The current Adjournment Resolution, which sets the legislative schedule going forward, has the last day of Session scheduled for April 2, 2015. this week, the General Assembly is in Session today and tomorrow with no floor session planned for Friday.Continue Reading..
On February 9, 1825, the United States House of Representatives elected John Quincy Adams as President of the United States, despite his having received fewer popular votes than Andrew Jackson. Congress voted for the President after no candidate received a majority of electoral votes in the 1824 election.
The 12th Amendment states that if no electoral majority is won, only the three candidates who receive the most popular votes will be considered in the House.
Representative Henry Clay, who was disqualified from the House vote as a fourth-place candidate, agreed to use his influence to have John Quincy Adams elected. Clay and Adams were both members of a loose coalition in Congress that by 1828 became known as the National Republicans, while Jackson’s supporters were later organized into the Democratic Party.
HB 57 – Electricity; financing of solar technology by retail customers for generation of electric energy to be used on and by property owned or occupied by such customers or to be fed back to the electric service provider; provide
A resolution calling on Congress to call a convention to propose a constitutional amendment to repeal the Sixteenth Amendment and instead allow a maximum rate of 25 percent on any federal income, transfer, gift, or inheritance tax.
A resolution urging U.S. Senator Richard B. Russell to run for the presidency.
Ronald Wilson Reagan was born on February 6, 1911 in Tampico, Illinois. In 1980, Reagan would be elected President of the United States, beating incumbent Jimmy Carter. When he was born, his father said, “he looks like a fat little Dutchman. But who knows, he might grow up to be president some day.”
Reagan began his foreign policy comments with the dramatic pronouncement that, “Freedom is not the sole prerogative of a chosen few; it is the universal right of all God’s children.” America’s “mission” was to “nourish and defend freedom and democracy.” More specifically, Reagan declared that, “We must stand by our democratic allies. And we must not break faith with those who are risking their lives—on every continent, from Afghanistan to Nicaragua—to defy Soviet-supported aggression and secure rights which have been ours from birth.” He concluded, “Support for freedom fighters is self-defense.”
With these words, the Reagan administration laid the foundation for its program of military assistance to “freedom fighters.”
Under the Gold Dome
8:00am – 9:00am
House Highway Regulations Sub of Transportation – 506 CLOB
Primogeniture ensured that the eldest son in a family inherited the largest portion of his father’s property upon the father’s death. The practice of entail, guaranteeing that a landed estate remain in the hands of only one male heir, was frequently practiced in conjunction with primogeniture. (Virginia abolished entail in 1776, but permitted primogeniture to persist until 1785.)
Georgians restructured inheritance laws in Article LI of the state’s constitution by abolishing entail in all forms and proclaiming that any person who died without a will would have his or her estate divided equally among their children; the widow shall have a child’s share, or her dower at her option.
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt announced his “court packing” plan on February 5, 1937. After the United States Supreme Court found some of his “New Deal” legislation unconstitutional, Roosevelt’s proposal would have encouraged the retirement of justices older than 70 and for those who did not retire, appoint an assistant Justice with full voting rights on decisions by the Court.
Georgia’s 1877 constitution authorized the tax, which limited voter participation among both poor blacks and whites. But most whites got around the provision through exemptions for those whose ancestors fought in the Civil War or who could vote before the war.
In 1937, the U.S. Supreme court upheld Georgia’s poll tax as constitutional. But in 1942, Georgia voters chose Ellis Arnall for governor and the progressive Arnall ushered in a wave of reforms, including abolishing Georgia’s poll tax.
DUI convictions in Georgia have been dropping dramatically over a five-year period, state figures show.
There may be multiple reasons to account for the decline in convictions, experts say. But they note this decrease in convictions has coincided with an increase in the number of people refusing to take a field sobriety test.
State Department of Driver Services figures, presented to state lawmakers last year, show the downward trend: 44,017 DUI convictions in 2008 falling to 32,514 in 2013.
