March 8, 1862 saw the Confederate ironclad CSS Virginia at Hampton Roads, VA, take ninety-eight hits from Union warships without sinking. Virginia sank USS Cumberland after ramming it, blew up USS Congress, and ran USS Minnesota aground. It was the worst day in US Naval history at that time.
On March 8, 1946, a conference convened on Wilmington Island, near Savannah, that would lead to the creation of the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, commonly called the World Bank.
On March 8, 1946, a special train arrived at Savannah’s Union Station from Washington, holding nearly 300 delegates, government officials, technical experts and reporters from 35 nations. Thousands of Savannahians watched as a 100-car motorcade rolled along flag-bedecked streets to the General Oglethorpe Hotel on Wilmington Island.
Treasury Secretary Fred M. Vinson headed the American delegation; the British were led by John Maynard Keynes, “the father of modern macroeconomics.”
The stakes were enormous.
Two years earlier, as World War II neared its murderous end, the winning Allies pondered the nature of the postwar global economy. The United States was emerging as the leader of the free world, largely supplanting the British Empire, gravely weakened by the war.
The IMF and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (better known as the World Bank) were born at a July 1944 conference in Bretton Woods, N.H., where 44 countries established rules for the global monetary system.
The IMF was intended to promote international economic cooperation and secure global financial stability, providing countries with short-term loans. The World Bank would offer long-term loans to assist developing countries in building dams, roads and other physical capital.
The Bretton Woods agreements were ratified internationally by December 1945. Vinson, seeking a site for the new organizations’ inaugural meetings, sent Treasury agents around the country. “They made some fine reports on Savannah,” he later told the Morning News. He had never visited the city.
On March 8, 1982, President Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Union “an evil empire” for the second time, in an address to the National Association of Evangelicals.
Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections
Under the Gold Dome Today – Legislative Day 28, Crossover Day
8:00 AM HOUSE Motor Vehicles Alternative Fuel Vehicles Subcommittee – 515 CLOB
9:00 AM HOUSE RULES – 341 CAP
10:00 AM HOUSE FLOOR SESSION (LD28) – House Chamber
TBD Senate Rules Upon Adjournment – 450 CAP
CLICK HERE FOR THE SENATE RULES CALENDAR
CLICK HERE FOR THE HOUSE RULES CALENDAR
From the Rome News Tribune:
Crossover Day marks the 28th day of the 40-day annual session and always brings a flurry of activity.
“We expect to go to 10 or 11 Monday night. It’s going to be a long day,” said Rep. Mitchell Scoggins, R-Cartersville, who also has a bill to shepherd through.
His House Bill 464 would transfer the authority to appoint a guardian for a minor to juvenile courts from probate courts.
“Juvenile courts can use DFCS to do a home study,” he said, referring to the Division of Family and Children’s Services. “Let them look out for the best interests of the child.”
Rep. Katie Dempsey, R-Rome, said her HB 291 is ready for the floor Monday. It expands eligibility for tuition equalization grants to some private nursing schools.
“This will help address our serious shortage of nurses,” Dempsey said. “The requirements are drawn very rigorously.”
Governor Brian Kemp and Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols announced a new broadban initiative for rural middle Georgia. From the Press Release:
Efforts to provide needed broadband service to Georgians took a step forward when Gov. Brian Kemp and PSC Commissioner Tim Echols made an announcement at Tri-County EMC’s headquarters earlier today. Gov. Kemp announced the formation of a new broadband provider in Middle Georgia, Tri-CoGo, which will provide high-speed internet service to 22,000 homes and businesses in eight Counties: Jones, Baldwin, Putnam, Jasper, Twiggs, Wilkinson, Morgan and Bibb.
This project will include a capital investment of more than $47 million by Tri-County EMC (TCEMC) to build a fiber network that will provide enhanced reliability and operational services for TCEMC electric customers while providing excess fiber capacity that will be leased to the cooperative’s broadband affiliate, Tri-CoGo, which will provide the broadband service, pending regulatory approval.
Following participation in the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) Phase 1 Auction, Tri-CoGo was awarded approximately $1.1 million to provide Gigabit service to 2,923 unserved locations in 24 census blocks within the cooperative service area. In addition to those locations, Tri-CoGo plans to offer services to all of the more than 22,000 accounts currently receiving electric service from Tri-County EMC.
