Category: Georgia Politics

22
Feb

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for February 22, 2018

Jake Boxer

Jake is a 6-year old, 60-pound male Boxer who is available for adoption from Out of the Box Boxer Rescue in Loganville, GA.

Rennet Puppy

Rennet is a young male Shepherd mix puppy who is available for adoption from Out of the Box Boxer Rescue in Loganville, GA.

Dagny Puppy

Dagny is a young female Hound & American Bulldog mix puppy who is available for adoption from Circle of Friends Animal Society Inc. in Loganville, GA.

22
Feb

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 22, 2018

The British Parliament repealed the Stamp Act on February 22, 1766.

Georgia’s first Governor Archibald Bulloch died mysteriously on February 22, 1777.

[Bulloch] became a leader in the state’s Liberty Party and was elected to the Commons House of Assembly in 1768, to the post of speaker of the Georgia Royal Assembly in 1772 and finally to the Continental Congress in 1775.

On June 20, 1776, Bulloch was elected the first president and commander in chief of Georgia’s temporary government, posts he held until February 5, 1777, when Georgia adopted its state constitution. Just over three weeks later, on February 22, 1777, Georgia faced a British invasion, and the state’s new government granted Bulloch executive power to head off the British forces. A few hours later, Bulloch was dead. The cause of his death remains unknown but unsubstantiated rumors of his poisoning persist.

[H]e is also known as the great-great-grandfather of America’s 26th president, Theodore Roosevelt.

The first Georgia state law allowing divorce was signed on February 22, 1850 by Governor George Towns.

The Cyclorama painting of the Battle of Atlanta went on display on Edgewood Avenue on February 22, 1892. The Atlanta History Center recently began the process of moving the Cyclorama to a new building from its long-time home in Grant Park.

On February 22, 1976, a series of U.S. Postage stamps commemorating the Bicentennial was issued, featuring the state flags.

GeorgiaFlagStamp1976white

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Three months from today, voters will go to the polls for the May 22d General Primary Elections.

Governor Nathan Deal yesterday appointed Tricia Pridemore to the Public Service Commission seat vacated by the resignation of Stan Wise.

“I would like to thank Stan Wise for his more than two decades of dedicated service to our state and I wish him the best in his future endeavors,” said Deal. “Tricia has significant experience in both the private and public sectors, and I am confident she will be an effective member of the Public Service Commission.”

Tricia Pridemore – Public Service Commission, District 5
Pridemore is a businesswoman with experience in technology, consulting and workforce development. She is a co-founder of Accucast, a software company. Pridemore is the former executive director of the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development and helped to establish Georgia’s skilled trade initiative, which encourages workforce growth in the fields of energy, transportation and construction. She is a former member of the Georgia World Congress Center Authority Board of Governors and the Cobb-Marietta Coliseum and Exhibit Hall Authority. Pridemore was a member of Deal’s 2011 transition team and co-chaired Deal’s Inaugural Committees in 2011 and 2015. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Kennesaw State University. Pridemore and her husband, Michael, reside in Marietta and attend Mount Paran Church in Atlanta.

Under the Gold Dome

LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE MEETINGS

8:00 AM HOUSE GAME, FISH AND PARKS 403 CAP

8:00 AM HOUSE NATL RES & ENVT 606 CLOB

9:00 AM HOUSE RULES 341 CAP

UPON ADJOURNMENT SENATE RULES 450 CAP

1:00 PM SENATE HEALTH AND HUMAN SVCS 450 CAP

1:00 PM SENATE EDUCATION AND YOUTH 125 CAP

1:00 PM HOUSE JUVENILE JUSTICE 406 CLOB

1:30 PM HOUSE JUDY (NON-CIVIL) 415 CLOB

2:00 PM SENATE BANKING AND FINANCE MEZZ 1

2:00 PM SENATE AGRICULTURE 125 CAP

2:00 PM SENATE REGULATED IND 450 CAP

2:00 PM SENATE STATE AND LOCAL GOVTAL OPS 307 CLOB

2:00 PM HOUSE Transportation Sub Resolutions 506 CLOB

2:00 PM HOUSE EDUCATION 606 CLOB

2:00 PM HOUSE JUDY (CIVIL) 132 CAP

2:00 PM HOUSE Ways & Means Sub Public Finance 133 CAP

2:00 PM HOUSE BANKS & BANKING 341 CAP

2:00 PM HOUSE Insurance Life & Health Sub 515 CLOB

2:15 PM HOUSE Transportation Sub Transit 506 CLOB

3:00 PM SENATE GOVT OVERSIGHT 125 CAP

3:00 PM SENATE ETHICS 307 CLOB

3:00 PM HOUSE WAYS & MEANS 406 CLOB

3:00 PM HOUSE ENERGY, UTILITIES AND TELECOM 403 CAP

3:00 PM HOUSE DEFENSE AND VETERANS AFFAIRS 515 CLOB

3:00 PM HOUSE TRANSPORTATION 506 CLOB

3:30 PM SENATE ECON DEV & TOURISM 450 CAP

4:00 PM SENATE TRANSPORTATION 450 CAP

4:00 PM SENATE JUDY 307 CLOB

4:00 PM SENATE NATL RES & ENVT 310 CLOB

4:00 PM HOUSE SMALL BUSINESS DEV 515 CLOB

SENATE RULES CALENDAR

SB 397 – Real and Personal Property; municipalities to hire state licensed real estate brokers to assist in sale; allow (SLGO(G)-1st)

SB 401 – Individual Graduation Plans; guidance in career oriented aptitudes and career interests; provide (Substitute) (ED&Y-37th)

HOUSE RULES CALENDAR

Modified Open Rule
HB 714 – Motor vehicles; reference date to federal regulations regarding the safe operation of motor carriers and commercial motor vehicles; update (Substitute)(MotV-Rogers-10th)
HB 743 – Jeremy Nelson and Nick Blakely Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act; enact (Substitute)(Ed-Clark-98th)
HB 785 – Solid waste management; certain definitions; modify and enact (Substitute)(NR&E-Nix-69th)
HB 814 – Coroners; county governing authority may establish salaries and benefits; provide (Substitute)(GAff-Williams-145th)
HB 876 – Buildings and housing; counties and municipalities proscribing the use of wood in the construction of certain buildings when state minimum standard codes are met; prohibit (A&CA-Corbett-174th)

