Category: Georgia Politics

16
May

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 16, 2022

Button Gwinnett and Lachlan McIntosh met outside Savannah on May 16, 1777 and fought a duel; Gwinnett was mortally wounded.

Gwinnett returned to Georgia immediately after signing the [Declaration of Independence] to find city Whig Lachlan McIntosh commanding Georgia’s nascent military efforts. Determined to take control of Georgia politics, Gwinnett became speaker of the legislature, guided the Georgia Constitution of 1777 into existence and took over as governor when Archibald Bulloch died suddenly in office.

Gwinnett then wanted to lead an expedition to secure Georgia’s border with Florida. A dispute between McIntosh and Gwinnett over who would command the effort ultimately led to their duel and Gwinnett’s death.

A Constitutional Convention met on May 16, 1795 in the capital of Louisville to amend the Georgia Constitution of 1789

The United States Senate voted to acquit President Andrew Johnson of 11 Articles of Impeachment passed by the House of Representatives on May 16, 1868.

The North Georgia Electric Company was incorporated on May 16, 1901 to build a hydroelectric dam on the Chattahoochee River near Gainesville; in 1916, it would be bought by the company that today is known as Georgia Power.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Today is National Barbecue Day. What’s your favorite in Georgia?

Atlanta will bid for the largest circus in America 2024 Democratic National Convention, according to the Associated Press via AccessWDUN.

Atlanta is submitting a formal bid to host the 2024 Democratic National Convention, Mayor Andre Dickens announced Friday to Democrats holding their annual state party dinner.

“We’re going to do everything in our power to bring the 2024 Democratic National Convention to Atlanta, Georgia,” Dickens told the party, which gathered at a downtown hotel.

In addition, Georgia is one of more than a dozen states where state Democrats have asked to step to the front of the party’s presidential nominating calendar, displacing the traditional position held by the Iowa caucus.

Georgia’s swing-state status could aid its bid for the convention, with national parties sometimes hoping to use their gathering as a showcase to appeal to the voters of the host state.

Republicans are deciding between Milwaukee and Nashville, Tennessee, as their 2024 convention site.

Former State Rep. Jeff Lewis was removed from consideration for Senate District 52 after a challenge to his qualifications was upheld by a state Administrative Law Judge and affirmed by Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, according to the Rome News Tribune.

The issue is that Lewis didn’t file nearly 10 years worth of campaign finance disclosures from his time in the state House.

Several years after Lewis left office he placed approximately $75,000 of campaign funds in an investment account, and stopped filing reports on those funds, according to testimony presented in the Thursday hearing.

A representative for Lewis announced that he will appeal the ruling, which he stated was unconstitutional, and continue to campaign for the Senate 52 seat.

“The statute under which Senator Hufstetler seeks to disqualify Jeff Lewis is blatantly unconstitutional. However, only the Superior Courts and, ultimately, the Supreme Court of Georgia are able to rule that a statute violates the Georgia Constitution,” Lewis’ attorney Lester Tate said in a statement. “We look forward to presenting our arguments there and ensuring that Jeff remains on the ballot.”

In his announcement Friday, Lewis compared himself with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene stating that first “the establishment” went after the congresswoman and now “now they are coming after me.”

Georgia Secretary of State’s spokesperson Walter Jones said Lewis will remain on the ballot but Senate 52 precincts will post a sign informing voters that he’s been disqualified.

Early voting continues apace, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Through Friday, nearly 380,000 people have early voted in Georgia — a 222% increase from the same point in the early voting period in the 2018 primary election and a 181% increase in the same point in the early voting period in the 2020 primary election. Georgia has had record early voting turnout since the first day of early voting this year, surging to nearly three times the number on the first day of primary voting in 2018 and double that of 2020, and has continued on that path since.

“The record early voting turnout is a testament to the security of the voting system and the hard work of our county elections officials,” Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said in a news release. “As secretary of state, I promised to strike a strong balance between access and security in our elections, and these numbers demonstrate that I kept that promise and that voters have confidence in Georgia’s elections.”

While reports of lines have been minimal thus far, early voting turnout is expected to increase during this week. All counties will have mandatory Saturday voting on Saturday.

Turnout Numbers Through May 13, 2022

♦ Total Turnout: 378,981
♦ Early In-Person: 348,538
♦ Absentee: 30,433
♦ Republican: 220,122♦ Democrat: 156,218
♦ Nonpartisan: 2,641
♦ New Turnout Since Previous Day: 47,605
♦ Early In-Person Since Previous Day: 43,680

From WTVM published Friday before this weekend’s early voting days:

Officials say since it started, turnout has steadily increased.

In the past two weeks, 6,000 people across Columbus have shown up to vote.

Yesterday, alone, 600 people voted.

The last week of early voting starts Monday, May 16, and ends Friday, May 20.

“We have one ballot collection dropbox, and it’s here at the City services center on the first floor as you enter from the parking garage. And of course, here at the elections office,” explained Boren.

From the Rome News Tribune:

The Rome City and Floyd County schools’ bid to extend the 1-cent education local option sales tax through March 31, 2029 — for a projected $130 million in revenue — also will be decided.

As of Friday, just 3.8% of the county’s registered voters had cast ballots and another 360 absentee ballots were still out.

From the AJC:

Overall, early voting turnout has shattered one record after another. Through Sunday, nearly 414,000 people have participated in the primary.

That includes about 57% who have cast GOP ballots, a higher proportion in part because of contested races at the top of the ticket. Another 43% have chosen Democratic ballots and less than 1% have voted nonpartisan.

From the AJC’s Mark Niesse on Twitter:

Twice as many Georgians cast ballots yesterday compared to the previous Saturday, with turnout reaching 28K. Through 13 days of early/absentee voting, 408,897 have voted. R: 234,731 D: 171,300 NP: 2,866

Some Gwinnett voters have filed fraud reports over Spanish words on precinct cards, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

“Hogar de” is just the Spanish translation for “household of.”

But, Gwinnett voters have seen the phrase in the address line on elections materials they have received from the county, gotten confused about it and filed complaints about illegal voting over it.

“The Gwinnett County Board of Elections and Registration sent out mailers to Gwinnett voters addressed to ‘Household of / Hogar de,’” said Ari Schaffer, chief of staff at the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office. “Apparently, a significant number of people are reading that and thinking someone by the name of Hogar De is fraudulently registered at their home, rather than realizing hogar de is just the Spanish translation of ‘household of.’ Because it’s Gwinnett, all election mailing has to be in Spanish as well.”

Gwinnett County is the only county in Georgia that is required, under the Voting Rights Act of 1965, to provide election materials in more than language. The act states that, if the number of people that speak a specific language other than English reaches a certain threshold in a county, all election materials in that county must be provided in that language as well as English.

To comply with the act, every document that is produced and sent out by the county’s elections office has to include Spanish translations of every word that is written in English.

President Joe Biden has nominated Georgia State Rep. Calvin Smyre as Ambassador to the Bahamas, instead of the previously announced appointment to the Dominican Republic, according to the AJC.

In Savannah, some marchers protested a Supreme Court decision that hasn’t been published or finalized, according to WTOC.

Demonstrators gathered outside the Chatham County Courthouse in an outcry of support for abortion rights.

The demonstrations in Savannah and across the nation come after a leaked draft opinion from the Supreme Court signaled those justices could soon overturn Roe versus Wade.

If Roe versus Wade is overturned, many are worried that Georgia could become one of several states likely to ban abortions.

But city leaders at the rally including Savannah mayor Van Johnson encouraged everyone to make their voices heard at the ballot box.

“Obviously, there’s an opportunity now called voting. In which people can ensure that they have representatives that represent them and represent their interests.”

Organizers vowing to continue their fight at the polls as election season ramps up.

It’s important to note, there weren’t any counter demonstrators at Saturday’s rally.

Gainesville also saw a pro-abortion march. From the Gainesville Times:

Democratic political candidates and a few dozen activists rallied Sunday, May 15, against a recently leaked Supreme Court draft decision that would overturn abortion protections from Roe v. Wade.

About 30 gathered behind the Sidney O. Smith Jr. federal courthouse along Spring Street with signs reading, “Protect Roe v. Wade,” “Productive rights are human rights” and “Hands off my uterus.” Some cars passing by to exit downtown honked in support as the crowd chanted “My body, my choice.”

Legislation passed by the Georgia General Assembly this year r will change how mental health issues are addressed, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Georgia ranks 48th in the country in access to mental health care, but state legislators hope to improve this defining issue with House Bill 1013, also known as the Georgia Mental Health Parity Act.

The bill, signed into law in April by Gov. Brian Kemp, requires insurers to cover mental health and substance abuse issues the same way they cover physical conditions such as a heart attack or diabetes.

To put that into perspective, patients would have to be suicidal before the insurance company has to pay for a visit. If that standard is applied to any other health condition like a heart attack, a person would have to prove they’re having a heart attack before the care could be paid for.

“It just snowballs from there,” said Sen. Ben Watson (R-Savannah), a co-sponsor of the bill. “And so Georgia, I think, will be a leader in this in that we have tried to do state regulations to require insurance companies to treat mental health on the same par as suitable.”

The Mental Health Parity Act also aims to expand access to care by increasing the number of mental health professionals in the state through loan forgiveness, improving data and transparency in the sector; providing for a grant program to establish assisted outpatient treatment programs, and relaxing Georgia’s standard for involuntary commitment by giving police officers and crisis workers help when they’re called into a mental health crisis.

Dalton City Council has revised a measure to allow municipal retirees to return to work without losing their retirement benefits, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News.

Council members held a first reading of the measure at their May 2 meeting.