Tri-County EMC is constructing the network with the assistance of Conexon, a rural fiber engineering consultant. Conexon works exclusively with electric cooperatives and is considered one of the pioneers in the electric cooperative broadband movement. Construction of the fiber network will be complete in two years, and all TCEMC members will have access to broadband services with Tri-CoGo in the months soon thereafter, as service drops are constructed and home installations are completed. Available services will include 100 Mbps, Gigabit and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephone service for residential and commercial customers.
“Today’s broadband announcement by Tri-County EMC is another exciting step toward securing greater opportunities for hardworking Georgians through expanded internet access,” said Governor Kemp. “Broadband access is critical to economic growth, better educational outcomes, and access to quality healthcare. Our EMCs are critical partners in that fight, and thanks to the passage and signing of Senate Bill 2 in 2019, they are empowered to work with the communities they serve on projects like this that lessen the digital divide in rural Georgia. I’m honored to be part of this announcement and will continue working with leaders across our state to increase broadband access and ensure a brighter future for all Georgians – no matter their zip code.”
“Ensuring the citizens of our state have access to broadband service is a key part of my goal to make our state the ‘Technology Capitol of the East Coast’,” said Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan. “Today’s announcement from Tri-County EMC continues to show how our state’s EMCs can play a key role in making that happen. Expanding broadband access has been a key priority for the Senate and I am excited to see our EMCs take another step in helping close the digital divide.”
“The availability of high-speed broadband in rural Georgia is truly a game changer – affording access to telemedicine, online learning and e-commerce,” said House Speaker David Ralston. “I am proud that our House of Representatives, guided by our House Rural Development Council, has prioritized the expansion of broadband internet resulting in announcements like Tri-County EMC’s. We will continue to work with public and private sector partners to expand economic opportunity to every corner of our state.”
“Accessing high-speed broadband is incredibly important for rural businesses and families – especially in the COVID era,” said PSC Commissioner Tim Echols. “As a utility regulator and father of seven, I’ve tried to make it easier for EMCs to engage and play a role in expanding broadband and reaching unserved and underserved areas.”
“Today is truly an exciting day for our cooperative,” said Tri-County EMC CEO Ray Grinberg. “For our members and our community, today marks the beginning of a digital revolution. Regardless of location across our service territory, every member of Tri-County EMC will soon be able to receive high-speed internet.”
“I firmly believe that high-speed internet will be a catalyst for economic development, just like rural electrification,” commented Greg Mullis, Chief Operating Officer for Tri-CoGo. “Access to one hundred percent fiber, high-speed internet for every member of Tri-County EMC may certainly have the largest impact on business development and quality of life since we brought electricity to rural middle-Georgia in 1939.”
The plan is to build a 1,600-mile fiber optic network, in order to provide broadband access to 22,000 Tri-County accounts. Tri-County has invested over $47 million in this project, Kemp says.
Kemp says they state is making other efforts. There is $40 million in its budget proposal that is dedicated to a rural innovation fund. It’s all about providing a pool of resources to empower businesses and entrepreneurs to start and expand in rural Georgia areas.
“Just to make sure that these folks in our state have opportunity as well,” Kemp said.
He says the broadband project is part of his commitment to rural Georgia.
“Addressing the lack of broadband access in rural Georgia has been a key priority of mine since the campaign trail,” Kemp said.
Governor Kemp will visit two vaccination sites today, according to 11Alive.com.
Kemp will visit the state-operated mass vaccination site in Clarkesville at 8:30 a.m. and also visit a Gwinnett County vaccination site administering shots to educators and school staff at 11:30 a.m.
The Gwinnett County site is at the old Sears building at the now mostly-unoccupied Gwinnett Place Mall in Duluth.
The state currently has mass-vaccination sites in Fulton County (Delta Air Lines Museum), Bibb County (Macon Farmers Market), Dougherty County (Albany Georgia Forestry Commission Site) and Habersham County (Fairgrounds).
They will open five additional state-run sites on March 17 in Chatham County (Gulfstream Aerospace), Ware County (Waycross Mall), Washington County (Sandersville World of Life Church), Bartow County (LakePoint Sports Complex) and Muscogee County (Columbus Civic Center).
Kemp said last week that 83,000 Johnson & Johnson vaccines set to arrive today would be prioritized for educators.
