Category: Georgia Politics


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 12, 2022

On August 12, 1492 by the current calendar, Christopher Columbus set sail from the port of Palos de la Frontera in southern Spain with the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria. Other accounts date his arrival at the Canary Islands off the coast of northwestern Africa on August 12, 1492.

Juan Ponce de Leon invaded Puerto Rico on August 12, 1508 and declared himself Governor.

On August 14, 1784, Russians invaded settled Alaska, founding the first permanent Russian settlement at Three Saints Bay.

Dentist, gambler, and gunfighter Doc Holliday was born on August 14, 1851 in Griffin, Georgia.

On August 11, 1862, Confederate General Braxton Bragg declared martial law in Atlanta.

On August 14, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln hosted a group of African-American men at the White House to discuss emancipation of American slaves outside the United States as colonists.

On August 12, 1864, Confederate General John B. Hood prohibited Confederate soldiers from seizing civilian property.

The Second Battle of Dalton was joined on August 14, 1864.

The first Ford Model T rolled off the assembly line on August 12, 1908.

On August 12, 1908, Ford’s first “Model T” rolled off a Detroit, Michigan, factory floor. Within six years, the car, company and man were propelled to unprecedented success, thanks to the new Highland Park plant’s first-of-its-kind assembly line, which created the intricate product quickly and in large numbers.

“If it hadn’t been for Henry Ford’s drive to create a mass market for cars, America wouldn’t have a middle class today,” wrote [Lee] Iacocca.

Increased travel spurred appeals for better and more roads, the development of suburbs, the oil industry’s rise and a boom in gas stations, strip malls and motels.

But the assembly line itself had the biggest impact on American society, Hyde contended, in making possible the swift, mass production of everything from computers to “fast food.”

On August 12, 1910, Georgia Governor Joseph M. Brown signed legislation prohibiting the carrying of a pistol or revolver without a license.

The County Unit System of elections was created on August 14, 1917 when Governor Hugh Dorsey signed legislation by the General Assembly.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act on August 14, 1935. The road to perdition is paved with good intentions.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered the summer commencement address at the University of Georgia on August 11, 1938. Later that day, Roosevelt endorsed Lawrence Camp over incumbent Governor Walter F. George, saying George had not been sufficiently supportive of the New Deal.

On August 14, 1945, the Japanese surrender to the Allies was made public in Japan.

In the afternoon of August 14, Japanese radio announced that an Imperial Proclamation was soon to be made, accepting the terms of unconditional surrender drawn up at the Potsdam Conference. That proclamation had already been recorded by the emperor.

East Germany began building the Berlin Wall on August 12, 1961.

[T]he government of East Germany, on the night of August 12, 1961, began to seal off all points of entrance into West Berlin from East Berlin by stringing barbed wire and posting sentries. In the days and weeks to come, construction of a concrete block wall began, complete with sentry towers and minefields around it. The Berlin Wall succeeded in completely sealing off the two sections of Berlin.

Three churches in Albany, Georgia first allowed African-Americans to attend their services on August 12, 1962.

The Atlanta Braves signed legendary Negro League pitcher Satchel Paige on August 11, 1968. Here’s a story on what the Braves signing meant to Paige:

In 1968, the right-hander was 158 days shy of the five years’ playing time needed to qualify for the major league pension. He would reach out to 29 teams and 29 teams would turn him down.

The problem was, he was 62.

But Braves president Bill Bartholomay saw an opportunity. While it would help at the box office for a franchise that was in its third season in Atlanta, it was also about something more.

“I jumped all over it, because I just thought it was the right thing to do,” said Bartholomay, currently the team’s chairman emeritus. “I didn’t think of it so much from the standpoint of diversity, I thought it was just the right thing to do.”

After reaching his 158 required days, Paige left the Braves and less than three years later, began drawing that pension. He received $250 a month.

“It was momentous and he did quality for his pension,” Bartholomay said, “but more importantly, the slight recognition for one of the great athletes, maybe one of the .. certainly short list of greatest pitchers of all time.”

From the AJC:

“Baseball would have been guilty of negligence should it not assure this legendary figure a place in the pension plan,” the [Braves] owner said at the signing in 1968. Looking back 40 years on, Bartholomay says Satchel justified his faith by performing sensationally as a goodwill ambassador.

“He came to us four months after the King funeral in Atlanta,” says Bartholomay. “Those were pretty tough times for African-Americans and the country in its entirety. Satchel understood that. He helped in a way that went way beyond baseball.”

On August 12, 1968, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham played together for the first time.

The first Space Shuttle, Enterprise, made its first flight in the earth’s atmosphere on August 12, 1977.

President Jimmy Carter was nominated for reelection as President by the Democratic National Convention in New York City on August 13, 1980.

President Ronald Reagan signed the Economic Recovery Tax Act on August 13, 1981.

The ERTA included a 25 percent reduction in marginal tax rates for individuals, phased in over three years, and indexed for inflation from that point on. The marginal tax rate, or the tax rate on the last dollar earned, was considered more important to economic activity than the average tax rate (total tax paid as a percentage of income earned), as it affected income earned through “extra” activities such as education, entrepreneurship or investment. Reducing marginal tax rates, the theory went, would help the economy grow faster through such extra efforts by individuals and businesses. The 1981 act, combined with another major tax reform act in 1986, cut marginal tax rates on high-income taxpayers from 70 percent to around 30 percent, and would be the defining economic legacy of Reagan’s presidency.

Reagan’s tax cuts were designed to put maximum emphasis on encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship and creating incentives for the development of venture capital and greater investment in human capital through training and education. The cuts particularly benefited “idea” industries such as software or financial services; fittingly, Reagan’s first term saw the advent of the information revolution, including IBM’s introduction of its first personal computer (PC) and the rise or launch of such tech companies as Intel, Microsoft, Dell, Sun Microsystems, Compaq and Cisco Systems.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High was released on August 13, 1982.

On August 11, 1984, Ronald Reagan jokingly announced that he had “signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever…we begin bombing in five minutes,” without knowing he was speaking into a live microphone.

A Special Session called by Governor Zell Miller to address legislative redistricting convened on August 14, 1995, after the United States Supreme Court threw out Georgia’s Congressional redistricting map.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp announced he will seek to retro-earn another round of tax refunds, according to 11Alive.

The state income tax refund checks would be worth $250-$500 to taxpayers, as they were earlier this year, and an average of $500 to homeowners according to the governor’s office.

Both measures would be submitted for next year’s budget – if Kemp is reelected. Stacey Abrams has offered a mirror proposal for the same refund checks, but opposes the property tax break.

Georgia previously issued tax refund checks, drawing from the state surplus, earlier this year.

Part of Kemp’s proposal would also reportedly include bringing back a property tax break that went away in 2009. The last time it was in place in 2008, it saved homeowners about $200-$300 on their property tax bills, according to the AP, at a total cost of $428 million to the state.

According to the press handout, the revived property tax initiative will save homeowners 15-25% on their bill – or about $500 on average.

Abrams opposes reviving the property tax break, saying it is “paying off the property taxes of mansion owners and millionaires.”

