaliation for the destruction of $1 million worth of tea in the Boston Tea Party.

Thomas Jefferson was elected as a Virginia delegate to the Second Continental Congress on March 27, 1775.

Colonel James Fannin, a Georgia native and Colonel in the Texas Regular Army and more than 300 other members of the Georgia battalion were executed on March 27, 1836 after surrendering to Santa Anna’s Mexican Army. Fannin County, Georgia is named after Col Fannin.

On March 27, 1912, the first Japanese cherry trees were planted on the northern bank of the Potomac River near the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC.

On March 26, 1920, This Side of Paradise, the debut novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald was published. The author was 23 years old.

Flannery O’Connor was born on March 25, 1925 in Savannah, Georgia. She would come to be recognized as one of the greatest American fiction writers. O’Connor graduated from the Georgia State College for Women, now called Georgia College and State University. She returned to Milledgeville in 1951, living at the family farm, called Andalusia, until her death at age 39 in 1964.

At GCSU, the Flannery O’Connor Room is located in the GC Museum, the Flannery O’Connor Collection includes manuscripts, and the College includes a program in Flannery O’Connor Studies.

O’Connor died of Lupus, which also killed her father.

Horton Smith won the first Masters tournament on March 25, 1934.

On March 25, 1937, Governor E.D. Rivers signed legislation creating the Georgia Department of Labor; in 1945, the Commissioner of Labor was upgraded from statutory office to Constitutional.

On March 27, 1941, Governor Eugene Talmadge signed legislation outlawing the handling of venomous snakes in such a way as to endanger another person or to encourage another person to handle a snake in such a way as to endanger them. The legislation resulted from a six-year old handling a venomous snake during a church service in Adel, Georgia, during which she was bitten and died. Under that act you could still handle snakes yourself as long as you didn’t endanger someone else.

On March 27, 1947, Governor Melvin Thompson signed legislation that made Georgia a “Right to Work State,” meaning that employees cannot generally be forced to join a union or pay dues in order to take a job. On the same day, gambling on sporting events was outlawed by another bill signed by Gov. Thompson.

On March 26, 1982, a groundbreaking ceremony was held in Washington, DC for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial; the design approved a couple weeks earlier was by 21-year old Yale architecture student Maya Lin.

On Saturday, March 24, 1984, five juvenile delinquents dissafected youth reported to detention at Shermer High School.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Darien, Georgia will hold their annual blessing of the shrimp fleet, according to WTOC.

This year has been a return to many important events and celebrations in the Coastal Empire. Next weekend will be the 54th Blessing of the Fleet in Darien – an event that organizers say is an integral part of the community.

Next week marks the Blessing of the Fleet in Darien, where shrimping boats will pass right under the bridge and receive their blessing for the shrimping season ahead.

The Blessing of the Fleet is a three-day long festival in Darien that includes a parade, vendors, live music, and a 5K. Organizers say it’s an important tribute to area shrimpers.

“We do consider the shrimpers the heart of McIntosh County… so we’re glad to celebrate them and honor them in this beloved tradition,” said Alexandra Smetana, with the Darien-McIntosh County Chamber of Commerce.

Darien is one of Coastal Georgias lesser-known treasures.

Under the Gold Dome Today – Legislative Day 35

TBD Senate Rules Committee upon Adjournment 450 CAP

9:00 AM HOUSE RULES COMMITTEE 341 CAP

10:00 AM HOUSE FLOOR SESSION (LD 35) House Chamber

10:00 AM Senate Floor Session LD 35 Senate Chamber

Governor Brian Kemp appointed John T. Martin, Sr. as Superior Court Judge for the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit, according to WTVM.

Martin has filled the seat left vacant by retired Judge Bill Rumer.

His term of office is from now until December 31, 2024.

The Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit serves Chattahoochee, Harris, Marion, Muscogee, Talbot and Taylor Counties.

Former President Donald Trump will headline a rally in Commerce on Saturday. From the Athens Banner Herald:

Several current Republican candidates or politicians have been announced to speak at the event. This includes former Sen. David Perdue, who is campaigning for the governor’s seat, and former Georgia Bulldogs star and current U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker, according to the program’s itinerary.

The upcoming rally will also feature remarks from Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Andrew Clyde, and Jody Hice, who is running against Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in a May primary.

The rally will be held at the Banks County Dragway, former home of the NHRA Southern Nationals, with parking open at 8 a.m. Doors are expected to open at 2 p.m. with the program scheduled to start at 4 p.m. Trump is scheduled to deliver remarks at 7 p.m.