Modified Structured Rule
HB 695 – Special license plates; Georgia Forestry Foundation; establish (MotV-Epps-144th)
HB 721 – Motor vehicles; criteria by which the Department of Driver Services shall authorize licensed driver training schools to administer on-the-road driving skills testing; revise (Substitute)(MotV-Powell-32nd)
HB 787 – Education; certain provisions relative to charter schools; revise (Substitute)(Ed-Hilton-95th)
HB 826 – Law enforcement; alarm monitoring company may contract out certain requirement; provide (Substitute)(RegI-Cauble-111th)
HB 835 – Revenue and taxation; issuance of special event tobacco permits to licensed dealers; provisions (RegI-Lott-122nd)
HB 853 – Quality Basic Education Act; children placed in psychiatric residential treatment facilities may not be charged tuition; provide (Ed-Dempsey-13th)
HB 907 – Public officers and employees; appointment and election of successor in event of vacancy in the office of district attorney; provide (GAff-Fleming-121st)

Structured Rule
HB 840 – Revenue and taxation; penalties and interest in the event of military service in a combat zone; provide exemption (Substitute)(W&M-Hitchens-161st)
HB 918 – Revenue and taxation; Internal Revenue Code; provisions (Substitute)(W&M-Efstration-104th)

Moms Demand Action rallied at the Capitol yesterday seeking stricter gun laws. From The Signal:

Over 1,500 protesters gathered outside of the Georgia Capitol on Feb. 21, 2018 to protest for stricter gun laws in the wake of the Parkland massacre. The protesters were mostly mothers and grandmothers representing the organization Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. They protested outside until around 11:30 a.m., and then entered the golden domed building to bring their claims to representatives, at the time breaking from session.

“We are standing in support of common-sense gun legislation being passed here in the Georgia General Assembly. We want to make our representatives aware that us as young people and also moms, parents around the country and specifically here in Georgia fighting to end the killing and end the violent and to prevent the bloodshed,” [Chamblee Charter High School Senior Jake] Busch said.

House Bill 673 by State Rep. John Carson (R-Marietta) passed out of the House Judiciary (Non-Civil) committee yesterday. From the Associated Press:

In Georgia, it is illegal to text behind the wheel, but drivers are currently allowed to dial and hold their phone. Law enforcement officers have testified that they often cannot tell whether a driver is texting or merely dialing, making it difficult to enforce the law.

Under Carson’s measure, drivers would still be allowed to use GPS navigation and talk via a hands-free device. Violators would be fined at least $300.

Carson said the issue caught his attention when he found out that auto insurance rates had been rapidly rising across the state, in conjunction with an increasing number of fatal crashes. In 2016, Georgia personal auto insurance rates went up an average of 12 percent, the most in the nation, Carson said. Drivers who are texting, surfing the internet or using social media apps behind the wheel, are largely to blame for the rise in accidents, Carson believes.

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed a federal lawsuit seeking to throw out 2015 district line changes in two  Georgia State House districts.

Chatham County began demolishing the old jail to make room for a new courthouse.

Chatham County and local municipalities collected $60 in federal assistance after Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

Columbus has the state’s largest prison work camp. From the Ledger-Enquirer:

On any given weekday, hundreds of prisoners hit the streets to collect trash, clean city buildings, dig ditches, maintain roadways and other locations such as golf courses.

“You need to understand that our work camp yields about $17 million in value to this city,” [Mayor Teresa Tomlinson] said while answering a question at her last State of the City address. “So right now your garbage fee is $17 a month. That’s because the labor is largely free.

“If the work camps were to go away, you need to start thinking in the range of $32 to $35 a month,” she added. “And that’s just sort of the beginning.”

The Muscogee County Prison has 576 prisoners. Of that amount, 528 are state prisoners and 48 belong to the county.

Glynn County Commission candidate Julian Smith was led out of a public meeting in handcuffs, according to the Brunswick News.

Canton Mayor Gene Hobgood has called for the resignations of Canton Housing Authority members after staff misuse of agency credit cards, according to the Tribune-Ledger News.

Bleckley County Public Schools are considering allowing staff members to carry guns, according to the Macon Telegraph.

The Bleckley County school district is considering letting some employees carry guns on school property, according to a Twitter post from the district.

“In light of recent events in FL, we are reviewing security & emergency plans, booking active shooter training updates for all schools, and considering a policy to allow certain staff members at each school to be armed. Our prayers go out to everyone affected,” the tweet said.

Bleckley Tweet

Floyd County Public Schools are reviewing security policies and may fund security upgrades with E-LOST (Local Option Sales Tax for Education) proceeds, according to the Rome News-Tribune.

The Hall County Planning Commission adopted new regulations governing short-term rentals, according to the Gainesville Times.

New regulations for vacation rental properties being proposed by county planners make deep changes to the county code, including banning vacation rentals from the Residential-I zone and stepping up requirements to rent out homes in the Vacation-Cottage zone bordering Lake Lanier.

The new rules also try to address the fact that the vast majority of vacation rental properties are operating without business licenses or county oversight. If approved by the Hall County Board of Commissioners, the code changes would direct the Hall County Marshal’s Office to troll through popular rental sites like VRBO and AirBnb to make contact with homeowners renting their properties without licenses.

“It looks to me like it’s hard to hit everybody,” said Planning Commission Chairman Don Smallwood at the end of the meeting. “What we’re trying to do is cut out some of the problems that have surfaced.”

Homeowners operating without a license would face fines of up to $1,000 under the proposed regulations.

Democrat John Barrow campaigned for Secretary of State in Columbus.

Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp campaigned in Cartersville.

State Rep. Jan Tankersley (R-Brooklet) announced she is running for reelection.

21
Feb

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

The Washington Monument was dedicated on February 21, 1885.

Happy Birthday to Congressman John Lewis, who was born on this date in 1940 in Pike County Alabama. In 1963, Lewis became President of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, based in Atlanta. In 1981, Lewis was elected to an at-large seat on the Atlanta City Council, and in 1986, he was elected to Congress, defeating Julian Bond in the Democratic Primary.

On February 21, 1958, Governor Marvin Griffin signed legislation creating the Stone Mountain Memorial Association to oversee construction and operation of a Confederate memorial and public park at the site.