From the Associated Press:

“Abrams plans to spend more, tax more, regulate more,” Kemp said Thursday, “all while driving inflation higher and putting countless livelihoods at risk, just like her pal in the White House.”

With property values rising, most taxpayers will see higher property tax bills this year because local governments and school districts did not reduce tax rates enough to hold tax bills level.

“For young Georgians just getting settled into their first home or parents who are sending their kids off to college, unforeseen jumps in property values and local tax bills over the last year only add to concerns of an uncertain economic future,” Kemp said.

Kemp argues only Democrats are to blame for economic instability, saying Abrams deserves blame for helping get Biden elected.

“Hardworking Georgians are now faced with a Democrat-controlled Washington D.C. that is hellbent on driving 40-year high inflation even higher, and doing everything they can to make your life harder,” Kemp said. “The pain Georgians are feeling at the pump, and at the grocery store, is a direct result of these tax and spend policies pushed by Joe Biden and Stacey Abrams.”

From FoxNews:

“We want to give you, the citizens, your money back, because it’s going to be more than we just need to spend on wasteful projects,” he added, noting the government would not benefit if it were to allocate the funds to state programs as it would not necessarily be in next year’s budget.

“This is one-time money,” Kemp continued. “If you build new government programs with one-time money, it’s not going to be there the next year and she’s not going to be able to pay for all the plans that she is putting out there without raising your taxes and that is a fact.”

In his proposal, about $1 billion of the surplus will be given back in income tax rebates, including $250 for single filers, $375 for heads of household with dependents, and $500 for joint filers, FOX 5 reported.

Kemp said the other $1 billion would be given to property owners through a “Georgia Homeowner Rebate,” which would provide around $500 on average for those who regularly receive a homestead exemption.

The state legislature will have to approve any spending proposal before the money is given to taxpayers.

Meanwhile, Governor Kemp is directing state agencies to keep spending stable, according to the AJC.

In his annual instructions to agency leaders, Kemp’s budget director, Kelly Farr, said inflation could have an impact on the state’s fiscal outlook, so many agencies won’t see increased budgets.

The exception will be for education and health care programs that receive funding based on enrollment in schools or programs. For instance, if there are more students in a college than the previous year, it receives extra state money to educate those extra students.

The governor will use agency plans to build the budget proposal he will present to the General Assembly in January.

Democrat Stacey Abrams criticized Gov. Kemp for incentives that enticed Rivian to undertake a new plant, according to the AJC.

It started on Monday when Democrat Stacey Abrams delivered an economic speech that included a veiled dig at the huge incentive package that Gov. Brian Kemp’s administration leveraged to entice the automaker, which is losing money as it struggles with manufacturing issues.

“Now while the governor is comfortable promising billions to companies that have yet to turn a profit,” Abrams said, “he refuses to invest in our young people.”

Kemp fired back at a campaign event on Thursday at the state Capitol where he accused Abrams of hypocrisy. She celebrated the plant when it was announced in December and, Kemp said, supported state legislation that authorized incentives for large projects.

“In politics, you can’t have it both ways,” Kemp said. “You’ve got to stand up for what you believe in.”

Elbert County Commissioners voted against rebuilding “Satan’s Sundial,” aka the “Georgia Guidestones.” From the Augusta Chronicle:

The Elbert County Board of Commissioners voted Monday night to give the broken and crumbled remains of the destroyed Georgia Guidestones monument to the Elberton Granite Association.

The commission also decided at its Monday meeting to begin the legal process of giving the 5 acres of land that contained the monument back to the previous owner, according to [Commission Chair Lee] Vaughn.

“The county is not in the monument business, but it’s our opinion the county should never have taken ownership when they did in 1979,” Vaughn said.

The Granite Association also doesn’t want to rebuild the monument, also known widely as America’s Stonehenge, “but I hope there is a group that will come together and rebuild and create a foundation to own the Guidestones,” Vaughn said.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is looking into a shooting at Union County Primary School, according to AccessWDUN.

“Someone targeted a specific unoccupied vehicle in the parking lot of the school,” a statement from the GBI reads. “The suspect, a school employee, is in custody and there is no threat to the public.”

The man was arrested on the Blairsville downtown square following a police chase.

“School was not in session; however, there was teacher planning going on,” the statement reads.

Jordan Vocational High School in Columbus banned book bags after a gun was found, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

Jordan principal Ryan Hutson told the Ledger-Enquirer the ban is “partially” related to Tuesday’s firearm confiscation, which happened during the second day of the new school year. Hutson said his administration had been discussing such a ban before the academic year even started, and he acknowledged the timing of the new policy is related to the firearm confiscation.

“Obviously, with things like that, when someone can carry a book bag, we don’t know what’s in there,” he said in a phone interview Thursday. “So that’s one of the things we wanted to also help ensure safety.”

“Our kids don’t carry a lot of books anymore,” he said. “They mainly just carry the Chromebooks. Most of the materials are online now, including a lot of our textbooks. So, besides maybe a binder and some pencils and papers and things like that, there’s not much else they need to carry.”

Berkmar High School in Gwinnett County was locked down due to a weapon sighting, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Berkmar High School went on lockdown shortly before classes were set to dismiss for the day after a weapon was spotted on campus on Thursday afternoon, according to a letter Principal Durant Williams sent out to parents.

Two students got into a fight at the school, and during that altercation, a third student told officials that they saw a weapon. Williams’ letter did not specify whether it was a knife, a firearm or some other type of weapon. It also did not specify whether it was being carried by one of the two students involved in the fight or by a different individual.

“Following our safety protocols, the school was placed in a hard lockdown while our school police investigated,” Williams said. “I want to reassure you, no one was hurt, and no weapon was found. The lockdown was lifted after 45 minutes once school police completed a thorough search.

Savannah’s Mayor and Council approved a Memorandum of Understanding between the city and the U.S. Justice Department, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Savannah now has a special assistant U.S. attorney to prosecute federal crimes.

At Thursday’s City Council meeting, the mayor and alderman approved a Memorandum of Understanding between the city and U.S. Attorney’s Office by a 6-3 vote. The special assistant, who will serve as a city employee, will work from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Southern District of Georgia office.

Asked why Savannah was a focal point, David Estes, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, told Savannah Morning News, “Most of the violent crime occurs in the population centers Augusta, Savannah, Statesboro, Brunswick.”

Chatham County Manager Lee Smith remains under suspension, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Since July 21, Chatham County Manager Lee Smith has been on administrative leave, and in the three weeks that have passed since then, Chatham officials have yet to give a reason — even to Smith himself.

Asked Wednesday whether Smith was still under investigation, Assistant Chatham County Attorney Andre Pretorious said “the board is still in discussions, and we await further directions from the board.” The board referenced is the Chatham Commission.

The county manager has yet to be told why he was suspended, according to the lawyer representing Smith.

“I think he’s done a good job for the county, due to the fact he’s been there for 8 years. It shows,” said Brent Savage Sr., of Savannah-based Savage Turner Pinckney Savage & Sprouse law firm.

Augusta Commissioners are at loggerheads and unable to agree on a property tax millage rate, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Augusta commissioners remain at a stalemate over setting tax rates, with Mayor Hardie Davis breaking a 5-5 tie Thursday to oppose an increase. The delay in approving a rate could force the hand of commissioners who support a tax hike, because adopting it could cause the city miss a Sept. 1 state deadline.

