Category: Georgia Politics


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 16, 2021

James Madison, drafter of the Constitution and fourth President of the United States, was born on March 16, 1751.

The United States Military Academy was established at West Point, New York on March 16, 1802.

On March 16, 1861, delegates in Savannah unanimously ratified the Confederate Constitution and voted to have a new state constitution drafted.

On March 16, 1976, former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter won the Illinois Democratic Primary. His spiritual successor President Barack Obama, from Illinois, would visit Carter’s home state of Georgia on March 16, 2012.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Murray County voters will decide a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for Education (E-SPLOST) today, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News.Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 15, 2021

On March 15, 44 BC, Julius Caesar was assassinated at a meeting of the Senate.

On March 15, 40 BC, Octavian executed 300 Senators and knights in vengeance for Caesar’s death.

On March 15, 1758, Georgia’s Royal Governor Henry Ellis signed legislation dividing the colony into eight parishes, primarily for religious administration, but with some parishes having secondary government functions.

On March 15, 1933, Governor Eugene Talmadge negotiated bank loans totalling $2 million dollars to keep the state’s public schools open.

On March 15, 1943, Sea Island was officially named as Governor Ellis Arnall signed legislation designating the island that had informally been given several different names.

On March 15, 1980, USS Carl Vinson, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, was launched at Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia. Vinson was the first Navy ship named after a living American.

Howard “Bo’ Callaway, the father of the modern Georgia Republican Party, died on March 15, 2014.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Tomorrow is election day in several parts of Georgia.

City of Baldwin City Council District 4

Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (E-SPLOST) for Jackson County, City of Jefferson, City of Commerce

Glynn County Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST)

Oconee County Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (E-SPLOST)

Augusta-Richmond County Special Purpose Local Option Sales and Use Tax

Heard County Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (E-SPLOST)

City of Clarkston City Council

Houston County General Obligation Bond and ESPLOST Election

Warner Robins City Council Post 1

City of White City Council

McDuffie County Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (E-SPLOST)

Sylvania City Council Ward 4

Crawford County Commission District 5 and Board of Education District 4

Dawson County Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST 21)

Jasper County Commission District 1

City of Kingsland Council District Post 3

Walker County Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (E-SPLOST)

Liberty County Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for Education (E-SPLOST)

Gordon County Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for Education (E-SPLOST)

Henry County Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for Education (E-SPLOST)

Butts County Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for Education (E-SPLOST)

Whitfield County Tax Allocation District Election and County Commission District 3 Special Election

Barwick City Council Post 1 and Post 2

Meriwether County Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for Education (E-SPLOST)

Lamar County Chief Magistrate and Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for Education (E-SPLOST)

Troup County Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for Education (E-SPLOST)

Richmond Hill City Council Post 3 Special Election

Haralson County Commission District 4 Special Election

City of Folkston At-Large Council Special Election

Grovetown City Council Special Election

Wilkinson County Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax

Troup County Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax

Thomas County Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax

Carroll County Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax

City of Talbotton Special Municipal Election

Under the Gold Dome Today  – Legislative Day 32


Noonish Senate Rules Upon Adjournment – 450 CAP
8:00 AM Senate Government Oversight – 450 CAP
10:00 AM Senate Floor Session – Senate Chamber
10:00 AM HOUSE FLOOR SESSION (LD32) – House Chamber
Noonish Senate Rules Upon Adjournment – 450 CAP
1:00 PM Senate State Institutions and Property – 125 CAP
1:00 PM Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs – Mezz 1
1:00 PM Senate Finance – 450 CAP
2:00 PM HOUSE Regulated Industries Alcohol and Tobacco Subcommittee – 606 CLOB
2:00 PM HOUSE Motor Vehicles Driver Safety and Services Subcommittee – 515 CLOB
2:15 PM Senate State and Local Governmental Operations – 310 CLOB
2:15 PM Senate Judiciary – 307 CLOB
3:30 PM Senate Ethics – 307 CLOB
3:30 PM HOUSE Governmental Affairs State and Local Government Subcommittee – 506 CLOB


HB 111 – Financial institutions; clarify and remove superfluous language; provisions (B&FI-18th) Williamson-115th


Modified Structured Rule
SB 5 – Professions and Businesses; patient protection measures for patients undergoing sedation in certain settings; provide (Substitute)(H&HS-Hawkins-27th) Kirkpatrick-32nd

Governor Brian Kemp on Friday issued Executive Order, with revised guidance on COVID prevention protocols. From a press release:

The changes to the Executive Order are detailed below:

▪ Combines the restaurant and bar requirements to hold both types of establishments to the same standards; and

▪ Streamlines suggestions and requirements for Critical Infrastructure and Non-Critical Infrastructure organizations to remove unnecessary requirements based on existing standard operating procedures for organizations and the ineffectiveness of certain measures; and

▪ Includes 2021 high school graduates, home study graduates, and GED recipients in previously ordered HOPE and Zell Miller Scholarship testing requirement modifications.

From the AJC:

As Georgia grapples with rock-bottom vaccination rates, Gov. Brian Kemp is encouraging more health care providers to think “outside the box.”

At a pop-up vaccine clinic at the St. Philip AME Church in east Atlanta, the governor encouraged other providers to follow the lead of Walgreens, which launched three events through the Metro Atlanta Ministerial Alliance across the city. Uber teamed up with the pharmacy chain to provide free rides to the clinics.

“It’s how we get the vaccine out into the community whether at a church, a civil club, a neighborhood, a homeowners association,” said Kemp, adding: “I know we have providers out there that have doses and could do things like this.”

From WSB-TV:

Gov. Brian Kemp says he is confident that vaccines can open up to all adults in Georgia in a matter of weeks.

Nearly 3.5 million additional Georgians will become newly-eligible for the vaccine starting [today]. Those groups include people 55 and older and those who have high-risk health conditions.

There are more than a dozen medical conditions that will qualify for the vaccine starting on Monday. Those issues include diabetes, obesity, heart disease and having a compromised immune system.

“The whole point of vaccines is not to prevent the disease 100%, but really to prevent severe disease that would require people to end in the hospital,” Dr. Gavin Harris with Emory University told Channel 2′s Tom Regan.



State Rep. Jesse Petrea (R-Savannah) writes in the Savannah Morning News about House Bill 168, which he authored.

My bill, HB 168, allows an affected community’s district attorney to review the correctional record of the inmates convicted of violent and sexual crimes before they are released early on parole. The DA currently retains a right to object to an inmate’s early release. The bill simply gives them knowledge of the inmate’s behavior while in jail, and it applies only to those inmates convicted of violent crimes and violent sexual offenses.