On February 21, 1998, Julian Bond was selected as Chairman of the NAACP. Bond was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1965, but the House initially refused to seat him due to his opposition to the war in Vietnam. The United States Supreme Court eventually ruled against the House and Bond was sworn in on January 9, 1967, serving there until his election to the Georgia State Senate. In 1986, Bond left the Senate to run for Congress.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal yesterday introduced proposed changes to the tax code:Continue Reading..

20
Feb

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

On February 20, 1792, President George Washington signed the Postal Service Act, creating the United States Postal Service.

The act allowed for newspapers to be included in mail deliveries and made it illegal for postal officials to open anyone’s mail.

On February 20, 1970, Georgia ratified the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, guaranteeing women the right to vote.The Amendment states:

Section 1. The right of the citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Seriously. 1970. Luckily ratification occurred when Tennessee approved adoption of the Amendment on April 18, 1920.

Interestingly, the only case in which the United States Supreme Court has addressed the Nineteenth Amendment arose in Georgia. Breedlove v. Suttles was a suit brought in Fulton County Superior Court concerning the poll tax. Here’s an excerpt:

The tax being upon persons, women may be exempted on the basis of special considerations to which they are naturally entitled. In view of burdens necessarily borne by them for the preservation of the race, the state reasonably may exempt them from poll taxes.

The laws of Georgia declare the husband to be the head of the family and the wife to be subject to him. To subject her to the levy would be to add to his burden. Moreover, Georgia poll taxes are laid to raise money for educational purposes, and it is the father’s duty to provide for education of the children. Discrimination in favor of all women being permissible, appellant may not complain because the tax is laid only upon some or object to registration of women without payment of taxes for previous years.

Privilege of voting is not derived from the United States, but is conferred by the state and, save as restrained by the Fifteenth and Nineteenth Amendments and other provisions of the Federal Constitution, the state may condition suffrage as it deems appropriate.

It is fanciful to suggest that the Georgia law is a mere disguise under which to deny or abridge the right of men to vote on account of their sex. The challenged enactment is not repugnant to the Nineteenth Amendment.

Bless their hearts.

On February 20, 1974, Reg Murphy, an editor for The Atlanta Constitution was kidnapped and held until managing editor G. James Minter delivered $700,000 in ransom. I’m not sure if they’d pay 700 cents to get any employee back nowadays.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal, Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, Speaker Ralston and others will hold a press conference today in the North Wing of the State Capitol at Noon to discuss changes to tax code legislation.Continue Reading..

19
Feb

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 19, 2017

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 Febrary 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, authorizing the military to remove from military areas any people whose exclusion was “necessary or desirable.” By June 1942, more than 110,000 Japanese Americans had been interned in concentration camps in the western United States.

Union College in New York may have discovered a sample of hair from George Washington. From the Augusta Chronicle:

While college officials can’t say for sure it’s the real deal, the historical evidence is there. The hair was discovered in a pocket-sized almanac for the year 1793 that belonged to Philip J. Schuyler, son of General Philip Schuyler, who served under Washington during the Revolutionary War and founded Union College in 1795.

Susan Holloway Scott, an independent scholar and author, said locks of hair were frequently given as gifts during Washington’s day and it’s likely Martha Washington gave the snip of her husband’s hair to Eliza Schuyler, daughter of the general and wife of Alexander Hamilton.

Eliza passed it on to her son, James A. Hamilton, as noted by the handwriting on the envelope: “from James A. Hamilton given him by his mother, Aug. 10, 1871.”

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Georgia flu deaths are now up to 79 this season, according to Georgia Health News.

That total easily surpasses the 58 deaths the state reported in 2009, the first year that all flu deaths were required to be reported to Georgia Public Health.

The Department of Public Health on Friday also reported 165 hospitalizations in the eight-county metro Atlanta area during the week of Feb. 4 through Feb. 10. That’s the highest number of flu hospitalizations reported this season.

Three of four children who died had not received the flu shot, the CDC’s acting director said.

About half of the children who died had underlying medical conditions that made them more vulnerable to severe complications from the flu, and 60 percent had been admitted to the hospital before they died, WebMD reported Thursday.

CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund said Friday that flu activity is still high, but it did not increase significantly over the past week.

“While this may mean that we’ve peaked, we won’t know until know more until we see the data for the coming weeks,” Nordlund said.

Former First Lady Rosalyn Carter is recovering from surgery at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.

The Georgia General Assembly will convene for Legislative Day 23 at 10 AM on Tuesday, February 20, 2018. The House Public Safety Committee will meet at 1 PM today in Room 606 of the Coverdell Legislative Office Building.Continue Reading..

16
Feb

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 16, 2018

On February 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….

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.

Alexander Stephens, who was born in Crawfordville, Taliaferro County, Georgia, was inaugurated as Vice President of the Confederate States of America on February 18, 1861. Stephens graduated from Franklin College, later known as the University of Georgia, and served in the Georgia legislature. Stephens opposed Georgia’s secession. One year later, Georgia’s delegation to the Confederate Congress, numbering ten members, was sworn in.

Ina Dillard was born on February 18, 1868 in Oglethorpe County Georgia. She married Richard Russell, who served on the Georgia Court of Appeals and as Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court. Their son, Richard B. Russell, Jr., would be elected to the Georgia House of Representatives, where he served as Speaker and became the youngest Governor of Georgia in the 20th Century. In 1932 he ran for United States Senate and was elected.

In 1936, Russell was elected to his first full term in the Senate over former Governor Eugene Talmadge. In 1952, Russell ran for the Democratic nomination for President and he was an early mentor for Lyndon B. Johnson, who later served as President. Russell served on the Warren Commission that investigated the assassination of President Kennedy.

Russell served as Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee for many years. Russell was an acknowledged leader within the Senate, and especially among Southern members, and he led much of the opposition to civil rights legislation and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

On February 16, 1923, Howard Carter and his archaeology party entered the burial chamber of King Tutankhamen.

The steps led to an ancient sealed doorway bearing the name Tutankhamen. When Carter and Lord Carnarvon entered the tomb’s interior chambers on November 26, they were thrilled to find it virtually intact, with its treasures untouched after more than 3,000 years. The men began exploring the four rooms of the tomb, and on February 16, 1923, under the watchful eyes of a number of important officials, Carter opened the door to the last chamber.