March 8 is when teachers and staff at K-12 schools, as well adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their caregivers, and parents of children with complex medical conditions who are at high risk for COVID complications became eligible to receive the vaccine.
The Associated Press looks at legislation racing to pass by the end of Crossover Day today, via AccesWDUN.
CITIZEN’S ARREST: House Bill 479 would abolish the Georgia law that allows private citizens to arrest someone, while still allowing security guards and store employees to hold people they accuse of a crime until police arrive.
LAWMAKER PAY RAISE: Pay for Georgia’s 180 House members and 56 senators would nearly double under House Bill 675. Most statewide elected officials would also get substantial boosts in pay. Proponents say lawmaker pay hasn’t changed since 1999.
PATIENT VISITATION: Hospitals and nursing homes would be required to allow visitors, after many cut visitor access because of the coronavirus pandemic, under House Bill 290.
SPORTS BETTING: Senate Resolution 135 and Senate Bill 142 would let Georgia’s voters decide whether they’ll allow sports betting. Lawmakers would split the proceeds among college scholarships for low income students, expanded high speed internet access and rural health care services.
TIME CHANGE: House Bill 44 calls for Georgia to permanently switch to daylight saving time if the U.S. Congress authorizes it. Senate Bill 100 calls for Georgia to observe standard time year round, unless Congress lets states switch to daylight saving time permanently.
CASINO GAMBLING: None of the various measures that would authorize casinos have passed out of committee.
HORSE RACING: None of the various measures that would authorize betting on horse racing have passed out of committee.
From the AJC:
The fate of some of Georgia’s most pressing bills might be decided Monday, a long day of voting on proposals that could include measures addressing absentee voting and citizen’s arrest laws.
Monday is Crossover Day at the Georgia Capitol, the Legislature’s self-imposed deadline for bills to pass at least one legislative chamber, either the House or the Senate.
From the AJC Political Insider:
Up today in the Georgia Senate: More than one dozen elections-related measures, including bills to restrict absentee voting and end automatic voter registration.
A crucial underlying trend in the Republican-backed proposals that’s attracting less attention than efforts to roll back voting rights: A transfer of power from the Secretary of State’s office and county boards of elections to lawmakers.
Under Senate Bill 241, up for debate later today, lawmakers would have to approve emergency election rules within 20 days of their creation. Also, elections officials would no longer be able to send absentee ballot request forms without voter requests. And the state could no longer enter into a consent decree without a joint resolution from the General Assembly.
A separate measure that has already cleared the Senate empowers the State Elections Board to replace local elections officials with new leaders if they don’t meet new performance standards. The House has a similar proposal pending.
The measures would also greatly reduce the autonomy of Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who is under attack by fellow Republicans after defying pressure to overturn former President Donald Trump’s loss.
House Bill 333 by State Rep. Chuck Efstration (R-Gwinnett) would revise the Ethics in Government Act, according to the AJC.
House Bill 333, sponsored by Judiciary Chairman Chuck Efstration, R-Dacula, addresses issues raised by two ongoing high-profile cases that have made headlines in recent years.
“Ensuring there is transparency and oversight in our campaign finance law is a very important thing,” Efstration told colleagues before they passed his bill 164-0. “It helps ensure public trust in our government.”
Under Efstration’s bill, he said, the commission would have more time to make cases without the statute of limitations running out, would make ex-candidates hold onto campaign bank records longer, would clarify that candidates could not use campaign contributions to make personal loans to themselves or invest in their companies, and would mandate what candidates could do with money raised for primary or general election runoffs when they fail to make the runoffs.
The Gainesville Times looks at the Daylight Savings Time bills currently in the legislature.
Senate Bill 100, a measure that would end the state’s observance of daylight saving time, passed on bipartisan lines via a 46-7 vote last week. Hall’s senators voted in favor.
SB 100 still needs to be passed by the House and signed by Gov. Brian Kemp before it would take effect. It is unlikely that those steps will be completed before daylight saving begins March 14.
According to the bill, if passed and signed by the governor before the transition to daylight saving time, the permanent switch to standard time will be effective immediately.
If passed after the March 14 transition, the bill takes effect when daylight saving time ends at 2 pm on Nov. 7.
If SB 100 is enacted, Georgia would be the third state to permanently adopt standard time, joining Arizona and Hawaii.
