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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 21, 2018

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.

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 21, 1965, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. led more than 3000 protesters in a march from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery.

On March 21, 1980, President Jimmy Carter announced the U.S. boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.

Georgia Governor and United States Senator Herman Talmadge died on March 21, 2002.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections


Governor Nathan Deal yesterday announced Georgia has expanded its market in Peru, while presenting 40 Georgia businesses with GLOBE (Georgia Launching Opportunities By Exporting) Awards at the 2018 Go Global reception at the Atlanta History Center.Continue Reading..


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for March 20, 2018


Hannah is a female Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Albany Humane Society/Sally Wetherbee Adoption Center in Albany, GA.


Selena is a female Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Albany Humane Society/Sally Wetherbee Adoption Center in Albany, GA.


Harvey is a male Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Albany Humane Society/Sally Wetherbee Adoption Center in Albany, GA.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 20, 2018

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.

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.”

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 20, 1970, Governor Lester Maddox signed legislation designating the Brown Thrasher the official state bird, and the Bobwhite Quail the official state game bird.

On March 20, 1982, this song was #1 on the Billboard charts:

Happy birthday to Georgia-born actress Holly Hunter (1958) and film director/actor Spike Lee (1957).

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Today is a Committee Work Day for the Georgia General Assembly.



9:30 AM HOUSE INSURANCE Property & Casualty Sub 406 CLOB







11:30 AM HOUSE Econ Dev Subcommittee: Film & Entertainment 341 CAP












Vice President Mike Pence‘s visit to Savannah’s St. Patrick’s Day parade created minimal expenses for the city, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The city of Savannah’s costs of preparing for Vice President Mike Pence’s visit during the St. Patrick’s Day parade on Saturday amounted to $4,513, according to a press release issued Monday afternoon.

The city did not pay for any additional police officers or security enhancements during the vice president’s visit, and Secret Service staffing and other resources used by the Secret Service were paid for by the federal government, according to city officials.

The Savannah Morning News editors write that Pence’s visit made a difference for the festivities.

Yet the 2018 parade will forever forward be known as the Pence parade. Whether you considered his presence an honor or an insult, an incredible opportunity or an inconvenience, he left his mark. His supporters seemed to float at the prospect of seeing him while his detractors seemed just as excited to share in his appearance.

By all reports, Pence enjoyed the visit. “Huge crowd today in Georgia!” he said on his Twitter account. Wife “Karen and I were honored to walk with my mom, Nancy, in the Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Thanks Mayor DeLoach for hosting us and grateful to all who turned out.”

His attendance dominated conversations along the parade route. Most revolved around what motivated him to come here versus another St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Neither he nor his staff ever said beyond noting his pride in his Irish heritage. His only obvious connection to Georgia is his chief of staff, Nick Ayers, who was born and raised in suburban Atlanta.

Perhaps Ayers suggested a Savannah visit to his boss, or maybe Rep. Buddy Carter, a second-term Republican in the House, is gaining clout and subtly planted the seed. Regardless, Pence and his family walked Bull Street on Saturday under the watchful eyes of hundreds of security personnel, including rooftop snipers, and thousands of his fellow citizens.

House Bill 876 by State Rep. John Corbett (R-Lake Park) passed the Senate yesterday and will preempt cities and counties from banning wood construction where it is permissible under the State Fire Code. From WABE:

Supporters of the bill say it’s good for rural Georgia and the state’s agriculture industry.

“We hear a lot of talk about rural Georgia and we want to help rural Georgia, said state Sen. John Wilkinson, A Republican from Toccoa, who sponsored the law in the state Senate. “This is a bill that the Georgia forestry commission is very interested in. Forestry is critical to Georgia.”

Opponents say if you go to a construction site that uses wood a lot of the lumber is from out-of-state. And they say laws like this restrict cities’ abilities to govern themselves.

“I’m not against lumber, let’s make that perfectly clear. But I am in favor of the local control aspect,” said Republican state Sen. Fran Millar, who represents Sandy Springs.

By Jill Nolin for the Dalton Daily Citizen:

he proposal, sponsored by Rep. John Corbett, R-Lake Park, is a response to local bans in fast-growing Sandy Springs and other suburban areas of Atlanta, where local officials have prohibited wood-framed buildings taller than three stories or larger than 100,000 square feet.

Corbett argued that the Atlanta area — where development is booming — is an important market for the timber industry.

“We’re not forcing anybody to use wood,” Corbett said Monday. “We’re just asking them not to ban it.”

But Atlanta lawmakers claim the proposal goes too far and will prevent local officials from making decisions in the best interest of their residents. Sen. Fran Millar, R-Atlanta, said the state might find itself in court over the matter.

“It’s about local control,” Millar said. “If the bill passes (as is), I’m afraid you may see some lawsuits. I’m not threatening anybody. I’m just saying here’s a fact.”

A lawsuit against the Boy Scouts and other organizations has been dismissed but may be given new life by legislation under the Gold Dome. From the Athens Banner-Herald:

The Clarke County lawsuit, filed last year, alleged the churches and the Scouts had endangered the public with a “persuasive and systematic cover-up” of those identities.

Darren Penn, the lawyer for the men suing the Boy Scouts and Boland’s estate, said the men will file suit again, but just when, and on what grounds, depends on a bill now pending in the Georgia Legislature.