Inside lay a sarcophagus with three coffins nested inside one another. The last coffin, made of solid gold, contained the mummified body of King Tut. Among the riches found in the tomb–golden shrines, jewelry, statues, a chariot, weapons, clothing–the perfectly preserved mummy was the most valuable, as it was the first one ever to be discovered. Despite rumors that a curse would befall anyone who disturbed the tomb, its treasures were carefully catalogued, removed and included in a famous traveling exhibition called the “Treasures of Tutankhamen.”

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 19, 1953, Governor Herman Talmadge signed legislation creating the Georgia State Literature Commission to investigate and refer for prosecution anyone selling obscene materials. In 2014, the Washington Post wrote about the State Literature Commission.

Georgia created the nation’s first censorship board.

The vote was unanimous. The Georgia State Assembly approved House Bill 247 on Feb. 19, 1953, with no dissent, establishing the Georgia Literature Commission. Despite being born into controversy, it lived on for 20 years surviving legal and legislative challenges until the administration of then-Gov. Jimmy Carter defanged it, setting off its slow death.

After years of support, then-Gov. Jimmy Carter cut the commission’s annual appropriation by about 20 percent in 1971, while simultaneously fighting a public battle against pornography. His administration then implemented zero-based budgeting, in which each governmental organization had to justify itself, which had become increasingly hard to do for the commission.

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.

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.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

President Donald Trump will nominate Monroe County Sheriff John Cary Bittick as the next United States Marshal for the Middle District of Georgia, according to the Macon Telegraph.Continue Reading..

15
Feb

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

On February 15, 1796, Georgia Governor Jared Irwin and legislators gathered with a crowd for the burning of the “Yazoo Act.”

On February 15, 1898, the battleship U.S.S. Maine exploded in Havana harbor, Cuba.

On February 15, 1952 Gov. Herman Talmadge signed a joint resolution directing the purchase of Stone Mountain for development as a Confederate Memorial.

On February 15, 2011, Georgia Congressman John Lewis was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work in the civil rights movement.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal has ordered flags to half-staff on Friday, February 16, 2016 at the State Capitol and in Henry County to honor the late Locust Grove Police officer Chase Maddox. The Memorial Service will be held Saturday.

The Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform delivered its 2018 Report to Gov. Deal and recommended a legislative package:Continue Reading..

14
Feb

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 14, 2017

On February 14, 1779, Lt. Col. Elijah Clarke led a charge against British forces at the Battle of Kettle Creek.

On February 14, 1956, the Georgia General Assembly passed legislation calling for the protection, cleaning and maintenance, and display of historic Confederate flags at the State Capitol.

On February 14, 1958, the Georgia General Assembly passed a resolution purporting to censure President Dwight D. Eisenhower for using National Guard troops in the integration of schools in Little Rock, Arkansas.

On February 14, 1977, the B-52s played their first gig at a Valentine’s Day party in Athens.

Later that year, the group began making regular runs in the Wilson family station wagon up to New York City for gigs at seminal New Wave clubs like Max’s Kansas City and CBGB’s. With Kate and Cindy in their mile-high beehive wigs and 60s thrift-shop best, and Fred looking like a gay, demented golf pro, the B-52s made an immediate impression on the New York scene, and their independently produced single, “Rock Lobster,” became an underground smash.

The B-52s are still in business three decades later, minus Ricky Wilson, who died of AIDS in 1985. Significantly, their success is widely credited for establishing the viability of the Athens, Georgia, music scene, which would produce many minor successes and one massive one—R.E.M.—in the years immediately following the breakthrough of the B-52′s.

On February 14, 2012, we published the first edition of the GaPundit daily political news, featuring dogs. We originally thought that the dogs would be temporary until enough people complained about them that we felt the need to go to once a week. We were surprised that the adoptable dogs have become the signature of GaPundit’s otherwise-political offerings and our greatest success.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Republican John LaHood smoked the competition to win outright the Special Election in House District 175, receiving more than 70% of votes cast. From the Valdosta Daily Times:

He said his priorities will be to make sure the community and South Georgia are given the same priority as the rest of the state.

LaHood stated he would “preserve our conservative South Georgia values. As a Christian, I will not apologize for my faith, and I will never back down from protecting our values.”

He would “protect taxpayers by using my business experience to bring a results-driven approach to state government.”

“Improve rural health care and health-care outcomes by pushing Georgia-focused, conservative reforms based in the private sector and protect and support Georgia’s aging population with more choices and a stronger workforce of qualified caregivers.”

“Stand strong for our farmers.”

Governor Nathan Deal yesterday introduced House Bill 918 by State Rep. Chuck Efstration (R-Dacula) and the other Administration Floor Leaders to overhaul the state tax code.

The bill addresses the state revenue projections resulting from the Federal Tax Act while mirroring its 10-year timeframe.

The legislation would allow Georgia taxpayers to take the increased standard deduction at the federal level while providing flexibility to take either standard or itemized deductions at the state level. Another component would enhance personal exemptions by 25 percent.

“This legislation provides more flexibility and fairness to Georgians to decide what’s best for their families,” said Deal. “It will allow taxpayers to take full advantage of federal reforms while ensuring the fiscal health of our state long-term. This legislation will keep more hard-earned money in Georgians’ pockets and is an important step forward in modernizing state law to conform with federal reforms.”

From the Associated Press via the Gainesville Times:

Now, with the governor’s office estimating that Georgians will pay an additional $4.7 billion in state taxes cumulatively over the next five years, lawmakers are debating what to do with the extra funds.

Deal introduced legislation Tuesday that would allow filers who take the standard deduction at the federal level to itemize deductions at the state level, which is currently prohibited in Georgia. This would let Georgians take advantage of a major increase in the federal standard deduction without being forced to take the state standard deduction, which is relatively low. Deal’s proposal also calls for increasing the state personal exemption by 25 percent.

From The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

“It will mean the state is not collecting as much money from them as it would have been had we not made these changes,” Gov. Nathan Deal told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday.

Administration officials said their bill would cut the estimated windfall by 75 percent over five years and all but eliminate it this year.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who is running this year to replace the retiring Deal, said, “I look forward to reviewing Governor Deal’s proposal and working with him to give hardworking Georgia families the tax cut they deserve.

“Ultimately, I’m committed to moving forward with comprehensive tax reform that will — at a minimum — return every surplus dollar collected back to Georgia taxpayers.”