“We found that we had to reword it,” said Mayor David Pennington. “Since we reworded it, we are going to have to hold the first reading again. We’ll vote on it in two weeks (from Monday).”

Under the city’s current pension plan rules, if retirees come back to work for the city their pension benefits have to be suspended until they leave city employ again.

Batts said retirees would be limited to 16 hours each week. If they go above that, their pension would be frozen.

Brunswick City Commissioners discussed a pair of local option sales taxes at a retreat, according to The Brunswick News.

There were no formal votes taken, but there was apparent consensus on expectations for upcoming negotiations with Glynn County officials for the Local Option Sales Tax and the Special Purpose Local Option Tax.

City Manager Regina McDuffie said negotiations with the county will begin in June for the LOST tax. The city and county still have to decide the format, including when and where to meet and who will be involved in the negotiations.

McDuffie said if both sides don’t reach an agreement within 60 days after negotiations begin, the city and county will be required to enter mediation, a process she said both sides should want to avoid.

Discussions are planned with the county about the list of projects proposed for the SPLOST referendum in the November general election. [Mayor Cosby] Johnson asked commissioners to consider holding individual town hall meetings to gauge the wants and needs of their constituents. He suggested a town hall meeting at the College of Coastal Georgia as a good location to attract a large crowd.

The Rome News-Tribune published Q&As with the three candidates for State House District, currently held by Republican State Rep. Katie Dempsey.

Rep. Katie Dempsey (incumbent)

Brad Barnes

Luke Martin

And a Q&A with Republican Robert Watson, who is running for House District 12, currently held by State Rep. Eddie Lumsden (R).

It is endorsement season in Augusta, with former Mayors giving candidates the nod, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Mayor Deke Copenhaver has endorsed Augusta businessman Garnett Johnson for mayor. He announced his endorsement at a news conference Thursday.

Mayor Hardie Davis, who ends his eight-year tenure in December, hasn’t openly endorsed a candidate, but another former mayor and several local groups have.

Former Mayor Bob Young is endorsing former Commissioner Marion Williams. Young said the four-term commissioner understood how the local government works.

The Committee for Good Government on Tuesday endorsed Alvin Mason, Jeremy Johnson and John Clarke in their commission elections. It backed newcomer Katrell Nash for civil and magistrate judge but favored incumbents Ashley Wright and Jesse Stone for superior court judge.

Rep. Brian Prince, D-Augusta, revealed Wednesday he’s been endorsed by the labor council as well as the Georgia Chamber of Commerce.

13WMAZ profiles the candidates for Peach County Commission District Two.

The Savannah Morning News profiles the Democratic candidates for the First Congressional District seat held by Republican Buddy Carter.

Wade Herring, Joyce Griggs and Michelle Munroe push many of the same policy positions on the campaign trail, from the protection and expansion of voter rights to making health care more affordable. All three also agree the incumbent, Republican Rep. Buddy Carter, went against the will of the people when he voted against the certification of the 2020 presidential election on Jan. 6.

The Statesboro Herald profiles the candidates for Bulloch County Board of Education District 5, according to the Statesboro Herald.

Lowndes County Board of Education District Five voters will elect a new member, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

Lowndes County Board of Education announced a vacancy of its District 5 seat during the board meeting this month. [The late DAve] Clark held the District 5 seat. Clark passed away in April after being on leave from the board since early in the year. He was 78.

The board announced plans to hold a special election to fill the vacancy. The unexpired term ends Dec. 31, 2024.

“Under the guidance of Mr. Turner, we have notified the Lowndes County Board of Elections of the vacancy and will make plans to hold a special election,” Lowndes County School Superintendent Wes Taylor said, referring to Warren Turner, the school board attorney.

The District 5 election will be separate from the ongoing early voting in the primary election which culminates with the May 24 election.

Former State Rep. Ed Rynders (R- Albany) has died, according to WALB.

Sea turtles continue nesting on Georgia beaches, according to WSAV.

So far, Georgia wildlife officials have reported more than 50 nests, with more than half found on federally protected Cumberland Island. But according to Tybee Sea Turtle Project, the island hasn’t seen any nests yet this season.

13
May

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 13, 2022

On May 13, 1607, English settlers founded the first permanent English settlement in America, at Jamestown on the James River. This led to the first English-language politics in America:

Dispatched from England by the London Company, the colonists had sailed across the Atlantic aboard the Susan Constant,Godspeed, and Discovery. Upon landing at Jamestown, the first colonial council was held by seven settlers whose names had been chosen and placed in a sealed box by King James I. The council, which included Captain John Smith, an English adventurer, chose Edward Wingfield as its first president.

Lyman Hall arrived in Philadelphia as a delegate to the Second Continental Congress on May 13, 1775.

Delegates to the Constitutional Convention began assembling in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on May 14, 1787, the designated starting day. Because a large number of delegates had not arrived the opening of the Convention was moved to May 25.

On May 14, 1791, George Washington addressed the Grand Lodge of Georgia Masons in Savannah.

On May 15, 1791, George Washington left Augusta for Savannah.

On May 13, 1798, a Constitutional Convention adopted the Georgia Constitution of 1798.

On May 15, 1800, President John Adams ordered all 125 employees of the federal government to begin packing to move the capital from Philadelphia to Washington, DC.

On May 14, 1804, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark left St. Louis, Missouri to explore the Northwest United States from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean.

The United States declared war on Mexico on May 13, 1846.

Georgia Whigs, led by Governor George Crawford, Alexander Stephens, and Robert Toombs, criticized the war for raising divisive questions about slavery in the territories. Georgia Democrats, led by Howell Cobb and Herschel Johnson, staunchly supported the war and states’ rights afterward. Because Whigs, nationally, appeared to be antislavery, Georgia Whigs lost the governorship in 1847. The Compromise of 1850 temporarily settled the slavery question in the territories, but the moderating influence of Georgia’s Whigs dissolved in the heated rhetoric of states’ rights in the 1850s. The next war would find Americans fighting Americans.

The first fighting at Resaca, Georgia took place on May 13, 1864 and Union forces marched into Dalton. On May 13, 1864, 257 cadets from the Virginia Military Institute camped at Mt. Crawford near Harrisonburg.The next day they would continue their march to New Market, Virginia.

On May 14, 1864, the VMI Corps of Cadets marched 15 miles and camped overnight at Mt. Tabor, near New Market, Virginia. The next day they would march into history.

On May 15, 1864, General William Tecumseh Sherman’s Military Division of the Mississippi remained engaged against Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston’s Army of Tennessee at Resaca, Georgia.

On May 15, 1864, at New Market, Virginia, in the Shenandoah Valley, Major General John C. Breckenridge commanded 4800 Confederate soldiers, including the entire Corps of Cadets from Virginia Military Institute. Breckenridge previously had served as United State Representative and Senator from Kentucky, and as the youngest Vice President of the United States under President James Buchanan. Breckenridge was the Democratic nominee for President in 1860, coming in third in the popular vote and second in the Electoral College to Abraham Lincoln.

Breckenridge attacked forces under Major General Franz Sigel and they skirmished through the morning until Union forces broke through the Confederate lines.

When a gap opened in the Confederate lines, Breckenridge realized that the only force available was the VMI cadets.

He turned toward an aide and issued the following command;

“Put the boys in, and may God forgive me for the order.”

The charge of the VMI cadets remains the most noticeable feature of the Battle of New Market. With rain pouring the cadets broke the charge of the 34th Massachusetts Regiment and then advanced themselves in attack.

When the day ended, 10 cadets had been killed and/or mortally wounded. Another 48 suffered wounds.

Ten cadets died or suffered mortal wounds that day. New Market hosts the oldest continuous historical battle reenactment in the United States that is still held on the original terrain, but this year’s is canceled because of COVID-19, as was last year’s.

On the anniversary of the Battle of New Market, the roll of those who died there is called.

On the same day, the Battle of Resaca was fully engaged in Northwest Georgia.

On Saturday, May 14, the fighting at Resaca escalated into a full-scale battle. Beginning at dawn, Union forces engaged the Confederates along the entire four-mile front. In the early afternoon Schofield’s Army of the Ohio attacked the sharply angled center of the Confederate line. The assault was badly managed and disorganized, in part because one of Schofield’s division commanders was drunk. As the Union attack unraveled and became a fiasco, Johnston launched a counterattack on Sherman’s left flank. The counterattack collapsed, however, in the face of a determined stand by a Union artillery battery. In the evening Union forces pushed forward and seized the high ground west of Resaca, which placed the bridges leading south from the town within artillery range and threatened Johnston’s line of retreat.The following day Sherman renewed his assault on the Confederate center.

Carl Sanders was born on May 15, 1925 in Augusta, Georgia. He served in the United States Air Force, Georgia House of Representatives and State Senate, where he was President Pro Tem. In 1962, Sanders won the Democratic Primary for Governor, defeating former Governor Marvin Griffin, and in November was the first Governor of Georgia elected by popular vote after the County Unit System was abolished.

American artist Jasper Johns was born May 15, 1930 in Augusta, Georgia.

Former Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz was born on May 15, 1967 in Lansing, Michigan. Smoltz pitched a complete game shutout against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the seventh game of the National League Championship Series in 1991, sending the Braves to their first World Series since moving to Atlanta in 1966. Smoltz was chosen for the All Star team eight times and won the Cy Young award in 1996.

On May 13, 1981, Pope John Paul II was shot at St. Peter’s Square in Rome.

On May 13, 2005, the Pentagon Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) recommended the closing of Fort McPherson in Atlanta, Fort Gillem in Forest Park, the Naval Air Station in Marietta, and the Naval Supply Corps School in Athens.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Savannah Board of Elections Chair Thomas Mahoney addressed a mistake that led to voters receiving incorrect ballots, according to WTOC.Continue Reading..