[A]nother big reason is that a law pending in the Georgia Senate could change the legal landscape for such lawsuits, filed by grown victims years and even decades after the abuse they underwent as children.

House Bill 605, the “Hidden Predator Act of 2018,” has broad bipartisan support. Introduced by Rep. Jason Spencer, R-Woodbine, it passed the Georgia House by a vote of 170-0.

Georgia law allows victims of childhood abuse to sue up to the age of 23, but the Hidden Predator Act would extend that age to 38 for abuse occurring after July 1, 2018.

Macon-Bibb County Commissioners are increasingly urgent about their need for legislation allowing higher taxes, according to Maggie Lee of the Macon Telegraph.

Commissioners are asking lawmakers to support legislation enabling residents to vote on a 1 percent Other Local Option Sales Tax, or OLOST. Without that extra source of revenue, the county could be forced to increase its property tax rate and reduce services, county officials have said.

And with the legislative session winding down, commissioners also asked Monday for community members to call legislators, especially Republicans, to support a 50-50 split of OLOST revenue, with half used for a millage rate rollback and half for the county’s general fund operations.

Major General Gary Brito has been installed as the new commanding general for Fort Benning, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

“First, it’s quite an honor to be selected as the commander of the Maneuver Center of Excellence,” Brito said in a brief news conference after the change of command ceremony in which he took over for outgoing commander, Maj. Gen. Eric J. Wesley. “And as the first African American, it is an extreme honor and a privilege. I am well aware that I stand on the shoulders of those who have come before me — paratroopers, Rangers, all soldiers who have done great things. I am extremely privileged to be standing here today, acknowledging the great accomplishments of many soldiers before me.”

Brito was commissioned through ROTC as an Infantry Officer in March 1987 after graduating from Penn State University with a Bachelor of Science in Urban Planning. His first assignment as a young lieutenant was at Fort Benning. He also completed Ranger School here. He worked in the Officer Candidate School during one point in his career and was back at Fort Benning for a third time in 2004 when he was a battalion commander with the 3rd Infantry, 3rd Brigade, which was assigned to Fort Benning at the time.

“Although there have been many changes since I last served here, I can tell what remains the same — and I have learned this over the last few days — are the people,” Brito said. “Soldiers, families, retirees, and our community and state partners, both collectively and individually make Fort Benning, Georgia, a fantastic place to serve.”

Former State Rep. Mike Cheokas (R-Americus) is campaigning to retake the State House seat he previously held, according to the Americus Sumter Observer.

Michael Cheokas, the former State Representative of the 138th District which includes Sumter, Schley, Marion, and Chattahoochee Counties, has qualified as the Republican candidate in this May’s election. Cheokas was defeated in 2016 by the current State Rep Dan McGowan, who is stepping down.

In 2010 Cheokas changed parties after the citizens of the 138th District voted for him to represent them as a Democrat. The switch angered Americus Democrats, and many of the Black community were outraged by his move to the Republicans.

Muscogee County Clerk of Superior Court Ann Hardman died suddenly Monday and a Special Election will be held November 6th to fill the seat, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

A special election will be held November 6 simultaneously with the general election, the mayor explained. The qualifying date will be set by the Board of Elections at their next meeting in April, she said, and she expects qualifying to begin sometime in July.

“It will probably be contemporaneous with the date for qualifying for independent candidates so there will be some continuity as to the process,” Tomlinson said. “… So you will be hearing more about that.”

Gwinnett County Tax Commissioner Richard Steele reminds homeowners that homestead exemption applications are due April 1st.

Voters in Clermont head to the polls today to elect a new member to the Town Council representing Ward 1.

Glynn County Commission District 3 candidates met in a forum to discuss the issues, according to The Brunswick News.

Democrat Barbara Baisden was born and raised in Brunswick. She retired from teaching in 2010, but ended up back at Satilla Marsh as a substitute.

Two Republicans are running for the seat — Thomas Boland and Wayne Neal. They will face off in the primary election in May.

The primaries are May 22 and the general election is Nov. 6. The last days people can register to vote are April 23 for the primary and Oct. 9 for the general election. For more information, call the Glynn County Board of Elections at 912-554-7060.

Savannah Parking control officers are testing electric vehicles for their collection of the tourist tax, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The pilot project is Savannah’s first attempt to integrate electric vehicles into its fleet, with results supporting a strategic plan priority to convert 15 percent of the city’s vehicle fleet to alternate fuels or hybrid technology by 2023. Savannah Sustainability Director Nick Deffley expects to add eight electric vehicles to the fleet, probably on lease, this year.

Electric vehicles are well suited to the work of many city fleet vehicles in Savannah. The limited range – the 2015 Leaf’s range is officially 84 miles – is not a problem. Williams said his vehicle never fell below an estimated 70 miles on its dashboard range indicator even when he patrolled the southern and farthest edge of parking services’ jurisdiction near Forsyth Park. The test vehicle was charged daily by plugging it into a regular 110-volt outlet in a city garage.

Georgia Power provided a data collector inside the vehicle to help the city track how the car is typically used and allow comparisons to a gas-powered vehicle doing the same job. That data is still being analyzed to assess use patterns and the appropriateness for converting specific city vehicles to electric. Generally, electric vehicle fuel costs are about 70 percent lower than those of gas-powered vehicles, Deffley said.


