Category: GaPundit Daily


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 11, 2016

On March 11, 1779, Congress created the United States Army Corps of Engineers.

On March 11, 1861, the Confederate Congress, assembled in Montgomery, Alabama, adopted the Constitution of the Confederate States of America. Today the original signed manuscript of the Confederate Constitution is in the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library at the University of Georgia Special Collections Libraries.

On March 11, 1942, General Douglas MacArthur obeyed the President’s order dated February 20, 1942, and left the Philippines.

On March 11, 2005, Brian Nichols shot and killed Fulton County Superior Court Judge Rowland Barnes and court reporter Julie Brandau in the Fulton County Courthouse, leading to a lockdown of the state capitol and a number of nearby buildings. Nichols killed two more before taking a young woman hostage in Duluth; that woman, Ashley Smith, would talk Nichols into surrendering the next day. Nichols was eventually convicted for four murders and is serving consecutive life sentences.

Happy Birthday to former Governor Roy Barnes, who served from 1999-2003, and lost to Republican Sonny Perdue in 2002, and to current Governor Nathan Deal in 2010.

Under the Gold Dome Today





1:00 PM FINANCE Subcommittee A MEZZ 1




8:00 AM Fleming Sub Judiciary Civil 132 CAP


8:30 AM W&M Ad Valorem Tax Sub 133 CAP

9:00 AM RULES 341 CAP


HB 34 – Georgia Right to Try Act; enact (H&HS- H. Hill) (Dudgeon-25th)

HB 52 – Child custody; require parenting plans to be incorporated into final orders; change provisions (JUDY-McKoon) (Quick-117th)

HB 767 –Motor vehicles; add utility service vehicles to the “Spencer Pass Law”; provisions (Substitute) (PUB SAF-Gooch) (Powell-32nd)

HB 886 – Pharmacy licenses; employing mails or common carriers to sell, distribute, and deliver prescription drugs; revise a provision (H&HS-Watson) (Cooper-43rd)

HB 859 –Firearms; weapons carry license holders; carrying and possession of certain weapons in certain buildings or real property owned or leased to public institutions of postsecondary education; authorize (JUDY-Stone) (Jasperse-11th)


Modified Open Rule

SB 273 Clinical Laboratories; provide certain nondiagnostic laboratories not subject to state licensure as clinical laboratory (H&HS-Lott-122nd) Burke-11th

SB 277 “Protecting Georgia Small Business Act”; neither a franchisee/franchisee’s employee shall be deemed employee of franchisor (I&L-Shaw-176th) Albers-56th

SB 279 Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council; include Commissioners of Juvenile Justice/Natural Resources as voting members (PS&HS-Powell-32nd) Harper-7th

SB 347 ‘Georgia Captive Insurance Company Act’; provide extensive changes; provisions (Substitute)(Ins-Shaw-176th) Bethel-54th

Modified Structured Rule

SB 137 Property Insurance; expand the ownership restriction; value of the property covered against loss by fire (Ins-Shaw-176th) Harbin-16th

Structured Rule

Pursuant to House Rule 33.3, debate shall be limited to one hour on SB 308. Time to be allocated at the discretion of the Speaker.

SB 308 Positive Alternatives for Pregnancy and Parenting Grant Program; establish; definitions; administration and duties (Substitute) (H&HS-Cooper-43rd) Unterman-45th

Legislation Today

Two pieces of legislation on the floors of the respective chambers today should garner significant attention.

The Senate will take up, and I believe pass, the “Campus Carry” bill by State Rep. Rick Jasperse (R-Jasper).

Earlier this week, Senate committee members approved a measure that would allow those with concealed carry weapons licenses to bring their guns onto school property.

The guns must remain concealed and would be barred from athletic facilities and student housing.

12th District US Congressman Rick Allen shared his thoughts on the proposed legislation.

“They’re good parts on both sides,” said Rep. Allen. “What we really have to do is provide a safe environment for people to attend school and to take a threat away.”

And from the Associated Press:

If signed into law, guns must remain concealed by the owner. Guns also would be barred from athletic facilities and student housing, including sorority and fraternity houses.

Critics of the measure say that allowing more guns on campus will only put students in harm’s way.

Rep. Rick Jasperse, a Republican from Jasper who sponsored the bill, says people licensed to carry guns should also be able to defend themselves on campuses.

And The Collegian offers some student and instructor opinion,

Students have shown both support and dissent for HB 859.

Rachel Quinlan, a Biology major at the Clarkston campus, said “I think this would make schools more dangerous. I walk home at night after class, for people to have guns it’s really scary. The pro to this is that people can protect themselves, there are more cons than I feel pros.”

“I don’t disagree with the bill. I don’t think much would change. I don’t think that the people who have guns are the problem, it’s the people who don’t have the license to carry. It should have restrictions on who carries weapons. I think that if you’re going to carry gun, you should have to register with the school and make sure you’re registered to carry a weapon,” said Alissa Cunningham, a Public Health major at the Clarkston Campus.