“There is a growing body of scientific evidence demonstrating that these annual time shifts are bad for our health, disruptive to sleep cycles, and related to a higher immediate risk of heart attacks, strokes, cardiac arrhythmia, and even car accidents,” said anesthesiologist and state Sen. Michelle Au, D-Johns Creek, in a statement. “Furthermore, a majority of Americans agree that they want to do away with this tradition of ‘springing forward’ and ‘falling back’”
Conversely, Georgia House Bill 44 proposes observing daylight saving time year-round, and that bill was passed 112-48 on March 5 in the House. Those in the Hall delegation approved, with the exception of Rep. Lee Hawkins, R-Gainesville.
Senate Bill 200 by State Sen. Jason Anavitarte (R-Paulding) passed the Senate and would prevent a Governor from ordering churches closed in a public health emergency, according to the Capitol Beat News Service via the Rome News Tribune.
“I think we as a people have a right to assemble in our churches,” Anavitarte said from the Senate floor on Friday. “As long as we follow the necessary health protocols that the experts put out there, we should be able to move forward.”
Anavitarte’s legislation is similar to a separate bill limiting the governor’s emergency powers over religious groups in the House, sponsored by Rep. Dominic LaRiccia, R-Douglas.
Opponents argue barring churches from closing could endanger Georgians during a public-health crisis by promoting gathering spaces where viral outbreaks could occur.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) called the measure “extreme, dangerous and unnecessary.”
“The right to exercise one’s faith is among our most fundamental constitutional rights,” said Andrea Young, executive director of the ACLU’s Georgia chapter. “But it is constitutionally appropriate for the government to place restrictions on religious activities and religious institutions.”
“In Georgia, we never shuttered churches, synagogues, or other places of worship because we value faith, family and freedom,” Kemp said in a statement. “With the Faith Protection Act signed into law, Georgia will be a sanctuary state for people of faith.”
Hall County is preparing to resume jury proceeding after a year delay due to COVID, according to the Gainesville Times.
If Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Harold D. Melton lifts the ban on jury trials in the statewide judicial emergency order, a trial over drug possession before Superior Court Judge Bonnie Oliver will be the first case since the yearlong trial shutdown.
Court officials said 150 potential jurors have been summoned.
“In the past, you’d have 70 people reporting at 8 a.m,” staff attorney Caitlin May said. “Instead, we’re going to have 20 people at a time in panels reporting so that we’d don’t ever have that many people.”
A video on the Northeastern Judicial Circuit’s website walks people through what health and safety measures are in place. Court administrator Jason Stephenson said jurors would be issued KN95 masks.
Richmond County will not use home sales to the Augusta National Golf Club to reassess neighboring homes at this time, according to the Augusta Chronicle.
“I don’t have a problem with the tax office trying to generate more revenue,” board member Bryan Simkins said. “I do have a problem with assessments being raised to what the Augusta National is paying for property.”
Over the last 25 years, the club has dropped seven-figure checks on adjacent properties, in its expansion across Berckmans Road to the west and Washington Road to the north.
Club affiliates such as Berckman Residential Properties and WSQ LLC are now owners of the National Hills Shopping Center, in a deal finalized for $26 million last year, the Publix Shopping Center, bought in 2018 for $21 million, the Stein Mart Shopping Center, the former Big Tree Shopping Center and the former Greens on Washington apartments, according to property records.
Berckman Residential has acquired over 100 single-family dwellings, paying premium prices such as $1 million to $5 million per home to snatch up properties now part of the National’s expansion and landscaped parking area to the west. More recently, the going rate for a Margate, Wicklow or West Terrace drive house was between $300,000 and $400,000, sometimes quadruple the home’s assessed value.
Assessors board members seemed intent on not punishing homeowners for the actions of speculators or the golf club.
“It’s not fair for them to be penalized because they had no crystal ball,” member Juanita Burney said.
Craig Landolt serves as the new State Fire Marshall, according to the Savannah Morning News.
His family’s Savannah Irish roots date back to 1860 on his father’s side – Fogarty, Kelly, Moore. On his mother’s side those roots are Japanese — Sakurada. This makes Landolt the first Asian American to become state fire marshal.
Because his mother is Japanese, he identifies as Asian American. Because of his father’s side, he also identifies as Irish American.
“I look forward to building relationships throughout the state and helping advance Georgia’s business-friendly environment.” Congratulations on his appointment poured in from across the spectrum of “his customers, his partners” from more than three decades of commitment.