Not only did my Democratic colleagues vote against the bill, our own newly elected Chatham County DA Shalena Cook Jones, herself a Democrat, lobbied the Democratic members of our delegation to oppose this measure. Why would a district attorney oppose legislation that simply gives her more information about violent felons prior to their potential early release? This gives the DA’s no more power than they have now but instead provides them more information to use those powers.

Thankfully, our Republican caucus supported the measure and it passed. The bill is particularly good for Savannah which has been ravaged for years by violent felons on parole.

It seems to me a clear pattern is emerging here: it should be obvious to any reasonable person that the Democratic Party is far more concerned with protecting criminals than victims.



Chatham County courts had a pre-existing condition – a backlog of cases — that was exacerbated by the pandemic, according to the Savannah Morning News.

But while courts have managed to press forward, the pandemic highlighted the inefficiencies in the court system and further increased the backlog of cases, including in Chatham County.

“I think it is really important to understand that COVID didn’t create a backlog. There has been a backlog of cases prior to COVID,” Chatham County Chief Assistant District Attorney Michael Edwards told the Savannah Morning News. He is also responsible for policy, programs and personnel.

On Feb. 28, 2020, Chatham County had more than 5,000 pending cases in its system, Edwards said. In the past year, more than 4,600 pending cases were added to the workflow. Though hesitant to call it a “backlog,” Edwards explained pending cases are unresolved cases that have been delayed for several factors.

“It’s more about the efficiency of the system and the ability to keep case matters flowing in a steady pace than it’s about specific backlogs,” Edwards said, adding the office isn’t just bogged down with felony and misdemeanor cases.

“If we have a situation where our system can be so adversely affected by an 11-month period of time, that’s fairly good evidence that we really need to be evaluating and considering a restructuring of our system,” he said.


Valdosta City Council appointed Jeremy Baker as the new Municipal Court Judge, according to the Valdosta Daily News.

Councilman Andy Gibbs nominated Baker while Councilwoman Vivian Miller-Cody nominated Valerie Bryant, a Georgia public defender.

A 5-3 vote landed in favor of Baker as the municipal court judge.

“We’ll begin talking about salary, notices he’s going to give at his current (job),” City Manager Mark Barber said. “There’ll be a swearing-in date once we get all that worked out.”


Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections for March 11, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections


TBD Senate Rules Upon Adjournment – 450 CAP
7:30 AM Senate Appropriations- Compensation Sub – 125 CAP
8:00 AM Senate Ethics – canceled – 307 CLOB
8:00 AM Senate Appropriations- Higher Education/Education Sub – 310 CLOB
8:00 AM Senate Appropriations- Government Operations Sub – 450 CAP
8:00 AM HOUSE Natl Res & Envt Environmental Quality Subcommittee – 606 CLOB
10:00 AM Senate Floor Session – Senate Chamber
10:00 AM HOUSE FLOOR SESSION (LD31) – House Chamber
1:00 PM Senate Public Safety – Mezz 1
2:15 PM Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs – Mezz 1
2:15 PM Senate Transportation – canceled – 450 CAP
3:30 PM Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities – 450 CAP
3:30 PM HOUSE Regulated Industries Occupational and Professional Licensing Subcommittee – 606 CLOB
4:00 PM Senate Appropriations- Economic Development Sub – Mezz 1
4:45 PM Senate Government Oversight- canceled – 450 CAP


SB 274 – Bartow County; homestead exemption; school district ad valorem taxes for educational purposes; provide (SLGO-14th)

SB 275 – Bartow County School District Ad Valorem Taxes; homestead exemption; increase exemption amount (SLGO-14th)

Governor Brian Kemp yesterday announced expanded criteria for vaccine eligibility, according to a press release.Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 10, 2021

On March 10, 1734, a group of German immigrants reached the mouth of the Savannah River, from where they would proceed on to Savannah. Today, the Georgia Salzburgers Society works to preserve the Salzburger heritage and traditions in Georgia.

On March 10, 1866, Governor Charles Jones Jenkins signed legislation allowing women to have bank accounts separate from their husbands as long as the balance was less than $2000; an earlier act set the limit at $1000.

On March 10, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell transmitted the first speech over his new invention, the telephone.

Thomas B. Murphy was born on March 10, 1924 in Bremen, Georgia and would first be elected to office in the 1950s, winning a seat on the Bremen Board of Education. In 1960, Murphy ran for the State House facing no opposition and was sworn in in 1961. In 1973, he became Speaker Murphy and would hold the post until Bill Heath, a Republican, beat him in the November 2002 General Election.

Murphy held the top House seat for longer than anyone in any American state legislature. He died on December 17, 2007.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

File this under Unanticipated Consequences: increased use of hand sanitizer has led to an increase in calls to the Georgia Poison Control center, according to the Albany Herald.

The state saw a 60 percent increase in poisoning calls related to sanitizer last year over 2019, Gaylord Lopez, executive director of the Georgia Poison Center, said. The cases are continuing to rise so far this year, he added.

Most of the more than 1,000 calls were from parents alarmed about their young kids drinking the product.

“Children are home, and adults have more of these products at home, in their cars, and outside,’’ Lopez said.

A container of hand sanitizer is 60 percent to 95 percent alcohol, meaning it has a higher alcohol concentration than hard liquor.

But see: Barrel Strength Bourbon.Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 9, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Glynn County voters continue early voting ahead of the March 16, 2021 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) referendum, according to The Brunswick News.

A total of 2,739 people had cast a ballot at the end of week two of early voting in the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax 2021 referendum.

On the ballot are the SPLOST 2021 referendum and another referendum to declare a SPLOST IV and V project, the Oglethorpe Conference Center, infeasible.

Of the total, 105 cast their ballot by mail, 503 at the Ballard Community Building, 30 Nimitz Drive; 423 in the Office Building, 1815 Gloucester St. in Brunswick; and 1,708 in Glynn County Fire Station No. 2, 1929 Demere Road on St. Simons Island.

Under the Gold Dome Today – Legislative Day 29

8:00 AM Senate Appropriations- Human Development subcommittee – 450 CAP
8:00 AM HOUSE Governmental Affairs General Government Subcommittee – 406 CLOB
10:00 AM Senate Rules – 450 CAP
1:00 PM Senate Floor Session – Senate Chamber
1:00 PM HOUSE FLOOR SESSION (LD29) – House Chamber
1:00 PM Senate Insurance and Labor- canceled – Mezz 1
1:00 PM Senate Higher Education- canceled – 450 CAP
2:15 PM Senate Public Safety – Mezz 1
2:15 PM Senate Health and Human Services – 450 CAP
3:00 PM HOUSE Insurance Life and Health Subcommittee – 506 CLOB
3:30 PM Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities – 450 CAP
4:30 PM Senate Appropriations- Judicial subcommittee – Mezz 1
4:45 PM Senate Transportation – 450 CAP

Governor Brian Kemp announced that Georgia has vaccinated more than 900,000 seniors, according to a press release.Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 8, 2020

March 8, 1862 saw the Confederate ironclad CSS Virginia at Hampton Roads, VA, take ninety-eight hits from Union warships without sinking. Virginia sank USS Cumberland after ramming it, blew up USS Congress, and ran USS Minnesota aground. It was the worst day in US Naval history at that time.