Many Professors deem guns on campus as dangerous and reckless. Assistant political science and criminal justice professor at Clarkston campus John Siler expressed his biggest concern that most students will not exercise this right with responsibility. “The thing that is scary for us is that when the students read this, they’ll just say ‘Hey, I can have a gun on campus!’ and disregard ‘if you have a permit,’” Siler said. Siler continued to explain that instructors’ safety would be in danger, “Professors often have to fail students, but sometimes students don’t take that too well,” Siler said. There have been robberies and shootings incidents on or near Georgia State University’s Atlanta campus. Siler explained that he understood that the incidents were an issue, but he did not approve of how the media escalated the students’ fears. “The media gets orgasmic when it comes to stuff on campus happenings,” said Siler, “Yes, the incident was near the campus, but that didn’t matter; the media just used it to hype things up.”

Legislation by Senator Renee Unterman (R-Buford) is likely to come before the House for a vote today.

Senate Bill 308, which cleared the House Health and Human Services Committee on Tuesday, would establish a grant program through the state Department of Public Health to promote pregnancy and parenting services as alternatives to abortion. Under the legislation, pregnancy resource centers could not use grant funds to refer clients to clinics that provide abortions or counsel women to get abortions unless their pregnancies are life-threatening.

The state Senate passed the bill last month on a party-line 38-16 vote. The bill’s sponsor, Senate Health and Human Services Chairwoman Renee Unterman, R-Buford, said the legislation is a “positive alternative” to restricting access to abortions.

“What pregnancy resource centers do is offer the resources to make good decisions,” Unterman said. “Not only can they stay in business, but hopefully they can expand and decrease the number of abortions that we have in the state of Georgia.”

Unterman said she estimates there are 27,000 abortions each year in the state.

State Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon) wrote in the Macon Telegraph about religious liberty legislation,

When Speaker David Ralston proposed the Pastor Protection Act last summer, I was proud that our party had a voice of reason. He understood that reaffirming the rights of our churches and our clergy didn’t mean doing so at the expense of other Georgia citizens. When Rep. Kevin Tanner introduced HB 757, it had thorough hearings in the House and was discussed through inclusive debate. It was amended along the way based on input from members of both parties. That’s why it passed the House unanimously.

I didn’t believe then nor do I believe now that the Pastor Protection Act was the end of the conversation. However, inserting the First Amendment Defense Act as the Senate did took a once bipartisan bill and made it toxic.

Candidate Qualifying

The list of Republican Senate incumbents facing challengers has grown to nine.

District Incumbent Challenger
9 P.K. Martin Tyler Hollifield
21 Brandon Beach Aaron Barlow
23 Jesse Stone Stephen Hammond
40 Fran Millar Paul Maner
45 Renee Unterman Todd Tyson
50 John Wilkinson Roy Benifield
51 Steve Gooch John Williamson
53 Jeff Mullis Lanny Thomas
54 Charlie Bethel Conda Lowery-Goodson

A notable absence from Qualifying so far is State Rep. Nikki Randall (R-Macon), who will not seek reelection.

Also making news for not qualifying is District Attorney for the Southern Judicial District J. David Miller.

He has served as DA for that past 20 years and says choosing not to run or re-election was one of the toughest decisions.

“Writing the press release was the hardest thing that I’ve done in a very long time. I love my job! I’m certainly not dissatisfied in any way,” explains Miller.

However, he says he’s not ready to retire just yet.

“I’ll explore my options. I would like to continue public service just not necessarily as the DA again,” Miller says, “Just because I could run again doesn’t mean I should run again.”

He has endorsed current Chief Assistant District Attorney Brad Shealy to be his successor.

Of Nazis and the Klan

Mike Griffin of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board drew strong rebukes from the well of the State House yesterday.

Mike Griffin, spokesman and lobbyist for the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, urged Baptists to press legislators to act on a religious freedom measure that was filed in response to last summer’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage.

“We must not let the government do to us what Hitler did to the pastors and churches of his day,” Griffin wrote in a post on a religious news site, the Christian Index.

“He got them to accept his protection from government action if they would agree to stay out of government. He basically said, ‘You take care of the church, and leave the government to me.’

“Pastors, this is happening before our eyes today!” he wrote.

“I was extremely sickened that someone would compare this legislative body to Hitler and Hitler’s Germany,” [House Speaker] Ralston told reporters Thursday.

From the House floor, Rep. Trey Kelley, R-Cedartown, demanded an apology.

Instead, Griffin defended his comments.

“My statement in question today was simply a warning of the historical dangers of the church not standing up for religious liberty,” he tweeted.

Ralston said it might be more productive for Griffin to advise Baptists to “listen to their pastors and read their Bible more, and listen to talk radio less.”