12
May

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

On May 12, 1740, Georgia forces under James Oglethorpe took Fort Diego in Florida from the Spanish and mocked the defenders’ jean shorts.

The worst American defeat of the Revolutionary War occurred at Charleston, South Carolina on May 12, 1780. American Major General Benjamin Lincoln, who surrendered that day would later accept the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown, Virginia.

On May 12, 1789, the Society of St. Tammany was founded in New York and would grow to a dominant home for political bosses. Plunkitt of Tammany Hall: A Series of Very Plain Talks on Very Practical Politics remains one of the best historical versions of how political machines worked.

George Washington visited Georgia on May 12, 1791. From Purysburg, South Carolina, Georgia officials escorted Washington on a barge twenty-five miles down the Savannah River to Savannah, where he would stay four days.

On May 12, 1864, Confederate General Joseph Johnston pulled his Army of Tennessee and Georgia back to Resaca, Georgia. In Virginia, Major General John B. Gordon saved the life, or prevented the capture of, General Robert E. Lee at Spotsylvania. After the war, Gordon would serve as Governor of Georgia and United States Senator.

On May 12, 1864, the Virginia Military Institute Corps of Cadets awoke in Staunton, where they had marched from Lexington 18 miles the previous day; after another 19 miles headed north up the Shenandoah Valley, the would make camp at Mt. Crawford, near Harrisonburg. The cadets ranged in age from fifteen to twenty-five years.

On May 12, 1970, Georgia National Guard troops were mobilized to end race riots that had broken out the night before in Augusta. On that same day, Ernie Banks of the Chicago Cubs, my father’s favorite player as a youth, hit his 500th home run.

11
May

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 11, 2022

Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart was mortally wounded on May 11, 1864 at the Battle of Yellow Tavern, near Richmond.

May 11, 1996 was the deadliest day on Mount Everest. “Into Thin Air” by Jon Krakauer is a fantastic chronicle of the deadliest season on Everest.

On May 11, 2011, Newt Gingrich announced via Twitter that he would run for President. Two days later, I caught up with Newt at Fincher’s Barbecue in Macon for a brief interview the day he was scheduled to speak to the Georgia Republican Party State Convention.

Happy Birthday to Minnesota, which became a state on May 11, 1858. Y’all talk funny.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Democrat Demoine Kinney learned he doesn’t live in the State House district he’s running for when he couldn’t find his name on the ballot, according to the AJC.

A candidate for the Georgia House, Demoine Kinney, felt stunned when he couldn’t find his name on his own ballot.

Kinney found out that redistricting last year put him within new political boundaries, a fact he learned after he had filed to run for office in the district where he thought he lived.

He might be disqualified from the race because his home isn’t located inside the Conyers-area district he would represent.

Campaign sign theft allegations are being thrown around in Lowndes County, according to WALB.

[Board of Education candidate] Erin Price is accusing fellow candidate Darrell Presley of stealing her campaign signs and putting them in the back of his truck, an accusation that is under investigation. Both are running for District 3 seat on the school board in the May 24 election.

The Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office says they often respond to campaign sign thefts around election time. However, they believe people don’t realize that there are consequences to doing this.

Sheriff Ashley Paulk says he’s worked six elections and says campaign sign thefts can lead to prosecution of property theft charges.

He says these incidents are just a form of political campaign and encourages the community to be mindful of others’ belongings.

Governor Brian Kemp signed Executive Order #05.10.22.01, extending the State of Emergency for Supply Chain Disruptions until Tuesday, June 14, 2022 at 11:59 PM.

Governor Kemp also signed six pieces of legislation passed by the General Assembly, according to a press release.

Governor Brian P. Kemp has signed six pieces of legislation to strengthen Georgia’s number one forestry industry, promote conservation efforts, and protect the state’s natural resources. The legislation includes HB 997, which exempts forestry equipment from statewide ad valorem taxes, pending a statewide referendum question (agricultural equipment is already exempt); HB 1349, which updates Georgia’s No Net Loss requirement to encompass over 200,000 acres of hunting and fishing land added since 2005; HB 343, which imposes stronger penalties on poaching; HB 586, which extends the sunset on the Conservation Use Value Assessment (CUVA); HB 1147, which provides for year-round hunting season on racoons and opossums on non-public land; and HB 1148, which implements stronger requirements for deer brought into Georgia from states with confirmed cases of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).

“Georgia’s agriculture assets, beautiful natural wonders, and great outdoors have given both my family and many others a livelihood and good memories,” said Governor Brian Kemp. “We’re not only proud to be champions of our state’s thriving agriculture and related industries and natural resources, we’re also dedicated to ensuring future generations are able to enjoy them as well. The bills I signed into law will help us treat the forestry industry the same way that we do agriculture as well as protect hunting, fishing, and conservation land, and more. I want to thank those in the Georgia General Assembly who carried these measures, as well as the Department of Natural Resources for their continued efforts to conserve our wild places and the Georgia Forestry Association for their work to support Georgia’s number one forestry industry.”

Governor Kemp, in addition to the many members of the Georgia House and Senate who voted in favor of these important measures, would like to thank the following bill sponsors for their role in the respective legislation:

•  HB 997: Rep. Sam Watson and Sen. Larry Walker

•  HB 1349: Rep. Jason Ridley and Sen. Tyler Harper

•  HB 343: Rep. Trey Rhodes and Sen. Russ Goodman

•  HB 586: Rep. Sam Watson and Sen. Steve Gooch

•  HB 1147: Rep. Trey Rhodes and Sen. Tyler Harper

•  HB 1148: Rep. Trey Rhodes and Sen. Tyler Harper

Gov. Kemp announced two appointments of Solicitors General.

Governor Brian P. Kemp today announced that he has appointed Brooklyn Franklin to fill the Solicitor General vacancy within the State Court of Long County which was created by the resignation of Billy J. Nelson, Jr. Luana Nolen has been appointed to the Solicitor General vacancy within the State Court of Paulding County which was created by the enactment of House Bill 1119 during the 2020 session of the Georgia General Assembly.

Brooklyn Franklin has been appointed by Governor Brian P. Kemp to serve as Solicitor General for the State Court of Long County. Mrs. Franklin most recently served as Interim Solicitor General for Long County since March 2022 and as an assistant district attorney for the Atlantic Judicial Circuit since July 2015. She previously worked as an associate attorney for Lloyd D. Murray, Sr., Attorney at Law, executive assistant to worship arts at Savannah Christian Church, and a judicial assistant for Kentucky Court of Appeals Judge Joy A. Kramer. She is a member of the State Bar of Georgia and the Atlantic Judicial Circuit Bar Association. She received her Juris Doctor from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University and her Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Political Science from Campbellsville University. Mrs. Franklin and her husband Jacob live in Richmond Hill, Georgia.

Luana Nolen has been appointed by Governor Brian P. Kemp to serve as Solicitor General for the State Court of Paulding County. Previously, she served as Senior District Attorney in the Douglas Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office, an assistant district attorney for the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office, an assistant district attorney for the Douglas Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office, Senior Assistant District Attorney Misdemeanor Unit Chief for the Paulding Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office, senior assistant district attorney for the Clayton County District Attorney’s Office, and an assistant solicitor general for the Cobb County Solicitor General’s Office. She is a member of the Douglas County Bar Association and the Cobb County Bar Association. She received her Juris Doctor form New England Law and her Bachelor of Arts from the State University of New York at Albany. She and her husband, Stephen, have three kids and live in Dallas, Georgia.

The Governor’s Office announced that April net state tax revenues were up over the previous April.

The State of Georgia’s net tax collections for April totaled $5.01 billion, for an increase of $2.21 billion, or 78.9 percent, compared to April 2021, when net tax collections totaled $2.80 billion. Year-to-date, net tax collections totaled almost $27.54 billion, for an increase of nearly $5.80 billion, or 26.7 percent, compared to the previous fiscal year when net tax revenues totaled $21.74 billion as of the end of April 2021.

Current year-over-year comparisons of state net tax collections for April and May are made difficult by the deferral of the previous year’s state tax filing deadlines for both quarterly and annual income taxes to May 17th rather than the traditional mid-April filing deadline set for most years. While annual revenue totals will be comparable as of May 31st, the current monthly year-over-year comparison to fiscal year 2021 will be incomplete because of the filing deadline shift in 2021 to May.

The changes within the following tax categories help further explain April’s overall net tax revenue increase:

Individual Income Tax: Individual Income Tax collections increased by $1.94 billion, or 158.7 percent, to a total of roughly $3.16 billion compared to last year, when Income Tax collections totaled $1.22 billion. The following notable components within Individual Income Tax combine for the net increase:

• Individual Income Tax refunds issued (net of voided checks) were up $554.3 million, or 123.8 percent
• Individual Withholding payments increased by $77.7 million, or 7.1 percent, over April 2021
• Individual Income Tax Return payments were up $2,162.6 million, or 774.6 percent, versus FY 2021
• All other Individual categories, including Non-Resident Return payments, were up a combined $254.3 million

Sales and Use Tax: Gross Sales and Use Tax collections for the month totaled nearly $1.54 billion, for an increase of $187.1 million, or 13.8 percent, over FY 2021. Net Sales and Use Tax increased by $91.8 million, or 12.9 percent, from April 2021, when net sales tax totaled $712.6 million. The adjusted Sales Tax distribution to local governments totaled $729.7 million, for an increase of $105.5 million, or 16.9 percent, compared to last year. Lastly, Sales Tax refunds decreased by $10.2 million, or 71.6 percent, compared to April 2021.

