George Washington’s Continental Army entered winter quarters at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania on December 19, 1777.
During 1777, Patriot forces under General Washington suffered major defeats against the British at the battles of Brandywine and Germantown; Philadelphia, the capital of the United States, fell into British hands. The particularly severe winter of 1777-1778 proved to be a great trial for the American army, and of the 11,000 soldiers stationed at Valley Forge, hundreds died from disease. However, the suffering troops were held together by loyalty to the Patriot cause and to General Washington, who stayed with his men.
When Washington’s army marched out of Valley Forge on June 19, 1778, the men were better disciplined and stronger in spirit than when they had entered.
In her youth, Mrs. GaPundit continually reminded her parents that the area in which she grew up, literally down the street from Valley Forge National Historic Park, was well known for causing frostbite.
On December 21, 1829, Georgia Governor George Gilmer signed legislation outlawing the teaching of African-Americans to read or write. One year later to the day, he signed legislation claiming for the state all territory occupied by the Cherokee tribe.
On December 21, 1835, Oglethorpe University was incorporated near Macon, later moving to Atlanta.
On December 19, 1860, the Georgia General Assembly adopted Resolution 14, which read in part,
Resolved 4th. That, should any or all of the Southern States determine in the present emergency to withdraw from the Union and resume their sovereignty, it is the sense of this General Assembly that such seceding States should form a confederacy under a republican form of government; and to that end they should adopt the Constitution of the United States, so altered and amended as to suit the new state of affairs.
On December 20, 1864, Confederate forces in Savannah retreated ahead of Sherman’s army, crossing over into South Carolina, four years to the day after South Carolina’s secession.
On December 19, 1868, Congress opened hearings into barriers African-Americans faced to voting in Georgia, which included threats, violence, and death.
On December 21, 1863, the Confederate government selected a site in Sumter County for construction of Camp Sumter, which would be better known by the name Andersonville Prison.
General William Tecumseh Sherman received the surrender of Savannah, Georgia on December 21, 1864.
On December 22, 1864, General Sherman wrote to President Lincoln,
“I beg to present you as a Christmas gift, the city of Savannah, with one hundred and fifty heavy guns and plenty of ammunition, and also about twenty-five thousand bales of cotton.”
Eugene Talmadge, who was elected four times as Governor of Georgia, in 1932, 1934, 1940, and 1946, died on December 21, 1946, leading to the Three Governors Controversy.
Article I was approved 228-206. Voting in favor were 223 Republicans and 5 Democrats. Voting against were 200 Democrats, 5 Republicans, and one Independent.
Article II was defeated 229-205. Voting in favor were 200 Republicans and 5 Democrats. Voting against were 200 Democrats, 28 Republicans, and one Independent.
Article III was approved 221-212. Voting in favor were 216 Republicans and 5 Democrats. Voting against were 199 Democrats, 12 Republicans, and one Independent.
Article IV was defeated 285-148. Voting in favor were 147 Republicans and one Democrat. Voting against were 203 Democrats, 81 Republicans, and one Independent.
On all four impeachment articles, Georgia’s congressional delegation voted exclusively along party lines. Republican congressmen Jack Kingston (1st district), Mac Collins (3rd district), Newt Gingrich (6th district), Bob Barr (7th district), Saxby Chambliss (8th district), Nathan Deal (9th district), Charlie Norwood (10th district), and John Linder (11th district) voted in favor of all four articles. Democratic congressmen Sanford Bishop (2nd district) and John Lewis (5th district) and congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (4th district) voted against all four articles.
Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections
Governor Brian Kemp wants violent gangs out of Georgia, according to WJCL.
In front of a crowd of hundreds in Savannah, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp told violent gangs in the area to leave the state and move to South Carolina and Florida.
The speech took place Wednesday at the Savannah Chamber.
During the speech, Kemp talked about the continued success and growth of the Port of Savannah. He also touched on education and healthcare.
“My message to any gang member in this area or anywhere in the state of Georgia, you should move to Florida or South Carolina.”
“I’m tired of our law enforcement officials being shot up for no reason by gangbangers,” the governor said.
Governor Kemp also spoke to the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, according to the Albany Herald.
Tuesday was a busy day for officials involved in economic development, one that was punctuated in the evening by an appearance by Gov. Brian Kemp at a dinner in downtown Albany.
The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, which hosted the second annual Governor’s Dinner, also held a small business forum Tuesday morning.
“The business community is really involved” in Albany, Kemp said during an interview prior to the dinner. “That’s what I like to see.”
While Atlanta remains the economic hub of the state, 2019 saw significant economic development projects throughout the state, the governor said.