The higher rate being proposed is 8.411 mills, which will generate $2.1 million in new revenue for the government this year and raise taxes for most property owners. The lower rate is a rollback rate of 7.986 mills, which would keep city taxes flat for most.

The Georgia Chamber of Commerce endorsed State Senator Burt Jones for Lieutenant Governor, according to the Capitol Beat News Service.

The business group cited Jones’ pro-business record in its endorsement announcement. Jones also is the owner of a small business.

“His lifetime ‘A’ rating with the chamber during his tenure in the General Assembly demonstrates that Senator Jones has prioritized economic growth and opportunity in Georgia,” chamber spokesman David Raynor said.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 10, 2022

On August 10, 1774, a group calling itself the “Sons of Liberty” met at Tondee’s Tavern in Savannah, the first move in Georgia toward what would become the Revolutionary War. The Sons of Liberty adopted eight resolutions, among those one that reads,

Resolved, nemine contradicente, That we apprehend the Parliament of Great Britain hath not, nor ever had, any right to tax his Majesty’s American subjects; for it is evident beyond contradiction, the constitution admits of no taxation without representation; that they are coeval and inseparable; and every demand for the support of government should be by requisition made to the several houses of representatives.

Resolved, nemine contradicente, That we concur with our sister colonies in every constitutional measure to obtain redress of American grievances, and will by every lawful means in our power, maintain those inestimable blessings for which we are indebted to God and the Constitution of our country–a Constitution founded upon reason and justice, and the indelible rights of mankind.

The first copy in Georgia of the Declaration of Independence was read publicly in Savannah on August 10, 1776.

On August 10, 1787, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart completed “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.”

Missouri was admitted as the 24th State, and the first entirely west of the Mississippi River, on August 10, 1821.

On August 10, 1864, the bombardment of Atlanta by Union force continued, with Sherman writing, “Let us destroy Atlanta and make it a desolation.”

The first Georgia state Motor Fuel Tax was enacted on August 10, 1921, when Governor Thomas Hardwick signed legislation imposing a one-cent per gallon tax.

Japan accepted unconditional surrender on August 10, 1945, one day after the atomic bombing of Nagasaki.

Red Dawn, the first movie rated PG-13 was released on August 10, 1984.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Former President Donald Trump said, “We’ll be looking at everything,” in response to being asked whether he’d support Brian Kemp over Democrat Stacey Abrams.Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 9, 2022

Herman E. Talmadge was born on August 9, 1913, son of Eugene Talmadge, who later served as Governor. Herman Talmadge himself served as Governor and United States Senator from Georgia.

On August 9, 1974, Gerald Ford was sworn in as President of the United States after the resignation of President Richard Nixon.

Ford, the first president who came to the office through appointment rather than election, had replaced Spiro Agnew as vice president only eight months before. In a political scandal independent of the Nixon administration’s wrongdoings in the Watergate affair, Agnew had been forced to resign in disgrace after he was charged with income tax evasion and political corruption.

In September 1974, Ford pardoned Nixon for any crimes he may have committed while in office, explaining that he wanted to end the national divisions created by the Watergate scandal.

On August 9, 1988, President Ronald Reagan announced his nomination of Dr. Lauro Cavazos as Secretary of Education, succeeding William Bennett. Cavazos was the first Hispanic to serve in a Presidential Cabinet position. Interestingly, he was born on the King Ranch.

On August 9, 1990, voters in the City of Athens and Clarke County chose to unify the two governments into Athens-Clarke County government.

On August 9, 1995, Jerry Garcia died of a heart attack while at a residential drug treatment facility. I remember where I was when I heard.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney heard arguments in a lawsuit claiming the “Heartbeat bill” violates the state Constitution, according to CBS46 via WTVM.Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 8, 2022

The first printed copy of the Declaration of Independence arrived in Savannah on August 8, 1776 and was read publicly for the first time on August 10, 1776.

On August 8, 1863, General Robert E. Lee offered his resignation in a letter to Confederate President Jefferson Davis, following the Battle of Gettysburg.

On August 8, 1925, Georgia Governor Clifford Walker signed legislation outlawing the brazen act of dancing publicly on Sunday.

On August 8, 1929, Georgia Governor Lamartine Hardman signed legislation placing on the ballot for Fulton and Campbell County voters a merger of the two.

The old Campbell County Courthouse still stands in Fairburn, Georgia.

Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew were nominated for President and Vice President by the Republican National Convention on August 8, 1968.

On August 8, 1974, President Richard Nixon resigned, effective at noon the next day.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

United States District Court Judge Steven Grimberg ruled that Georgia’s scheme for electing Public Service Commissioners is unconstitutional, according to the Associated Press via AccessWDUN.Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 5, 2022

On August 4, 1753, George Washington became a Master Mason at the Masonic Lodge No. 4 in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

On August 5, 1774, Royal Governor James Wright issued a proclamation banning assemblies to protest British policy.

General George Washington created the Purple Heart on August 7, 1782. Click here for an interesting history of the award.

On August 6, 1787, delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia began debating the first draft of the Constitution of the United States.

On August 7, 1790, a delegation of Creeks met with the United States Secretary of War and signed the Treaty of New York, ceding all land between the Ogeechee and Oconee Rivers to Georgia.

President Abraham Lincoln imposed the first federal income tax on August 5, 1861 at the rate of 3 percent on all income over $800 per year.

On August 5, 1910, Gov. Joseph Brown signed legislation outlawing betting on election outcomes.

Theodore Roosevelt, who served as President from 1901 to 1909, was nominated for President by the Progressive Party, also called the Bull Moose Party, on August 7, 1912.

On August 8, 1925, Georgia Governor Clifford Walker signed legislation outlawing the brazen act of dancing publicly on Sunday.

On August 8, 1929, Georgia Governor Lamartine Hardman signed legislation placing on the ballot for Fulton and Campbell County voters a merger of the two.

The old Campbell County Courthouse still stands in Fairburn, Georgia.

On August 7, 1942, Marine forces landed at Guadalcanal.

On August 4, 1944, Anne Frank, her family, and two others were found by Nazis in a sealed area in an Amsterdam warehouse. They were sent first to a concentration camp in Holland, then most were sent to Auschwitz. Anne and her sister Margot died from Typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in March of 1945.

Voters ratified a new version of the State Constitution on August 7, 1945. Among the new features was the establishment of the State Board of Corrections to ensure humane conditions.

The board was directed to be more humane in its treatment of prisoners and abolished whippings, leg irons, and chains. Until 1945, prisoners in Georgia could expect to have heavy steel shackles put on by a blacksmith upon arrival. They were then taken out to work under severe conditions.

On August 4, 1958, a wagon train left Dahlonega, headed to Atlanta to pay tribute to the mighty General Assembly deliver 43 ounces of gold to be used to coat the dome of the State Capitol.

The caravan transporting 43 ounces of gold from Dahlonega to the State Capitol to be used in gilding the dome arrived in Roswell/Sandy Springs area on August 5, 1958. At the current price of $1774.10 per ounce, that would be worth $76, 286.30.