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for March 19, 2018

The Gwinnett County Animal Shelter is offering free dog and cat adoptions on Fridays in March.

The center announced this past week that it is offering the free pet adoptions on Fridays in March. Officials said several pets — dogs and cats, to be exact — have undergone examinations by animal shelter staff, received their vaccinations and been either neutered or spayed, making them ready to be adopted.

Normally, it would cost someone $30 to adopt a cat, or $90 to adopt a dog, from the shelter.

“Please keep in mind that adopting an animal is a decision that should include responsible planning for space, permission if renting and follow-up veterinarian care from a local clinic,” county officials said in a statement. “Animals are forever family members that require love, attention, exercise and stimulation, and can live 10 years or longer depending on age and breed. Please consider this upon planning to adopt.”

Click here to see adoptable pets at the Gwinnett shelter.

Birdie Gwinnett

Birdie is a five-year old female Dachshund mix who is available for adoption from Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA.

Gwinett DB-01

DB-01 is a young female German Shepherd mix who is available for adoption from Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA.

Gwinnett Pen 230

Pen 320 is a young male Pit Bill mix puppy who is available for adoption from Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 19, 2018

James Madison, drafter of the Constitution and fourth President of the United States, was born on March 16, 1751.

On March 17, 1762, the first St. Patrick’s Day Parade was held in New York City by Irish serving in the British army; the date commemorates the death of St. Patrick in 461. The first St. Patrick’s Day parade in Savannah, Georgia was held in 1813.

On March 18, 1766, the British Parliament repealed the Stamp Act, which required American colonists to purchase a stamp for every legal or printed document they obtained.  Revenue would be used to support the British army in America.

The Stamp Act led Patrick Henry to denounce King George III, the British Monarch at the time of the passage of the Stamp Act and the ensuing Revolutionary War; Henry’s later “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech to the Virginia Assembly at St. John’s Church in Richmond, Virginia, listed by Time magazine as one of the top ten speeches of all time. Henry later opposed adoption of the Constitution, arguing it was incomplete without a Bill of Rights; after the Bill of Rights was adopted, Henry was satisfied.

The United States Military Academy was established at West Point, New York on March 16, 1802.

On February 19, 1807, Aaron Burr was arrested in the Mississippi Territory, in what is now Alabama. Burr had served as Vice President during the first term of President Thomas Jefferson, leaving the administration after the 1804 election; later Jefferson issued a warrant accusing Burr of treason.

On March 16, 1861, delegates in Savannah unanimously ratified the Confederate Constitution and voted to have a new state constitution drafted.

On March 17, 1866, Governor Charles Jones Jenkins signed legislation granting African-Americans the same rights as whites for contracts, suits, inheritance, property, and punishments for violation of the law.

On March 19, 1916, the first American military air combat mission began in support of an incursion into Mexico under President Woodrow Wilson.

On March 17, 1933, Governor Eugene Talmadge signed a joint resolution of the state legislature to place a plaque on the wall of the Georgia Capitol commemorating the 200th Anniversary of the founding of Georgia.

On March 18, 1939, the State of Georgia ratified the Bill of Rights, which were proposed 150 years earlier in 1789. Georgia initially declined to ratify the Bill of Rights arguing that the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution were unnecessary. Governor E.D. Rivers signed the joint resolution six days later, but under federal court decisions the ratification is marked as of the date the second house of the state legislature adopts the legislation (assuming a bi-cameral state legislature).

On March 18, 1942, the United States government, under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, created the War Relocation Authority to “Take all people of Japanese descent into custody, surround them with troops, prevent them from buying land, and return them to their former homes at the close of the war.” More than 120,000 Japanese Americans, many of them citizens of the United States were moved from the west coast into concentration camps in the western United States.

The 442nd Regimental Combat Team, composed entirely of Japanese Americans, many of whose families were interned at the camps, became the most-decorated unit of World War II, with members being awarded 4,667 medals, awards, and citations, including 1 Medal of Honor, 52 Distinguished Service Crosses, and 560 Silver Stars; eventually 21 members of the 442nd would be awarded the Medal of Honor. The late United States Senator Daniel Inouye, a member of the 442nd from 1941 to 1947, was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Bill Clinton for actions during WWII. First elected to the United States Senate in 1962, Inouye became President Pro Tem in 2010.

On March 17, 1943, Governor Ellis Arnall signed legislation creating a commission to revise the 1877 Constitution of Georgia.

On March 18, 1947, Herman Talmadge surrendered the Governor’s office, ending the “Three Governors Affair.” Earlier this year, the General Assembly honored the late Governor Melvin Thompson, who was elected the first Lieutenant Governor of Georgia and became Governor at the conclusion of the Three Governors Affair.

On March 19, 1947, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled in Thompson v. Talmadge on the “Three Governors Affair.” The Court held that the Georgia General Assembly lacked authority to elect Herman Talmadge as Governor, and that because of the death of Eugene Talmadge before he took office, no successor to Gov. Ellis Arnall was in place until the newly-elected Lt. Governor Melvin Johnson was sworn in and became Governor, succeeding Arnall.

On March 18, 1955, the Georgia Educators Association endorsed “equal but separate” schools for the races.