“We had 332 projects, worth $7.4 billion,” Kemp said. “Seventy-four percent of those were outside the perimeter in Atlanta. The whole state is dotted with projects. That’s what we’ve really been focusing on this year.”
It was a monumental accomplishment that those projects came to fruition in a year when much of the state was recovering from the pounding in 2018 from Hurricane Michael, Kemp said.
“That’s why we’re showing up here,” he said.
Fewer than 5000 voters (about 1.5%) slated for purging from the state voter database acted to preserve their registration, according to GPB News.
Just under 4,500 Georgia voters acted to keep their voter registrations from being purged this week, a small percentage of more than 313,000 registrations set to be canceled for inactivity and failure to respond to election officials.
308,753 registrations were moved from “inactive” to “canceled” status Monday night as part of federally-required voter list maintenance, according to an updated list from the Georgia secretary of state’s office.
Voter purges in Georgia became a hot-button issue during last year’s race for governor between Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp, who won the race. Kemp served as secretary of state before being elected governor and oversaw aggressive voter purges during his tenure. Over 1.4 million voter registrations were canceled in Georgia between 2012 and 2018.
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in October released a list of over 313,000 voters whose registrations were at risk of being canceled, about 4% of the state’s total registered voters. Notices were mailed in November giving those voters 30 days to respond in order to keep their registration valid.
“The extra steps we took allowed us to reach people and help them preserve their registration. I consider that a success,” Raffensperger said in a statement.
Raffensperger’s office has defended the list maintenance, saying it makes the administration of elections smoother and helps guard against voter fraud.
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger visited Rome to discuss rolling out the new voting system, according to the Rome News Tribune.
“This will be the largest roll-out of voting machines in the U.S.,” Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said.
Raffensperger stopped by the Floyd County elections office on Wednesday to sit down with Rep. Katie Dempsey, R-Rome, and Chief Elections Clerk Robert Brady to talk about the new voting machines that will be installed at every Georgia voting precinct before the March 2020 presidential preference primary.
Voting machine demonstrations have already begun throughout Georgia and have been met with immense praise, Raffensperger said.
According to Brady, local elections offices have already begun training in preparation for election season.
The 2020 election season is expected to have the largest voter turnout in Georgia history, with a projected turnout of around 5 million voters, Raffensperger said.
A Special Election for State House District 171 has drawn three candidates, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.
Following the death of Rep. Jay Powell on Nov. 26, a special election will be held for the district which covers parts of Colquitt, Decatur and Mitchell counties.
The special election will be held Jan. 28, two weeks after the legislative session begins. If a runoff is needed, it will be held Feb. 25.
Two Republicans and one Democrat will be listed on the ballot. To qualify, prospective candidates were required to pay a $400 fee and register during a short three day window through the Election Division of the Office of Secretary of State.
Some State Senate Republicans prefiled a resolution opposing the impeachment of President Trump, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.
State Sen. Steve Gooch, R-Dahlonega pre-filed the resolution Wednesday with Sens. John Wilkinson, R-Toccoa, and Brandon Beach, R-Alpharetta.
“Politics hit a new low in our Nation’s Capitol with the impeachment vote that is expected to be taken tonight,” Gooch said in a statement. “It is sad to see the partisan bickering in our U.S. House of Representatives. Congress should be working together to protect our families and fellow Americans across the United States. Cutting our national debt and deficit spending should be a priority at a time when we are experiencing historic low unemployment numbers and historic highs in the stock market. Protecting our borders and investing in much needed infrastructure should be the issues they are debating, not these baseless allegations against President Trump.”
President Trump lauded Congressman Buddy Carter via Twitter, according to The Brunswick News.
At 4:20 p.m. Tuesday, President Donald Trump cast his social media gaze at Georgia’s 1st Congressional District.
“@Buddy_Carter is a BUSINESSMAN first,” the president tweeted. “He takes care of our Vets and Troops and is leading the fight to SLASH drug prices! Buddy’s 100% pro-Wall & 100% pro-jobs. He will KEEP AMERICA GREAT and has my total, Strong Endorsement!”
“I was a little surprised, to be quite honest with you,” Carter, R-1, said Wednesday. “We work with the White House all the time — we’re in constant touch with them, and especially here recently, we’ve been in very close contact with them because of the prescription drug pricing that we’ve been discussing. So, the pace has really picked up. We’ve been talking to them once or twice a day. But we’re always in touch with them — we’re usually at least three times a week talking to them, over at the White House.”
“I’m very proud to have the president’s endorsement,” Carter said. “And then, of course, I’m a big supporter of the president and have been ever since I’ve been up here. I love his policies — I think he’s spot-on and I think he’s having a generational impact, particularly with the conservative judges that he’s been appointing. That, to me, has been one of the most significant if not the most significant impact this president has had.”