On August 6, 1958 the wagon train carrying gold from Dahlonega to gild the State Capitol dome reached Atlanta, where city officials were not prepared to receive them. The caravan bearing 43 ounces of Dahlonega gold to be used in covering the Georgia State Capitol dome reached the Capitol and delivered it to Governor Marvin Griffin on August 7, 1958.

On August 7, 1964, Congress passed the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, which would be used as the legal basis for U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

On August 7, 1964, Congress passed the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, which would be used as the legal basis for U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

On August 6, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act; Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was in attendance and was given one of the pens Johnson used to sign the Act. Here is an auction for one of the pens used in the VRA signing. And another pen auction.

USA Today looks at the history of the Voting Rights Act and the role black women played in its passage.

“Men always got the attention, but the ones who were really organizing it and were really making it work were women,” [author Lynn] Olson said. “And that was true going back to the time of the time of abolitionists.”

When Boynton Robinson’s husband died in 1963, she used his memorial service at Tabernacle Baptist Church as the first mass meeting for voting rights in Selma.

“Mrs. Boynton [Robinson] really was the organizer of this and I think the person who actually wrote the letter that invited Dr. King and SCLC to come to Selma to help them with the voting rights movement,” Dawson said.

President Ronald Reagan began the process of firing all striking Air Traffic Controllers on August 5, 1981.

On August 4, 1993, Nolan Ryan, the greatest pitcher in major league baseball history, hit Chicago White Sox third baseman Robin Ventura with a pitch, and Ventura charged the mound.

Divers raised the turret of USS Monitor near Cape Hatteras on August 5, 2002.

John Hughes, director of every meaningful teen angst movie of the 1980s (except Say Anything and Better Off Dead) died on August 6, 2009.

Molly Ringwald wrote in The New Yorker about working as a young woman with John Hughes.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Coweta Circuit Superior Court Judge Bill Hamrick, also a former state Senator, will serve as the next Judge of the statewide Business Court, according to the Capitol Beat News Service via the Albany Herald.Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 3, 2022

Christopher Columbus set sail from Spain on August 3, 1492.
16th Amendment

On August 3, 1910, Georgia became the ninth state to ratify the 16th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which allows Congress to levy a tax without apportioning it among the states.

Calvin Coolidge was sworn in as President on August 3, 1923 after Warren Harding died in office.

On August 3, 1982, Michael Hardwick was arrested, setting in motion the prosecution that would eventually lead to the United States Supreme Court in the case of Bowers v. Hardwick.

The World of Coca-Cola opened on August 3, 1990 between Underground Atlanta and the Georgia State Capitol.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Note: School zone speed cameras are back on as students return to school. From WTOC:Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 2, 2022

Georgia delegates Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, and George Walton signed the Declaration of Independence on August 2, 1776.

On August 2, 1983, the United States House of Representatives voted to observe Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a federal holiday on the third monday in January.

On August 2, 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait.

President Barack Obama visited Georgia on August 2, 2010 – his first trip to Atlanta and second to Georgia after his election in November 2008. The occasion of his 2010 trip, like his trip to Atlanta yesterday, was to deliver a speech to the Disabled American Veterans Conference at the Hyatt Regency. From his 2010 speech:

As a candidate for President, I pledged to bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end.  Shortly after taking office, I announced our new strategy for Iraq and for a transition to full Iraqi responsibility. And I made it clear that by August 31st, 2010, America’s combat mission in Iraq would end. And that is exactly what we are doing — as promised and on schedule….

As agreed to with the Iraqi government, we will maintain a transitional force until we remove all our troops from Iraq by the end of next year.

At the same time, every American who has ever worn the uniform must also know this: Your country is going to take care of you when you come home. Our nation’s commitment to our veterans, to you and your families, is a sacred trust. And to me and my administration, upholding that trust is a moral obligation. It’s not just politics.

That’s why I’ve charged Secretary Shinseki with building a 21st century VA.  And that includes one of the largest percentage increases to the VA budget in the past 30 years. We are going to cut this deficit that we’ve got, and I’ve proposed a freeze on discretionary domestic spending. But what I have not frozen is the spending we need to keep our military strong, our country safe and our veterans secure. So we’re going to keep on making historic commitments to our veterans.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Live Nation, a publicly-traded company, announced it is canceling Music Midtown and blaming the Georgia “Constitutional Carry” law. From the AJC:

Democrats hope that the cancellation of the Music Midtown festival will prove just as galvanizing to their supporters as a challenging November election nears.

Eager to upend a political landscape dominated by economic uncertainty, Democrats quickly blamed their GOP rivals for the demise of the two-day event, which was slated to bring tens of thousands of concertgoers to the heart of Atlanta in September.

“Republicans want to say they’re all about business,” said state Sen. Jen Jordan, the Democratic nominee for attorney general. “But the radical no-compromise wing of the GOP controls their party. And this is a consequence of that.”

Though festival organizers would only cite “circumstances beyond our control” for their decision, officials said that legal fallout stemming from a Republican-backed gun expansion signed in 2014 paved the way for the cancellation.

Really? That’s a bigger problem than people simply not willing to go to a second-rate overpriced festival because of crime, an horrific unsolved murder in Piedmont Park and drive-by shootings in Atlanta?

Music Midtown attracted 300,000 attendees in the early years, but by 2019 had fallen to 50,000 attendees after numerous reboots. The gun law didn’t kill Music Midtown, it was already on life support at best.

Governor Brian Kemp announced that movie and film production spent $4.4 billion in Georgia during the 2022 Fiscal Year. From the Press Release:

“When the pandemic struck, we worked hard in Georgia to communicate with our partners in the Georgia film, TV, and streaming industries,” said Governor Brian Kemp. “Together, we forged a safe and appropriate path to allow the film industry to return to operations and deliver Georgia Made productions to eager consumers all around the world – even when some states continued to stay shut down and stifle the industry’s return to normalcy. Because of this partnership approach and the resiliency of our state’s film and television infrastructure, which state and local economic development officials have been working for almost fifty years to build, we are once again celebrating incredible growth and investment from industry leaders.”

Studios and support service companies provide additional infrastructure and jobs not included in productions’ direct spends.

“In addition to providing production jobs that range across a variety of skills from accounting to carpentry to engineering and graphic design, productions are using local vendors, eating at Georgia restaurants, and staying in our hotels,” continued Governor Kemp. “We’re proud to be training more Georgians to be decision-makers in film and television production, keeping their talents in our state, and we look forward to this industry’s continued success in the Peach State!”

In addition to working with studios and communities to bring productions to Georgia, the Georgia Film Office provides multiple resources for local businesses and talent to list their services to industry decision-makers such as the Georgia Reel Crew™ database, which is a searchable, online directory of crew and support services; the Georgia Reel Scout™ database of local properties available for filming; certification and a searchable map of Georgia Camera Ready communities; information on available stage space; and other information that links Georgia assets with industry representatives.

“Georgia’s thriving creative arts and entertainment industries support thousands of jobs across our state,” said Speaker David Ralston. “By working collaboratively between the public and private sectors we have created an economic engine that is the envy of the nation. From blockbuster motion pictures to the latest video games, Georgia-produced content is everywhere, demonstrating our competitive advantages in this multi-billion-dollar industry. For producers who are serious about having access to the best talent available and state-of-the-art facilities, Georgia is on their mind.”