“I think that would be some good advice, rather than to do something as harmful to his cause as he did,” he added.

More from Griffin via Lori Geary at WSB:

Griffin says while referencing Hitler on the Christian Index Website, he was urging church goers to speak out on the issue. He says he was not referring to legislators.

“It’s historically accurate that Hitler did meet with pastors and did try to get the pastors to see his side,” Griffin said. “I think it may help us even more because it creates more attention to the importance that people are concerned about their religious liberty rights being infringed upon by government in general.”

He defended his post saying his reference to Hitler involved historical context, but he did remove those references.

“It’s getting in the last few days of the session, folks get a little sensitive to things being said,” Griffin said. “We did go back and take the Hitler phrase out because we definitely didn’t want to confuse the issue in any way because we want to stay on the historical context of what we were talking about.”

A statement by the Georgia Baptist Mission Board addresses the controversy,

This is in direct reference to Martin Niemöller’s, popular poem written in 1946, “First they came…” and his description of what occurred in Germany leading up to World War II. Pastors and the church did not stand up to the government to combat the rising discrimination against Christians, Jews, and other groups. In Niemöller’s example, the church did not stand up for its faith and speak up for members and the public. It is interesting to note that Niemöller was accused of “abusing the pulpit”, crimes against the State, ordered to pay a fine, and imprisoned for speaking out. In 2006, Rev. Mark Creech wrote the article “Who Shall Care for the Nation’s Soul?” in the Christian Post, using similar reference to Niemöller’s story.

On Thursday morning March 10th, nearly a week after posting, Mike Griffin was criticized from the Well of the House regarding his letter to Pastors. The inference of those remarks made by representatives was that Mike Griffin was speaking to, or about, the representatives themselves. In context, Mike’s audience was Georgia Baptist Pastors and leaders, in order to challenge the church not to be silent about spiritual convictions and to speak out in order to avoid the repeating of history. It is impossible to understand the content of the article, unless one understands that it was not directed at the general assembly, but a call to action for Pastors based on church history. [emphasis added]

We sincerely regret any misunderstanding of the intent of this article or its historical context. We should all rightly be held accountable for what we say, but not for what we do not say.

Indeed, Baptist leaders have been talking amongst themselves for years about their church’s failure to address the rise of Nazism in Germany, and to address it afterwards.

The 80th anniversary of a courageous stand by Christians in Germany who opposed Adolf Hitler also marks a sad chapter in Baptist history that festered four decades before Baptists voiced repentance.

In contrast to Christians who resisted Nazi evils, German Baptists “were just happy to be left alone, you might say,” historian Albert Wardin told Baptist Press. “And they were just happy to have the regime allow them to preach the Gospel within their churches. And so the German Baptists were not going to take any position that would counter any of the positions of the Hitler regime.”

German Baptists, however, since they were not part of the state church, stayed out of the discussion. Initially they viewed Hitler as a champion of religious liberty and his military conquests as a providential expansion of their field for evangelism.

Four decades later, lamenting their complacency and vowing to learn from the Confessing Church’s courage, German Baptists said they were “humbled by having been subordinated often to the ideological seduction of that time, in not having shown greater courage in acknowledging truth and justice.”

“The German Baptists, in their effort to achieve social respectability and to avoid being forced into a homogenized national church, failed to recognize that they were being used,” German theologian Erich Geldbach wrote in “Baptists Together In Christ,” a centennial history of the BWA.

Individual Baptists confessed their complicity with Hitler following the war. But not until 1984 did German Baptists formally express regret that they failed to support Bonhoeffer, Barth and others in the Confessing Church.

“Recognizing the evil at the beginning was more difficult than it appears today in retrospect,” Germany’s Baptists said at a European Baptist Federation Congress in Hamburg.

I hadn’t been aware of this chapter of Baptist history.

In my mind, the context is clear now and I understand that Griffin’s words did not compare the Georgia General Assembly to Nazis. That said, perhaps a greater sensitivity by everyone going forward to not just what they mean by their words, but how their words might be received, will help prevent a recurrence.

Of course, the civil discourse is almost never enhanced by references to Nazis or the Ku Klux Klan.

Now, the K-word is being trotted out in Bibb County, in a lawsuit accusing incumbent Sheriff David Davis of being in the Klan.

A former Bibb County sheriff’s deputy who announced his candidacy for sheriff this week has two pending lawsuits against his former employer. In one of them, he alleges that incumbent Sheriff David Davis is a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

Davis, who is white, denies the allegation.

That is as far from the truth as it could absolutely be. … I think my record speaks for itself,” Davis told The Telegraph Wednesday. “I am offended by it, and it concerns me that someone would think that of me.”

At the heart of one of the suits, both filed in federal court last year, Timothy Rivers alleges that he was demoted due to his race and in retaliation for writing traffic tickets to “the wrong segment of peoples.”