Corporate Income Tax: Corporate Income Tax collections increased by nearly $257.9 million, or 56.9 percent, compared to FY 2021, when Corporate Tax collections totaled $453.3 million for the month. The following notable components within Corporate Income Tax make up the net increase:

• Corporate Income Tax refunds issued (net of voided checks) were up $10.4 million, or 188.7 percent
• Corporate Income Tax Estimated payments increased by $191.8 million, or 75 percent, over FY ‘21
• Corporate Income Tax Return payments increased by $55.7 million, or 30 percent, versus April 2021
• All other Corporate Tax categories, including Corporate Return payments, were up a combined $20.8 million

Motor Fuel Taxes: Motor Fuel Tax collections for April decreased by $68.6 million, or 39.5 percent, from FY 2021, because of the Executive Order issued by Governor Kemp to suspend the Motor Fuel Excise Tax beginning on March 18th through the end of May.

Motor Vehicle – Tag & Title Fees: Motor Vehicle Tag & Title Fees declined by nearly $6.4 million, or 16.2 percent, while Title Ad Valorem Tax (TAVT) collections increased by almost $6 million, or 8.4 percent, compared to last year, when TAVT totaled almost $71 million in April.

Note the second paragraph in which it states that year-to-year comparisons may not be apples-to-apples.

Three current or former Governors will tour Georgia with Governor Kemp, according to CNN.

The governors — Pete Ricketts of Nebraska and Doug Ducey of Arizona — as well as former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, will crisscross the state supporting Kemp in his primary challenge against former US Sen. David Perdue, a source familiar with the plans tells CNN.

Ricketts and Ducey currently serve as co-chairs of the Republican Governors Association, which has poured money into the race to support Kemp, including a large TV ad buy in the state.

Ricketts, Ducey and Christie al​l have clashed at times with Trump. In Nebraska, Ricketts, who is term-limited from seeking reelection, asked Trump not to wade into the Republican gubernatorial primary. Trump rejected this request, endorsing Charles Herbster, a wealthy businessman facing a slew of sexual misconduct allegations, which he has denied. Ricketts backed Jim Pillen, a member of the University of Nebraska Board of Regents, who won Tuesday’s GOP gubernatorial primary in the Cornhusker State.

In January, Trump said he would “never” endorse Ducey if he ran for US Senate in Arizona after criticizing the Republican governor for certifying the state’s election in 2020.

From the AJC:

Ducey will join Kemp at five stops around metro Atlanta on Saturday. Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie are also expected to rally for Kemp in the final weeks before the May 24 primary.

The three are each key players in the Republican Governors Association, which has already shelled out about $5 million to defend Kemp against a challenge from former U.S. Sen. David Perdue.

Ducey is the group’s chairman, Ricketts is on the executive committee and Christie is co-chair of the RGA’s new fundraising program.

From the Hill:

In recent weeks, Kemp has received the endorsement of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and is slated to attend a fundraiser alongside former President George W. Bush. He’s also been the beneficiary of some $5 million in spending by the Republican Governors Association, which has been running ads for months touting his record in office.

“The one thing we always lose sight of because we want to focus on the Donald is the candidates themselves,” said Doug Heye, a Republican strategist. “With Kemp, you’ve got two factors: one, he’s been a successful governor in the state, and two, he’s running against someone who voters have already rejected.”

But Trump’s endorsement has so far failed to materialize into overwhelming support for Perdue, who lost reelection last year after falling short in a hotly contested runoff against Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.).

Since taking office in early 2019, Kemp has aggressively pursued a conservative policy agenda that has largely pleased Republicans in Georgia and nationally.

He signed a bill that would prohibit abortions six weeks after conception, implemented sweeping changes to the state’s election system and signed a law allowing Georgians to carry guns in public without a license or background check.

“I think the key is: As far as a Republican governor goes, Kemp checks all the boxes,” one Georgia-based Republican strategist said. “His record on pretty much everything — guns, you know, law enforcement, taxes — it’s squeaky clean. I think folks see that and then they hear what Trump is saying and it just doesn’t match up with reality.”

“Brian Kemp is running as a winner and David Perdue can’t,” Heye said.

With no primary election, Democrat Stacey Abrams is tending to her base, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Standing among a crowd of about 75 people in a Savannah restaurant parking lot, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams spoke about her platform and addressed Georgians’ concerns about gun violence, immigration and housing.

“I come here because I know coastal Georgia and Savannah, you all face different challenges,” Abrams told supporters as she spoke on education funds and Medicaid expansion.

“I think what it means is that she’s not having to worry about competing somewhat in the primary, they may not be doing the kind of advance work you’d expect them to do,” said [UGA Political Scientist Charles] Bullock of Abrams’ campaign strategy.

“It gives them opportunity to solidify the Democratic base by campaigning directly to them,” said Tharon Johnson, a Democratic strategist. “During this period of time, at a time when the general election starts, they’ll still campaign to the Democratic base, but they’ve got to grow that base. And they’ve got to go to more moderates, more independents and disaffected Republicans, and get them to try to persuade them to vote for them in November.”

“I think, for me, these are voters who watched me work for 11 years in the Legislature, who watched my campaign in 2018 and who also watched the work that I did when I was not elected,” Abrams said. “They are excited about the work that I’ve done, and they are excited about what I will do when I become governor.”

Bullock said while Democrats have a harder time getting voters turnout during the midterm year than Republicans do, Abrams overcame that problem during her 2018 run. “Her strategy in 2018 was to try to get Democrats to turn out at presidential year levels and hope Republicans would turn out at midterm year levels,” He said. “She’s got to kind of work toward that same end of trying to get Democrats enthusiastic.”

Liberty County Sheriff William Bowman denies charges that his deputies racially-profiled an out-of-state college athletic team whose bus was pulled over, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

“We initiated a traffic stop for a motor coach traveling northbound on I-95,” said Liberty County Sheriff William Bowman during an afternoon news conference. “This is part of our commercial interdiction detail on the interstate.”

The sheriff was referring to an incident on April 20 involving the women’s lacrosse team from Delaware State University, an HBCU. Deputies did not find any contraband in their search.

According to a report, Liberty County deputies started removing players’ bags from the vehicle’s cargo bay to search after asking Jones to open them. One of the players recorded the interaction and caught the moment when one of the deputies said, “If there is anything in y’all’s luggage, we’re probably gonna find it, OK? I’m not looking for a little bit of marijuana, but I’m pretty sure you guys’ chaperones are probably gonna be disappointed in you if we find any.”

 “There were several commercial vehicles stopped that morning, including another bus where contraband was located,” Bowman said. “Due to the nature of the detail, a K9 was part of the stop and an alert was given by the K9. A K9 sniff of the exterior is not a search under the Fourth Amendment and does cause us to provide search of the vehicle.”

“Although I do not believe racial profiling occurred based on the information I have, I welcome feedback from the community on ways our law enforcement practices can be improved,” said Bowman, who noted at the start of the news conference that he would not field any questions. “More than anything, we want feedback from the Delaware lacrosse team on the communication approaches we can consider that we are not aware of. This is how true policing is done.”

“We realize in this current environment that even a traffic stop can be alarming to citizens, especially African Americans,” Bowman said. “… We are happy nothing was found and the passengers arrived home safely.”

For whatever it’s worth, Sheriff Bowman appears to be African-American himself.

Bleckley County Sheriff Kris Coody has been charged with misdemeanor sexual battery, according to 13WMAZ.

Coody is accused of groping TV Judge Glenda Hatchett, and former DeKalb County Sheriff Thomas Brown told our sister station 11Alive he witnessed it all.

“She’s thinking, ‘He’s a sheriff, what do I do?’” Brown recalled.

Brown says in January, he, Hatchett, and two other women were talking in a bar at a hotel where the state sheriff’s convention was happening.

He says Hatchett asked Coody where he was from, to which Brown says he replied, “The heart of Georgia.”

“He wanted to emphasize ‘the heart of Georgia,’ and he did that by placing his left hand on her left breast, and he did it three times,” the former sheriff explained.

“He is the chief law enforcement officer of his county. The head of law enforcement agency sets the tone for the culture of our agency. Law enforcement officers do not put up with law enforcement officers that do the wrong thing,” he said.

Savannah Mayor Van Johnson said the city will take a “holistic” approach to gun violence, according to WSAV.

“No one should ever lose their lives in our city because of gun violence. Further, 15-year-olds should not die in our city or anywhere because of gun violence,” said Mayor Van Johnson in his weekly press conference Tuesday. “It’s absolutely horrible and absolutely unacceptable. Our children are supposed to bury us.”

The mayor said he’s disappointed and frustrated by the violence, but “not dismayed or deterred.”

Johnson explained that the city is taking a holistic approach to combat crime, from good policing to community relationships. Savannah is investing in summer activities and highlighting the young people who are doing the right thing, he said.

He described “a pre-post-pandemic syndrome” — or rise in tempers — taking place across the country.

“Crime is not raging in our community,” Johnson explained. “Tempers are raging in our community.”

“Consider where we were in the last two years. Lives changed,” the mayor continued. “I think that what we’re seeing now is the results of that. I think people are apprehensive. They are tense. They’re upset. Mental illness is real, and it’s been exacerbated by everything that’s going on.”

“Mental health is real and we must become each other’s violence interrupters by diffusing conflict with others and amongst one another,” he said, “and we must be willing to say what we see and proactively report the things that we know.”

My first thought when I read the word “holistic” was that it was clearly code for “bullsh*t,” but I do believe the Mayor makes a good point about tempers and mental illness during the pandemic and the current supply chain and economic issues.

Former Georgia State Senator Hunter Hill was named as Executive Director of the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA), according to the Capitol Beat News Service via the Albany Herald.