“My criteria have been, let’s make sure we don’t jeopardize state revenue by getting carried away (with tax cuts) because there is going to be a windfall,” Deal said. “Let’s do it in a very select way, let’s make sure the benefits we convey in a tax reform are benefits we can sustain over a long period of time.”

Under the Gold Dome

Both chambers of the General Assembly convene at 10 AM today for Legislative Day 21.

LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE MEETING SCHEDULE

8:30 AM SENATE VETERANS, MILITARY & HOMELAND SECURITY 310 CLOB

9:00 AM HOUSE RULES 341 CAP

Upon Adjournment SENATE RULES450 CAP

1:00 PM SENATE PUBLIC SAFETY MEZZ 1

1:00 PM INSURANCE AND LABOR 310 CLOB

1:00 PM House Reeves Sub Judy (Non Civil) 132 CAP

1:00 PM HOUSE Education Sub Academic Support 415 CLOB

1:00 PM HOUSE State Govt Admin Subc Govtal Affairs 406 CLOB

1:00 PM HOUSE AGRICULTURE & CONSUMER AFFAIRS 403 CAP

1:30 PM SENATE APPROP – Comm Health & Human Development and Public Health Subs 307 CLOB

2:00 PM DOT ELECTIONS -DISTRICT 10 SENATE CHAMBER

2:00 PM SENATE TRANSPORTATION 310 CLOB

2:00 PM HOUSE APPROP HIGHER ED 341 CAP

2:00 PM House Ways & Means Income Tax Sub 133 CAP

2:00 PM House Kelley Sub Judy (Civil) 403 CAP

2:00 PM HOUSE BUDGET AND FISCAL AFFAIRS OVERSIGHT 506 CLOB

2:00 PM HOUSE RETIREMENT 515 CLOB

2:15 PM HOUSE GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS 406 CLOB

3:00 PM SENATE FINANCE MEZZ 1

3:00 PM SENATE EDUCATION & YOUTH 450 CAP

3:00 PM HOUSE PUBLIC SAFETY 606 CLOB

3:00 PM House Setzler Sub Judy (Non Civil) 132 CAP

3:00 PM House Ways & Means Sub Public Finance and Policy 133 CAP

4:00 PM SENATE JUDY SUB COMMITTEE B 307 CLOB

4:00 PM DOT ELECTIONS -DISTRICT 9 SENATE CHAMBER

4:00 PM DOT ELECTIONS- DISTRICT 14 SENATE CHAMBER

4:00 PM House Fleming Sub Judy (Civil) 132 CAP

4:00 PM HOUSE APPROP PUBLIC SAFETY 406 CLOB

SENATE RULES CALENDAR

SB 107 – Ethics in Government; filing campaign financial disclosure reports; additional date prior to general primary; revise the dates (Substitute) (ETHICS-40th)

SB 248 – Life Insurance; life insurers’ requirement to review the National Association of Insurance Commissioners life insurance policy locator; provide (Substitute) (I&L-16th)

SB 348 – Technical College System of Georgia; powers of arrest of campus policemen who are regular employees; revise (PUB SAF-7th)

SB 367 – Payment of Indemnification for Death or Disability; option of payment to an estate in the case of death; law enforcement officer; firefighter; emergency medical technician, emergency management specialist, state highway employee or prison guard; provide (PUB SAF-13th)

SB 368 – Criminal Justice Coordinating Council; functions and authority; add (PUB SAF-13th)

SB 369 – Revenues Collected from Fines and Fees; payments to Peace Officers’ Annuity and Benefit Fund; fees collected in criminal and quasi-criminal cases prior to adjudication of guilt; provide (Substitute) (PUB SAF-13th)

SB 366 – Local Government; counties and municipal corporations to perform wage and compensation studies for employees of sheriff’s office; require
(PUB SAF-51st)

HOUSE RULES CALENDAR

Open Rule

HR 898 Joint Study Committee on the Establishment of a State Accreditation Process; create (Ed-Coleman-97th)

Modified Open Rule

HB 190 – Domestic relations; marriage articles and antenuptial agreements; change provisions (Substitute)(Judy-Hanson-80th)

HB 740 – Education; local school system to conduct certain screenings, assessments, and reviews prior to expelling a student; require (Substitute)(Ed-Nix-69th)

Modified Structured Rule

HB 767 – State government; verification of lawful presence that may be utilized in conjunction with electronic filing of an application for unemployment insurance; provide (I&L-Werkheiser-157th)

HB 789 – Labor and industrial relations; marketplace contractors to be treated as independent contractors under state and local laws; provisions (Substitute)(I&L-Fleming-121st)

HB 800 – Workers’ compensation; eligibility for appointment as director emeritus and administrative law judge emeritus; change certain provisions (I&L-Bonner-72nd)

Structured Rule

HB 302 – Ad valorem tax; property; change certain requirements to notice pertaining to millage rate adoption (Substitute)(W&M-Nix-69th)

HB 749 – Income tax; retirement income is applicable as a retirement benefit from noncivilian service in the United States armed forces; clarify an exemption (Substitute)(W&M-Blackmon-146th)

HR 158 – General Assembly; provide for dedication of revenues derived from fees or other taxes to the public purpose for which such fees or other taxes were imposed; authorize – CA (Substitute)(W&M-Powell-171st)

Senate Bill 17, the “Brunch Bill” passed the Senate yesterday on a vote of 38-18. From the Gainesville Times:

Senators voted 38-18 in favor of Senate Bill 17, which would allow on-premise consumption to begin at 11 a.m. on Sundays. Off-premise sales, such as those at supermarkets, would remain illegal until 12:30 p.m. on Sundays.

The bill was revised by the Senate Committee on Regulated Industries and brought to the Senate floor on Tuesday as a substitute bill. The original legislation also included grocery stores in the establishments that would be allowed to sell alcohol beginning at 11 a.m. on Sundays.

Republican Sen. Jeff Mullis, of Chickamauga, said he is personally against expanding alcohol sales but is in favor of the bill because it gives local communities the ability to decide whether or not to allow earlier sales.

“If this ever came to Chickamauga, … I would want my constituents to have the right to vote,” Mullis said. “I support the right to the ballot.”

From the AJC:

State Sen. Renee Unterman, R-Buford, said the legislation was a compromise made to appease opponents of the bill, including several who object to any expanded access to alcohol.

“The bill has been simplified and it’s had a lot of media attention, but I think everybody understands what they’re voting on,” Unterman said in brief remarks before the vote.