Asked Wednesday what prompted his run for office, Rivers, a political newcomer, said, “To be honest with you, God gave me a vision two years ago. … I said, ‘Man, what if I was sheriff right now? There are so many things that we can change’. … Almighty God gave me that vision, ‘Hey, man, go forward’.”



Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 24, 2015

On March 24, 1970 the largemouth bass was recognized as the official state fish of Georgia.

On March 24, 1989, the supertanker Exxon Valdez ran aground in Prince William Sound in Alaska, eventually spilling 11 million gallons of oil and polluting 700 miles of coastal Alaska.

Under the Gold Dome Today

9:00 AM Jacobs Sub House Judiciary Civil 133 CAP
1:00 PM HOUSE Academic Innov. Sub of Education 506 CLOB
1:00 PM HB 76 Conference Committee 403 CAP
2:00 PM HOUSE Subcommittee of Judiciary Civil 132 CAP
2:00 PM HOUSE Acad. Achievement of Ed. 415 CLOB
2:00 PM HOUSE Special Sub. Energy, Utilities & Telecom 216 CAP
3:00 PM Senate Legis Oversight 307 CLOB
5:00 PM SENATE JUDICIARY Sub – adj of full 307 CLOB

Senate Rules Calendar

HB 1 – Haleigh’s Hope Act; enactContinue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 9, 2015

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 the next day, March 9, 1862, Virginia and USS Monitor, a Union ironclad, fought to a draw in the Chesapeake Bay.

On March 9, 1866, Governor Charles Jones Jenkins signed two pieces of legislation dealing with African-Americans, one recognized their marriages, the other legitimized children born to African-American couples prior to the act and required parents to maintain their children in the same way white were required.

Bobby Fischer, the Eleventh World Champion of Chess, was born on March 9, 1943 and is considered by many the greatest player of all time.

Governor Ellis Arnall signed two important pieces of legislation on March 9, 1945. The first created the Georgia Ports Authority, with its first project being the expansion of the Port of Savannah. The second authorized the placement of a referendum to adopt a new state Constitution (in the form of a single Amendment to the Constitution of 1877) on the ballot in a Special Election to be held August 7, 1945.

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 9, 1970, Governor Lester Maddox signed legislation setting the Georgia minimum wage at $1.25 per hour.

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.

On Friday, March 6, 2015, former Fulton County Commissioner Tom Lowe died, having served more than 40 years in office from his election in 1974 as the first Republican member of the Commission until this past December.

Famously cantankerous, Lowe carried a pistol to meetings in the mid-1980s after he learned a fellow commissioner was also packing heat. He said at the time he would “be damned if I’m going to be overgunned.”

After earning a civil engineering degree at Auburn University, Lowe worked in heavy construction, building highways, railroads and dams. In 1957, he founded Lowe Engineers Inc., a civil engineering firm. He later developed commercial and industrial properties in metro Atlanta.

The Tom and Bettye Lowe Lobby and Grand Foyer at Auburn University’s Shelby Center for Engineering Technology was named in recognition of the Lowes’ support of the Samuel Ginn School of Engineering.

Would anyone care to join me at the Tom Lowe Shooting Grounds for a memorial round of skeet or trap in his honor?

Under the Gold Dome Today

Today is the 28th Legislative Day of the 2015 Session of the Georgia General Assembly. Day 30, called Crossover Day, will be Friday.

To maintain a chance of becoming law, bills must be approved by the chamber they originated in by midnight Friday. Yes, that’s Friday, March 13. No, legislative leaders say, that’s not symbolic.

Alan Riquelmy of the Rome News-Tribune writes of the pace as we hurtle toward Crossover Day.

Crossover Day is the 30th day of the legislative session. This year it falls on Friday. Lawmakers from across the state will push, pray and plead to get their bills to a vote by this day. Otherwise their legislation must wait until next year’s session.

“We’ll be hearing these bills all day long,” said state Rep. Eddie Lumsden, R-Armuchee. “It will be very intense.”

It’s the same on the other side of the Gold Dome.

“Crossover Day is always a busy time,” said state Sen. Chuck Hufstetler, R-Rome. “I think we’ll be there late on Friday, as everyone tries to get their bills through.”

Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 26, 2015

On February 26, 1868, the Atlanta City Council offered use of the combined City Hall and Fulton County Courthouse as a temporary capitol if the Constitutional Convention meeting in the city would designate it the capital city.

On February 26, 1877, Governor Alfred Colquitt signed legislation calling a June 1877 election of delegates to a state Constitutional Convention to be held in July of that year.

Johnny Cash was born on February 26, 1932.

The World Trade Center in New York City was bombed on February 26, 1993, killing six and causing half-a-billion dollars in damage.

Under the Gold Dome Today

The Senate and House will each convene at 11 AM today for Legislative Day 23.Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 25, 2015

The first prisoners of war were moved to Andersonville on February 25, 1864.