On March 18, 1961, the United States Supreme Court decided the case of Gray v. Sanders, which arose from Georgia. Three politically-important results come from the case.

First, the Court held that state regulation of the Democratic Primary made the primary election a state action, not merely that of a private organization; thus, the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment applies.

Second, the Equal Protection Clause requires that every vote be given equal weight in electing officials, often stated as the “one person, one vote” rule. In Georgia at that time, each County had between two and six “county unit votes”. As a result,

“One unit vote in Echols County represented 938 residents, whereas one unit vote in Fulton County represented 92,721 residents. Thus, one resident in Echols County had an influence in the nomination of candidates equivalent to 99 residents of Fulton County.”

Third, because the County Unit System gave the votes of some Georgians greater weight than that of others, it violated the Equal Protection Clause. The “one person, one vote” rule is one benchmark of redistricting.

On March 16, 1976, former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter won the Illinois Democratic Primary. His spiritual successor President Barack Obama, from Illinois, would visit Carter’s home state of Georgia on March 16, 2012.

On March 18, 1976, Governor George Busbee signed legislation recognizing the following official state symbols:

Staurolite – Official Mineral of Georgia
Shark’s Tooth – Official Fossil of Georgia
Clear Quartz – Official Gem of Georgia
Purple Quartz (Amethyst) – Official Gem of Georgia

On March 19, 2003, President George W. Bush announced the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom in order to depose Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and eliminate the country’s ability to produce weapons of mass destruction.

March 19, 2014 was “Bo Callaway Day” in Georgia and flags flew at half-staff in honor of the late Georgia Congressman and former Secretary of the Army.

“Few individuals throughout our history can match the legacy that Bo Callaway left on Georgia politics,” Deal said. “Bo blazed a trail that led to the dramatic growth of the Georgia GOP, which went from virtually nonexistent when he ran for governor to holding every statewide elected office today. Bo stood up for what he believed in even when the odds and the political system were stacked against him. Georgians are all the better for it. Sandra and I send our deepest sympathies to the Callaway family.”

March 19, 2014 was also the first time I wrote about the lack of an “Official State Dog of Georgia.”

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Today is the 36th Legislative Day of the 2018 Session of the Georgia General Assembly.Continue Reading..


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for March 15, 2018


Harrison is a male Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of South Coastal Georgia in Brunswick, GA.

Calling all Scooby-Doo fans, we found the real deal! Harrison is a 2-year-old mixed breed pupper found as a stray on St. Simons. This comical boy has a goofy smile and a personality that will keep you entertained for hours on end. While his history is a mystery, he appears to be house trained, good with other dogs, knows a few basic commands and loves to sit in your lap. (He has no idea he’s too big!)


Aurora is a female Beagle mix who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of South Coastal Georgia in Brunswick, GA. She is good with other dogs, cats, and children.


Cricket is a female Catahoula Leopard Dog & Labrador Retriever who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Camden County in Kingsland, GA.

I’m a naturally playful, curious, and trusting canine. Take me for a big walk every day; give me something to do. After my job’s done, I’ll curl up in front of the fire with you in the evenings. Recommend children 12 years and older


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 15, 2018

On March 15, 44 BC, Julius Caesar was assassinated at a meeting of the Senate.

On March 15, 40 BC, Octavian executed 300 Senators and knights in vengeance for Caesar’s death.

On March 15, 1758, Georgia’s Royal Governor Henry Ellis signed legislation dividing the colony into eight parishes, primarily for religious administration, but with some parishes having secondary government functions.

On March 15, 1933, Governor Eugene Talmadge negotiated bank loans totalling $2 million dollars to keep the state’s public schools open.

On March 15, 1943, Sea Island was officially named as Governor Ellis Arnall signed legislation designating the island that had informally been given several different names.

On March 15, 1980, USS Carl Vinson, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, was launched at Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia. Vinson was the first Navy ship named after a living American.

Howard “Bo’ Callaway, the father of the modern Georgia Republican Party, died on March 15, 2014.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections


Vice President Mike Pence‘s visit to Savannah’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade this weekend will cause some additional security measures, according to the Savannah Morning News.

At a press conference on Wednesday, the city announced that the Secret Service will control a 12-block “enhanced security zone” extending from Bay Street to Oglethorpe Avenue between Whitaker and Drayton streets.

A number of items – including folding chairs, coolers, backpacks, purses, tents and alcoholic beverages – will not be allowed to enter the controlled zone.

The selling and consumption of alcohol will still be permitted within the control zone, but only in to-go cups provided by the bars and restaurants within its borders.

Pence will arrive on Air Force Two at Georgia Air National Guard at 10 a.m. Saturday, according to a White House official speaking on background.

Pence will join DeLoach on the balcony of City Hall and later walk down Bull Street to celebrate with local leaders, parade officials and the citizens of Savannah.

Governor Nathan Deal yesterday appointed Donald Whitaker as interim Sheriff of Worth County. The elected Sheriff Jeff Hobby was previously suspended from office in November 2017 after being indicted; Bobby Sapp was named interim Sheriff at that time but stepped down due to a medical condition. Last week, Sheriff Hobby was indicted for allegedly recording conversations between prisoners and their lawyers. From the AJC on the most recent indictments:

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation last month opened a new inquiry into the sheriff’s conduct, according to WALB News in Albany, after a tipster came forward with allegations that the sheriff had installed an illegal recording device in the attorney-client room at the jail.