[Carter] said he does not intend to challenge Kelly Loeffler, the senator-designate, for the job.
“I’m very proud of the appointment that the governor has made,” Carter said. “I promised the governor, when I spoke to him after Johnny announced his retirement, that I would support his decision and I am supporting his decision. Of course, I’m more focused right now in helping Republicans get us back in the majority in the House of Representatives. And no, I have no intentions at this point of running for the Senate.”
Georgia Supreme Court Justice Robert Benham, the first African American to serve on the state’s highest court, announced Thursday [December 5] he will step down from the bench on March 1.
Benham, 73, had been expected to retire when his current six-year term ends on Dec. 31, 2020. But by leaving more than nine months earlier, Benham gives Gov. Brian Kemp the chance to appoint his successor. It also upends an ongoing race with four contenders hoping to succeed Benham.
The nonpartisan race had been scheduled to be held in May, but that won’t happen now. Under state law, the person Kemp appoints to succeed Benham will not have to run for election until 2022.
Court of Appeals Judge Sara Doyle was the first to announce she was running for what was believed to be Benham’s upcoming open seat. Former U.S. Rep. John Barrow then joined the race, followed by former state lawmaker Beth Beskin and Superior Court Judge Horace Johnson, who presides over Newton and Walton counties.
So, the initial announcement set off a series of dominoes falling, as incumbent judges announced for Benham’s seat, thus opening their own. Judge Sara Doyle’s reelection to the Court of Appeals may be more difficult now, as three candidates who announced for her seat are still running for it, according to the Fulton Daily Report.
Three of the eight candidates vying for what was initially an open Court of Appeals seat are actively staying in the race, in which they now face the incumbent, Presiding Judge Sara Doyle.
Tabitha Ponder Beckford’s campaign told supporters by email Monday that Justice Robert Benham’s announcement that he’ll leave the state Supreme Court earlier than expected “has created a domino effect in our race that makes it unclear what will happen next year with regards to our Court of Appeals race, but I want to continue to build momentum as I strongly believe this race is far from over.”
[S]he’ll face Doyle and at least two other candidates in the May election for Doyle’s seat. They are Bennett Bryan, who heads appellate litigation for the DeKalb County Law Department, and Kimberly Bourroughs Debrow, a DeKalb County senior assistant district attorney, who both said last week they were staying in the race.
Four candidates for Judge Doyle’s seat will withdraw, while a fifth will reassess.
The Georgia Senate Study Committee on Revising Voting Rights for Nonviolent Felony Offenders declined to recommend changes to how felon voting rights are restored, according to the Center Square.
The members voted 3-2 in favor of continuing to restrict nearly 250,000 convicted Georgia felons from voting.
According to Georgia’s law, people who have been convicted of crimes with moral turpitude cannot vote until they complete their full sentence, including probation or parole. The U.S. Department of Justice defines moral turpitude as “conduct that shocks the public conscience.”
The state’s constitution does not clearly define the term, however, leaving all felonies subject to the law.
Committee Chairman Randy Robertson, R-Cataula, said moral turpitude may have to be further examined as a separate issue apart from felon rights. voted with the majority.
The Senate Gaming and Pari-mutuel Wagering Study Committee also declined to adopt recommendations for legislation, according to The Brunswick News.
“The posture of the committee, and the posture of the chair, is that we are not going to vote on any recommendations today — we are going to vote the report,” said committee Chairman Brandon Beach, R-Alpharetta, at the committee’s final meeting Wednesday. “We have sent the report to everyone. We will go through some of the report and get comments from everybody.
“We will not vote on any recommendations today, but I will say this — we will work with leadership, we’re going to work with the Lieutenant Governor’s Office and the Governor’s Office and hopefully come up with some recommendations before Jan. 13, or we will be working toward those with the caucus leadership, and so on.”
Beach said one of the things senators learned from legislative counsel is that sports betting would likely need a constitutional amendment. He also said that this cycle of debating gambling legalization is the first time the state’s professional sports franchises came out in support of the idea.
According to the committee’s report, casino gambling and pari-mutuel wagering would also need constitutional amendments to pass to achieve legalization.
My hat is off and I award +3 to whomever at The Brunswick News wrote a headline correctly using “eschew.”
The Evaluating and Simplifying Physician Oversight of Physician Assistants and Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Study Committee discussed potential changes to non-physician medical practice, according to Georgia Health News.
Bills seeking to broaden the ‘‘scope of practice’’ of mid-level medical providers (non-physicians with advanced training) are introduced annually at the Legislature, with proponents saying the changes would increase the public’s access to medical care. But these proposals typically meet tough resistance from medical provider groups seeking to defend the status quo.
