Founder and Director, Georgia English Bulldog Rescue
Dear friends of English Bulldogs,
We are writing to you after news reports of a State Senate Bill that would designate the English Bulldog as the Official State Dog of Georgia. As part of our mission to educate the public about English Bulldogs and dog rescue, we want to ensure that legislators and potential adopters understand the true state of the English Bulldog breed in Georgia.
The English Bulldog suffers from its popularity in Georgia, and individual dogs become neglected and their medical conditions worsen from owners who were not fully informed of the costs and care requirements of this unique breed.
The last thing the English Bulldog needs is to be more popular.
As an organization, we are 100% committed to the rescue and care of English Bulldogs. As Georgians, we cheer our beloved University of Georgia Bulldogs every Saturday in the fall and take pride in Uga’s representation of our breed and our state. We understand the good motivations that underlie the effort to name the English Bulldog as the official state dog of Georgia, and appreciate the efforts of the Senators who brought it forth.Continue Reading..
Medicinal use of marijuana is finding some supporters I would at one time (last week) have considered highly unlikely. From WSB-TV,
Channel 2 Action News has learned state lawmakers supporting medical marijuana could have a bill ready to go as early as this week that would make medical marijuana legal in Georgia.
Channel 2’s Lori Geary began reporting the issue weeks ago and talked to an unlikely co-sponsor of the bill, state Rep. Micah Gravley, a Republican from Paulding County.
He says when he was first asked about the issue he flat out refused, telling supporters of the issue he’s a conservative, Christian Republican.
Then he says the parents of 10-year-old Caden Clark reached out to him, “I have had a 180-degree change because I’ve seen how it can impact these kids and how it can impact these families who are now separated because one’s here in Georgia, the other one’s in Colorado.”
Tuesday, Gov. Nathan Deal said he’s not taking a stance on the issue but said, “I think there’s a strong case being presented by some of the families in some serious situations involving their children.”
till, the Christian Coalition remains firmly against any state law on medical marijuana.
The president of the group, Jerry [Luquire], told Geary that marijuana, in any form, is considered a Class 1 substance by the federal government, one of the most dangerous drugs. He says federal law trumps state law. He accuses the lawmakers supporting the bill of a conspiracy to break federal law.
Sen. Mike Dugan, R-Carrollton, said Monday that he’s not in favor of legalizing marijuana for recreational use, as in Colorado, and he also is against a sweeping medical marijuana law. However, he did indicate he is open to looking at derivatives that might be medically useful.
“From what I understand, with the oil, the intoxicants have been removed,” Dugan said. “I’m willing to listen to that. I want some medical professionals to come forward and tell me what benefits it would have, and I’ll make a determination from that.”
He said states that have passed medical marijuana bills have suffered widespread abuse, and he feels Georgia doesn’t need that.
Sen. Mike Crane, R-Newnan, said so far, he’s seen only anecdotal evidence from personal stories, and he’s looking forward to hearing medical presentations.
“If the stories prove true, and we see remarkable results with certain candidates, this sounds like one more tool in the doctor’s cache of things that could relieve untold suffering for many,” Crane said. “There’s more discussions to be had, and I think we’re going to see that. It’s something I’m very concerned about, but very cautious. As we move forward, I’m going to take extreme caution on this issue.”
Rep. Randy Nix, R-LaGrange, said he wonders if there’s any other drugs that can do the same thing as the medical marijuana.
“If the answer is ‘no,’ then I’m willing to listen to the debate,” Nix said. “I would want it to be something in a pill or oil form, and legislation that would have a narrow scope of what was allowed. I won’t support legislation if it looks like people want to use it to get their foot in the door to support recreational marijuana. That’s my concern.”
Nix said if the drug works for children with seizures, maybe that’s the only thing for which it should be prescribed.
“I’m not heartless,” he said. “If that’s the only thing that will help these children, let’s figure out a way to do it, but let’s not use it as that door opener to fully legalize marijuana.”
A new statewide poll shows that 62% of Georgia voters endorse eliminating criminal penalties for possession by adults of less than one ounce of pot, and replace it with a $100 civil fine, without the possibility of jail time. Further, more than half of all Georgia voters now support regulating the legal consumption and retail sale of marijuana for those age 21 and over.
In 2010, some 32,500 Georgians were arrested for violating marijuana laws, according to the FBI. That is the sixth highest total of any state in America.
Fifty -seven percent of voters supported legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. State
lawmakers have indicated interest in studying this legal option.
Here’s a question that will specifically interest some politicians.
Q5 If a candidate supported marijuana law reform, would that make you more or less likely to vote for that candidate in the next election, or would it not make a difference?
Wouldn’t make a difference……………29%
A couple of things to note. First, if that question on reelecting a candidate who supports changing marijuana laws is accurate, it doesn’t tell the story most incumbents are likely interested in – the effect of a vote on their party’s primary voters. There are likely differences between Republicans and Democrats, and geographic differences between, say, a Metro Atlanta suburban or in-town district, and a strongly conservative rural district.
The second point I’d like to make, and one that has implications for polling beyond the issue of marijuana is that in this poll, Public Policy Polling found the partisan self-identification as follows:
Q8 If you are a Democrat, press 1. If a Republican, press 2. If you are an independent or identify with another party, press 3.
Part of what a pollster does, and what a discerning consumer of polling should do is to not place all your faith in any given poll, but to add the results of each poll into the mix as part of the context. And then compare that with your experiences in Georgia politics.