A GBI spokeswoman on Monday said the sheriff turned himself in Friday after being charged with 66 counts of eavesdropping and illegal surveillance charges and one count of violation of oath of office.

 Legislative Day 35 convenes today at 10 AM in both chambers.




Upon Adjournment SENATE RULES 450 CAP


12:30 PM HOUSE Ways & Means Sub Public Finance and Policy 403 CAP – Upon Adjmnt












HB 344 – Paternity; parties beyond movants in a child support case request a genetic test; allow (Substitute) (JUDY-13th) Dempsey-13th
HB 751 – Georgia Emergency Communications Authority Act; enact (Substitute) (PUB SAF-18th) Powell-32nd
HB 754 – Insurance; division of a domestic insurer into two or more resulting domestic insurers; provisions (I&L-9th) Shaw-176th
HB 769 – Health; recommendations from the House Rural Development Council; implement (Substitute) (H&HS-11th) Jasperse-11th
HB 831 – Georgia’s Employment First Act; enact (ED&T-30th) Rogers-10th
HB 844 – Georgia Commission on Hearing Impaired and Deaf Persons; revise provisions (H&HS-9th) Houston-170th
HB 907 – Public officers and employees; appointment and election of successor in event of vacancy in the office of district attorney; provide (JUDY-23rd) Fleming-121st
HR 1090 – Jeff Davis County; Crisp County; change of use of certain property; authorize (SI&P-51st) Watson-172nd
HR 1104 – Property; granting of non-exclusive easements; authorize (Substitute) (SI&P-15th) Greene-151st


Modified Open Rule
HR 1260 – House Study Committee on Juvenile Court Judges; create (JuvJ-Ballinger-23rd)
HR 1363 – United States Congress; amend Controlled Substances Act of 1970 to reclassify marijuana as a Schedule II drug; urge (H&HS-Cooper-43rd)
SB 82 – HOPE; need based HOPE scholarship and grant; create (HEd-Blackmon-146th) Jackson-2nd
SB 330 – “Green Agricultural Education Act”; three-component model; provide (Substitute)(Ed-Dickey-140th) Wilkinson-50th
SB 381 – Surplus Line Insurance; nonadmitted insurer domiciled in this state will be deemed a domestic surplus lines insurer if certain criteria are met; provide (Ins-Williamson-115th) Thompson-14th
SB 395 – Georgia Joint Defense Commission; create (Substitute) (ED&T-Belton-112th) Watson-1st

Modified Structured Rule
SB 118 – Autism; age limit for coverage for autism spectrum disorders for an individual covered under a policy or contract; change (Substitute) (Ins-Smith-134th) Unterman-45th (AM 37 0401)
SB 321 – Medicaid Claims; false or fraudulent; recover the maximum penalty authorized by federal law; increase the civil penalties (Substitute) (Judy-Beskin-54th) Tillery-19th
SB 406 – “Georgia Long-term Care Background Check Program” enact; public safety; promote (Substitute)(HumR-Efstration-104th) Strickland-17th
SB 436 – Probate Courts; general provisions; change and modernize (Substitute)(Judy-Fleming-121st) Strickland-17th

Structured Rule
SB 328 Income Tax; expiration of certain income tax credits; provide (Substitute)(W&M-Harrell-106th) Albers-56th

Today from 11:30 to 1 PM, a screening of Intervention will be held at the Georgia State Capitol in Room 341.


State Rep. Matt Dubnik (R-Gainesville) passed his first bill, HB 784, creating a license plate to raise funds for waterfowl and their habitat. From the Gainesville Times,

Dubnik passed his true first bill out of the legislature earlier this month, but that bill was a minor piece of legislation that he had been asked to carry by House leadership and that didn’t affect his district, he said.

“I will probably remember this one as my first one,” Dubnik said, laughing, about HB 784.

Dubnik has been involved with Ducks Unlimited for the past 15 years, including a 6-year stint as head of fundraising for the group in Georgia. Each year, the environmental conservation group raises more than $2 million in the state.

“More than 90 percent of members claim to be hunters, but we’re not a political activist group around hunting,” Dubnik said on Wednesday, March 15. “We certainly embrace our hunting heritage, but we’re in the land conservation business.”

House Bill 879 by State Rep. Jeff Jones (R-Brunswick), received a “Do Pass” recommendation from the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and the Environment. From the Brunswick News:

Senate Natural Resources and Environment Committee Chairman Tyler Harper, R-Ocilla, said it was the committee’s intention to get the bill to the floor quickly.

“We did have this in subcommittee and we did take testimony in subcommittee, so my plan is to get you to present your plan before the full committee, and we’ll move through it quite rapidly,” Harper said during a hearing this week.

“HB 879 achieves an expanded public notice when coal ash ponds are being drained into the local waters within a community, by requiring that an ad be placed in the legal organ in that community once the commencing of the coal ash dewatering — as it’s called, or pond draining — has begun,” Jones said. “And the purpose of that is just to give the locals the opportunity to know what’s going on in their communities.”