Unterman said she introduced Senate Bill 17 to let private businesses do what the state-owned Georgia World Congress Center already does, which is serve alcohol at its facilities on Sunday mornings.

State Rep. Meagan Hanson, R-Brookhaven, said while she is pleased the measure cleared the Senate, representatives still need to decide whether they’re comfortable with the time sales are permitted being later than originally proposed. Hanson will help steer the bill through the House this year.

House Bill 769, from the House Rural Development Council’s recommendations, passed out of the House Health and Human Services Committee. From Georgia Health News:

House Bill 769 would take several steps, including easing the creation of ‘’micro-hospitals,’’ with 24/7 care and a small number of beds, to replace full-scale hospitals that close.

It also would allow grants to help rural physicians afford medical malpractice insurance, as an incentive to practice in rural areas; permit remote pharmacy prescription orders from outside of Georgia; and require training of rural hospital board and authority members.

The legislation, sponsored by state Rep. Rick Jasperse, a Jasper Republican, would also raise the rural tax credit for donations to rural hospitals from 90 percent to 100 percent.

The rural health bill is not a silver bullet, Jasperse said after the approval by the committee. “It’s a piece of a puzzle that would help stabilize rural hospitals.”

State Rep. Kevin Tanner (R-Dawsonville), who Chairs the House Transportation Committee, introduced House Bill 930, which would coordinate transit development and funding across the Metro Atlanta region.

From The Atlanta Journal Constution:

With the introduction of HB 930, there are now two bills that seek to revamp transit oversight and funding in metro Atlanta. The Senate is considering similar legislation.

Both bills would create a new regional board to oversee transit planning in 13 metro Atlanta counties: Cherokee, Clayton, Coweta, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Paulding and Rockdale.

The bills would allow the counties to impose sales taxes for transit projects, if their voters approve them. The regional board would have to approve the project lists for any county transit referendum. But the taxes raised in any county would be spent only in that county.

From WABE:

State funds for a region-wide public transit system would come from two sources. One being a new, 1 percent sales tax on goods and services at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and Savannah’s International Airport and a 50-cent fee on each ride in a taxi, Uber or Lyft.

Rep. Kevin Tanner, R-Dawnsonville, helped write the bill. He said it would let the 13 counties in the metro Atlanta region create their own 30-year special purpose sales taxes for transit.

The bill would also create a single governing body to handle planning. It would work with counties to decide how the state and local funding is spent.

More from the AJC:

The bill would create a new board — dubbed Atlanta-region Transit Link, or “ATL” — to oversee transit planning in the 13-county metro Atlanta area. The transit-related sales taxes raised in any county would only be spent in that community, but the board would have to sign off on local project lists.

“This is not about forcing counties to take MARTA,” Tanner, a Republican from Dawsonville, said.

Maggie Lee of the Macon Telegraph writes about legislative attempts to curb opioid abuse:

In a rough 48 hours last June, Macon emergency rooms admitted more than a dozen people who had swallowed apparently fake Percocets.

“It’s not just an Atlanta problem, it’s a problem in middle Georgia,” said state Sen. Larry Walker III, R-Perry. “It’s ruining lives and killing people and probably driving up our crime.”

Renee Unterman has met countless people with stories of addiction. The state Senator’s name has been on many of the bricks in the legal wall that’s supposed to protect Georgians from the flood of strong opioids.

She looked up to the second floor of the Senate chamber, where the guests sit, as she presented Senate Bill 352 earlier this month. “I dedicate this bill to two mothers,” she said, looking toward Kathi Abraham and Lisa Manning, mothers whose sons Joseph and Dustin died of suspected opioid overdoses on the same day last year. The families lived in the same subdivision, just four streets apart.

“We have people peddling lethal substances,” said Unterman, R-Buford.

[Senator Larry] Walker is carrying another incremental bill, another one of the bricks in the wall Georgia is trying to put up between opioids and addiction. Georgia health care providers are supposed to log opioid prescriptions in a database, so that they can see if patients are getting a lot of prescriptions. His bill would allow law enforcement from other states look in the database, if they have a search warrant. It’s meant to remove state borders in investigation of possible criminal cases.

I recommend reading the story in its entirety.

Former State Rep. Valerie Clark (R-Gwinnett) announced she will make a comeback bid after losing her 2016 reelection, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Clark, a Republican, held the House District 101 seat for three terms but was defeated by Rep. Sam Park, D-Lawrenceville, in 2016. The election is expected to pit Clark and Park against each other in a rematch of the 2016 election, which Park won by 460 votes.

“I authored legislation to protect patients in hospitals and to make it easier for seniors to age in place,” Clark said in a statement. “I also fought tirelessly to pass legislation to reduce the production of methamphetamine from prescription drugs.”

13
Feb

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 13, 2017

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.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Voters in State House District 175 go to the polls today in a Special Election to fill the now-vacant seat.

Candidates are:

• Treva Gear, Democrat, Valdosta, educator.

• John LaHood, Republican, Valdosta, business owner.

• Bruce Phelps, Republican, Lowndes County, who lists his occupation as emergency medical technician.

• Coy Reaves, Republican, Quitman, self-employed.

The district represents part of Lowndes and Thomas counties and all of Brooks County.

The district was represented in the Statehouse for several years by Carter. She resigned at the end of 2017 to take a position as the executive director of advancement for the Technical College System of Georgia. She began her tenure as a Democrat who later switched to the Republican Party.

Governor Nathan Deal released a statement about the inclusion of $49 million for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project in President Trump’s proposed budget.

“I am encouraged to see that SHEP was President Trump’s top priority when it comes to port investments,” said Deal. “The expansion of the Port of Savannah is the single most important infrastructure project not only for Georgia, but for the Southeast as a whole, and deepening it is necessary to allow larger ships like the Neo-Panamax to navigate through our ports more quickly and ensure that a greater volume of goods will be able to move through our state. On top of President Trump’s budget, we are looking forward to investment from the Army Corps of Engineers work plan to supplement this amount. Finally, I am grateful for members of Georgia’s Congressional delegation and call upon them to redouble their advocacy for federal funding during the appropriations process. To date, Georgia taxpayers have already invested the state’s full local share to SHEP, amounting to roughly $266 million, and the state’s FY 2019 budget includes an additional $35 million to ensure its completion by 2021. A timely completion of this effort will ensure resources are allocated efficiently and taxpayer dollars are spent appropriately, while making a major step forward for our national infrastructure as more, larger ships will be able to navigate through the Port of Savannah and more quickly move goods through our nation.”