Meanwhile, the Driver Services data show the number of people refusing the sobriety test doubled, from 5,608 in 2008 to 11,480 in 2013.
This trend was part of the impetus for the Constitutional Amendment last year that passed overwhelmingly and allowed the Georgia Brain & Spinal Injury Trust Fund Commission to collect a 1% surcharge on reckless driving fines in addition to the previously existing surcharge on DUI fines.
Gov. Nathan Deal has spoken more about his views on medical cannabis and House Bill 1, which is traveling through the State House currently. From Greg Bluestein at the AJC:
“We want the cannabis oil to be available for the children. But we do not want it misused. And I think law enforcement and district attorneys that have expressed opinions on this believe that if it’s not drafted very, very tightly and can’t be enforced with certainty, it lends itself to a situation where we cannot control it … I share those concerns. That’s why it is difficult to draft this kind of legislation.”
“I think the wider you broaden the net to include more and more illnesses and diseases,” he said, “the more likely you are to incur abuse.”
Late Tuesday, a governor’s spokesman emailed Channel 2 Action News saying, “there would need to be vacancy for the governor to appoint a replacement, and he can’t do that unless he receives a letter from May resigning the seat.”
A May spokesperson says DeKalb County’s attorney interpreted that differently and is currently reviewing the issue.
May did not officially resign from District 5 when he took the CEO’s job, just in case the ousted CEO, Burrell Ellis, were to get acquitted of corruption charges and want his old job back.
Deal filling the District 5 seat could also mean trouble for Panola Slope; he has strongly opposed anything even resembling a casino in Georgia.
“I am not in the mood for having anything that is a casino or even comes close to resembling a casino,” Deal told Fleischer.
The proposed Panola Slope barcade — similar to a kids-game arcade, except equipped with 425 video gambling machines offering payouts that can be redeemed on-site for drinks, dinners, lodging, etc. — would be in a failed condo development along a seedy stretch of Covington Highway just east of Atlanta. It’s being pushed by a developer with insider ties to the county government, Vaughn Irons, who chairs the DeKalb Development Authority and who is co-chairman of interim DeKalb CEO Lee May’s Operations Task Force. So it’s probably no surprise that it won unanimous support from the DeKalb County Commission in December.
“I have real concerns about anything that begins to look like a casino,” Deal told the Atlanta newspaper. “And this certainly sounds like it resembles one.”
On that point, the governor is undoubtedly correct. An entertainment complex featuring alcohol, food, lodging and 425 video gambling machines would qualify in most people’s minds — and probably under the law as well — as a casino, even if it’s called a “barcade.”
It’s also clear that the “barcade” in question would be the proverbial camel’s nose in the tent for true casino gambling. And presented with the choice of whether to proceed further down the “barcade road” toward casino gambling, or do a U-turn away from all video gaming and video slot machines in Georgia, our state would be better served by taking the U-turn.
State Senator Renee Unterman spoke to the Senate Judiciary Non-Civil Committee yesterday about her bills SR7 and SB8, which continue the fight against sex trafficking of minors in Georgia. Here’s a quick synopsis:
• Set up a Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Children Fund Commission modeled on the Brain and Spinal Injury Trust Fund Commission with a dedicated revenue stream and a mission of funding services for minors who have been victims of sex trafficking; four members appointed by state government agency heads and four commissioners to be appointed by the Governor
• A Constitutional Amendment to be approved by voters in 2016 that would fund the Commission through allowing additional fines for convictions of enumerated sex offenses
• Adding people convicted of sex trafficking offenses to the sex offender registry
• A fee on new adult entertainment establishments, called by some a “Pole Tax”
• Increased penalties for enumerated sex and trafficking crimes
• Seizure of property and money related to sex trafficking crimes
I know it’s very short notice, but today at 12:30, the Georgia Municipal Association is hosting a screening of 8 Days, a film about sex trafficking, and a panel including Senator Unterman, Brookhaven Mayor J. Max Davis and other leaders in the fight against human sex trafficking.