A raft of legislation aimed at controlling Fulton County tax assessments passed both chambers of the General Assembly, according to

Senate Bill 317 and House Bills 707, 708, 710, 711 and 712 have all cleared both chambers, and will now move onto to Governor Nathan Deal for his signature or rejection.

The bills would expand current protections for the Fulton County portion of property tax bills. The bills would also add protections for the Fulton County School Board portion of property tax bills and portions for the cities of Roswell, Johns Creek, Alpharetta, Milton and Mountain Park.

New homestead exemptions in those cities and for the school system would freeze homeowners’ tax assessments at the 2016 level. It would allow increases up to 3 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is less (the city of Sandy Springs already has this in place). The homestead exemptions would remain in place as long as homeowners own their homes. The more current assessment would take effect and become the new “frozen” level once a home is sold.

Senator Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody) proposed an amendment that would prevent local elected officials from receiving a pay raise they voted on until after their reelection, according to the AJC.

“If you’re in office when the pay raise is approved, you can’t get it till the term expires,” Millar, whose district includes part of DeKalb, told members of the House Governmental Affairs Committee on Wednesday. “Nobody should get a raise during the middle of their term.”

The amendment applies to all Georgia counties and says that commissioners who vote on their own raises cannot make them effective during their current terms. The 3 percent raise that DeKalb commissioners approved for CEO Mike Thurmond also would be delayed until 2021.

Senate Bill 403 by Sen. Bruce Thompson (R-White) passed out of the House Governmental Affairs Committee yesterday, according to the AJC.

The legislation, Senate Bill 403, would replace the state’s 16-year-old electronic voting machines with a system that creates a paper backup to ensure accuracy.

“We want to have paper ballots that deliver for voters more confidence,” said state Rep. Ed Setzler, R-Acworth. “The public recognizes that the best-in-class technology for voting is a combination of technology with paper so that you have a verifiable, recountable, physically retallyable ballot.”

The legislation is on track for a vote in the full House of Representatives after the committee approved it on a voice vote. If it passes there, it would return to the Senate for further consideration.

Flowery Branch city government is moving to a new City Hall this week.

Columbia County public schools Superintendent Dr. Sandra Carraway asked the county Board of Education to consider options to enhance school safety, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

She proposed the options to the board at its meeting Tuesday night – the day before planned observances at the county’s five public high schools commemorating the fatal Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Fla.

Carraway said she met recently with about 15 Columbia County sheriff’s deputies on another matter, but while waiting for all the officers to arrive at that meeting, conversation among those gathered turned to school safety.

But when she asked deputies how many of them felt teachers should be armed, all the deputies raised their hands.

While school-system officers patrol the county’s elementary campuses, no officers are stationed permanently at those 18 schools. The district now has eight officers – one posted at each of the five high schools and three at middle schools.

Port Wentworth Mayor Gary Norton has asked for the resignations of the City Manager and attorney at the request of City Council members.

The Glynn County Republican Party will host a candidate meet and greet at Bennie’s Red Barn on St Simons Island on March 24th.

Glynn County Board of Education Post 1 (At-large) will see a contested Republican Primary and a contested general election this year.

Two Cherokee County Board of Education seats will have primary elections in May, according to the Cherokee Tribune & Ledger-News.

Lowndes County E-SPLOST sales tax collections increased more than $100k in February over the same month in 2017, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for March 14, 2018


Vivienne is a young female Boykin Spaniel who is available for adoption from Hero Dog Rescue in Cumming, GA.


Bohdi is a male Dachshund and Chihuahua mix puppy who is available for adoption from Hero Dog Rescue in Cumming, GA.


Skye is a female Shepherd mix who is available for adoption from Forsyth County Animal Shelter in Cumming, GA.


Bonnie is a female Doberman Pinscher mix puppy who is available for adoption from Forsyth County Animal Shelter in Cumming, GA.

Columbus City Council adopted a resolution opposing Senate Bill 418 and House Bill 948, both of which would preempt the power of local governments to ban retail sales of any goods regulated by the US Department of Agriculture, Georgia Department of Agriculture, or the Food and Drug Administration.

WHEREAS, various bills have been introduced in the 2018 Session of the Georgia General Assembly that would preempt local governments from banning the sale at retail or other regulation of dogs and cats in Georgia communities;

WHEREAS, local governments should be able to make these important policy decisions that affect animal owners and advocates in our local communities; and

WHEREAS, this Council desires that the local legislative delegation to the Georgia General Assembly oppose any further amendments to legislation or substitutes which would preempt local regulation of these matters.


We hereby respectfully request that the local legislative delegation to the Georgia General Assembly oppose any further amendments to legislation or substitutes which would preempt local regulation of the sale at retail or other regulation of dogs and cats or similar matters in Georgia communities.

Let a copy of this resolution be forwarded by the Clerk of Council to each member of the local delegation to the Georgia General Assembly.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 14, 2018

Albert Einstein was born on March 14, 1879.

S. Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-fil-A, was born on March 14, 1921.

Elvis Presley played the Fox Theater in Atlanta on March 21, 1956.

The largest traffic accident in Georgia history occurred on March 14, 2001 on I-75 in Catoosa County, involving 125 cars, injuring 39 people and killing 5.