Hill, who currently serves as GEFA’s executive director, will succeed the retiring Kevin Clark on July 1. Hill was recommended for the promotion by Gov. Brian Kemp.

Hill was elected to the Senate in 2012 representing a suburban Atlanta district including parts of Cobb County and North Fulton.

He left office in 2017 to seek the Republican nomination for governor but finished third in the 2018 GOP primary.

GEFA provides financing for a variety of energy, land, and water projects. Since 1985, the agency has approved financial commitments totaling more than $5 billion to local governments, businesses, and nonprofit organizations.

Bryan County voters will decide in Novembe whether to continue a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for Transportation (T-SPLOST), according to WTOC.

Voters are being asked whether to continue the TSPLOST program and that’s a penny tax that collects money for infrastructure programs.

The county commission chairman Carter Infinger is a big proponent of continuing TSPLOST.

He says if TSPLOST is renewed, it could bring in 70 million dollars over 5 years for county infrastructure projects.

Infinger says that the first TSPLOST program has brought in more than 27 million dollars so far and that roughly two thirds of the money collected comes from those living outside of Bryan County.

“We’re the fastest growing county in the state, 6th in the nation. It’s good and it’s bad, right? We need to plan for that and we have been planning for that. That’s why you see 144 widening, the new interchange, all these road projects that we’ve been doing. We’re ready for that. Infrastructure projects going in, the sewer coming from the mega site down to Savannah, all the water and sewer infrastructure is going to be put in in order to meet the demands of that growth in the years to come,” Infinger said.

Republican candidates for State House District 179 met in a forum, according to The Brunswick News.

Candidates seeking the Republican nomination for state House District 179 were asked Monday about new abortion restrictions in Georgia if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.

The candidates, speaking at the Exchange Club in Brunswick, each expressed support for a state law already approved in anticipation of the Supreme Court overturning abortion laws that would make it more restrictive.

Two Democrats are running for the State House District seat being vacated by State Rep. Calvin Smyre (D-Columbus), according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

He represented Columbus in the Georgia House of Representatives for nearly half a century, and now he leaves the Gold Dome behind. Smyre was tapped to be the new U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republican, and he is awaiting confirmation by the U.S. Senate.

Two Democrats, Zeph Baker and Teddy Reese, are running in the redrawn and renumbered District 140. No Republican entered the race.

State Rep. Derek Mallow (D-Savannah) wants to level up to a Senate seat, according to the Savannah Morning News.

House Rep. Derek Mallow (D-Savannah) is attempting to become the latest Chatham County legislator to move from one governing body to another. He’s running for Georgia Senate District 2 and will face Orlando Scott in the Democratic primary on May 24. The primary winner advances to face the victor in the Republican primary contest between Ken Yasger and Clinton Young.

The two current senators, Lester Jackson (D-Savannah) and Ben Watson (R-Savannah), both served in the House prior to moving to the Senate. So have many others in recent history, including Buddy Carter, now a U.S. congressman; Regina Thomas, who left office in 2009; and Eric Johnson, who left the Georgia Senate in 2010 to run for governor.

According to a Savannah-based political consultant, David Simons, using the House as a jumping off point to the Senate is “an age old thing” in Chatham County, especially for junior members eager to exert influence.

Mallow sees greater potential if he were elected to the Senate, a much smaller body — 56 members compared to 180 in the House — and one that could see a change in leadership this year should a Democrat win the lieutenant governor’s election.

Former State Rep. Dee Dawkins-Haigler (D-Metro Atlanta) campaigned for Secretary of State in Columbus, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

Dawkins-Haigler served as a state representative for more than eight years, first taking office in 2008 and finishing her post in 2017. When questioned by D.J. Davis, a Valdosta State University sociology major, about her long-term plans should she be elected as secretary of state, Dawkins-Haigler made it clear that her main focus will be on voting rights and helping residents of Georgia with “professional endeavors.”

“I want to make sure that the people of Georgia, Black people in particular, will have free and fair elections and access to the ballot box at any time. Given the craziness of the last two years, I worry that their vote will not count or be suppressed,” Dawkins-Haigler said.

“I would also like the secretary of state’s office to do more around education and resources geared towards business development. There’s a lot of people who wouldn’t know where to start. I want to make sure we get that done in a timely manner because sometimes if you call, it will take all day. We need to reach the people. I mean, the secretary of state’s website is straight garbage right now; people can’t even navigate what we’re supposed to be doing.”

Dawkins-Haigler mentioned that during her term, she pushed for legislation that increased funding for statewide transportation through the HB 170 Transportation Funding Act of 2015 as well as the decriminalization of medicinal marijuana through the Haleigh’s Hope Act – issues she hopes to revisit.

“One bill I’m proud I pushed, especially from the Black Caucus perspective, was the $1 billion transportation bill. I’m also proud of decriminalizing marijuana for medical use. It was me and five other representatives that pushed House Bill 1 across the finish line so that we would be able to participate in this industry,” she said.

“So many Black people have been incarcerated behind cannabis. This is a multi-billion-dollar industry and Black people still cannot participate in the industry fully when there’s so much that it does for health care,” she said.

“People who have cancer and especially sickle cell and lupus, those two illnesses that disproportionately affect Black people, a lot of these things can be dealt with through cannabis, and no one should be criminalized for it.”

The Statesboro Herald profiles three candidates for Bulloch County Board of Education District 4: Kathy C. Sherrod, April Newkirk (incumbent), and Donna Clifton.

Lee County District 4 Commissioner Rick Muggridge will resign as he moved out of his district, according to the Albany Herald.

He has been the District 4 representative since 2009.

“The Lee County government is in fine shape as I leave, but I know they will be fine because of the fine people who work there,” Muggridge said. “It has been the joy and honor of my life to be a part of that. (I) thank my neighbors who elected me four times to serve them.”

The outgoing commissioner said there will need to be a special election to fill the remainder of his commission seat, and that it will probably be held during the November election.

13WMAZ profiles the two Republican candidates for Monroe County Commission District Four.

Glynn County Elections Director Christopher Channell spoke to the Board of Elections about ongoing work on a new building to house operation, according to The Brunswick News.

Elections officials need to move into a larger building because of a state mandate to have a certain number of machines based on population.

Channell said he has contacted state election officials to see if there are any machines the county can borrow instead of purchase.

The concern is state legislators could decided to change voting machines in an upcoming General Assembly session, meaning the county will have bought new machines they will have to replace.

Turnout for the upcoming general primary election is slightly ahead of 2018, though Channell said it’s not that noticeable.

The Bibb County Board of Education voted to hire Dan Sims as the next superintendent, according to the Macon Telegraph.

The Lowndes County Board of Education named Dr. J. Shawn Haralson as sole finalist for Superintendent, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

10
May

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

Savannah received news of the battle at Lexington on May 10, 1775, leading to a raid of British gunpowder for the colonial effort. On the same day in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Second Continental Congress met.

On May 10, 1863, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson died a week after being shot at by his own troops.

He died, as he had wished, on the Sabbath, May 10, 1863, with these last words: “Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees.”

On May 10, 1865, Confederate President Jefferson Davis was captured by Union troops near Irwinville, Georgia.

On May 10, 1869, a ceremonial “Golden Spike” was driven in Promontory, Utah, symbolizing completion of a transcontinental railroad line joining the Union Pacific Railroad and the Central Pacific Railroad.

The first observance of Mother’s Day was May 10, 1908 at St Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia. On May 9, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first official “Mother’s Day.”

On May 10, 2006, Georgia State School Superintendent Linda Schrenko, a Republican, pled guilty to federal charges of fraud and money laundering, beginning a streak of Republican State School Supers to leave office under a cloud.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The Georgia Democratic State House Caucus held a press conference to denounce abortion bans that may happen if a leaked Supreme Court opinion turns out to be published as the majority opinion. From the Capitol Beat News Service via the Gwinnett Daily Post:

The caucus called the press conference in response to the leak of a draft U.S. Supreme Court opinion that indicates the court is likely to overturn the Roe v. Wade precedent that legalized abortions in 1973.

“I was shocked that it actually seems to be happening,” said Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver, D-Decatur, about the leaked Supreme Court opinion. “This is a significant change in the history of our country.”

“I am deeply afraid for the lives of women,” Oliver said.

But if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, Georgia’s HB 481 could quickly go back into effect, Oliver said. There would be an “open door” for the state to move the courts to reinstate the law.

Oliver said she keeps “hearing rumors” that Kemp may call a legislative special session to enact a ban on abortions before the 2023 session.

Athens-Clarke County mayoral candidate William “Fred” Moorman was arrested in Glynn County for adhering to the “Sun’s out, buns out,” idiom. From the Athens Banner Herald:Continue Reading..

9
May

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

On May 9, 1862, a Union general, David Hunter, ordered the freedom of all slaves held in Georgia, Florida and South Carolina, but President Lincoln issued a counter-order.

In Georgia on May 9, 1864, Union troops under General Sherman took Snake Creek Gap. In Atlanta, a notice was published,

“ATTENTION MILITIA! All persons between the ages of 16 and 60, not in the service of the Confederate States, in the second ward, are hereby notified to be and appear at the City Hall today, at 2 o’clock P.M., for the purpose of being armed and equipped for local defense. Herein fail not under penalty.”

On May 9, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first official “Mother’s Day.”

On May 9, 1974, the United States House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary opened hearing on the impeachment of President Richard Nixon.

On May 9, 2005, Governor Sonny Perdue signed legislation recognizing the Green Tree Frog at the official state amphibian.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Early voting turnout in Glynn County is on track for record levels, according to The Brunswick News.Continue Reading..

6
May

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 6, 2022

Georgia and American History

On May 6, 1789, the Constitutional Convention in Augusta, Georgia adopted a new Georgia Constitution.