On March 8, 1946, a conference convened on Wilmington Island, near Savannah, that would lead to the creation of the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, commonly called the World Bank.

On March 8, 1946, a special train arrived at Savannah’s Union Station from Washington, holding nearly 300 delegates, government officials, technical experts and reporters from 35 nations. Thousands of Savannahians watched as a 100-car motorcade rolled along flag-bedecked streets to the General Oglethorpe Hotel on Wilmington Island.

Treasury Secretary Fred M. Vinson headed the American delegation; the British were led by John Maynard Keynes, “the father of modern macroeconomics.”

The stakes were enormous.

Two years earlier, as World War II neared its murderous end, the winning Allies pondered the nature of the postwar global economy. The United States was emerging as the leader of the free world, largely supplanting the British Empire, gravely weakened by the war.

The IMF and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (better known as the World Bank) were born at a July 1944 conference in Bretton Woods, N.H., where 44 countries established rules for the global monetary system.

The IMF was intended to promote international economic cooperation and secure global financial stability, providing countries with short-term loans. The World Bank would offer long-term loans to assist developing countries in building dams, roads and other physical capital.

The Bretton Woods agreements were ratified internationally by December 1945. Vinson, seeking a site for the new organizations’ inaugural meetings, sent Treasury agents around the country. “They made some fine reports on Savannah,” he later told the Morning News. He had never visited the city.

On March 8, 1982, President Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Union “an evil empire” for the second time, in an address to the National Association of Evangelicals.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Under the Gold Dome Today – Legislative Day 28, Crossover Day

8:00 AM HOUSE Motor Vehicles Alternative Fuel Vehicles Subcommittee – 515 CLOB
10:00 AM HOUSE FLOOR SESSION (LD28) – House Chamber

TBD Senate Rules Upon Adjournment – 450 CAP



From the Rome News Tribune:

Crossover Day marks the 28th day of the 40-day annual session and always brings a flurry of activity.

“We expect to go to 10 or 11 Monday night. It’s going to be a long day,” said Rep. Mitchell Scoggins, R-Cartersville, who also has a bill to shepherd through.

His House Bill 464 would transfer the authority to appoint a guardian for a minor to juvenile courts from probate courts.

“Juvenile courts can use DFCS to do a home study,” he said, referring to the Division of Family and Children’s Services. “Let them look out for the best interests of the child.”

Rep. Katie Dempsey, R-Rome, said her HB 291 is ready for the floor Monday. It expands eligibility for tuition equalization grants to some private nursing schools.

“This will help address our serious shortage of nurses,” Dempsey said. “The requirements are drawn very rigorously.”

Governor Brian Kemp and Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols announced a new broadban initiative for rural middle Georgia. From the Press Release:

Efforts to provide needed broadband service to Georgians took a step forward when Gov. Brian Kemp and PSC Commissioner Tim Echols made an announcement at Tri-County EMC’s headquarters earlier today. Gov. Kemp announced the formation of a new broadband provider in Middle Georgia, Tri-CoGo, which will provide high-speed internet service to 22,000 homes and businesses in eight Counties: Jones, Baldwin, Putnam, Jasper, Twiggs, Wilkinson, Morgan and Bibb.

This project will include a capital investment of more than $47 million by Tri-County EMC (TCEMC) to build a fiber network that will provide enhanced reliability and operational services for TCEMC electric customers while providing excess fiber capacity that will be leased to the cooperative’s broadband affiliate, Tri-CoGo, which will provide the broadband service, pending regulatory approval.

Following participation in the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) Phase 1 Auction, Tri-CoGo was awarded approximately $1.1 million to provide Gigabit service to 2,923 unserved locations in 24 census blocks within the cooperative service area. In addition to those locations, Tri-CoGo plans to offer services to all of the more than 22,000 accounts currently receiving electric service from Tri-County EMC.

Tri-County EMC is constructing the network with the assistance of Conexon, a rural fiber engineering consultant. Conexon works exclusively with electric cooperatives and is considered one of the pioneers in the electric cooperative broadband movement. Construction of the fiber network will be complete in two years, and all TCEMC members will have access to broadband services with Tri-CoGo in the months soon thereafter, as service drops are constructed and home installations are completed. Available services will include 100 Mbps, Gigabit and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephone service for residential and commercial customers.

“Today’s broadband announcement by Tri-County EMC is another exciting step toward securing greater opportunities for hardworking Georgians through expanded internet access,” said Governor Kemp. “Broadband access is critical to economic growth, better educational outcomes, and access to quality healthcare. Our EMCs are critical partners in that fight, and thanks to the passage and signing of Senate Bill 2 in 2019, they are empowered to work with the communities they serve on projects like this that lessen the digital divide in rural Georgia. I’m honored to be part of this announcement and will continue working with leaders across our state to increase broadband access and ensure a brighter future for all Georgians – no matter their zip code.”

“Ensuring the citizens of our state have access to broadband service is a key part of my goal to make our state the ‘Technology Capitol of the East Coast’,” said Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan. “Today’s announcement from Tri-County EMC continues to show how our state’s EMCs can play a key role in making that happen. Expanding broadband access has been a key priority for the Senate and I am excited to see our EMCs take another step in helping close the digital divide.”

“The availability of high-speed broadband in rural Georgia is truly a game changer – affording access to telemedicine, online learning and e-commerce,” said House Speaker David Ralston. “I am proud that our House of Representatives, guided by our House Rural Development Council, has prioritized the expansion of broadband internet resulting in announcements like Tri-County EMC’s. We will continue to work with public and private sector partners to expand economic opportunity to every corner of our state.”

“Accessing high-speed broadband is incredibly important for rural businesses and families – especially in the COVID era,” said PSC Commissioner Tim Echols. “As a utility regulator and father of seven, I’ve tried to make it easier for EMCs to engage and play a role in expanding broadband and reaching unserved and underserved areas.”

“Today is truly an exciting day for our cooperative,” said Tri-County EMC CEO Ray Grinberg. “For our members and our community, today marks the beginning of a digital revolution. Regardless of location across our service territory, every member of Tri-County EMC will soon be able to receive high-speed internet.”