The United States Congress pass the Legal Tender Act on February 25, 1862, allowing the government to pay its bills with paper money it printed.

On February 25, 1870, Hiram Rhoades Revels (R-Missippi) was sworn in as the first African-American Congressman in history.

In 1867, the first Reconstruction Act was passed by a Republican-dominated U.S. Congress, dividing the South into five military districts and granting suffrage to all male citizens, regardless of race. A politically mobilized African American community joined with white allies in the Southern states to elect the Republican party to power, which in turn brought about radical changes across the South. By 1870, all the former Confederate states had been readmitted to the Union, and most were controlled by the Republican Party, thanks in large part to the support of African American voters.

On January 20, 1870, Hiram R. Revels was elected by the Mississippi legislature to fill the Senate seat once held by Jefferson Davis, the former president of the Confederacy. On February 25, two days after Mississippi was granted representation in Congress for the first time since it seceded in 1861, Revels was sworn in.

On February 25, 1876, the first Georgia state law against abortion was passed.

On February 25, 1999, Johnny Isakson was sworn into Congress from the Sixth District, a seat vacated by the resignation of then-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

Under the Gold Dome Today

As of the time of this writing, the House and Senate plan to convene today at 10 AM for Legislative Day 22 and to convene on Thursday for LD 23.

Governor Deal has declared a state of emergency beginning at 2 PM today for 50 counties, including Fulton, where the State Capitol is located.

Gov. Nathan Deal this evening ordered state government offices in the affected areas to close at noon [today] and declared a state of emergency for disaster preparedness starting at 2 p.m.

This may affect legislative committee meetings scheduled today and we won’t attempt to prognosticate whether Session will be changed from tomorrow.

8:00am – 9:00am House Appropriations Committee – 341 cap
12:00pm – 1:00pm Senate Rules Upon Adjournment – 450 cap
1:00pm – 2:00pm House Interstate Cooperation – 415 clob
1:00pm – 2:00pm House Academic Innovations Sub of Education – 403 cap
1:00pm – 2:00pm Senate Public Safety Committee – 310 clob
1:00pm – 2:00pm Senate Insurance & Labor Committee – 125 cap
1:00pm – 2:00pm Senate Education & Youth Committee – 307 clob
2:00pm – 2:30pm House Elections Sub of Govtal Affairs – 406 clob
2:00pm – 3:00pm House Retirement Committee – 515 clob
2:00pm – 3:00pm House Defense & Vets Affairs – 415 clob
2:00pm – 3:00pm Senate Finance Committee – mezz 1
2:00pm – 3:00pm House State Properties Committee – 403 cap
3:00pm – 4:00pm Senate State Institutions & Property – 125 cap
3:00pm – 4:00pm Senate Judiciary Non Civil – 307 clob
3:00pm – 4:00pm Senate Transportation Committee – 450 cap
3:00pm – 5:00pm House Fleming Sub of Judiciary Civil – 403 cap
4:00pm – 5:00pm Senate Regulated Industries & Utilities – 310 clob
4:00pm – 5:00pm Senate State & Local Gov’tal Ops – Mezz 1

Senate Rules Calendar Unavailable

House Rules Calendar

Modified Structured Rule

HB 59 – State tort claims; waiver of sovereign immunity for declaratory judgment or injunctive relief; provide (Substitute)(Judy-Willard-51st)

HB 85 – Alcoholic beverages; sale or furnishing to patients or inmates of Central State Hospital and sale or possession near or upon the grounds; change certain provisions (RegI-Harrell-106th)(AM# 36 0490)

HB 211 – Controlled substances; Schedule I, III, and IV; change certain provisions (JudyNC-Broadrick-4th)

HB 261 – Alcoholic beverages; sale during certain times on Sunday in commercial service airports owned or operated by a municipal governing authority; provide (Substitute)(RegI-Harrell-106th)

Carly Fiorina at Underground Atlanta Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 24, 2015

On February 24, 1803, the United States Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Marshall decided the case of Marbury v. Madison, enunciating the principle of judicial review under which the Court has authority to review Congressional action and hold them unconstitutional.

In writing the decision, John Marshall argued that acts of Congress in conflict with the Constitution are not law and therefore are non-binding to the courts, and that the judiciary’s first responsibility is always to uphold the Constitution. If two laws conflict, Marshall wrote, the court bears responsibility for deciding which law applies in any given case.

Union troops under General George Thomas attacked Confederates led by General Joseph Johnston near Dalton, Georgia on February 24, 1864.

Casualties were light. Thomas suffered fewer than 300 men killed, wounded, or captured, while Johnston lost around 140 troops. The Union generals did learn a valuable lesson, however; a direct attack against Rocky Face Ridge was foolish. Three months later, Sherman, in command after Grant was promoted to commander of all forces, sent part of his army further south to another gap that was undefended by the Confederates. The intelligence garnered from the Battle of Dalton helped pave the way for a Union victory that summer.