This fiscal year, as Georgia-lensed “Spider-Man: No Way Home” continued to rise on box office charts during the year, movies filmed in Georgia claimed four of the top six spots for highest domestic-grossing movies: “Avengers: Endgame” (No. 2), “Spider-Man: No Way Home” (3), “Black Panther” (5), and “Avengers: Infinity War” (6).

Streaming episodic and limited-series programming continue to choose Georgia for hit programming, including Season Four of Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” which reached an all-time Neilson streaming record in July for its more than 7 billion minutes of viewing time during the first half of the season. This show, as well Georgia-lensed Netflix hit “Ozark,” each earned 13 Primetime Emmy® nominations in July. Emmy nominations also came in for HBO Max’s “The Staircase,” Disney+’s “Loki” and FX’s “Atlanta” among others, totaling 46 nominations for productions in the state. Georgia-lensed productions earned prestigious Peabody Awards in June: both “The Underground Railroad” (Amazon Prime) and “The Wonder Years” (ABC) won in the “Entertainment” category.

Among other industry developments during the year, Reynolds Capital announced that they would invest $60 million in Athena Studios, a new soundstage development in Athens, Georgia. Athena Studios will initially host approximately 350,000,000 square feet of stage and mill space as well as a building for the University of Georgia and the Georgia Film Academy to teach students film production.

Cinelease Studios-Three Ring broke ground on a $144-million studio expansion in Covington, and Electric Owl Studios broke ground on their 17-acre site in the City of Stone Mountain, where Capstone South Properties and Domain Capital Group are building the world’s first ground-up, LEED Gold-certified film and TV studio campus in March. Also in March, United Talent Agency kicked off their new full-service office, where all 40 of their divisions will be actively represented in Atlanta, from film and TV to gaming and sports to podcasting and music. While developing the former Doraville GM site, Gray Television announced a new partnership with NBCUniversal Media (NBCU) to lease property for content creation as well as manage all production facilities, including Gray’s studios. This partnership is estimated to create more than 4,000 new jobs in the state.

The largest studio-based equipment company in the world for film, television, and events, MBS Equipment Company (MBSE), in October 2021 announced the opening of their new East Coast headquarters at Trilith Studios in Fayette County.

“The credits rolling are the names of our neighbors and our cities, and it’s incredibly exciting to bring our Georgia people and places around the world through entertainment,” said Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson. “We thank Georgia’s leadership, the companies doing business here, the professionals at our Georgia Film Office, and all of our partners who have worked continuously to bring more film and television production to Georgia. Their tireless efforts improve the lives of thousands of Georgians and their families, and a make significant positive impact on our state’s overall economy.”

In addition to new homes, shops, and production space at Trilith Studios in Fayetteville, The Town at Trilith now has a state-of-the-art boutique hotel, expected to open in fall 2023. As production blurs the line between passive and active viewing with the use of virtual and augmented reality, Trilith Studios and NEP Virtual Studios announced a new state-of-the-art virtual production facility – the first Prysm Stage has become available at the Creative Technologies District at Trilith Studios. This permanent stage facility will offer filmmakers stable and advanced real-time workflows and technology, operated by experienced virtual production experts.

“It’s very gratifying to see the continued commitment to Georgia’s film industry through local investment in soundstages, support services companies, and educational programs throughout the state,” said Georgia Film Office Director Lee Thomas. “We send a big thanks to the companies who have invested here and the communities that work so hard to make films dreams a reality for their local residents and economy.”

Gaming, esports, and other interactive entertainment projects such as mobile games; virtual reality, augmented reality, and console and PC game development are also part of production growth in the state, but are not included in the film industry’s direct spend totals. Riot Games recently announced that the 2022 League of Legends World Championship semifinals will be held in Atlanta.

To view video clips of recent productions’ experiences filming across the state, visit the Georgia Film Office’s YouTube page.

The Georgia State Ethics Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission will move forward with a probe of Stacey Abrams-related organizations, according to the Capitol Beat News Service via the Rome News Tribune.

At the center of the dispute is whether the activities of the New Georgia Project and an affiliated fund were sufficiently political in nature to require registering as campaign and ballot committees under Georgia law.

Founded in 2013, the New Georgia Project is registered as a 501(c)(3) organization under Internal Revenue Service rules. The New Georgia Action Fund is registered as a 501 (c)(4) group.

A complaint filed with the ethics commission alleges the two groups crossed the line into political activity and failed to register as campaign committees under Georgia campaign finance law.

The groups advocated for electoral candidates, namely gubernatorial hopeful Stacey Abrams and other Democrats, in 2017 and 2018, said Joseph Cusack, staff attorney for the commission.

Cusack pointed to campaign literature that called on people to vote for Abrams and other Democrats distributed by New Georgia Project canvassers.

The materials were labeled as being supported by the New Georgia Project. Cusack also pointed to scripts canvassers used asking people to vote for Abrams and identifying the New Georgia Project.

Chatham County District Attorney Shalena Cook Jones is requiring employees to sign a confidentiality agreement, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Employees in the Chatham County District Attorney’s Office are required to sign what the office is calling a “confidentiality agreement” in an effort to protect sensitive work in the office. However, the agreement could violate open records law and hinder EEOC investigations.

“Confidentiality Agreements are necessary to preserve the sensitive work of this office and are common in the legal industry. All current and future employees are required to sign it,” said DA spokesperson Nathaneal Wright in response to emailed questions about the agreement.

“What she’s done is she’s used a jackhammer to do what she should do with a scalpel,” [attorney Michael Caldwell of Atlanta-based law firm Georgia Wage Lawyers] said in reference to Chatham County District Attorney Shalena Cook Jones.

When asked if they were aware the “confidentiality agreement” could potentially violate open records law or could hinder EEOC violations, the DA’s office responded, “This question calls for a legal conclusion and, therefore, violates the rules protecting attorney opinion and work product.”

The City of Savannah has increased pay for public safety personnel, according to WTOC.

The city nearly spent nearly $4.3 million in additional investments for public safety. According to the city, that puts Savannah’s public safety departments in the top 5% in Georgia.

Gwinnett County is once again looking at transit and asking for public input, according to AccessWDUN.

Gwinnett County is seeking input from the community through a short online survey as they reimagine the future of public transit with their Transit Development Plan.

“Local transit has the unique ability to transform and enhance quality of life for residents and visitors to the county,”  Gwinnett County Chairwoman Nicole Hendrickson said. “To keep our transit system going in the right direction, we must constantly evaluate what we’re doing right and what can be done better. This feedback from our community will be an integral part of that process.”

The survey will remain open until Aug. 15 at and is accessible in multiple languages. For more information about the TDP or to access frequently asked questions, visit

A PAC backing Herschel Walker is buying people groceries, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

34N22, a pro-Walker political action committee [] stood outside the combined fuel stop, pharmacy and grocery store last week, giving away roughly $10,000 worth of vouchers in about 40 minutes.

The giveaway is part of the committee’s rural outreach to areas they say are overlooked as inflation and other economic pressures squeeze these residents. Future stops include cities and counties with larger Black populations — a group with which Republicans have struggled to make inroads.