George Washington attended the first inaugural ball on May 7, 1789 on Broadway near Wall Street in New York.

Washington arrived at the ball in the company of other American statesmen and their wives. That evening he danced with many of New York’s society ladies. Vice President John Adams, members of Congress and visiting French and Spanish dignitaries, as well their wives and daughters, joined in the festivities. Eliza Hamilton, wife of Alexander Hamilton, recorded her impressions of the ball in her memoirs, noting that the president liked to dance the minuet, a dance she thought was suited to his dignity and gravity.

Congress passed the second part of the Militia Act on May 8, 1792, requiring all able-bodied white male citizens to be enrolled in the militia.

A Constitutional Convention convened on May 8, 1798 in Louisville, Georgia to rewrite the state Constitution after the Yazoo Land Fraud.

The Southern Baptist Convention was formed in Augusta, Georgia on May 8, 1845.

On May 9, 1862, a Union general, David Hunter, ordered the freedom of all slaves held in Georgia, Florida and South Carolina, but President Lincoln issued a counter-order.

The Battle of the Wilderness began on May 5, 1864, between the Army of the Potomac, led by General Ulysses S. Grant, and the Army of Northern Virginia under General Robert E. Lee.

On May 7, 1864, General Ulysses S. Grant disengaged his Army of the Potomac from fighting against General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, ending the Battle of the Wilderness.

Although the Wilderness is usually described as a draw, it could be called a tactical Confederate victory, but a strategic victory for the Union army. Lee inflicted heavy numerical casualties (see estimates below) on Grant, but as a percentage of Grant’s forces they were smaller than the percentage of casualties suffered by Lee’s smaller army. And, unlike Grant, Lee had very little opportunity to replenish his losses. Understanding this disparity, part of Grant’s strategy was to grind down the Confederate army by waging a war of attrition. The only way that Lee could escape from the trap that Grant had set was to destroy the Army of the Potomac while he still had sufficient force to do so, but Grant was too skilled to allow that to happen. Thus, the Overland Campaign, initiated by the crossing of the Rappahannock, and opening with this battle, set in motion the eventual destruction of the Army of Northern Virginia.

Therefore, even though Grant withdrew at the end of the battle (which is usually the action of the defeated side), unlike his predecessors since 1861, Grant continued his campaign instead of retreating to the safety of Washington, D.C. The significance of Grant’s advance was noted by James M. McPherson:

[I]nstead of heading north, they turned south. A mental sunburst brightened their minds. It was not another “Chancellorsville … another skedaddle” after all. “Our spirits rose,” recalled one veteran who remembered this moment as a turning point in the war. Despite the terrors of the past three days and those to come, “we marched free. The men began to sing.” For the first time in a Virginia campaign the Army of the Potomac stayed on the offensive after its initial battle.

May 7, 1864 saw some of the first fighting in the Atlanta campaign, northwest of Dalton, Georgia.

On May 8, 1864, Union forces under Sherman continued to engage Confederates at the Battle of Rocky Face Ridge four miles west of Dalton, Georgia, seizing Blue Mountain.

Elsewhere on the same day, the Army of the Potomac under Grant reached Spotsylvania Court House in Virginia and found that Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia had beaten them there from the Battle of the Wilderness. Grant’s Army of the Potomac remained engaged against Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia in the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House through May 21, 1864.

On May 5, 1886, Jefferson Davis attended a public reception at Savannah, Georgia’s City Hall.

Jefferson Davis spoke in Savannah, Georgia on May 6, 1866.

Davis … defend[ed] the South’s cause in the Civil War, stating, “In 1776 the colonies acquired State sovereignty. They revolted from the mother country in a desperate struggle. That was the cause for which they fought. Is it a lost cause now? Never. Has Georgia lost the State sovereignty which … she won in 1776? No, a thousand times no.” Davis’s fiery remarks were captured by reporters for the New York Times and other northern newspapers.

Because of the national attention generated over his visit to Alabama and Georgia, Davis took a more conciliatory tone in a speech that evening, noting, “There are some who take it for granted that when I allude to State sovereignty I want to bring on another war. I am too old to fight again, and God knows I don’t want you to have the necessity of fighting again… . The celebration today is a link in the long chain of affection that binds you and the North together. Long may it be true.”

Boston Red Sox pitcher Cy Young threw a perfect game against the Detroit Tigers on May 5, 1904.

On May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister became the first person to break the four-minute barrier for running the mile.

For years, so many athletes had tried and failed to run a mile in less than four minutes that people made it out to be a physical impossibility. The world record for a mile was 4 minutes and 1.3 seconds, set by Gunder Hagg of Sweden in 1945. Despite, or perhaps because of, the psychological mystique surrounding the four-minute barrier, several runners in the early 1950s dedicated themselves to being the first to cross into the three-minute zone.

At 6 p.m., the starting gun was fired. In a carefully planned race, Bannister was aided by Chris Brasher, a former Cambridge runner who acted as a pacemaker. For the first half-mile, Brasher led the field, with Bannister close behind, and then another runner took up the lead and reached the three-quarter-mile mark in 3 minutes 0.4 seconds, with Bannister at 3 minutes 0.7 seconds. Bannister took the lead with about 350 yards to go and passed an unofficial timekeeper at the 1,500-meter mark in 3 minutes 43 seconds, thus equaling the world’s record for that distance. Thereafter, Bannister threw in all his reserves and broke the tape in 3 minutes 59.4 seconds. As soon as the first part of his score was announced–”three minutes…”–the crowd erupted in pandemonium.

A “sub-four” is still a notable time, but top international runners now routinely accomplish the feat. Because a mile is not a metric measurement, it is not a regular track event nor featured in the Olympics. It continues, however, to be run by many top runners as a glamour event.

Alan Shepard, Jr. became the first American in space on May 5, 1961, making a 15 minute sub-orbital flight that reached an altitude of 115 miles, during which he experienced about five minutes of ‘weightlessness.’ He was launched in the 2,000-lb. capsule Freedom 7 from Cape Canaveral, Florida… The flight traveled 302 miles at a speed relative to the ground of 4,500 mph. The mission was named Mercury-Redstone 3, or Freedom 7.

Keith Richards recorded the first version of the guitar riff that would become “Satisfaction” early in the morning of May 7, 1965 before passing out.

Jimmy Carter’s Presidential campaign received a boost on May 7, 1976 when he received the personal endorsement of the President of the United Auto Workers.

On May 6, 1984, Spinal Tap played a “comeback show” at CBGB’s in New York.

On May 6, 1996, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Atlanta was the most dangerous city in America.

On May 7, 1996, Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell responded to the FBI Report that ranked Atlanta the most violent city in the nation. Campbell would succeed in replacing headlines about Atlanta’s violent crime by substituting headlines about official corruption.

Parliament-Funkadelic were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio on May 6, 1997.

Happy Birthday on Saturday to Bill Kreutzman, one of the drummers for the Grateful Dead. On Kreutzman’s 31st birthday, the Dead played at Boston Garden. The next night was the legendary Cornell show.

On May 8, 1977, the Grateful Dead played at Cornell.

On May 9, 1977, the Grateful Dead played at Buffalo War Memorial Auditorium.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Gwinnett County Tax Commissioner Tiffany Porter died after repeated bouts with breast cancer, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.Continue Reading..

3
May

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

May 3d is National Widow’s Day.

Georgia delegates convened in Augusta on May 4, 1789 to approve a new state Constitution and consider amendments.

General Nathan Bedford Forrest led troops who captured raiders near Rome, Georgia who were intent on disrupting the Western & Atlantic Railroad on May 3, 1863.

General William Tecumseh Sherman began the Atlanta Campaign on May 3, 1864 with troops marching from Tennessee toward Catoosa Springs, Georgia.

One year and one day after General Sherman began the Atlanta campaign, on May 4, 1865, Atlanta surrendered. On the same day, the Army of the Potomac crossed the Rapidan River in Virginia and into the Wilderness.

One year after that, on May 4, 1865, the last meeting of the Confederate cabinet convened in the old Georgia State Bank Building, which was located at the site of the present-day Wilkes County Courthouse in Washington, Georgia.

Margaret Mitchell was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Gone With the Wind on May 3, 1937.

On May 4, 1965, the Rolling Stones played a show at Georgia Southern.

The British band played in Hanner Fieldhouse to an overflow crowd of more than 3,500 people, according to a retrospective by Jim Hilliard in the Statesboro Herald. The gym’s capacity was about 1,500.

Hilliard said organizers figured they could sell 1,800 tickets at $2.50 each, which would be enough to pay the band and have some money left over for expenses.

The Stones had played on “The Ed Sullivan Show” on Sunday, May 2, and advance ticket sales were brisk the Monday and during lunch Tuesday, the day of the concert.

Hilliard said he signed the contract booking the Stones on behalf of Sigma Epsilon Chi fraternity. The contract called for the new fraternity to pay the band $3,000 for the appearance. Hilliard said he got a $1,500 loan from First Bulloch Bank to make the deal happen.

The Stones were expected to take the stage at 8:30 p.m. and play for at least an hour, but Hilliard had lined up three front bands, and “it proved to be a fatal flaw in plans for the concert,” he said in his retrospective.

The noise was deafening as the original Stones lineup — Mick Jagger, Brian Jones, Keith Richards, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts — hit the stage nearly an hour late.

Jagger and the other band members were “openly hostile” at having to wait so long to play.

On May 4, 1970, National Guard members shot into a crowd of protesting students, killing four and wounding nine others on the campus of Kent State University in Kent, Ohio.

On May 4, 2003, I had the fortune of marrying the first Mrs. GaPundit. Happy Anniversary.