As of Thursday morning, the ticket registration page for the event was still active. According to the page, each mobile phone number is limited to two tickets. For more information and to register, visit: https://events.donaldjtrump.com/events/save-america-rally-in-commerce-ga?_ga=2.167678590.1178554882.1647028769-990717237.1647028769

I could like this story any more, solely because I now know the name of Newnan City Manager Cleatus Phillips. From the Newnan Times Herald:

Newnan Crossing Boulevard was rendered out of commission last week when a culvert washed away in the midst of heavy rains, and according to Newnan City Manager Cleatus Phillips, that road could be out for some time.

“While I don’t have a schedule yet as to how long the project is going to take — and we’re going to do everything we can to expedite it, I’m just going to be honest with you: It’s not gonna be tomorrow,” Phillips said at Tuesday’s Newnan City Council meeting. “It’s not gonna be next week. It’s going to be a pretty lengthy closure due to the size and extremity of replacing the culvert.”

Port Wentworth City Council voted to study ways to split the city, according to WSAV.

Mayor Gary Norton recently announced an effort to divide the city, backed by a bill that would make Port Wentworth part of unincorporated Chatham County.

It comes in the wake of walkouts by City Manager Edwin Booth and five other city employees who resigned last month over “a hostile work environment.”

And as the Georgia Bureau of Investigation reportedly looks into those allegations, the city is moving forward with options for dissolving the city charter.

Thursday night, the council approved a feasibility study to look into how the city may be split.

“Right now, I feel like you guys are arguing like my 10 and 14-year-old,” said Chris Hanks, a concerned citizen. “Every time I turn around, there’s something new going on.”

From WTOC:

Councilmembers also passed a resolution to support a feasibility study on dividing Port Wentworth into two parts that would operate separately. The Carl Vinson Institute of Government would lead it.

Councilmembers also voted to go on a retreat in April to receive guidance and training from the Georgia Municipal Association.

Legislation to disband the Camden Spaceport Authority will not have a local sponsor in the State Senate, according to The Brunswick News.

State Sen. Sheila McNeill, R-Brunswick, does not plan to ask the Georgia Senate to support local legislation introduced in the House by Rep. Steven Sainz, R-Woodbine, to disband the spaceport authority.

Without her support, the legislation will fail because local legislation rules in the General Assembly require the support of the state representative and senator from the district affected.

McNeill’s district includes Camden County.

The legislation to disband the authority was introduced Monday by Sainz as a way to ensure Camden County commissioners don’t circumvent the will of the voters who overwhelmingly approved a referendum on March 8 to stop the county from purchasing the proposed launch site.

McNeill said the referendum didn’t explicitly tell county officials they couldn’t find other ways to establish a spaceport.

“While the voters indicated in the March 8 referendum that they did not want Camden County to purchase the property for the Spaceport Camden project, they did not vote to end the project or relinquish the recently issued FAA license,” McNeill said in a statement. “Sunsetting the spaceport authority would hamstring the county’s ability to attract private investment and sends the wrong message about economic development in our community.”

St. Marys City Councilman Jim Goodman, one of the people who filed the petition for the referendum, expressed disappointment in McNeill’s decision, calling her statement “word salad.”

The Gwinnett Convention and Visitors Bureau will welcome our robot overlords install cameras in a number of hotels, according to the AJC.

The Gwinnett Convention and Visitors Bureau will install more than 100 new safety cameras in hotels and major venues in Gwinnett County.

The Flock Safety cameras use cellphone camera technology to read license plates and capture traffic data, according to a news release from Explore Gwinnett, the marketing brand for the Gwinnett CVB.

The cameras are expected to increase security and minimize crime, according to Explore Gwinnett.

“While our primary role is to promote tourism to the county, we realize it is incumbent upon our team to continue thinking innovatively, in terms of what we offer travelers once they arrive here — and that includes all that we do to ensure not only a fun experience, but a safe one,” Explore Gwinnett Director of Community Relations Bruce Johnson said in the news release.

Explore Gwinnett will provide one or two cameras to each hotel in the county, depending on property size. County and city police can use the cameras to investigate and solve crimes, according to the news release.

“This initiative is truly groundbreaking, and we are honored to be part of it,” said Maj. Christopher Rafinelli, who commands the Gwinnett County Police Department’s central precinct.

Democrat Vernon Jones continued to Democrat after endorsing Donald Trump for President, according to the AJC.