The 24-hour restaurant chain prides itself on serving its customers at all hours of the day, seven days a week. And FEMA caught on to this. They discovered that if a Waffle House was closed after a storm, then that meant things were really bad.
“It just doesn’t happen where Waffle House is normally shut down,” said Philip Strouse, FEMA’s private sector liaison for the Southeast.
Strouse said Waffle Houses are able to bounce back relatively quickly after a natural disaster, and have a good sense of what their statuses are in a community.
“They’re sort of the canary in the coal mine if you will,” he said.
Green means the restaurant is open as usual, yellow means it’s on a limited menu, and red means the restaurant’s closed.
Today, the Senate will discuss Senate Bill 53 by Sen. Greg Kirk, sunseting part of an earlier act with respect to licensed professional counselors. The State House will take up House Bill 57 by State Rep. Mike Dudgeon to allow some third-party financing for consumer solar arrays.Continue Reading..
Electoral vote counting is the oldest activity of the national government and among the oldest questions of constitutional law. It was Congress’s first task when a quorum appeared in the nation’s new legislature on April 6, 1789. It has happened every four years since then. Yet, electoral vote counting remains one of the least understood aspects of our constitutional order.
The Electoral Count Act of 1887 (ECA) lies at the heart of this confusion. In enacting the ECA, Congress drew on lessons learned from its twenty-five previous electoral counts; it sorted through innumerable proposals floated before and after the disastrous presidential election of 1876; and it thrashed out the ECA’s specific provisions over fourteen years of sustained debate. Still, the law invites misinterpretation. The ECA is turgid and repetitious. Its central provisions seem contradictory. Many of its substantive rules are set out in a single sentence that is 275 words long. Proponents of the law admitted it was “not perfect.” Contemporary commentators were less charitable. John Burgess, a leading political scientist in the late nineteenth century, pronounced the law unwise, incomplete, premised on contradictory principles, and expressed in language that was “very confused, almost unintelligible.” At least he thought the law was constitutional; others did not.
Over the nearly 120 years since the ECA’s adoption, the criticisms faded, only to be renewed whenever there was a close presidential election. Our ability to misunderstand the ECA has grown over time. During the 2000 presidential election dispute, politicians, lawyers, commentators, and Supreme Court justices seemed prone to misstate or misinterpret the provisions of the law, even those provisions which were clear to the generation that wrote them. The Supreme Court, for example, mistakenly believed that the Supreme Court of Florida’s erroneous construction of its election code would deny Florida’s electors the ECA’s “safe harbor” protection; Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s hasty submission of his state’s Certificate of Ascertainment was untimely under the Act; and Democratic members of Congress framed their objections to accepting Florida’s electoral vote on the wrong grounds. Even Al Gore, the presidential candidate contesting the election’s outcome, misread the federal deadline for seating Florida’s electors.
Only the United States Congress could so obfuscate a matter as seemingly simple as counting that its Act remained undecipherable for more than one hundred years.
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.
President Woodrow Wilson died on February 3, 1924 in Washington, DC. Wilson was born in Staunton, Virginia (pronounced Stan-ton) and spent most of his youth to age 14 in Augusta, Georgia. Wilson started practicing law in Atlanta, Georgia in 1882, leaving the next year to pursue a Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins University. His wife, Ellen Louise Axson, was from Savannah, and they married in Rome, Ga in 1885.
On Friday, I was fortunate to interview former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee at a campaign book tour stop at at FoxTale Book Shoppe in Woodstock, Georgia. Among my questions were his timeline for announcing a decision on the Presidential race, who benefits from a Southern regional Presidential primary on March 1, 2016, and his standard order at Waffle House.
On January 29, 1998, a bomb exploded in a Birmingham, Alabama abortion clinic, killing a police officer. Eric Rudolph would later admit to setting that bomb, along with the Centennial Park bombing in 1996, and the bombing of a Sandy Springs abortion clinic and an Atlanta bar in 1997.