The Atlanta Journal was first published on February 24, 1883.

On February 24, 1988, the United States Supreme Court held in the case of Hustler Magazine v. Falwell, that the First Amendment protects publishers against claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress where the plaintiff is a public figure being parodied by the publication.

Carly Fiorina in Atlanta Today; Ben Carson visited Gwinnett

Former Hewlett Packard CEO, 2010 Republican candidate for United States Senate from California and possible 2016 Presidential candidate Carly Fiorina will be in Atlanta today to speak to the Capitol Club lunch hosted by Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp. The lunch is at the Event Loft at Underground Atlanta, 50 Upper Alabama Street, Suite 007, Atlanta, Georgia.

Another potential 2016 GOP candidate, Dr. Ben Carson, spoke in Gwinnett County this past weekend. From the Gwinnett Daily Post:

“If everything continues to go as planned,” the political novice will announce a presidential exploratory committee in “the next few weeks.”

“It just kept building and building,” Carson said.

The presumed presidential candidate was at the Gwinnett Center on Saturday evening to speak at the Gwinnett Medical Center Foundation’s annual donor appreciation gala. His comments, made in front of a record-breaking crowd of 900, included medical anecdotes, parts of his own background and plenty of quips. They also followed a few familiar themes: a bashing of health care reform, stereotypes and a bit about “what all of us can do as Americans to fortify the future for those coming behind us.”

“We’re in the process of completely destroying any chance that (our children) will have for a reasonable future,” Carson said. “And that made me decide that maybe I should be speaking out more. Whether I run or not, I definitely need to speak out more.”

Carson believes he’s gained popularity because Americans are “responding to common sense.” He said his lack of political experience is actually a positive (“The people who have had a lot of experience have done a fine job, haven’t they?”) and took on another one of his favorite targets: the so-called “PC police.”

Under the Gold Dome Today

Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 17, 2015

On March 17, 1739, Thomas Jones wrote to the Georgia Trustees in London of the appalling conditions in Savannah.

“The profanation of the Lord’s Day. When at church in the time of divine service, can hear continual firing of guns by people that are shooting at some game, others carrying burdens on wheelbarrows by the church door.

“The uncommon lewdness practiced by many and gloried in.

“The negligence of officers in permitting several in this town to retail rum and strong liquors, unlicensed, who have no other visible way of livelihood, where servants resort and are encouraged to rob their masters… .

“I need not mention profane swearing and drunkenness, which are not so common here as in some other places, and few are notorious therein, besides Mr. Baliff Parker, who I have seen wallow in the mire….

Kind of reminds me of the itinerary the first time I ever visited Savannah.

The Georgia legislature, on February 17, 1783, passed legislation granting land to veterans of Georgia militia who served during the Revolutionary War.

On February 17, 1784, the Georgia legislature passed a bill to increase an earlier formula for settling the state, allotting 200 acres to each head of a family, plus 50 acres for each family member (including up to 10 slaves) up to a maximum of 1000 acres.

Thomas Jefferson was elected Third President of the United States on February 17, 1801. The election was deadlocked for three months between Jefferson and his running-mate Aaron Burr.

On November 4 [1800], the national election was held. When the electoral votes were counted, the Democratic-Federalists emerged with a decisive victory, with Jefferson and Burr each earning 73 votes to Adams’ 65 votes and Pinckney’s 64 votes. John Jay, the governor of New York, received 1 vote.

Because Jefferson and Burr had tied, the election went to the House of Representatives, which began voting on the issue on February 11, 1801. What at first seemed but an electoral technicality–handing Jefferson victory over his running mate–developed into a major constitutional crisis when Federalists in the lame-duck Congress threw their support behind Burr. Jefferson needed a majority of nine states to win, but in the first ballot had only eight states, with Burr winning six states and Maryland and Virginia. Finally, on February 17, a small group of Federalists reasoned that the peaceful transfer of power required that the majority party have its choice as president and voted in Jefferson’s favor. The 35th ballot gave Jefferson victory with 10 votes. Burr received four votes and two states voted blank.

On February 17, 1820, the United States Senate passed the Missouri Compromise to govern the admission of new states as either slave-holding or not.

On February 17, 1854, Georgia Governor Herschel Johnson signed legislation by the Georgia General Assembly placing on the ballot for the next generation the question of whether to move the state capital from Milledgeville to Atlanta.

The first portrait of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to hang in the state capitol was unveiled on March 17, 1974 and was replaced in 2006 by the current portrait.

Under the Gold Dome Today

Because of inclement weather, both the Senate and House have delayed convening this morning until 11 AM. Further changes to the committee schedule may occur.Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 16, 2015

On February 16, 1948, the United States Air Force renamed Robins Air Field to Robins Air Force Base. Robins AFB and the City of Warner Robins are named for Air Force General Augustine Warner Robins.