“I firmly believe that high-speed internet will be a catalyst for economic development, just like rural electrification,” commented Greg Mullis, Chief Operating Officer for Tri-CoGo. “Access to one hundred percent fiber, high-speed internet for every member of Tri-County EMC may certainly have the largest impact on business development and quality of life since we brought electricity to rural middle-Georgia in 1939.”

From 13WMAZ:

The plan is to build a 1,600-mile fiber optic network, in order to provide broadband access to 22,000 Tri-County accounts. Tri-County has invested over $47 million in this project, Kemp says.

Kemp says they state is making other efforts. There is $40 million in its budget proposal that is dedicated to a rural innovation fund. It’s all about providing a pool of resources to empower businesses and entrepreneurs to start and expand in rural Georgia areas.

“Just to make sure that these folks in our state have opportunity as well,” Kemp said.

He says the broadband project is part of his commitment to rural Georgia.

“Addressing the lack of broadband access in rural Georgia has been a key priority of mine since the campaign trail,” Kemp said.

Governor Kemp will visit two vaccination sites today, according to

Kemp will visit the state-operated mass vaccination site in Clarkesville at 8:30 a.m. and also visit a Gwinnett County vaccination site administering shots to educators and school staff at 11:30 a.m.

The Gwinnett County site is at the old Sears building at the now mostly-unoccupied Gwinnett Place Mall in Duluth.

The state currently has mass-vaccination sites in Fulton County (Delta Air Lines Museum), Bibb County (Macon Farmers Market), Dougherty County (Albany Georgia Forestry Commission Site) and Habersham County (Fairgrounds).

They will open five additional state-run sites on March 17 in Chatham County (Gulfstream Aerospace), Ware County (Waycross Mall), Washington County (Sandersville World of Life Church), Bartow County (LakePoint Sports Complex) and Muscogee County (Columbus Civic Center).

Kemp said last week that 83,000 Johnson & Johnson vaccines set to arrive today would be prioritized for educators.

March 8 is when teachers and staff at K-12 schools, as well adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their caregivers, and parents of children with complex medical conditions who are at high risk for COVID complications became eligible to receive the vaccine.

The Associated Press looks at legislation racing to pass by the end of Crossover Day today, via AccesWDUN.


CITIZEN’S ARREST: House Bill 479 would abolish the Georgia law that allows private citizens to arrest someone, while still allowing security guards and store employees to hold people they accuse of a crime until police arrive.

LAWMAKER PAY RAISE: Pay for Georgia’s 180 House members and 56 senators would nearly double under House Bill 675. Most statewide elected officials would also get substantial boosts in pay. Proponents say lawmaker pay hasn’t changed since 1999.

PATIENT VISITATION: Hospitals and nursing homes would be required to allow visitors, after many cut visitor access because of the coronavirus pandemic, under House Bill 290.


SPORTS BETTING: Senate Resolution 135 and Senate Bill 142 would let Georgia’s voters decide whether they’ll allow sports betting. Lawmakers would split the proceeds among college scholarships for low income students, expanded high speed internet access and rural health care services.

TIME CHANGE: House Bill 44 calls for Georgia to permanently switch to daylight saving time if the U.S. Congress authorizes it. Senate Bill 100 calls for Georgia to observe standard time year round, unless Congress lets states switch to daylight saving time permanently.


CASINO GAMBLING: None of the various measures that would authorize casinos have passed out of committee.

HORSE RACING: None of the various measures that would authorize betting on horse racing have passed out of committee.

From the AJC:

The fate of some of Georgia’s most pressing bills might be decided Monday, a long day of voting on proposals that could include measures addressing absentee voting and citizen’s arrest laws.

Monday is Crossover Day at the Georgia Capitol, the Legislature’s self-imposed deadline for bills to pass at least one legislative chamber, either the House or the Senate.

From the AJC Political Insider:

Up today in the Georgia Senate: More than one dozen elections-related measures, including bills to restrict absentee voting and end automatic voter registration.

A crucial underlying trend in the Republican-backed proposals that’s attracting less attention than efforts to roll back voting rights: A transfer of power from the Secretary of State’s office and county boards of elections to lawmakers.

Under Senate Bill 241, up for debate later today, lawmakers would have to approve emergency election rules within 20 days of their creation. Also, elections officials would no longer be able to send absentee ballot request forms without voter requests. And the state could no longer enter into a consent decree without a joint resolution from the General Assembly.

A separate measure that has already cleared the Senate empowers the State Elections Board to replace local elections officials with new leaders if they don’t meet new performance standards. The House has a similar proposal pending.

The measures would also greatly reduce the autonomy of Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who is under attack by fellow Republicans after defying pressure to overturn former President Donald Trump’s loss.

House Bill 333 by State Rep. Chuck Efstration (R-Gwinnett) would revise the Ethics in Government Act, according to the AJC.

House Bill 333, sponsored by Judiciary Chairman Chuck Efstration, R-Dacula, addresses issues raised by two ongoing high-profile cases that have made headlines in recent years.

“Ensuring there is transparency and oversight in our campaign finance law is a very important thing,” Efstration told colleagues before they passed his bill 164-0. “It helps ensure public trust in our government.”

Under Efstration’s bill, he said, the commission would have more time to make cases without the statute of limitations running out, would make ex-candidates hold onto campaign bank records longer, would clarify that candidates could not use campaign contributions to make personal loans to themselves or invest in their companies, and would mandate what candidates could do with money raised for primary or general election runoffs when they fail to make the runoffs.

The Gainesville Times looks at the Daylight Savings Time bills currently in the legislature.

Senate Bill 100, a measure that would end the state’s observance of daylight saving time, passed on bipartisan lines via a 46-7 vote last week. Hall’s senators voted in favor.

SB 100 still needs to be passed by the House and signed by Gov. Brian Kemp before it would take effect. It is unlikely that those steps will be completed before daylight saving begins March 14.

According to the bill, if passed and signed by the governor before the transition to daylight saving time, the permanent switch to standard time will be effective immediately.

If passed after the March 14 transition, the bill takes effect when daylight saving time ends at 2 pm on Nov. 7.

If SB 100 is enacted, Georgia would be the third state to permanently adopt standard time, joining Arizona and Hawaii.

“There is a growing body of scientific evidence demonstrating that these annual time shifts are bad for our health, disruptive to sleep cycles, and related to a higher immediate risk of heart attacks, strokes, cardiac arrhythmia, and even car accidents,” said anesthesiologist and state Sen. Michelle Au, D-Johns Creek, in a statement. “Furthermore, a majority of Americans agree that they want to do away with this tradition of ‘springing forward’ and ‘falling back’”

Conversely, Georgia House Bill 44 proposes observing daylight saving time year-round, and that bill was passed 112-48 on March 5 in the House. Those in the Hall delegation approved, with the exception of Rep. Lee Hawkins, R-Gainesville.