General Assembly Committee Meetings
8:00am – 9:00am
House Natural Resources & Environment – 506 Coverdell LOB
10:00am – 11:00am
12:00pm – 1:00pm
Senate Rules Upon Adjournment – 450 CAP
1:00pm – 2:00pm
Senate Interstate Cooperation – 123 Capitol
1:00pm – 2:00pm
Senate Science & Technology – 318 Coverdell LOB
1:00pm – 2:00pm
Senate Health & Human Services – 450 Capitol
1:00pm – 2:00pm
House Governmental Affairs – 506 Coverdell LOB
2:00pm – 3:00pm
House Judiciary Civil – 132 Capitol
2:30pm – 3:30pm
Fleming Sub of House Judy Civil – 132 Capitol
3:00pm – 4:00pm
Senate Veterans, Military, and Homeland Security – 125 Capitol
3:00pm – 4:00pm
Senate Higher Education – 310 Coverdell LOB
Georgia Senate to consider SB1, insurance for Autism
Studies have shown that early intervention helps children with autism get back into school programs and interacting with other children as soon as possible.
“Autism is becoming an epidemic that Georgia cannot afford to ignore,” said Sen. Charlie Bethel, R-Dalton, chief sponsor of Senate Bill 1. “We are taking steps to ensure the public and private sector work in concert to provide the best outcomes for these young Georgians and their families.”
The movement to a constitutional board came after the loss of accreditation of all Georgia state higher education institutions for white people. The previous Governor, Eugene Talmadge, had engineered the firing of UGA’s Dean of the College of Education; after the Board of Regents initially refused to fire the Dean, Talmadge dismissed three members, and replaced them with new appointees who voted for the firing. Talmadge lost the 1942 election to Arnall.
On January 28, 1986, the space shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after liftoff as many Americans watched on live television. President Ronald Reagan addressed the loss of seven astronauts.
Reagan had originally been scheduled to give his State of the Union that evening, but cancelled the speech. His address on the Challenger disaster was written by Peggy Noonan. The speech written by Noonan and delivered by Reagan is ranked as one of the top ten political speeches of the 20th Century.
John Sammons Bell was born on January 26, 1914 in Macon, Georgia. He would go on to serve as Chairman of the Democratic Party of Georgia, as a Judge on the Georgia Court of Appeals, and as chief judge of the appellate court. He is today best known as the designer of the state flag featuring the Confederate battle flag, which was adopted by the General Assembly in 1956.
The Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit is often the example pointed to by groups who say there should be more diversity among judicial appointees—and those who defend the Deal administration’s recent picks. That’s because the State and Superior courts are among the most diverse in Georgia.
DeKalb County Superior Court has four black female judges, two white female judges, two white male judges, and two black male judges. The circuit also included the state’s first Latino (Tony DelCampo) and Asian-American (Alvin Wong) state court judges. (Delcampo left the State Court bench in 2011 but has applied for reappointment.)
Jackson said she believes diversity on the bench is important. When the makeup of judges reflects the population, there is inherently more trust in the judicial system, she said.
“But that can mean any number of things,” she said. Race. Gender. Socioeconomic status. Even life experience.
Jackson bristles at the suggestion that diversity is a second-tier consideration and not a primary qualification for being a judge.
“I hear people say, ‘I don’t know if we should sacrifice the quality of a candidate to make sure the bench is diverse.’ The very nature of being a diverse candidate is in and of itself a qualification,” she said. “There is a unique experience that comes along with being a woman or an Asian-American or an African-American or a white American.”
As a DeKalb County resident, I would argue that diversity on the bench might be improved with a Jewish member of the bench. After all, Atlanta is home to one of the nation’s largest Jewish communities and DeKalb hosts a number of congregations and a large number of the state’s Jewish citizens. As a constituent and former consultant to State Rep. Jacobs, if anyone asked my opinion, I’d say he would be a great fit for the bench, though I haven’t spoken to him about the current vacancies and haven’t been his consultant for more than a year.
As a bonus, it would open at least one special election, potentially creating a Christmas (or Hanukkah, if you will) in March or June for folks like me.Continue Reading..