“Some of these counties where there’s a heavy African American population are struggling,” said Stephen Lawson, a 34N22 representative. “They’re struggling with 40-year (record-high) inflation. They’re struggling with gas prices, and these are communities that are often neglected and forgotten by campaigns and candidates.”

The group has held similar gas and grocery events in cities like Atlanta, Macon and Camilla over the past few months. Republicans hope efforts like these will help them come election time. Georgia’s battleground status means every vote matters, and this election could determine the balance of power in the Senate. Democrats have decried the giveaways and questioned their legality.

The Ledger-Enquirer sampled 96 people who received grocery vouchers. Most — 45 people or roughly 47% of those who responded to the unofficial survey — said they’d vote for Walker in November. Thirty-five said they were undecided, and 16 said they were voting for Warnock.

Dougherty County Commissioners are setting the property tax millage rate, according to WALB.

For the Countywide District, property taxes will be levied by 22.87 percent over the milage rate.

It will rise this year by .23% over the rollback millage rate for the Special Services-Unincorporated.

Each year, the board of tax assessors is required to review the assessed value for property tax purposes of taxable property in the county. When the trend of prices on properties that have recently sold in the county indicates there has been an increase in the fair market value of any specific property, the board of tax assessors is required by law to re-determine the value of such property and adjust the assessment, called reassessment, the county said.

The budget tentatively adopted by the Dougherty County Board of Commissioners requires a millage rate higher than the rollback millage rate. Before the Dougherty County Board of Commissions can finalize the tentative budget and set a final millage rate, Georgia law requires three public hearings to be held to allow the public an opportunity to express their opinions on the increase.

Augusta-Richmond County voters will elect a Tax Commissioner and two members of the Board of Education, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Richmond County Board of Education trustees Charlie Hannah and Venus Cain as well as appointed Richmond County Tax Commissioner Tederell “Chris” Johnson have attracted opposition.

Johnson, the longtime deputy tax commissioner under former Tax Commissioner Steven Kendrick, was appointed tax commissioner when Kendrick qualified to run for mayor in March. Johnson filed a declaration of intent to seek campaign contributions Friday.

Also filing a declaration Friday was Veronica Freeman Brown, who works as finance director for the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office and lives in the Hephzibah area.

Hannah represents District 2 schools and serves as president of the school board. He also ran for mayor this year. He faces challenges from Yiet S. Knight, and the Rev. Larry Fryer.

Cain has represented Super District 9 on the school board since 2006. She is a Department of Defense employee. She is facing a challenge from former candidate Christopher Mulliens.

Official candidates qualifying for the posts will be held the week of Aug. 22-26. Election Day is Nov. 8.

The Georgia Department of Revenue has released guidance on how income taxpayers may claim an unborn child under the “Heartbeat Bill,” according to the AJC.

In a press release, Revenue Department officials said anyone who is expecting a child as of July 20 through the end of the year can claim in their 2022 filing a $3,000 tax deduction per embryo or fetus on the “other adjustments” line of the state’s tax documents. The department said it may ask for proof of the pregnancy.

“Similar to any other deduction claimed on an income tax return, relevant medical records or other supporting documentation shall be provided to support the dependent deduction claimed if requested by the department,” the agency said in the press release.

Georgia set a new record for sea turtle nests, according to The Brunswick News.

So far this year, St. Simons has had 12 nests. Across Georgia, at least 3,977 sea turtle nests have been counted, which surpasses the record set in 2019.

Mark Dodd, a senior wildlife biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources who coordinates sea turtle conservation efforts in the state, offers training most summers to the volunteer team on St. Simons. Most already have extensive experience working in sea turtle conservation on various Georgia islands.

“We do not call it a hatch unless we see hatchling tracks,” Dodd said. “A lot of y’all have been around a long time and you know what it looks like.”

Numerous pieces of important data need to be recorded with each nest, including the date of hatch, the number of incubation days and the number of hatchlings that made it out.

Days of incubation in a nest will indicate its hatchling sex ratio. Longer incubation times — closer to 70 days — are tied to more male hatchlings, while shorter incubations of maybe 50 or so days will lead to more female hatchlings.

“We still don’t really understand the process by which hatchlings imprint on their natal beach,” he said. “We know they’re going to come back 30 years from now to their natal beach or the area of their natal beach to nest. But we’re not exactly sure how they’re imprinting.”


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 1, 2022

August 1 was a big day for Benjamin Mays – he was born on August 1, 1895 and became President of Morehouse College on August 1, 1936.

PT-109, commanded by LTJG John F. Kennedy was sunk on August 1, 1943.

On August 1, 1982, Hank Aaron was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office is being criticized for referring to a dead trans-woman as a male, according to the Savannah Morning News.

[W]hen the 26-year-old transgender woman was found shot to death at a hotel in Augusta, Georgia, the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office referred to her as an unidentified male and later used her birth name – commonly referred to as a “dead name”–  in a release to the media.

Geter’s family and transgender advocates said misgendering trans people is insensitive to the family, makes it harder for the public to identify the victim and provide information that could lead to an arrest, and obscures the fact that anti-transgender violence is on the rise.

“Initial reports from local media misgendered Keshia,” said Tori Cooper, director of community engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative, a branch of the Human Rights Commission. “Keshia Chanel Geter lived her truth as a Black transgender woman.”

“One of the reasons it’s so problematic is it’s just disrespectful, not only to the person who has been a victim of fatal violence, but also to their friends and family,” Cooper said.

[Julie Callahan a 30-year veteran of the San Jose Police Department in California and a member of the Transgender Community of Police & Sheriffs organization] said the organization has found that every agency has its own style. But one commonality is that “they feel that the person’s legal name is the only way they should be addressed.”

In an email to The Chronicle on July 28, an official with the sheriff’s office said for police reports, officers use “the person’s legal name derived from their State ID, Birth Certificate, or SSN, which the State of Georgia declares these are legal documents.”

Democrat Stacey Abrams spoke about affordable housing in Athens, which hosts a giant homeless encampment. From the Athens Banner Herald:

Stacey Abrams made a two-day stop on her campaign trail in Athens, meeting with donors Wednesday evening before stopping at coffee shop Bitty and Beau’s on Thursday afternoon.

Just more than 100 days before the midterm elections, the Georgia gubernatorial candidate held an “Athens Evening with Stacey Abrams” event Wednesday.

Abrams met with local media and addressed housing affordability, the economy and the upcoming election.

“We are not in a recession,” Abrams said.

The governor hopeful, challenging Republican incumbent Brian Kemp, re-iterated a stance taken by other Democratic Party leaders in refuting claims the country is in recession. Abrams went on to say that the economic data is concerning, but the situation it is a global phenomenon.

In order to address the current economic challenge, Abrams said Georgia needs to address housing. This comment came days after Abrams released her “Comprehensive Plan to Tackle Georgia’s Housing Crisis.”

Abrams said as the next fiscal cycle starts, she wants there to be “rightsizing” of wages. Abrams called pay increases in the university system “modest” and said they are not keeping up with housing costs and the general cost of living.

“My plan is a comprehensive plan that will look at the budget in 2023-24 and make certain that we are paying people their value, and that they are able to not only work but live, work and play in the communities they love,” said Abrams.