For tomorrow, Happy Star Wars Day! May the Fourth Be With You! I’ll be taking the day off unless something earth-shattering happens. Like, say, the Supreme Court overruling a nearly-50-year old precedent.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp yesterday signed Senate Bill 500 by State Senator Brian Strickland (R-Henry County) and others. From the Press Release:Continue Reading..

2
May

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

On May 2, 1886, Jefferson Davis left Atlanta, headed to Savannah.

Savannah officials had successfully solicited Davis to attend a variety of special ceremonies and events being planned in Savannah. On the way, the train stopped briefly in Forsyth and Macon, where the ex-Confederate president was greeted by crowds and spoke briefly from the back of his train. Although he didn’t leave the train, Davis would return to Macon the following year for a more formal visit.

On May 2, 1939, Lou Gehrig benched himself as the Yankees took the field against the Detroit Tigers, ending his streak of 2,130 consecutive games. Gehrig died on June 2, 1941 of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also called “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.”

The Weather Channel began broadcasting from Cobb County, Georgia on May 2, 1982.

United States forces killed Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2011.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Today is the first day of on-person advance voting for the May 24 primary elections. From the Statesboro Herald:Continue Reading..

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

On May 1, 1707, the Act of Union with England, passed by the Scottish Parliament brought together England and Scotland and made the Union Jack the official flag of Great Britain.

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George Washington was inaugurated as the first President of the United States of America in New York City on April 30, 1789. From Washington’s inaugural address:

it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe, who presides in the councils of nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that His benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes, and may enable every instrument employed in its administration to execute with success the functions allotted to his charge.

In tendering this homage to the Great Author of every public and private good, I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own, nor those of my fellow-citizens at large less than either.

No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than those of the United States.

On April 30, 1803, negotiators from France and the United States finished discussions of the Louisiana Purchase, which would double the size of the country.

By the middle of the 18th century, France controlled more of the modern United States than any other European power: from New Orleans northeast to the Great Lakes and northwest to modern-day Montana. In 1762, during the French and Indian War, France ceded its America territory west of the Mississippi River to Spain and in 1763 transferred nearly all of its remaining North American holdings to Great Britain. Spain, no longer a dominant European power, did little to develop Louisiana Territory during the next three decades. In 1796, Spain allied itself with France, leading Britain to use its powerful navy to cut off Spain from America.In 1801, Spain signed a secret treaty with France to return Louisiana Territory to France.

Reports of the retrocession caused considerable uneasiness in the United States. Since the late 1780s, Americans had been moving westward into the Ohio and Tennessee River valleys, and these settlers were highly dependent on free access to the Mississippi River and the strategic port of New Orleans. U.S. officials feared that France, resurgent under the leadership of Napoleon Bonaparte, would soon seek to dominate the Mississippi River and access to the Gulf of Mexico.

U.S. envoys agreed to pay $11,250,000 and assumed claims of its citizens against France in the amount of $3,750,000. In exchange, the United States acquired the vast domain of Louisiana Territory, some 828,000 square miles of land. In October, Congress ratified the purchase, and in December 1803 France formally transferred authority over the region to the United States. The acquisition of the Louisiana Territory for the bargain price of less than three cents an acre was Thomas Jefferson’s most notable achievement as president.

The Second Confederate National Flag was adopted on May 1, 1863.

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On April 30, 1886, former Confederate President Jefferson Davis arrived in LaGrange, Georgia for the unveiling of a monument to Benjamin Hill.

On May 1, 1886, Jefferson Davis visited the Benjamin Hill monument at Peachtree and West Peachtree Streets in Atlanta, having arrived the previous day. On May 2, 1886, Jefferson Davis left Atlanta, headed to Savannah.

Savannah officials had successfully solicited Davis to attend a variety of special ceremonies and events being planned in Savannah. On the way, the train stopped briefly in Forsyth and Macon, where the ex-Confederate president was greeted by crowds and spoke briefly from the back of his train. Although he didn’t leave the train, Davis would return to Macon the following year for a more formal visit.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt made his fourth trip to Georgia on April 29, 1926, closing on the purchase of property at Warm Springs, Ga.

Dachau concentration camp was liberated by American troops on April 29, 1945. At least 31,951 inmates died there, more than 30,000 survivors were found on liberation day, and more than 250,000 passed through the camp and its subcamps.

Dobbins Air Force Base was dedicated on April 29, 1950, named for in honor of the late Capt. Charles M. Dobbins and in memory of the other servicemen from Cobb County. Dobbins was shot down over Sicily in 1943 and his family attended the opening of the base.

Hank Aaron hit his first home run in Atlanta against the Houston Astros on April 29, 1966, providing the winning margin as the Braves won 4-3.

On May 1, 1971, “Joy to the World,” by Three Dog Night was the #1 song in the nation.

Kennesaw, Georgia City Council adopted an ordinance on May 1, 1982 requiring each household to own a gun and ammunition.

(a) In order to provide for the emergency management of the city, and further in order to provide for and protect the safety, security and general welfare of the city and its inhabitants, every head of household residing in the city limits is required to maintain a firearm, together with ammunition therefore.

(b) Exempt from the effect of this section are those heads of households who suffer a physical or mental disability which would prohibit them from using such a firearm. Further exempt from the effect of this section are those heads of households who are paupers or who conscientiously oppose maintaining firearms as a result of beliefs or religious doctrine, or persons convicted of a felony.

Atlanta was selected as the host city for the 1996 Summer Olympics on April 29, 1988.

On May 1, 1991, Rickey Henderson broke the major league baseball stolen base record on the same day that Nolan Ryan, the greatest pitcher in the history of baseball, recorded his seventh no-hitter.

On April 29, 1993, Barry White guest-starred on The Simpsons. I guess that makes today “Whacking Day.”

The official state tartan of Georgia was designated on May 1, 1997.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

An Augusta Starbucks became the first unionized Starbucks in Georgia, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Starbucks employees at an Augusta location voted on Thursday to unionize, becoming the first in Georgia to do so.

“The key goals we are going for is better pay, better benefits, better training, better working conditions all around,” said Jaysin Saxton, the lead organizer for the store. “We all love working for Starbucks, but we just want it to be better.”

The store at 228 Robert C Daniel Jr. Parkway had 37 eligible voters and they voted 26-5 to unionize. The ballots were counted by a representative of the National Labor Relations Board after the poll closed at 5 p.m., following two days of voting. Representatives of the union and Starbucks stood by during the count.

And to think, it happened just before May Day / International Workers’ Day.

He’s Back! Former State Rep. Steve Davis (R-Henry County) will reprise his role as City Manager for Port Wentworth, according to WSAV.

Facing turmoil and multiple resignations, Steve Davis was appointed to run the city in the interim. Thursday night, a vote of confidence earned Davis the job permanently.

From WTOC:

Former interim city manager Steve Davis assumed the temporary role in February.

After two months as interim, he was sworn in Thursday night. It’s his second time assuming the position in Port Wentworth.

The majority of Port Wentworth City Council Members were grateful for the work he’s done to get the city back on track.

Councilwoman Jo Smith said, “You really did save this city plain and simple.”

“This city was left in complete peril to the point where I was pregnant and fearful of how things were going to play out in the delivery room,” said Councilwoman Gabrielle Nelson.

Councilman Rufus Bright said, “He didn’t shrug his shoulders. He didn’t throw away the ball. He took it and ran with it and we’re in the process of getting better.”

“Without Steve Davis, I honestly believe the city would not exist,” said Councilman Mark Stephens.

Also back in the news is United States District Court Judge Mark Cohen, who has enjoined Gov. Kemp’s leadership committee from fundraising until he is the Republican nominee, according to the Capitol Beat News Service via the Albany Herald.

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Mark Cohen ordered Kemp’s leadership committee to stop raising money unless and until he becomes the Republican nominee. If Kemp wins the GOP nomination this month or in a June runoff if that becomes necessary, both he and Abrams would then be allowed to activate their legislative committees and, thus, be on a level playing field.

“We are pleased the court both recognized and offered a remedy today for the unconstitutional fundraising advantage Brian Kemp signed into law benefiting himself,” Lauren Groh-Wargo, Abrams’ campaign manager, said following Thursday’s ruling.

“After months and months of Brian Kemp having exclusive ability to raise unlimited funds as a result of the bill he signed, Kemp will no longer be able to raise these funds while Stacey Abrams and One Georgia are denied equal ability to operate under the same rules.”

From the Associated Press via AccessWDUN:

Ruling on a motion in a lawsuit filed by Democratic candidate for governor Stacey Abrams, U.S. District Judge Mark Cohen said Kemp’s Georgians First Leadership Committee cannot solicit or receive contributions until after the primary election and any possible runoff that makes him the Republican nominee for governor.

Cohen previously ruled that Abrams could not take in unlimited contributions through her own leadership committee, One Georgia, before she officially becomes her party’s nominee in the May 24 primary. She had argued that she was already effectively the nominee because no other Democrat qualified to run for governor.

Governor Brian Kemp signed a package of education legislation, according to CBS46 via WTVM.

House Bill 1084 prevents divisive concepts, such as one race being inherently oppressed and another inherently being the oppressor.

“Because here in Georgia, our classrooms will not be pawns to those who indoctrinate our kids with their partisan political agendas,” Kemp said.

The governor also signed bills that ensure school board meetings are transparent, ban obscene materials from school libraries, allow retired teachers to return to the classroom fulltime in high-need areas, and give the Georgia High School Association the authority to decide whether children born boys but who identify as girls can participate in girls sports.

“As parents of three daughters, Marty and I want every young girl in this state to have every opportunity to succeed in the sport that they love,” Kemp said. “That should not be controversial.”