Senate Bill 200 by State Sen. Jason Anavitarte (R-Paulding) passed the Senate and would prevent a Governor from ordering churches closed in a public health emergency, according to the Capitol Beat News Service via the Rome News Tribune.

“I think we as a people have a right to assemble in our churches,” Anavitarte said from the Senate floor on Friday. “As long as we follow the necessary health protocols that the experts put out there, we should be able to move forward.”

Anavitarte’s legislation is similar to a separate bill limiting the governor’s emergency powers over religious groups in the House, sponsored by Rep. Dominic LaRiccia, R-Douglas.

Opponents argue barring churches from closing could endanger Georgians during a public-health crisis by promoting gathering spaces where viral outbreaks could occur.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) called the measure “extreme, dangerous and unnecessary.”

“The right to exercise one’s faith is among our most fundamental constitutional rights,” said Andrea Young, executive director of the ACLU’s Georgia chapter. “But it is constitutionally appropriate for the government to place restrictions on religious activities and religious institutions.”

“In Georgia, we never shuttered churches, synagogues, or other places of worship because we value faith, family and freedom,” Kemp said in a statement. “With the Faith Protection Act signed into law, Georgia will be a sanctuary state for people of faith.”

Hall County is preparing to resume jury proceeding after a year delay due to COVID, according to the Gainesville Times.

If Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Harold D. Melton lifts the ban on jury trials in the statewide judicial emergency order, a trial over drug possession before Superior Court Judge Bonnie Oliver will be the first case since the yearlong trial shutdown.

Court officials said 150 potential jurors have been summoned.

“In the past, you’d have 70 people reporting at 8 a.m,” staff attorney Caitlin May said. “Instead, we’re going to have 20 people at a time in panels reporting so that we’d don’t ever have that many people.”

A video on the Northeastern Judicial Circuit’s website walks people through what health and safety measures are in place. Court administrator Jason Stephenson said jurors would be issued KN95 masks.

Richmond County will not use home sales to the Augusta National Golf Club to reassess neighboring homes at this time, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

“I don’t have a problem with the tax office trying to generate more revenue,” board member Bryan Simkins said. “I do have a problem with assessments being raised to what the Augusta National is paying for property.”

Over the last 25 years, the club has dropped seven-figure checks on adjacent properties, in its expansion across Berckmans Road to the west and Washington Road to the north.

Club affiliates such as Berckman Residential Properties and WSQ LLC are now owners of the National Hills Shopping Center, in a deal finalized for $26 million last year, the Publix Shopping Center, bought in 2018 for $21 million, the Stein Mart Shopping Center, the former Big Tree Shopping Center and the former Greens on Washington apartments, according to property records.

Berckman Residential has acquired over 100 single-family dwellings, paying premium prices such as $1 million to $5 million per home to snatch up properties now part of the National’s expansion and landscaped parking area to the west. More recently, the going rate for a Margate, Wicklow or West Terrace drive house was between $300,000 and $400,000, sometimes quadruple the home’s assessed value.

Assessors board members seemed intent on not punishing homeowners for the actions of speculators or the golf club.

“It’s not fair for them to be penalized because they had no crystal ball,” member Juanita Burney said.

Craig Landolt serves as the new State Fire Marshall, according to the Savannah Morning News.

His family’s Savannah Irish roots date back to 1860 on his father’s side – Fogarty, Kelly, Moore. On his mother’s side those roots are Japanese — Sakurada. This makes Landolt the first Asian American to become state fire marshal.

Because his mother is Japanese, he identifies as Asian American. Because of his father’s side, he also identifies as Irish American.

“I look forward to building relationships throughout the state and helping advance Georgia’s business-friendly environment.” Congratulations on his appointment poured in from across the spectrum of “his customers, his partners” from more than three decades of commitment.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 5, 2021

On March 5, 1735, James Oglethorpe presented a budget to the trustees of Georgia and proposed seeking an appropriation from Parliament, thus beginning the addiction of the Georgia government to Other People’s Money.

On March 6, 1857, the United States Supreme Court published its opinion in Sanford v. Dred Scott.

the Court held that African Americans, whether slave or free, could not be American citizens and therefore had no standing to sue in federal court,and that the federal government had no power to regulate slavery in the federal territories acquired after the creation of the United States. Dred Scott, an African American slave who had been taken by his owners to free states and territories, attempted to sue for his freedom. In a 7–2 decision written by Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, the Court denied Scott’s request and in doing so, ruled an Act of Congress in this case—the Missouri Compromise of 1820 which prohibited slavery north of the parallel 36°30′ north—to be unconstitutional for the second time in its history.

The decision would prove to be an indirect catalyst for the American Civil War and was functionally superseded by the post-war Reconstruction Amendments. It is now widely regarded as the worst decision ever made by the Supreme Court.

One member of the Court that decided Dred Scott was Associate Justice James M Wayne, who was born in Savannah and served in Congress from Georgia from 1829 to 1835.

On March 7, 1861, delegates to the Georgia Secession Convention reconvened in Savannah to adopt a new state Constitution. A resolution offering to host the Confederate Capitol did not pass.

On March 5, 1869, the United States Congress refused to seat Georgia’s elected members of the House and Senate.

On March 6, 1946, the Fifth Circuit United States Court of Appeals ruled in King v. Chapman that Georgia’s all white Democratic Primary violated the 14th, 15th, and 17th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Primus E. King of Columbus, Georgia brought the lawsuit against the Muscogee County Democratic Party Executive Committee Chair Joseph E. Chapman.

On March 7, 1965, a group of marchers led by Martin Luther King, Jr., met Alabama State Troopers on the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma, Alabama.

“I was hit in the head by a state trooper with a nightstick… I thought I saw death.”

—John Lewis, SNCC leader

John Lewis, who later served as the United States Congressman from the Fifth District from 1987 to his death in 2020, was in the front row wearing a light-colored overcoat and backpack.

GaVoice talked to Lewis about what was in his backpack on that day.

On March 5, 1977, President Jimmy Carter held the first “Dial-A-President” radio broadcast in which he fielded questions from radio listeners.

Ron Daniels brings you more on the Presidential Q&A from 1977.

Regardless of Carter’s policy positions and his answers to questions, “Ask President Carter” was a truly historic broadcast. Never before had the President been accessible via telephone on a live radio broadcast. And the questions presented to the President weren’t confined to one or two issues that he had been prepared to handle. One can argue that the American people were also fascinated with the concept of calling and speaking directly to Carter; nine million people called into the broadcast trying to reach him.