Abrams is leaning in to her support for President Joe Biden, according to the AJC.

“Georgia is the reason we’ve got Joe Biden,” she said to a burst of applause. “The reason that we’ve got billions of dollars in our coffers, money that’s being spent to help keep us afloat.”

While other Democratic candidates in Georgia are keeping their distance from Biden and his rock-bottom approval ratings, Abrams is following a different course. She’s embracing both her alliance with the president and the legislative agenda he has championed.

“I voted for Joe Biden. Joe Biden is the president of the United States. He’s the president of the citizens of the state of Georgia,” Abrams said to cheers in Dalton when asked about her alignment with the president.

“And because of his leadership, we have the American Rescue Plan that’s poured billions of dollars into this state. Because of his leadership, we’re about to have, for the first time, a true climate action plan in the U.S.”

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker was endorsed by the National Border Patrol Council and others, according to the Capitol Beat News Service via the Gwinnett Daily Post.

“We have a very, very serious crisis on our southwestern border,” council President Brandon Judd said during a news conference outside Alpharetta City Hall. “The drug epidemic … is killing too many of our children.”

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who represented a district in Atlanta’s northern suburbs for 20 years, characterized Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock as soft on crime.

“Senator Warnock favors policies that put criminals back on the streets,” Gingrich said.

Former Cobb County Sheriff Neil Warren, a friend of Walker’s for almost 30 years, said Walker served the Cobb sheriff’s department as an honorary deputy and often spent time at the jail talking to prisoners.

“He made a lot of difference with a lot of inmates at that facility,” Warren said. “Herschel Walker is probably one of the best ambassadors for law enforcement in this country. … We need him in the Senate.”

Suspended Augusta Commissioner Sammie Sias was convicted on federal charges, according to WRDW.

Former Augusta Commissioner Sammie Sias was found guilty after a four-day trial of destroying records in a federal investigation and then lying about it to federal investigators researching the case.

He has 14 days to file an appeal. U.S. District Court Chief Judge J. Randal Hall will set a sentencing date for Sias following an investigation by U.S. Probation Services. He faces up to 20 years in prison.

“First off let me say to y’all this, the process it is what it is. I think it was fair. We’ll be prepared to deal with this from this point forward. My team, I believe, put on a very good defense for me, but obviously, it did not go my way. We’ll be prepared to move forward from here. I hold no malice against the process. I hold no malice against the jury, or the judge, or the prosecutors. It is time for me, personally, to go ahead and prepare for this, deal with this and go on from there,” said Sias.

Chatham County District Attorney Shalena Cook (D) claimed a leaked prosecution rubric was a discussion  draft, according to the Savannah Morning News.

After publishing an article Wednesday regarding the Chatham County District’s Attorney proposed prosecution rubric, which the DA’s office characterized as a “draft,” the Savannah Morning News later learned that DA Shalena Cook Jones sent a two-page memo to State Court division staff on April 26 that referred to the rubric as “prosecutorial priorities” to “provide clarity and insight and to focus our department efforts on ‘smart prosecution’.”

The second to last line of the memo reads: “Please review and follow the rubric that is attached.”  At no point does the DA stipulate that the rubric is a draft for discussion purposes.

During a phone conversation with SMN, Jones insisted the rubric was not a policy and reiterated multiple times that the rubric was a draft memo sent to attorneys who work in State Court and was sent to State Court judges for their input.

Jones further criticized the leak of the draft, saying “release of this document has adverse consequences to fair and just prosecution, and those who continue to promulgate it are not doing so with the public interest in mind. Further and finally, the sole intent of this discourse is to harass, distract and obstruct the good work of this office,” Jones wrote in a lengthy email to SMN.

Chatham County Commissioners appointed an interim County Manager, according to WTOC.

All questions have gone unanswered as to why Chatham County Manager Lee Smith is on administrative leave.

With Lee Smith’s suspension, the Chatham County Commission appointed Michael Kaigler Interim County Manager.

Kaigler was formerly an assistant county manager.

Chairman Chester Ellis would only read a short statement to the media.

“Regarding the Chatham County Manager Lee Smith, the county commission met and discussed his administrative leave the county manager will remain on administrative leave until further notice.”

Chatham Commissioners also voted to add a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for Transportation (T-SPLOST) to the November ballot, according to WTOC.

If approved, county sales taxes will increase 1%.

“It puts money in places were we can resurface streets, redo streets totally. So we can put drainage in cause everybody in Chatham county knows under the ground our drainage system from the 1950′s and 60′s.”

Chairman Chester Ellis says the funds from T-SPLOST will help the county qualify to receive more federal money for projects.

Floyd County voters will decide a referendum on whether to expand the hours for liquor sales, according to the Rome News Tribune.

The Floyd County Commission approved the referendum at its July 26 meeting in a 3 to 1 vote. Commission Chair Wright Bagby Jr. and Commissioners Rhonda Wallace and Scotty Hancock were in favor. Commissioner Larry Maxey voted no and Commissioner Allison Watters was not present.

“This is to match the city’s already adopted in place resolution,” Bagby said. There was no further discussion.

If approved by voters, licensed outlets in the unincorporated area could sell alcohol by the drink and by the package between 11 a.m. and midnight on Sundays. Sales currently can’t begin until 12:30 p.m.

The Stewart County School District announced it will require masks, according to WTVM.

The Stewart County School District has announced a mask mandate for students and teachers in the 2022-2023 school year.

This decision comes from a high transmission of COVID-19 in the area. All students and staff must wear a mask in the building of the school and also on buses and transportation.

Speaking of masks, the CDC is again recommending their use in Georgia, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends Georgians wear masks for public indoor settings as new COVID-19 cases rise throughout the state.

Although the CDC is reporting high transmission, the number of cases being reported remain much lower than in previous surges, such as the omicron surge at the start of the year.

In Muscogee County, the West Central Health District has seen an increase of people getting tested for COVID-19, said spokesperson Pamela Kirkland, with 192 tests performed in the week ending on July 9, to 236 performed in the week ending on July 23.

Columbus courts continue working through a backlog of cases related to COVID, according to WTVM.

A backlog of criminal court cases continues to be an issue in Columbus, leaving inmates in jail for prolonged periods and many without yet being formally charged with a crime.

“Now Mr. Fitzpatrick has been continuously incarcerated for somewhat about 805 days, give or take.” That’s about two years and two months without an indictment.

[Nico] Fitzpatrick’s case [related to a 2018 homicide] was bound to Superior Court in April 2020. He is just now facing the Superior Court judge.

With the recent backlog of cases, Judge Arthur Smith, President of the Council of Superior Court Judges, had a large unindicted bond docket today for people who have been jailed for over 90 days and have not been indicted.

Judge Smith is using money from a $2 million grant to help clear up the backlog.

“The money has allowed us to engage our senior judges who are not on the bench actively involved to come back to work and handle civil cases and family law cases,” says Judge Arthur Smith.

District Attorney Stacey Jackson, who was just appointed back in May, says issues hiring staff plays a part in creating the backlog but filling those positions remains important to him.

Judge Smith says it will probably take a little over two years to get back on track and to get court cases flowing through the system the way they should.

A reproductive rights rally was held in Brunswick on Saturday, according to The Brunswick News.