From 13WMAZ:

“We put students and parents first by putting woke politics out the classroom and off the ball field,” Kemp said.

“We weren’t elected by the people of this state to shy away from doing what some may call controversial,” he said.

HB 1084, one of the most contentious bills Kemp signed on Thursday, restricts how grade school teachers can discuss race in the classroom. Kemp and other Republicans claim the bill bans the teaching of “divisive” concepts.

That same bill authorizes the Georgia High School Association to ban trans kids in sports. A move Kemp said was in effort to “protect fairness.”

“There are those outside our state, and others of the general assembly who chose partisan politics over common sense reforms for our students as well as our parents,” Kemp continued.

Also signed on Thursday was SB 226, another piece of legislation that has brought controversy in the general assembly. The bill forces public schools to respond to challenges of materials parents consider “obscene.”

The governor signed HB 588 Thursday as well. Kemp said this bill ensures “local school board meetings are transparent,” by requiring school district board meetings be open to the public unless otherwise states by the law.

“So that every parent knows about their child’s education when it’s being discussed and decided,” Kemp continued.

From the Capitol Beat News Service via the Albany Herald:

“Protecting the teaching of freedom, liberty, opportunity and the American Dream in the classroom should not be controversial,” Kemp said during a signing ceremony at the Forsyth County Arts and Learning Center in Cumming. “Making sure parents have the ultimate say in their child’s education should not be controversial. [For] every girl in this state to have the opportunity to succeed in the sport they love … should not be controversial.”

From the Associated Press via AccessWDUN:

“Standing up for the God-given potential of each and every child in our schools, and protecting the teaching of freedom, liberty, opportunity and the American dream in the classroom should not be controversial,” Kemp said of bills that were intensely disputed by Democrats and teacher groups.

“Making sure parents have the ultimate say in their child’s education should not be controversial.”

Governor Brian Kemp debated a lying sack of mess former United States Senator David Perdue last night, according to WTOC.

“He’s lying again folks,” Governor Kemp said.

“He’s lying again,” Kemp said. “Stacey Abrams and him can’t admit they lost.”

“Wages are rising in Georgia… strong economy in Georgia,” Kemp said.

Separately, WTOC interviewed Kandiss Taylor. Jesus guns babies!

The Kemp income tax cut may total as much as $2 billion dollars over the coming years, according to the Associated Press via the Statesboro Herald.

A major state income tax cut signed by Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp as he seeks reelection could eventually total more than $2 billion, but the reductions may only happen by a 2029 target date if state revenue holds up.

For Kemp, Tuesday’s signing was a tax-cutting triumph as he touted not only the newly flat income tax, but also a $1.1 billion income tax refund and the zeroing out of nearly $400 million in fuel taxes for more than two months.

“We’re doing our part to lessen the pain on people’s wallets here in Georgia,” Kemp said. “And today we will put into place a more long-term system of relief. I strongly believe that government should take in the very least amount possible needed to serve the people properly.”

U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green‘s truthiness is under question. From the Valdosta Daily Times:

An election official in Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s 14th congressional district said voting records dispute her assertion at a federal court hearing last week that her husband served as an example of likely fraudulent voting practices in Georgia’s 2020 election.

Pete McDonald, Floyd County’s interim election supervisor, told CNHI that Greene’s husband, Perry Greene, had requested a mailed absentee mail ballot but surrendered it so he could cast his ballot in person during the three weeks of early voting.

Greene testified under oath her husband did not request a mailed ballot and when he showed up to vote in person he was told he had already voted absentee.

“Yes. We saw a tremendous amount of voter fraud. We have investigations going on right now in Georgia. There is investigation going on in multiple states. My husband showed up to vote and when he went to vote he went to vote in person, he was told he had already voted by absentee ballot when, in fact, he had never requested an absentee ballot. There is many instances.”

McDonald said Floyd County voting records contradict the statement about her husband’s voting experience and an inference of election fraud.

He said the records show Perry Greene requested a mailed ballot, which he had done in previous elections, but did not mail it or put it in a secure drop box.

Instead, McDonald said, he brought the absentee ballot to a polling station, surrendered it to election officials and cast an early in-person vote.

U.S. Rep. Rick Allen (R-Augusta) was diagnosed with COVID, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

“Planned overseas travel required he take a test,” said spokesperson Michael Plummer.

Allen was scheduled to travel with a congressional delegation to an undisclosed destination and took a precautionary PCR screening. “He was as surprised as the rest of us,” Plummer said.

State Rep. Houston Gaines (R-Athens) is calling for an investigation of the Athens-Clarke Public Safety Civilian Oversight Board, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

State Rep. Houston Gaines has requested a legislative investigation into the Athens-Clarke Public Safety Civilian Oversight Board following recently unveiled text messages sent by Commissioner Tim Denson.

Gaines submitted a letter Thursday morning that asks that the new civilian board be investigated or that it be dissolved and the recruitment process restarted after text messages from commissioners were published by WGAU radio.

In the messages, Denson instructed members of the chat to “try to make your math work so that the ‘conservative’ people don’t make it.”

The board is tasked with investigating alleged misconduct by employees of the police department, probation services, the sheriff’s office or the corrections department. The board can also review and make recommendations on policies and procedures in those departments.

Gaines’ letter is addressed to Rep. J. Collins, chairman of the Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee in the Georgia House. He is requesting the committee investigate the oversight board, saying that the commission had “intentionally conspired to prevent conservatives from being appointed to this board.”

Democrat Jaha Howard campaigned for State School Superintendent in Valdosta, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

Jaha Howard, a pediatric dentist and a Democratic member of the Cobb County Board of Education, was at the Castle Park shopping center in Valdosta, where Floyd Griffin, a candidate for Georgia secretary of state, was holding a meet-and-greet with voters. Howard was not traveling with Floyd but said when he heard Floyd would be in Valdosta, asked if he could meet up there.

“I have significant concerns about statewide leadership regarding education, particularly literacy rates,” he said.

Howard said he is disappointed with education leadership’s “collaboration to ban books and debate (critical race theory) while showing little concern for reading and writing.”

Critical race theory is the study of racism in modern America. On Thursday, Gov. Brian Kemp plans to sign House Bill 1084, which would outlaw “divisive concepts and ideologies” from being taught in schools. He also plans to sign Senate Bill 226, which would allow removal of “obscene materials” from school libraries, according to a statement from the governor’s office.

Democrat Floyd Griffin also campaigned for Secretary of State in Valdosta, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

Floyd Griffin, a Democrat, was meeting the public Wednesday afternoon at his campaign bus, which was parked at the Castle Park shopping area.

Griffin touted his 23 years of experience in the Army, ranging from flying helicopters in Vietnam to leading engineering operations under Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf. He said during service in the Pentagon he managed several major construction projects.

He successfully ran for state Senate in 1993; Griffin said he was the first African American elected to the seat from majority-white state Senate District 25.

He ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 1998, then won the mayorship of Milledgeville in 2002, the first Black candidate to do so.

If elected, he said the first thing he would do would be to audit the election that put him in office to ensure it was fair, accurate, secure and safe. Elections fall under the secretary of state’s authority, and former President Donald Trump spent more than an hour on the phone with current Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Jan. 2, 2021, trying to get him to overturn Georgia’s vote results, which had gone to Biden. Raffensperger refused and the phone call was cited in an article of impeachment against Trump.

Democrat Stacey Abrams will campaign in Brunswick today, according to The Brunswick News.

The Gainesville Times is doing video interviews with local candidates.

State House District 30

State Senate District 49

Hall County Commission District 3

Ninth Congressional District

The Times also looks at Butch Miller’s campaign for Lieutenant Governor.

United States Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) will speak at an event in Georgia next month, according to the AJC.

Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz will headline the “Together for Truth” conservative summit in Atlanta on May 21, a one-day conference that features speeches from conservative leaders and counsel from Republican strategists.

The event, organized by the Truth and Courage PAC, also includes workshops that train supporters on how to build grassroots political operations in their communities.

“We have important races in Georgia this year that may decide the fate of our nation,” [Cruz] said. “That’s why I’m asking fellow conservatives to join us in Atlanta and help us take back our country.”

Savannah’s Small Business Recovery Program (SBRP) will provide COVID relief fund to small businesses, according to WSAV.

Qualified businesses could receive up to $10,000 in federal grant funds that are made available by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Businesses that are interested are invited to join the Human Services Department SBRP for in-person information sessions Monday, May 2 and Saturday, May 7 beginning at 10:00 a.m., at the Pennsylvania Avenue Resource Center (PARC) on 425 Pennsylvania Ave.

This would have been really helpful at any point in the last two years.

If you hear screaming from Gwinnett County residents in the next few days, you’ll know they’ve received their annual property tax assessments. From the Gwinnett Daily Post:

The [Gwinnett County Board of Assessors] recently mailed out 294,000 annual Notices of Assessment to residential and property owners. The notices tell property owners what the assessed value of their property was, as of Jan. 1. They also explain any changes in the assessed value of the property from the value assessed last year.

“Roughly 83 percent of the notices will state that the appraised value was adjusted for market conditions in response to real estate market changes throughout 2021,” county officials said. ”The Gwinnett County Assessors’ Office uses available market data to value each property in a manner that meets state regulations. The Annual Notice of Assessment is not a tax bill but does include an estimate of 2022 property taxes.”

The county is warning property owners that the estimated property taxes listed on the notices are a combination of their 2022 assessed value and the 2021 millage rates. The 2022 millage rates for the county government, school system and cities won’t be set until later this year. The notices also do not take into account any changes to fees that might occur this year. These fees include stormwater, solid waste, streetlight or speed control device fees.