Happy Birthday to Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives David Ralston.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Election


Governor Nathan Deal this week signed House Bill 626 by State Rep. Todd Jones (R-South Forsyth), authorizing the creation of the City of Sharon Springs, Georgia in Forsyth County, subject to a referendum on the May 2018 Primary Election ballot. From the Forsyth County News:

District 25 state Rep. Todd Jones said rather than being for or against the proposed city, he was happy voters would get the chance to decide on the matter.

“I am happy because the process won out and this gives the citizens of south Forsyth the opportunity to have their voices heard,” Jones said. “It gives them an opportunity over the next couple of months to hopefully work together, but I also understand there will be sides.”

He added that he hoped “those sides advocate in a passionate, cordial, neighborly, fact-based way to make sure that as many people as possible get educated as possible to ensure that when they go to the ballot box on May 22 that they’re able to make an informed decision.”

Voters living in the area of the proposed city will vote on cityhood in the May 22 primary. To pass, the bill will need the support of at least 57.5 percent of voters, a compromise between a simple majority and two-thirds majority.

If approved, Sharon Springs would begin with three services— zoning, sanitation and code enforcement— and would have a millage rate capped at .5 mills. One mill equals $1 for every $1,000 in assessed property value, which is 40 percent of the actual market value.

“I am happy to see that our system is working and our citizens will have self-determination and they can vote whether they would like to have more government,” Forsyth County Commission Chairman Todd Levent said, later adding that “[the information] tells me this is going to cost the citizens more than they think or are being told, more government or not.”

Under the Gold Dome Today

Legislative Day 34, both chambers convene at 10 AM.



8:00 AM HOUSE NATL RES Envtal Quality Sub 515 CLOB















4:00 PM HOUSE JUDY (Civil) Fleming Sub 132 CAP

4:00 PM House Regulated Ind Regulations Sub 506 CLOB

HB 513 – Domestic relations; signs to be posted at certain medical facilities where a newborn child may be left; provide (Substitute) (H&HS-17th) Dickerson-113th
HB 695 – Special license plates; Georgia Forestry Foundation; establish (NR&E-18th) Epps-144th
HB 784 – Specialty license plates; promote conservation of waterfowl populations and their habitats; establish (NR&E-28th) Dubnik-29th
HB 830 – Controlled substances; Schedule I and II; change certain provisions (JUDY-13th) Harden-148th
HB 888 – Ad valorem tax; certain reporting requirements; change (Substitute) (FIN-28th) Knight-130th
HB 909 – Health; designation of perinatal facilities; provisions (H&HS-52nd) Silcox-52nd

Modified Open Rule
HR 1376 – House Rural Development Council; solicit input from hospitals in the state on the financial conditions of such hospitals; urge (H&HS-Hatchett-150th)
SB 333 – Deferred Compensation Plans; governing authority of a municipality may pay costs/fees associated with employee’s participation; provide (Ret-Battles-15th) Black-8th
SB 357 – Health Coordination and Innovation Council of the State of Georgia; create (Substitute)(H&HS-Jasperse-11th) Burke-11th
SB 425 – Professional Land Surveyors; provisions; change (Substitute) (RegI-Rakestraw-19th) Gooch-51st
SR 794 – Joint Georgia-North Carolina and Georgia-Tennessee Boundary Line Commission; create (IntC-Morris-26th) Miller-49th

Structured Rule
SB 382 – Optometrists guidance and consultation by the Department of Public Health; provide (H&HS-Rhodes-120th) Martin-9th

The Associated Press has more on Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to Savannah on Saturday.

Mayor Eddie DeLoach plans to host Pence and members of the vice president’s family Saturday, when locals and tourists toting plastic cups of beer will cram the sidewalks and oak-shaded squares along the 2.25-mile (3.6-kilometer) parade route through Savannah’s downtown historic district.

“It’s always fun to have a special guest come to the parade,” Michelle Gavin, a city spokeswoman, told reporters at a news conference Tuesday. “And what a great honor to have the vice president of the United Sates come to the parade and shine a national spotlight on this event.”

At least two sitting presidents — William Howard Taft in 1912 and Jimmy Carter in 1978 — have visited Savannah on St. Patrick’s Day to address the evening banquet of the local Hibernian Society, the Irish social group that started Savannah’s parade 194 years ago.

Pence has proudly noted in political speeches that his maternal grandfather, Richard Michael Cawley, came to the U.S. from Ireland in 1923.

“He got off that boat an Irish lad,” Pence said in 2006, when he served in Congress. “He died an American, and I am an American because of him.”

Three candidates for Mayor of Athens-Clarke County met in a forum Monday night, according to the Athens Banner-Herald.

Richie Knight, Kelly Girtz and Harry Sims faced off at the Athens-Clarke County Library’s Appleton Auditorium, giving brief statements about who they are and why they are running, then answering questions from the audience and from the group that organized the forum, the Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement.

The three candidates include two longtime members of the Athens-Clarke Commission, Sims and Girtz, and political newcomer Richie Knight. Sims and Girtz are both stepping down from the commission to run for mayor. Sims resigned his seat last month to give election officials time to schedule an election for his seat on the same election day, May 22, as the mayor’s race and several other commission seats. Girtz didn’t have to resign because his term is up at the end of the year.

Former Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price repaid the federal government $60,000 for charter plane flights he took for official business, according to the Athens Banner-Herald.