On February 14, 1958, Governor Marvin Griffin signed a resolution by the Georgia legislature censuring President Dwight D. Eisenhower for ordering in the 101st Airborne Division and federalizing National Guard troops in Little Rock, Arkansas after Gov. Orval Faubus used the Guard to resist integration.

Fidel Castro was sworn-in as Prime Minister of Cuba on February 16, 1959.

On February 16, 1968, Speaker of the Alabama House of Representative Rankin Fite placed the first 911 call from Haleyville City Hall to Congressman Tom Bevill at the Haleyville police station.

Under the Gold Dome

The Georgia General Assembly is in adjournment today and will convene tomorrow for Legislative Day 16. Capitol Hill in Atlanta is closed today by Executive Order of Governor Deal, as are state offices in 15 counties in North Georgia.

The common refrain I’ve noted among critics of Gov. Nathan Deal’s plan for an Opportunity School District is that in many areas, intractable poverty underlies persistently “failing” schools. From an article from the Macon Telegraph responding to Gov. Deal’s proposal.

The main problem, [Tim Callahan, a spokesman for the Professional Association of Georgia Educators] said, is students who are so dramatically affected by poverty that they have “a raft of needs.”

Low-performing schools generally have many students who come from low-income families, Callahan said. And poor students often struggle academically, he said, because of recurring problems stemming from their quality of life — from health issues to their home environment.

“None of those struggles are going to be addressed by simply changing out the administrative structure of their school. The problem is a little more difficult, a little more expensive and a little more complicated that the governor and his folks would have us believe,” Callahan said.

“The governor speaks to three consistent years of schools failing. There’s a direct correlation to poverty,” added Kelley Castlin-Gacutan, Bibb County’s interim school superintendent.

Greg Bluestein of the AJC writes of apparently differing approaches to the Opportunity School District bill taken by the Senate and House Democratic caucuses.

Senate Democrats are waging open warfare on the proposal, which would give the state new powers to take over perennially failing schools. The chamber’s top Democratic leaders have loudly criticized the plan as an overreach and said more funding, and not new governance, is needed. They plan to issue a counter-proposal this week, and their caucus is trying to close ranks.

You probably won’t see the same tactics playing out in the House. Stacey Abrams, the chamber’s minority leader, is scheduled to attend Deal’s fact-finding trip to Louisiana later this month. She won’t take a firm stance on the measure, but said on GPB’s “Political Rewind” show that she’s got several burning questions.

The strategic divide between the chambers is a perennial concern for Democrats, whose leaders often don’t work in concert on major issues.

Democratic support is essential because Deal’s proposal is a constitutional amendment, requiring two-thirds approval by both chambers before it lands on the ballot in 2016. The GOP holds a commanding edge in the House and a supermajority in the Senate, but Deal will need to pick off Democrats in both chambers to make up for Republicans who bolt.

On Friday’s Political Rewind radio show on GPB, we heard from both House Democratic Leader Stacey Abrams, and Liz Flowers, who is a spokesperson for the Senate Democrats. You can click here to listen to the entire show.

2016 Presidential Race

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul will appear at a fundraiser in Buckhead at 5 PM today. As of last night, the reception is still being held.

RandPaul Atlanta February 16v2

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp continues to get press coverage for his SEC Primary idea, this time from Fox News.

For the most part, the South has been an afterthought in the presidential nominating process. Primaries in this region have either taken place after the nominee has pretty much been established, or as part of a Super Tuesday that includes more significant states in areas far from Dixie.

“We weren’t having a voice in the process,” Kemp told Fox News. “I felt like a way to fix that would be to build this coalition in the South to really entice the candidates to come here and campaign and to give us a voice.”

The ‘coalition’ Kemp talks about is his neighbors in the Deep South: Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas. His plan is to bring them all together for a Southern Super Tuesday on March 1, 2016.

Kemp needed only to give the word to set March 1 as Georgia’s primary. He has the sort of power many secretaries of state would envy. Tennessee passed a bill back in 2011 to set the first Tuesday in March as primary day, so the Volunteer State also is on board. And Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi are all moving legislation to join the drive for what Kemp has dubbed the “SEC Primary,” after the NCAA’s powerful Southeastern Conference.

SEC members Texas and Florida are already set for March 1primaries, though it’s expected both will move later in the month to take advantage of winner-take-all rules.

Kemp believes that a moderate candidate (read Chris Christie or Jeb Bush) could gain instant credibility with conservatives across the country by winning in the South. But some Republicans fear that a bloc of southern states all voting on the same day could help propel a candidate considered too far to the right to be elected nationwide.

Merle Black sees a distinct possibility for that to happen. “It could well be that some of the candidates – especially the more conservative candidates — could get a boost if they’re able to persuade voters in these Republican primaries that they are really viable presidential material,” he told Fox News.