The Richmond County Board of Education adopted a lower property tax millage rate, but many property owners will pay more due to increased values, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Richmond County Board of Education is reducing the property tax rate by 8.6% to 17.65 mills, the lowest it’s been in nearly 20 years, officials said Thursday.

Taxpayers may not feel much relief, however, as the lower millage competes with their rising property values. Rising property values, meanwhile, have triggered reductions in state funding for Richmond County schools.

And despite the tax decrease, state law requires the board to advertise the new rate as an increase, because it did not adopt the “rollback” millage rate that would raise the same revenue as last year.

Qualifying opens today for three municipal councils in Habersham County, according to AccessWDUN.

Three Habersham municipalities will have Special Elections to fill vacant council seats on Nov. 8.

Residents of Alto, Clarkesville, and Demorest interested in running for an open council seat in their city can qualify this week (Aug. 1-5) at the Habersham County Elections and Registration Office, 130 Jacob’s Way, Suite 101, Clarkesville.

Lawrenceville Police Department will start testing school zone speed cameras, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Drivers who are traveling at least 11 miles over the speed limit in the school zone will receive a citation for speeding. That means a driver who is traveling at least 36 mph, when the flashing sign tells them to drive 25 mph, will get a ticket. If the lights are not flashing and the speed limit is 35 mph, a driver could then receive a ticket for driving at least 46 mph.

Once the warning period ends on Sept. 5, drivers will be fined $75, plus a $25 processing fee, for the first offense and $100, plus a $25 processing fee, for each subsequent citation.

“Unpaid violations are handled through the Department of Revenue by prohibiting the renewal of a car tag or sale of the vehicle, rather than a bench warrant,” city officials said.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for July 29, 2022

July 30th could be celebrated as the birthday of democracy in America, as the Virginia House of Burgesses became the first legislative body in the New World on July 30, 1619.

Its first law, which, like all of its laws, would have to be approved by the London Company, required tobacco to be sold for at least three shillings per pound. Other laws passed during its first six-day session included prohibitions against gambling, drunkenness, and idleness, and a measure that made Sabbath observance mandatory.

On July 31, 1777, the Marquis de LaFayette was commissioned a Major General in the Continental Army, serving without pay.

The cornerstone for the first United States Mint was laid in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 31, 1792, becoming the first building constructed by the federal government under the Constitution.

On July 28, 1868, United States Secretary of State William Seward proclaimed that the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution had been ratified and was now part of the Constitution. The first section of the 14th Amendment often forms the basis for litigation and reads:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Georgia initially rejected the 14th Amendment in 1866, later ratifying it on July 21, 1868 as a condition for readmission.

Former President Andrew Johnson, who succeeded President Lincoln upon his assassination and oversaw much of the post-Civil War Reconstruction era, died of a stroke in Tennessee on July 31, 1875.

Vincent Van Gogh died of a gunshot wound on July 29, 1890 in Auvers-sur-Oise, France.

On July 31, 1906, a bill to place a Constitutional Amendment on the November election for voters to decide whether to create an intermediate-level Georgia Court of Appeals was approved by the Georgia General Assembly.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt made his eighth visit to Warm Springs, Georgia on July 29, 1927.

On July 30, 1931, Georgia Governor Richard B. Russell, Jr. signed legislation merging Milton and Fulton Counties if voters in each county approved a referendum. Fulton had earlier merged with Campbell County, to the south.

Congress passed legislation establishing the National Aeronautic and Space Admininistration (NASA) on July 29, 1958.

Actor Laurence Fishburn was born in Augusta, Georgia on July 30, 1961.

President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed legislation creating Medicare, for seniors, and Medicaid for some low-income people on July 30, 1965.

The Doors’ “Light My Fire” became their first #1 hit on July 29, 1967.

On July 28, 1978, Animal House was released, instantly becoming one of the greatest films of all time. In case you’ve never seen the film, there is a tiny little bit of adult language in the following clip.

Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer on July 29, 1981.

On July 31, 1987, “The Lost Boys” was released. From the New York Times:

“The Lost Boys” is to horror movies what “Late Night With David Letterman” is to television; it laughs at the form it embraces, adds a rock-and-roll soundtrack and, if you share its serious-satiric attitude, manages to be very funny.

Nolan Ryan, the greatest pitcher in major league baseball history, won his 300th career game on July 31, 1990. During eight innings, Ryan threw 146 pitches, while today, many pitchers are pulled at around the 100-pitch count.

“In the old days throwing that many pitches was a normal game,” said Nolan Ryan, who tossed a record seven no-hitters and is the all-time leader in strikeouts, fifth in innings pitched.

Ryan, currently the Rangers’ team president, is an outspoken detractor of the recent trend toward monitoring pitch counts. In a recent Sports Illustrated article, Ryan expressed his belief that today’s pitchers are “pampered” and that there is no reason why today’s pitchers cannot pitch as much as he and his colleagues did back in the day. As a result, Ryan is pushing his team’s pitchers to throw deeper into games and extend their arms further, emphasizing conditioning over what some would call coddling.

As Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux told SI: “This generation of players has become a creature of the pitch count. Their ceiling has been lowered. It’s up to us to jack it back up.”

Although I think that time he whipped Robin Ventura should count as a win.

On July 28, 1994, the United States Postal Service issued a stamp commemorating “The General” locomotive, which was stolen in 1862 during the Great Locomotive Chase. Today, The General may be viewed at The Southern Museum in Kennesaw.

Carl Lewis won his fourth consecutive gold medal in the long jump at the Atlanta Olympics on July 29, 1996.

On July 28, 2016, Hillary Clinton became the first female Presidential nominee for a major party.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The Bulloch County Board of Education adopted a partial rollback of the property tax millage rate that still yields higher revenue than the previous year due to rising assessments. From the Statesboro Herald:Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for July 27, 2022

On July 27, 1974, the United States House of Representatives Judiciary Committee approved the first impeachment article against President Richard M. Nixon.

The first such impeachment recommendation in more than a century, it charge[d] President Nixon with unlawful activities that formed a “course of conduct or plan” to obstruct the investigation of the Watergate break-in and to cover up other unlawful activities.

The vote was 27 to 11, with 6 of the committee’s 17 Republicans joining all 21 Democrats in voting to send the article to the House.

The majority included three conservative Southern Democrats and three conservative Republicans.

A bomb exploded at a free concert in Centennial Park in Atlanta on July 27, 1996.

Police were warned of the bombing in advance, but the bomb exploded before the anonymous caller said it would, leading authorities to suspect that the law enforcement officers who descended on the park were indirectly targeted.

Within a few days, Richard Jewell, a security guard at the concert, was charged with the crime. However, evidence against him was dubious at best, and in October he was fully cleared of all responsibility in the bombing.

Former Georgia Governor Zell Miller took the oath of office as United States Senator on July 27, 2000. Miller would go on to win a special election for the remainder of the term in November 2000.

On July 27, 2014, former Braves manager Bobby Cox and pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, along with former White Sox player Frank Thomas, who was born in Columbus, Georgia.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The deal for Hyundai to build a new manufacturing plant in Bryan County has been inked, according to the Savannah Morning News.Continue Reading..