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr referred for prosecution a complaint alleging Open Records violations in the City of Atlanta.

Statesboro City Council District Five voters will elect a new member on May 22d, with qualifying being held March 26-28.

The Bibb County Commission District One seat is likely to remain vacant for nine months after Commissioners declined to put the post on the May ballot, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Multiple commissioners cited concerns Tuesday about the costs of the special election and the confusion it could cause voters. They also said that the short time frame leaves people who might be interested in becoming commissioner with little time to decide.

Dawsonville voters will choose a new Mayor in a bizarre election next Tuesday, March 20th.

Current Mayor Mike Eason will face former Mayor James Grogan at the ballot box on Tuesday when the special election voting day commences.

Each is seeking to fill the unexpired term of Grogan, who was officially removed from office in October.

If elected during the March 20 special election, Grogan would be working with two city council members who voted for his removal in May of 2016, Caleb Phillips and Jason Power.

[Grogan] was removed from office after a city-council initiated investigation into allegations that he had misused city funds and violated the city charter. Grogan appealed the decision to the Superior Court but his appeal was denied.

Earlier this week, a Superior Court Judge ordered Grogan to repay more than $25,000 to the city.

Banks County Commissioners voted to create an historic preservation commission.

Augusta Commission members voted to move forward converting the old Joint Law Enforcement Center into a Juvenile Justice campus.

Decatur County Commissioners voted to join the national lawsuit against some opioid manufacturers.

The Glynn County Board of Elections is challenging the residency in District 4 of Democratic County Commission candidate Vicki Greene.

Greene’s address is listed on the Georgia Secretary of State’s website as 13 Ibis Cove in western Glynn County, which is in county commission District 1, according to the county’s property records.

At-large candidates can live in any district, but “all other candidates shall offer for election to the board from the commissioner district in which their legal residence lies,” according to the county’s ordinances.

Greene confirmed she did live outside District 4, but declined to comment on the matter.

Nineteen candidates are running for Mayor or City Council in this year’s Columbus municipal elections, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

Of the 19 people who officially qualified for city races this week to run for mayor or one of six Columbus Council seats up for grabs more than 50 percent are first-time candidates.

One candidate for mayor listed his occupation as God/Jesus.

“Definitely, we are seeing a lot of newcomers entering the political process,” said Muscogee County Elections and Registration Director Nancy Boren in an interview with the Ledger-Enquirer. “We’re seeing a lot of younger people who are qualifying to run for office.”

When it’s all said and done, Columbus will have a new mayor to replace the outgoing Mayor Teresa Tomlinson, who will leave office at the end of the year due to term limits. There also will be at least two new councilors on the dais, representing District 5 and District 10.

Chatham County Superior Court Judge James F. Bass Jr. ruled that Savannah can halt short term vacation rentals while a lawsuit seeking to invalidate the law is litigated.

Hall County is seeing a bumper crop of Democratic candidates this year, according to the Gainesville Times.

[Alana] Watkins is running for a Georgia House seat in District 29, a seat currently held by Rep. Matt Dubnik, R-Gainesville. She’s one of seven Democratic candidates who qualified to run for local office this year in Hall County across races for federal, state and county offices.

Seven candidates is more than the party has fielded in 2016, 2014, 2012 and 2010 — combined. In 2014, the county party qualified zero people, according to chairman Kim Copeland. The most it put up in those four cycles was three people in 2010.

A Woodstock lawyer claims that Cherokee County Solicitor General Jessica Moss is no longer qualified to hold the office because she and her husband sold their home and are now renting elsewhere in the County, according to the Cherokee Tribune & Ledger-News.

Moss said she has changed her driver license and voter registration to her new address in Canton. She said she and her husband received an offer on their house and sold it in December. Until the end of her term on Dec. 31 they will live in a Canton apartment before retiring to a house they own in Blairsville in Union County, she said.

In his letter to the governor, Ruskell attached Moss’ state campaign disclosure filings, which have the address of the Blairsville house. “I do get some mail there, yes,” she said. “But, I live here until my term is up.”


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for March 13, 2018

Hannah ACRF

Hannah is a female Dachshund and Corgi mix who is available for adoption from Animal Companion Rescue Foundation in Norcross, GA.

Hannah is a wonderful little girl. Crate trained, barely barks, gets along with other dogs and cats, all people and children. She is simply amazing. Hannah weighs 18 lbs and we are guessing she could have some Dachshund, Terrier or even Corgi in her. But no matter what breeds she is mixed with she got all the good personality traits.

Heidi ACRF

Heidi is a young female Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Animal Companion Rescue Foundation in Norcross, GA.

Heidi is a 1 year old chocolate lab retriever mix who was found dumped on a rural Georgia road in the freezing rain. She is such a wonderful loving and sweet girl. She weighs 45 lbs and is great with dogs and loves to play. She is good with all people as well. She is house and crate trained and Settles in very nicely. She would love a play buddy and a fenced in yard to run in. She loves her walks and is an all around sweet girl who will make a wonderful family member.


Otis is a young male Border Collie and Terrier mix puppy who is available for adoption from Animal Companion Rescue Foundation in Norcross, GA.

Otis is about 12 weeks old. Maybe some border collie mix… stinking cute. He seems to be about 40/45lbs fully grown. Otis will be available for adoption shortly.