The President seemed to enjoy the broadcast as well, remarking: “[t]he questions that come in from people all over the country are the kind that you would never get in a press conference. The news people would never raise them, like the Ottawa Indian question. And I think it’s very good for me to understand directly from the American people what they are concerned about and questions that have never been asked of me and reported through the news media.”

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections


9:30 AM HOUSE FLOOR SESSION (LD27) – House Chamber
10:00 AM Senate Floor Session – Senate Chamber
TBD Senate Rules Upon Adjournment – 450 CAPContinue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 4, 2021

On March 4, 1762, legislation was passed by the Georgia General Assembly requiring church attendance on Sundays.

The first Session of the United States Congress was held on March 4, 1789 at Federal Hall in New York City. Congress would not have a quorum for another month.

On March 4, 1861, Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated as President of the United States.

In his inaugural address, Lincoln promised not to interfere with the institution of slavery where it existed, and pledged to suspend the activities of the federal government temporarily in areas of hostility. However, he also took a firm stance against secession and the seizure of federal property. The government, insisted Lincoln, would “hold, occupy, and possess” its property and collect its taxes. He closed his remarks with an eloquent reminder of the nation’s common heritage:

“In your hand, my fellow countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath in Heaven to destroy the government, while I shall have the most solemn one to preserve, protect, and defend it… We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

Also on March 4, 1861, the Confederate Congress adopted a first national flag.

Confederate 1st National Flag 1

This flag is depicted with varying numbers of stars – originally adopted with seven stars, by December 1861, a version with thirteen stars was flying.

Confederate 1st National Flag 2

Ronald Reagan and Nancy Davis were married on March 4, 1952 in Los Angeles, California.

This weekend, Brunswick will observe the 162d anniversary of “The Weeping Time,” a massive sale of people who were enslaved, according to The Brunswick Times.

Amid the wails and lamentations from more than 400 enslaved people being torn apart from family and friends during a harrowing 1859 slave auction in Savannah, it is said that God also wept.

Like teardrops from heaven, rain fell continuously over Ten Broeck’s racehorse track — from the inhuman auction’s opening gavel on March 2 to the last cold-blooded transaction of humans selling humans on March 3. The auction that saw 429 men, women and children sold off from the Butler Plantation in McIntosh County and the Hampton Point Plantation on St. Simons Island has been imparted to us by history as The Weeping Time.

The events can be followed on Facebook Live by going to The Weeping Time’s Facebook page. These include a commemoration ceremony beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday. The one-hour ceremony includes the reading of the names of those enslaved people who were sold. Additionally, there will be a libation ceremony, the traditional African observance that revers the ancestors. Shouter Griffin Lotson, local African American historian Amy Roberts and others will speak as well.

At 11 a.m. Sunday, the service from Solomon Temple Church of God in Christ in Savannah will be broadcast virtually on the Weeping Time’s Facebook page. The sermon and the service will be geared toward remembrance of The Weeping Time.

Additionally, at 5 p.m. Friday some 436 candles will be lit at the site of the Butler Plantation on Butler Island in McIntosh County.

Here’s the Facebook link for The Weeping Time.

Apparently, we missed yesterday’s birthday of Herschel Walker, who was born March 3, 1962 in Augusta, Georgia.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Today is a Committee Work Day in the Georgia General Assembly with no session.Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 3, 2021

On March 3, 1779, the British Army met America forces in Screven County, Georgia.

On March 3, 1779, 238 years ago [] , the first major battle of the British Army’s push into the American South took place at Brier Creek at the old road between Savannah and Augusta. According to Battle and President of the Brier Creek Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution Craig Wildi, the American loss resulted in the deaths of at least 200 patriots.

Studies done by Battle in conjunction with other professional organizations have uncovered evidence that some of Georgia’s soldiers who lost their lives in the fight for independence may still lie in graves at the battle site.

“This was the 16th bloodiest of all battle sites throughout the Revolutionary War,” Battle said. “We found so many artifacts under our original permit, Georgia DNR (Department of natural Resources) shut the study down.”

The land around the battle site is public, managed by Georgia DNR as part of the Tuckahoe Wildlife Management Area. The wildlife management area is about 15,000 acres. Battle and Wildi said they want 500-600 acres set aside to fully study the site, but said DNR hasn’t been willing to dedicate more than about five acres for site preservation and management.

Last year, the Sons of the American Revolution held a commemorative event to place flags in honor of those who died at the battlefield. Because the event was hosted by a non-profit organization, Wildi said Georgia DNR waived the requirements for certain liability insurance policies and other fees for group events. This year, he said they are requiring the group to pay for those requirements; payments the small non-profit says it can’t afford.

During the surveys for and original push for the Palmetto Pipeline, bulldozers and other equipment were brought onto the site to widen roads across it inside the wildlife management area. The proposed pipeline map originally had the right of way slated to cross the battlefield. While both said they were relieved the pipeline was stopped, they say other challenges remain in saving the site.

On March 2, 1807, the Congress passed legislation outlawing the importation of slaves from Africa or anywhere outside the United States.

On March 3, 1820, Congress passed the Missouri Compromise.

In February 1819, Representative James Tallmadge of New York introduced a bill that would admit Missouri into the Union as a state where slavery was prohibited. At the time, there were 11 free states and 10 slave states. Southern congressmen feared that the entrance of Missouri as a free state would upset the balance of power between North and South, as the North far outdistanced the South in population, and thus, U.S. representatives. Opponents to the bill also questioned the congressional precedent of prohibiting the expansion of slavery into a territory where slave status was favored.

Even after Alabama was granted statehood in December 1819 with no prohibition on its practice of slavery, Congress remained deadlocked on the issue of Missouri. Finally, a compromise was reached. On March 3, 1820, Congress passed a bill granting Missouri statehood as a slave state under the condition that slavery was to be forever prohibited in the rest of the Louisiana Purchase north of the 36th parallel, which runs approximately along the southern border of Missouri. In addition, Maine, formerly part of Massachusetts, was admitted as a free state, thus preserving the balance between Northern and Southern senators.

The Missouri Compromise, although criticized by many on both sides of the slavery debate, succeeded in keeping the Union together for more than 30 years.

On March 2, 1836, Texas declared its independence from Mexico.

Texas Flag 1836-39

On March 3, 1845, Congress overrode a Presidential veto for the first time.

The United States Congress passed the first Reconstruction Act on March 2, 1867.

On March 2, 1874, Gov. Smith signed legislation allowing anyone fined for a criminal conviction to arrange for a third party to pay the fine in exchange for the convict’s labor.

On March 3, 1874, Governor Joseph Brown signed legislation permitting persons or companies to lease Georgia prisoners for terms from one to five years, with the Governor setting the rates.

The act required the humane treatment of convicts and limited them to a ten-hour work day, with Sunday off. Equally important, leases had to free the state from all costs associated with prisoner maintenance. Once all state convicts were leased, the law provided that all state penitentiary officers and employees be discharged.