From the Savannah Morning News:

“It’s very good news,” Jamie McCurry, chief administrative officer for the ports said. “We are glad to see Savannah given the highest priority based on dollars of any expansion projects.”

Once the omnibus bill is passed in March, appropriations can move forward, officials with Georgia Sen. David Perdue’s office said. An omnibus spending bill allows appropriations bills to be combined into one bill that can be passed with one vote in each legislative house.

McCurry said the FY 2018 and FY2019 funding will help towards the $88-$100 million needed each year for the project.

“We are certainly thankful for the $49 million,” [Congressman Buddy] Carter said. “We all know we need more money to avoid any interruptions in this project. That’s our goal — not to have any interruptions.”

Under the Gold Dome

The House and Senate each convenes at 10 AM today for Legislative Day 20, the halfway point in the legislative session. It’s a doozy of a day for committee meetings.

LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE MEETING SCHEDULE.

8:00 AM SENATE STATE & LOCAL GOVT OPS 307 CLOB

8:00 AM SENATE APPROPRIATIONS 341 CAP

8:00 AM House Envtal Qual Subc  Natl Res & Envt 403 CAP

8:00 AM HOUSE MILITARY AFFAIRS WORKING GROUP 415 CLOB

9:00 AM HOUSE RULES 341 CAP

Upon Adjournment SENATE RULES – UPON ADJOURNMENT 450 CAP

1:00 PM SENATE ECON DEV & TOURISM – CANCELED 125 CAP

1:00 PM SENATE HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES 450 CAP

1:00 PM House Setzler Sub Judy (Non-Civil) 506 CLOB

1:00 PM HOUSE APPROP PUBLIC SAFETY 415 CLOB

1:00 PM HOUSE APPROP TRANSPORTATION 406 CLOB

2:00 PM SENATE RETIREMENT MEZZ 1

2:00 PM SENATE SCIENCE AND TECH 307 CLOB

2:00 PM DOT ELECTIONS -DISTRICT 2 SENATE CHAMBER

2:00 PM SENATE NATL RES & ENVT 310 CLOB

2:00 PM HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS HIGHER ED 341 CAP

2:00 PM HOUSE JUDY (CIVIL) 132 CAP

2:00 PM HOUSE APPRO GENL GOVT 403 CAP

2:00 PM HOUSE REGULATED IND 415 CLOB

2:00 PM HOUSE BANKS AND BANKING 515 CLOB

2:00 PM HOUSE HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES 606 CLOB

3:00 PM SENATE HIGHER ED 307 CLOB

3:00 PM SENATE REG IND & UTILS 450 CAP

3:00 PM DOT ELECTIONS -DISTRICT 5 Senate Chamber

3:00 PM DOT ELECTIONS-DISTRICT 13 Senate Chamber

3:00 PM HOUSE MEDICAL CANNABIS WORKING GROUP 406 CLOB

3:00 PM HOUSE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY 506 CLOB

4:00 PM SENATE STATE INST & PROP 450 CAP

4:00 PM SENATE BANKING AND FIN INST – CANCELED MEZZ 1

4:00 PM HOUSE Govt Affairs Special Sub Voting Tech 506 CLOB

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee today will hear testimony on Senate Bill 351 by Chair Renee Unterman (R-Buford), which would allow a greater scope of practice for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses in rural parts of Georgia. From Jill Nolin at CNHI:

Unterman, who chairs the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, has introduced a measure that would empower the nurses to practice to the fullest extent of their training.

“I just think it’s a shame that, here at the General Assembly, they’ve been held back and repressed for so long,” Unterman said during an interview at the state Capitol.

Georgia has one of the most restrictive laws for nurse practitioners. Nationally, 22 states and the District of Columbia grant them what is known as full-practice authority.

Proponents argue expanding the scope of practice for nurse practitioners could help fill in the health-care gaps in a growing state with increasing needs, especially with primary care. Nurse practitioners can also specialize in certain areas, such as pediatric care or mental health treatment.

“Everybody says, ‘Oh, it’s anti-doctor,’” Unterman said of her proposal. “It has nothing to do with that. It’s about access to care, and if you have a ready, willing and able workforce out there that’s willing to fill in the gap, I say let them have it.”

 

House Bill 865 by Rep. Miriam Paris (D-Macon) would reduce possession of small amounts of marijuana to a misdemeanor. From the Macon Telegraph:

[Rep. Paris] says the bill is not about legalizing marijuana, but about an appropriate punishment for a nonviolent crime.“It is just making it where we’re not sending people to jail, where they have to go and sit just because they can’t make bail or for it,” she said. Her bill says that a possession of up to a half-ounce of marijuana would be punishable by a maximum $300 fine.

Right now, possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is a misdemeanor and subject to up to a year’s imprisonment and up to a $1,000 fine. An ounce or more of marijuana is a felony.

Her bill moves the felony line up to two ounces or more of marijuana. Her bill is identical to Senate Bill 105, which state Sen. Harold Jones II, D-Augusta, carried to state Senate Judiciary Committee approval last year.

House Bill 678 by State Rep. Richard Smith (R-Columbus) addresses surprise medical billing passed out of the House Insurance Committee by substitute. From the Rome News-Tribune:

“Two out of three of you will get a surprise bill within the next two years,” Rep. Richard H. Smith, R-Columbus, said before his House Bill 678 passed in a vote of 164 to 1.

Surprise or balance bills come when a service is performed at an in-network hospital by a contract provider and the patient is billed for the difference between what his insurance company covers and the contractor’s fee.

“You’ve done everything right, or so you believe … (But) some healthcare providers are not in the insurance network and they can charge you whatever they want,” Smith said. “In some cases it’s 10 to 12 times higher than in-network.”

HB 678 offers protections for scheduled procedures.

House Bill 887 by State Rep. Jay Powell (R-Camilla) could be the opposite of “Netflix and chill.” From the Valdosta Daily Times:

Sticking a tax on Netflix, e-books and other digital services that currently go untaxed in Georgia would help pay for upgrades to internet connections in neglected corners of the state.