Nelson, president of the United Advanced Practice Registered Nurses of Georgia, points to medical imaging. APRNs in Georgia can order such tests only in an emergency situation, and ours is the only state with that restriction.
Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford), who is herself a nurse, pushed for eliminating the imaging rule at a panel hearing Tuesday. Currently, an advanced nurse “can’t order an MRI when it needs to be done,’’ she said.
And Sen. Chuck Hufstetler (R-Rome), who’s an anesthesiology assistant, said, “The bottom hasn’t fallen out’’ in the 49 states allowing APRNs to order non-emergency imaging tests.
But the vote for recommending the imaging change was 3-2 in favor, with two physicians on the panel, Sens. Ben Watson (R-Savannah) and Kay Kirkpatrick (R-Marietta), voting against. “I think advanced imaging requires advanced training,’’ Kirkpatrick said.
For true healthcare policy nerds, it’s an article worth reading in its entirety.
The Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission met this week to begin its work regulating the in-state production of cannabis-based medications, according to the AJC.
The Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission, during its first meeting Wednesday, began exploring how to manufacture or import the oil for use by the state’s nearly 14,000 registered patients.
The commission’s members emphasized that they want to help people get the medicine that works for them.
“We have patients who have been granted cards to be able to obtain a medical product that they have no legal ways of getting in Georgia right now,” said Dr. Judith Rochon, a psychiatrist and member of the commission.
Patients have been allowed to use medical marijuana in Georgia since 2015, but it was only this year that the General Assembly passed a bill permitting its production and sale.
The commission includes three doctors, a police chief, a health policy professor, a member of the Georgia Board of Pharmacy and a massage franchise owner.
Despite the board’s pledge to act quickly, patients advocating for medical marijuana said they believe it could take 18 months or more to create regulations, issue licenses and get medicine to patients.
The board plans to hire a director, create a website and hold public meetings monthly across Georgia.
Failure to lauch: the Camden County Spaceport is on hold for the time being, as the FAA pushes its decision making timeline, according to the Georgia Recorder.
The launch date for Spaceport Camden is on indefinite hold after federal regulators held up an expected approval of Camden County’s license to operate the facility, prompting questions over the project’s future.
County officials recently scrapped plans to launch larger rockets like the 230-foot-tall SpaceX Falcon 9 from a pad near the coast. Instead, the new focus is on smaller satellite-bearing rockets that will burn up in the earth’s atmosphere. The change requires amending the county’s application for a launch operator license, which the Federal Aviation Administration was supposed to rule on Monday.
County officials made the last-minute request for an application change Saturday, just two days before the FAA’s license approval deadline, said agency spokeswoman Eva Ngai.
County officials now view smaller rockets the size of mini-fridges that carry satellites into orbit as a more viable economic market than the larger models, said project spokesman John Simpson. He said the county asked to revise its license application to make sure the FAA would approve small-sized rockets and not just the larger units. He declined to elaborate on the timing of the license change request.
“There’s going to be a lot more opportunity for those small launch vehicles,” Simpson said Tuesday. “We want to be absolutely sure that we get a review of those rockets for the market we’re seeking.”
The 2020 election for Augusta Commission Super District 9 has drawn 4 candidates so far, according to the Augusta Chronicle.
[Former Augusta commissioner Corey] Johnson is the fourth person to pursue the seat, which represents half the Augusta-Richmond County population and spans commission districts 1, 2, 4, 5 and 9. He joins former mayoral candidate and retired businessman Charles Cummings, former commission candidate and small-businesswoman Jo’Rae Jenkins and retired state employee Francine Scott.
The Lowndes County Board of Elections voted to create a new voting precinct, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.
The Lowndes County Board of Elections met Tuesday for its final session of 2019. Members unanimously voted to approve the creation of a new voting precinct at Jaycee Shack for future elections. It will be the 11th voting location in the county.
“Other counties are reducing (the number of voting precincts) and we’re adding, so that’s great,” said Deb Cox, Lowndes County supervisor of elections.
The new voting precinct will be located at the Jaycee Shack facility on 2306 Jaycee Shack Road.
Chatham Area Transit resumed ferryboat operations on the Savannah River after suspending due to dredging, according to the Savannah Morning News.
The ferries are now docking at the City Hall landing, as well as the Savannah Convention Center on Hutchinson Island and the Waving Girl landing at Morrell Park on the east side of the Riverwalk.
The free ferries operate from 7 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week.
The ferry is one of my favorite things about Savannah.
Glynn County commissioners may release additional funding from the current SPLOST to the Joint Water and Sewer Commission, according to The Brunswick News.