Just think of how much progress Georgia has made with privatizing the justice system — now, instead of leasing convicts, we have private probation companies overseeing released prisoners.

On March 2, 1950, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for the beginning of construction of Buford Dam, which would create Lake Lanier.

President Lyndon B. Johnson attended ceremonies at Lockheed in Marietta for the first C-5A aircraft to come off the assembly line on March 2, 1968. President Johnson’s remarks can be read here.

One year ago today, the big story was that two coronavirus cases had been confirmed in Georgia, according to the AJC.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The current Adjournment Resolution governing the General Assembly is House Resolution 264 and takes us through Crossover Day and beyond!

Wednesday, March 3 . . . . . . . .convene for legislative day 26
Thursday, March 4 . . . . . . . . . committee work day
Friday, March 5 . . . . . . . . . . . . convene for legislative day 27

Monday, March 8 . . . . . . . . . . . convene for legislative day 28 (Crossover)
Tuesday, March 9 . . . . . . . . . . . convene for legislative day 29
Wednesday, March 10 . . . . . . . convene for legislative day 30
Thursday, March 11 . . . . . . . . . .convene for legislative day 31

Monday, March 15 . . . . . . . . . .convene for legislative day 32


TBD Senate Rules Upon Adjournment – 450 CAP
7:00 AM Senate Ethics – 307 CLOB
8:00 AM Senate Veterans, Military and Homeland Security – Mezz 1
8:00 AM Senate Higher Education – 450 CAP
9:00 AM Senate Health and Human Services– canceled – 450 CAP
9:00 AM HOUSE Regulated Industries Lottery Oversight Gaming Subcommittee – 132 CAP
10:00 AM Senate Judiciary – 307 CLOB
10:00 AM Senate Transportation – Mezz 1
10:00 AM HOUSE FLOOR SESSION (LD26) – House Chamber
11:00 AM Senate Education and Youth – 307 CLOB
11:00 AM Senate Retirement – 450 CAP
1:00 PM Senate FLOOR SESSION (LD 26) – Senate Chamber
1:00 PM HOUSE Public Safety and Homeland Security Subcommittee A – 506 CLOB


SB 117 – Department of Human Services; offenses of improper sexual contact by employee or agent in the first and second degrees; revise (Substitute)(JUDY-49th)

SB 195 – Hemp Farming; definition; revise (Substitute)(AG&CA-53rd)

SB 222 – State Symbols; pecan as the official state nut; designate (AG&CA-13th)

SB 95 – State Government; conditions for meetings and public hearings to be held by teleconference in emergency conditions; provide (GvtO-47th)

SB 183 – Office of Sheriff; qualification requirements; revise (PUB SAF-29th)

SB 187 – HOPE Scholarship; procedure for students with disability as defined by the American with Disabilities Act to apply for a waiver; establish (H ED-37th)

SB 204 – Education; State Board of the Technical College System of Georgia to award high school diplomas; provide (Substitute)(H ED-37th)

SB 42 – Education; school climate rating does not include discipline data; provide (Substitute)(ED&Y-53rd)

SB 107 – Postsecondary Education Grants; waiver of tuition and all fees, for qualifying foster and adopted students by units of the University System of Georgia and the Technical College System of Georgia; provide (Substitute)(H ED-17th)

SB 66 – Georgia Foundation for Public Education; a nonprofit corporation created by the foundation to receive private donations to be used for grants to public schools; authorize (Substitute)(ED&Y-31st)

SB 59 – Education; additional QBE funding for each full-time equivalent student within a local charter school; provide (Substitute)(ED&Y-56th)

SB 47 – Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Act; revise prior school year requirement (Substitute)(ED&Y-51st)

SB 113 – Life Insurance; life insurers’ requirement to review the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ life insurance policy locator service; provide (Substitute)(I&L-16th)

SB 168 – Meetings; corporation may hold annual shareholders’ meetings and special shareholders’ meetings by means of remote communication; provide (Substitute)(JUDY-20th)

SB 182 – Counties and Municipal Corporations; “fence detection system”; define the term; counties, consolidated governments, and municipalities regulate or prohibit such system; limit the ability (SLGO(G)-29th)


Modified Open Rule

HB 44 – State government; Georgia shall observe daylight savings time year round; provide (SP&CA-Cantrell-22nd)

HB 303 – Jaida Act; enact (Ins-Glanton-75th)

Modified Structured Rule

HB 248 – Motor vehicles; local governing body to apply for a permit to operate a traffic enforcement safety device which enforces the speed limit in a school zone by recorded image; authorize (PS&HS-Powell-32nd)

HB 322 – Juvenile Code; revise definition of sexual exploitation (JuvJ-Wiedower-119th)

HB 334 – Superior courts; clerks; notaries public; provisions (Substitute)(Judy-Gullett-19th)

HB 355 – Georgia Carbon Sequestration Registry; inclusion ofbuilding products in construction; provisions (NR&E-Wiedower-119th)

HB 363 – Crimes and offenses; protection of elder persons; revise definitions (JudyNC-LaHood-175th)

HB 371 – Evidence; certain proceedings may be conducted by video conference; provide (Substitute)(JudyNC-Gunter-8th)

HB 410 – Bingo; transfer regulatory authority from Georgia Bureau of Investigation to Secretary of State (JudyNC-Lumsden-12th)

HB 435 – Local government; exempt certain contracts competitively procured by the state or cooperative purchasing organizations (GAff-Anderson-10th)

HB 470 – Property; no plans are required when units are not designated by physical structures; provide (Judy-Washburn-141st)

HB 548 – Social services; reasonable access to records concerning reports of child abuse to the Administrative Office of the Courts; provide (JuvJ-Dempsey-13th)

Structured Rule

HB 302 – Revenue and taxation; proceeds of local government regulatory fees be used to pay for regulatory activity; require (Substitute)(W&M-Momtahan-17th)

HB 477 – Income tax; applications for credit for qualified donations of real property; extend sunset date (W&M-Watson-172nd)

HB 511 – State treasury; establishment or revision of certain Trust Funds; provide (Substitute)(App-Reeves-34th)

HB 586 – Georgia Economic Recovery Act of 2021; enact (Substitute)(W&M-Watson-172nd)

HB 587 – Georgia Economic Renewal Act of 2021; enact (Substitute)(W&M-Williamson-115th)(Rules Committee Substitute LC 43 1970S)

HB 593 – Tax Relief Act of 2021; enact (W&M-Blackmon-146th)

HR 185 – House Rural Development Council; reauthorize (ED&T-Watson-172nd)

Georgia hit the 2 million vaccinations mark, according to a press release from Governor Brian Kemp:

[On February 28,] the Georgia Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 vaccine dashboard reported 2,048,591 total vaccine doses administered in the Peach State, accounting for 82.57% of the state’s shipped allocation. Georgia administered one million vaccines in just twenty five days.