“We tax books but not Kindle downloads,” Rep. Jay Powell, R-Camilla, said in an interview Thursday. “We used to buy movie tickets and go to Blockbuster – all of which were taxed – but now we videostream from Netflix.

Powell, who heads the House Ways and Means Committee, co-chaired the House Rural Development Council. The broadband bill, which was filed Thursday, is the most ambitious measure to come so far from that panel’s yearlong work. About 16 percent of Georgians lack internet access.

Powell’s measure would replace that lost revenue with a broader tax base, imposing a sales tax on music downloads, streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu, and other digital purchases.

Another tax would expand to all communications services, including those not currently taxed such as satellite TV.

Governor Deal’s  Commission on Children’s Mental Health recommended the increased use of telemedicine for providing services in rural areas. From the Gainesville Times:

Telemedicine, also called telehealth, is becoming a growing part of rural Americans’ health care consumption. Faced with few providers or high-deductible insurance (or no insurance at all), patients are turning to less expensive webcam consultations with a specialist.

Much of the almost $23 million for children’s mental health programs requested by the governor’s office and the commission is intended to “connect kids to services where they are everyday, and that’s schools,” Sitkoff said. “Where we’ve seen great success in tele-mental health is where these school-based health centers leverage telehealth equipment to get kids access to behavioral health providers.”

Tucked into the budget recommendations are two line items totaling $482,500 for telemedicine services and infrastructure — money that will help fund the cameras, computers and training needed to coordinate and carry out telehealth programs through public schools, the state and public-private health care providers.

Sitkoff held up the Tanner Health System in the West Georgia town of Carrollton as an example for its tele-mental health services, which include providing telehealth services in local schools. The system also does regular “mental health first aid” classes that teach people how to identify someone struggling with mental illness and how to approach them about it.

Dade County Commissioners are considering putting a sales tax referendum on the May 2018 ballot. From the Times Free Press:

The county commissioners are holding a special called meeting Thursday at 5 p.m. to decide whether to put a referendum on the May 22 ballot, asking whether people support a transportation special purpose local option sales tax. The 1 percent burden at the cash register would be earmarked for work on roads, bridges and other transportation projects.

If the commissioners put it on a ballot, this will be the second election in six months on the issue. In November, 55 percent of voters rejected it.

But County Executive Ted Rumley believes the referendum has a better chance to pass this time. With only Trenton, Ga., races on the ballot in November, just 911 people came to the polls.

The Coweta County Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing tonight to discuss the county’s “rural integrity.”

Coweta County public safety agencies are launching a new emergency notification system that works via smartphone app.

Macon-Bibb County already has at least two candidates for the next Mayoral election in 2020. From the Macon Telegraph:

Macon-Bibb County Commissioner Larry Schlesinger and Bibb County school board President Lester Miller have filed paperwork to begin raising funds for a mayoral bid. The election will be held in May 2020.

The Macon-Bibb mayor is limited to two consecutive terms under the consolidation charter, meaning that [Mayor Robert] Reichert will not be able to run again in 2020. That could open up the field to what might be a large group of candidates.

“When everyone knows the incumbent … does not have the option to run again and it’s going to be a wide open seat, I think it’s a natural progression for interested candidates” to begin their mayoral campaigns earlier than usual, said Cox, a former Georgia secretary of state.

Neighborhood activist Betty C. Reece filed paperwork to run against Augusta District 4 Commissioner Sammy Sias.

Lee County Coroner Bill Harris announced he will run for reelection.

Savannah Mayor Eddie DeLoach delivered his State of the City address, promising to continue to prioritize public safety while improving infrastructure.

Chatham County Probate Court is struggling to keep up with an increasing number of applications for concealed weapons permits. From the Savannah Morning News:

Deputy Clerk Jennifer Fogle recently handled 180 applications for weapons carry licenses in one day in Chatham County Probate Court.

About 60 of those required background checks, a time-consuming process that sometimes requires follow-ups that have contributed to a current five-month timeframe to complete the process.

For Fogle, it is a daily challenge to satisfy legal requirements and the patience of members of the public who might not understand the process or court staff who must satisfy both.

Chatham County commissioners on Friday granted an emergency request by court officials and transferred $25,000 from contingency fund to cover overtime and equipment funding to help deal with backlogs.

9
Feb

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 9, 2018

On February 11, 1733, the first military formation in Georgia was held, as male colonists assembled with their muskets.

On February 11, 1776, Georgia Royal Governor Sir James Wright escaped from house arrest in Savannah to a waiting British warship HMS Scarborough.

On February 10, 1787, the Georgia House of Assembly named William Few, Abraham Baldwin, William Pierce, George Walton, William Houstoun, and Nathaniel Pendleton to the Constitutional Convention called to revise the Articles of Confederation at Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

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.

Alexander Stephens was elected Vice President of the Confederate States of America on February 9, 1861. On February 10, 1861, Jefferson Davis of Mississippi received word that he was chosen as President of the Confederate States of America.

On February 9, 1926, the Atlanta Board of Education voted to prohibit teaching evolution in the Atlanta Public Schools.

Burt Reynolds was born on February 11, 1936 in Lansing, Michigan, though some accounts say Waycross, Georgia. Beginning with Deliverance, filmed along the Chattooga River in North Georgia in 1972, Georgia rose to number three in the nation for film production while Reynolds’s star rose to prominence. Other Reynolds movies filmed in Georgia include The Longest Yard, Gator, Smokey and the Bandit, Cannonball Run, and Sharkey’s Machine.

On February 9, 1964, the Beatles debuted in America on The Ed Sullivan Show.

On February 10, 1964, the United States House of Representatives voted 290-130 for passage of the Civil Rights Act.

On February 10, 1972, David Bowie made his first appearance as Ziggy Stardust.

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.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

A new Public Service Announcement has been released, aimed at reducing youth suicide in Georgia, according to Fox5 Atlanta.

A startling statistic, 144 youths have taken their own lives in the past three years in Georgia.

That is part of a new public service announcement that will soon hit TV screens around the state. The PSA includes survivors who bravely share their stories about suicide attempts.

The Georgia Child Fatality Review Plan is behind that new ad. They were at the Georgia State Capitol on Thursday to raise further awareness.

https://youtu.be/6mlpCG_SqO8

Georgia is ranked as the sickest state in the nation, due to widespread flu-like symptoms, according to WSAV.com.Continue Reading..