Former Democratic state Rep. Vernon Jones loudly spurned his party and supported Donald Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign. Then Jones turned around and cast a Democratic Party ballot in Georgia’s presidential primary.

Public election records show that Jones, who is now a Republican candidate for Congress, used a Democratic ballot in the 2020 primary, meaning he couldn’t have voted for Trump, who was on the Republican ballot.

As Trump arrives for a Saturday rally, Jones is trying to shake off his long history as a Democrat and prove himself in a crowded Republican field for the conservative 10th Congressional District that covers part of east Georgia.

“Old habits die hard for carpetbagging Vernon Jones, who chose Democrats over Donald Trump,” said Mike Collins, one of eight Republican candidates competing in the May 24 primary. “I had the courage to support Donald Trump and contribute to him every time he was on the ballot since 2016 — before it was politically expedient.”

Jones, who calls himself the “Black Donald Trump,” backed the former president’s reelection bid in April 2020, when he was still a Democrat in the state House of Representatives.

Then on election day for the presidential primary on June 9, election records show Jones cast a Democratic Party ballot when voting in person at his DeKalb County precinct.

Lobbyists for the Coin-Operated Amusements industry said the industry already pays enough to the state, according to the Capitol Beat News Service via the Albany Herald.

A Georgia Senate bill calling for increasing the share of COAM income that goes to the state from the current 10% to 30% did not survive last week’s Crossover Day deadline for bills to pass at least one legislative chamber. But an alternative COAM measure that cleared the state House of Representatives on Crossover Day is now before the Senate, and the tax hike could be amended onto it.

Sen. Bill Cowsert, R-Athens, chairman of the Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee, presented charts Thursday showing that $120 million in COAM revenue went to the state last year to support the HOPE Scholarships and pre-kindergarten programs, far less than the tax revenue for education generated by the Georgia Lottery.

Other states tax their gaming machines at much higher rates than Georgia. Pennsylvania’s tax is at 52%, South Dakota’s is 50%, Illinois’ is 34% and Louisiana’s is 32.5%, according to one of the charts.

“If we were to get closer in line with other states, we might be able to close the [HOPE] shortfall,” Cowsert said.

But Les Schneider, a lobbyist representing the Georgia Amusement & Music Operators Association, said the figures on the charts did not account for the fees Georgia charges the licensees who own the machines and owners of the retail businesses where the machines are located.

“We pay more than any other COAM operation in the United States of America,” he said.

“Any attempt to raise the tax would be very detrimental, particularly to the small operators,” added Edward Lindsey, representing Norcross-based COAM supplier Lucky Bucks. “You will diminish capital investment in this state.”

The Senate committee is expected to vote on the House bill next week.

The Gainesville Times profiles the candidate for Board of Education Post 1.

United States Senator Raphael Warnock (D-Atlanta) wants large banks to stop charging overdraft fees, according to the AJC.

Letters went out this morning to the chief executives of seven institutions, including Wells Fargo and Truist, asking them to rethink the fines that are most often shouldered by poor families, worsening their financial situations.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that 9% of personal accounts see 10 or more overdraft penalties each year, and these accounts are responsible for 80% of all overdraft revenue. Meanwhile, banks derive huge revenue from overdrafts and insufficient-funds penalties, to the tune of $15.5 billion in 2019, according to the CFPB research.

“These fees not only drain bank accounts but also push consumers out of the banking system and into the arms of unscrupulous and unsupervised lenders who are all too willing to overcharge them for similar services,” the letters to the CEOs say. “The result is that millions of Americans are underbanked or unbanked.”

Each of the seven banks is asked to provide a report by April 7 outlining how they plan to reduce or eliminate overdraft fees.

The Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine campus in Gwinnett County will offer a cannabis concentration. according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Julie Wickman, PharmD, assistant dean of clinical and experiential affairs for the PCOM School of Pharmacy, notes that pharmacists are the only individuals who can dispense cannabis in Pennsylvania. She explained that PCOM’s pharmacy students will begin this concentration as early as this fall and receive training at a Philadelphia-area dispensary in their fourth year of the program. Dr. Wickman said, “This concentration also covers federal and state-wide policies and the current legislative landscape in Georgia.”

Michael Lee, PhD, assistant dean for professional and student affairs for the School of Pharmacy, said, “Because of the central role that pharmacists play in medical cannabis, the current and projected workforce needs across the country are enormous. We hope to position PCOM as a leader in this area by offering this unique training experience.”

Someone will have to explain to me how that concentration differs from what is colloquially known as “college.”

 

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