“With one million doses administered in just twenty-five days, we continue to make significant progress in vaccinating more vulnerable Georgians” said Governor Kemp. “Over 830,000 seniors have received at least one shot, accounting for nearly sixty percent of Georgia’s over 65 population. With the recent approval of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and increased dose allocation from both Pfizer and Moderna, the state expects more vaccines will be available in the coming weeks.”

Former President Donald Trump regrets his endorsement of Brian Kemp for Governor in 2018, according to The Hill.

In an interview with the conservative news outlet Newsmax on Sunday, Trump took credit for pushing Kemp across the finish line in 2018 with his unexpected endorsement just days before Kemp was slated to face off against former Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle in a primary runoff.

“In the case of Gov. Kemp, he was in last place or just about in last place. I endorsed him, he ended up winning the election and he certainly was not very effective for the Republican Party, to put it nicely,” Trump said.

“So I think that was an endorsement that hurt us, but sometimes that will happen,” he added. ”You can’t pick 100 percent of the winners.”

“What he did for the Republican Party and to the Republican Party and to the state of Georgia, which is a great state, was sad,” Trump told Newsmax on Sunday.

The Washington Examiner writes that Herschel Walker might be the vehicle for vengeance by Trump.

[I]f Trump gets his way and his friend of 38-years, football great and 1982 University of Georgia Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker, enters the 2022 gubernatorial race, Kemp will be the former president’s top target.

“President Trump would look very favorably on a Herschel Walker run for governor of Georgia,” a Trump source told us, adding, “He really likes the idea.”

Walker is one of Trump’s oldest associates. Their friendship dates to 1983, when Trump signed him to his New Jersey Generals team, part of the short-lived United States Football League.

While he now lives near Dallas, who he played for in the NFL, Walker has a business in Georgia and maintains deep roots in the state that still adores him for his college exploits.

If Walker entered the race, Georgia would become the former president’s priority — and an easy ride from his Florida home.

Republican James Hall has been appointed to the Chatham County Board of Elections, according to the Savannah Morning News.

James Hall was sworn in on Monday by Chatham County Probate Court Judge Tom Bordeaux, according to a BOE press release.

Hall works as a claims analyst for The Eichholz Law Firm. He has lived in Chatham County for 12 years, and worked as a data analyst for Savannah-Chatham police.

“I’ve always felt like public service is in my blood. And I feel like this elections board position is something that is really where my niche is, where I can serve my community the best,” Hall said.

“I feel like I really have found my niche, and I’m in the best spot to serve right now,” Hall said.

Congratulations and condolences, my friend.

Savannah City Council passed a resolution asking the General Assembly to authorize a 2-percentage point hike in the hotel/motel tax, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Savannah City Council adopted a resolution to bump the levy from 6% to 8% during their meeting last week. The measure now goes to the Georgia General Assembly for consideration and approval.

The chairman of the local legislative delegation, Rep. Ron Stephens (R-Savannah), says he will support the issue so long as the increase does not go into effect before Jan. 1, 2022, giving Savannah’s tourism economy time to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The council resolution refines how revenues generated by the hotel/motel tax will be spent, with dollars designated for infrastructure projects across the city. Funds will go toward redevelopment of the waterfront; expansion of the Tide to Town urban trail network; renovation of the Historic Waterworks building near the new city arena; trails, sidewalks and other connections between the Historic District, westside neighborhoods and the new arena; museum development; a new water-access facility on Savannah’s southside; wayfinding signage; and West Bay Street gateway enhancements.

“We are the only city of the hub cities in Georgia that is under a lower category” in terms of hotel/motel tax races, Mayor Van Johnson told the council. “As a matter of fact there are cities like Vidalia and a variety of other cities that are in this same category. I believe 91 cities are in this higher category.”


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 2, 2021

On March 2, 1807, the Congress passed legislation outlawing the importation of slaves from Africa or anywhere outside the United States.

On March 2, 1836, Texas declared its independence from Mexico.

Texas Flag 1836-39

The United States Congress passed the first Reconstruction Act on March 2, 1867.

On March 2, 1874, Gov. Smith signed legislation allowing anyone fined for a criminal conviction to arrange for a third party to pay the fine in exchange for the convict’s labor.

On March 2, 1950, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for the beginning of construction of Buford Dam, which would create Lake Lanier.

President Lyndon B. Johnson attended ceremonies at Lockheed in Marietta for the first C-5A aircraft to come off the assembly line on March 2, 1968. President Johnson’s remarks can be read here.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The current Adjournment Resolution governing the General Assembly is House Resolution 264 and takes us through Crossover Day and beyond!

Tuesday, March 2 . . . . . . . . . . committee work day
Wednesday, March 3 . . . . . . . .convene for legislative day 26
Thursday, March 4 . . . . . . . . . committee work day
Friday, March 5 . . . . . . . . . . . . convene for legislative day 27

Monday, March 8 . . . . . . . . . . . convene for legislative day 28 (Crossover)
Tuesday, March 9 . . . . . . . . . . . convene for legislative day 29
Wednesday, March 10 . . . . . . . convene for legislative day 30
Thursday, March 11 . . . . . . . . . .convene for legislative day 31

Monday, March 15 . . . . . . . . . .convene for legislative day 32


8:00 AM Senate Ethics – cancelled – 307 CLOB
8:00 AM HOUSE Motor Vehicles Tags and Titles Subcommittee – 606 CLOB
8:30 AM HOUSE Motor Vehicles Driver Safety and Service Subcommittee – 606 CLOB
9:00 AM Senate Judiciary – 307 CLOB
9:00 AM HOUSE Insurance Life and Health Subcommittee – 132 CAP
10:00 AM Senate Natural Resources and Environment – 450 CAP
10:30 AM HOUSE RULES – 341 CAP
11:00 AM Senate Government Oversight – 450 CAP
12:00 PM Senate Finance – 450 CAP
12:00 PM HOUSE Judiciary NON Civil Setzler Subcommittee – 132 CAP
1:00 PM Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs – Mezz 1
1:30 PM HOUSE Judiciary Reeves Subcommittee – 132 CAP
2:00 PM HOUSE Natural Resources and Environment Resource Management Subcommittee – 341 CAP
2:15 PM Senate Health and Human Services – 450 CAP
3:00 PM HOUSE Transportation Resolutions Subcommittee – 406 CLOB
4:00 PM HOUSE Motor Vehicles Alternative Fuel Vehicles Subcommittee – 606 CLOB