Campaigns and Elections

Will McKeen FR

Will McKeen is a friend of mine and a fine candidate for Meriwether County Commission in the March 17th Special Election. I hope you’ll join me and other supporters at his fundraiser on Wednesday.

On Thursday, William is holding a Meet & Greet at the Court Square Cafe in Greenville, GA from Noon to 2 PM.

Hall County residents will have the opportunity to vote for or against SPLOST VII on March 17, 2015.

In Dawson County, March 17th will see elections on an E-LOST (Local Option Sales Tax for Education) and to fill a vacancy on Dawsonville City Council.

A special election will be held March 17th in the City of Ephesus, Georgia on March 17th, with early voting beginning February 23d.

Muscogee County will hold an E-SPLOST vote on March 17, 2015; the last day to register to vote in order to be eligible for the E-SPLOST election is tomorrow, March 17, 2015.

Talbot County will hold a referendum on package sales of beer, wine, and liquor on March 17, 2015.

Whitfield County will hold an election on a SPLOST for public safety funding on March 17, 2015.

Early voting starts February 23, 2015 in a City of Atlanta Bond Referendum to be held on March 17, 2015.

College Park will hold elections on a Freeport Tax Exemption, and for one City Council race on March 17, 2015.

The City of Carrollton is holding a Special Election on a Carrollton City Schools Bond Referendum on March 17, 2015.

Avondale Estates will elect a new Mayor on March 17, 2015. I’d vote for Paul Brown if I lived there. I may be biased as he’s a client, but you can check out his answers to a series of questions on

Sonny Pittman, Hap Harris and Sean Frantom are candidates for Augusta Commission District 7 in a March 17, 2015 Special Election.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 13, 2015

On February 13, 1941, Gov. Eugene Talmadge signed legislation that proposed a Constitutional Amendment changing the 2-year terms for Governor and other statewide Constitutional Officers to 4-year.

On February 13, 1956, Gov. Marvin Griffin signed legislation adopting a new state flag incorporating the Confederate battle flag.

On February 13, 2007, United States Congressman Charlie Norwood (R-Augusta) died at home.

Without question, the biggest news yesterday was that The Breakfast Club will play on the large screen again for its 30th anniversary on March 26 and March 31, 2015.

Under the Gold Dome

Renee 34side

Yesterday, the Georgia Senate passed Sen. Renee Unterman’s Senate Resolution 7 by a 53-3 margin and Senate Bill 8 by a 52-3 vote. The difference in the Yea votes was because Senator David Shafer presided over the second vote, and the presiding officer traditionally does not vote.Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 12, 2015

Today is Georgia Day, celebrating the founding of the Thirteenth Colony on February 12, 1733.

After years of planning and two months crossing the Atlantic, James Oglethorpe and 114 colonists climbed 40 feet up the bluff from the Savannah River on this day in 1733 and founded the colony of Georgia.

George II granted the Georgia trustees a charter for the colony a year earlier. The trustees’ motto was Non Sibi Sed Allis—not for self but for others. Georgia would be a philanthropic and military enterprise that would provide the “worthy” poor a new start and serve as a buffer between Spanish Florida and the English colonies.

The trustees prohibited slavery and large landholdings….

Congress enacted the first fugitive slave law, on February 12, 1793 requiring states to return runaway slaves to their owners, even if the state in which the slave was captured did not permit slavery.

Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809 in Hodgenville, Kentucky.

On February 12, 1867, the editor of the Milledgeville Federal Union expressed dismay at the rapidity with which Atlanta was growing and basically everything about Atlanta.

“Atlanta is certainly a fast place in every sense of the word, and our friends in Atlanta are a fast people. They live fast and they die fast. They make money fast and they spend it fast. They build houses fast, and they burn them down fast… . They have the largest public buildings, and the most of them, and they pass the most resolutions of any people, ancient or modern. To a stranger the whole city seems to be running on wheels, and all of the inhabitants continually blowing off steam.”

George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue was performed for the first time on February 12, 1924. The piece was written for solo piano and jazz band.

On February 12, 1999, the United States Senate voted 55-45 against convicting impeached President Bill Clinton on a charge of perjury. Senator Paul Coverdell voted guilty and Senator Max Cleland voted not guilty. On the second charge of obstructing justice, Coverdell and 49 other Republicans voted guilty and Cleland joined 49 other senators in voting not guilty. A two-thirds vote of the Senate is required to convict a President, so Clinton was acquitted on both counts.

One year ago, on February 12, 2014, most of Georgia state government was closed by Executive Order because of an ice storm.

On February 10, 2015, on the anniversary of the United States House of Representatives passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Gov. Nathan Deal signed legislation proclaiming February as Black History Month.

Gov Deal Black History Month

Under the Gold Dome Today

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