So I feel safe in the following prediction: in 2014, the Republican electoral advantage in closely-contested statewide election will be in the range of Republican +6 to Republican +10. That’s after campaigning, but for now, any poll I see that doesn’t show a lead in GOP self-identification in the +3 to +6 range warrants a look at the crosstabs to see what’s going on.
Senate State & Local Governmental Operations Committee
Wed, January 22, 1pm – 2pm, 310 CLOB
Wed, January 22, 1pm – 2pm or upon adjournment, 341 CAP
House Rules Committee
Wed, January 22, 2pm-3pm, 341 CAP
Senate Health & Human Services Committee
Wed, January 22, 2pm – 3pm, 450 CAP
Senate Transportation Committee
Wed, January 22, 2pm – 3pm, MEZZ
Senate Judiciary Non-Civil Committee
Wed, January 22, 3pm – 4pm, 307 CLOB
Since we mentioned the Limited Edition “Cotton Boll” logo t-shirt we saw from one of Jack Kingston’s past Congressional campaigns, we have been sent photos of some other Limited Edition Kingston swag. Here is the “Children of the Corn” logo.
“The threat of the loss of accreditation is no longer imminent,” said Mark Elgart, whose agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, precipitated a crisis in December 2012 that led to the governor’s intervention. SACS placed DeKalb on probation and threatened to strip accreditation altogether if the school board and superintendent failed to address management concerns.
Gov. Nathan Deal replaced six of the nine school board members, just after the old board replaced the superintendent. DeKalb’s new leadership has made remarkable progress addressing the issues, Elgart said, but he said the work is far from done and that the elections May 20 for the nonpartisan school board are a major concern.
“The election is critical,” said Elgart, who is the president and chief executive officer of SACS’ parent company AdvancED. The agency’s opinions about accreditation influence a school district’s reputation, and by extension its graduates’ chances for college admissions and scholarships. That, in turn, affects the local economy, since public education is a key factor businesses consider when choosing where to locate.
“This community needs to pay close attention to whom they elect,” Elgart said. “Politics is one of the reasons the system got itself to this point.”
The school board fiasco has already become a launching pad for one deposed member, Nancy Jester, who is now seeking the state superintendent’s job. And the upcoming school board elections, which could feature comeback bids by one or more of the ousted board members, may inject another dose of politics.
I am pleased to hear the DeKalb school system’s accreditation status has been upgraded from “probation” to “warned”.
I worked diligently to shine light on the poor fiscal management of DeKalb. Some of my work was even cited in the SACS report from 2012.
Clearly DeKalb still has a long way to go.
Academic achievement and growth in many schools is unacceptable. DeKalb’s graduation rate, at 58.9%, is far too low.
Of the 25 high schools in DeKalb, 8 have graduation rates below 50%, while only 4 have rates above 75%. All four of these schools are specialty or magnet schools.
I appreciate that SACS finally recognized that DeKalb needed some sort of intervention.
The entire episode exposes the structural weaknesses in our state’s accountability model. While SACS can provide a useful and supplemental service via their third party accreditation products, Georgia must not continue to abdicate it’s role in holding districts accountable for their results and financial management.
Jester also released in the last several days a map that shows per-pupil spending and graduation rates in Georgia and neighboring states. It’s worth taking a moment to look at.
City Club of Buckhead, 3343 Peachtree Rd NE Atlanta , 30326+ Google Map
Following the World Affairs Council’s seminar on Transatlantic Innovation & Sustainability, the World Trade Center of Atlanta will host a “Taste of the UK” featuring beers from the UK and heavy hors d’oeuvres inspired by UK cuisine. The British Consul General, Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford will be our honored guest. Here, you will also learn more of our upcoming EU Series and our kick-off event on business opportunities from the impending Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Join us for this very unique…
Metro Atlanta Chamber, 235 Andrew Young International Blvd NW Atlanta , GA 30303 + Google Map
TRANSATLANTIC INNOVATION & SUSTAINABILITY – The Power of Collaboration In today’s business environment, innovation through collaboration – both between university research institutions and business, and between businesses globally – is seen as a major source of competitive advantage. This forward-looking seminar will contribute to new thinking about government and private sector strategies to foster and strengthen EU-US collaboration and help drive future economic growth on both sides of the Atlantic. KEYNOTE SPEAKER JOHN F. BROCK Chairman & Chief Executive Officer Coca-Cola Enterprises
Join the Buckhead Young Republicans as we welcome Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens. Hudgens has been instrumental in fighting the draconian Obamacare regulations as Georgia residents have seen more than 400,000 insurance policies cancelled, a number that grows every day. We will also have US Senate candidate Art Gardner for U.S. Senate 2014
Georgia State Capitol, 206 Washington St SW Atlanta, GA 30334 United States+ Google Map
Georgia Right to Life is proud to announce that our annual Together For Life memorial walk is being refocused and relaunched in 2014 as the Georgia March For Life! Mark your calendars for January 22, 2014 and join us at the State Capitol steps in Atlanta from 11:30am-2:00pm with keynote speaker Pam Stenzel and special guest speaker Dr. Robert White! At the Georgia March For Life, we will have music and prayer (starting at 11:30am), hear from the leading pro-life voices in Georgia…
Five Seasons Brewing – Westside, 1000 Marietta Street Atlanta , GA 30318 United States+ Google Map
As we enter a new year, both Congress and Georgia’s General Assembly are kicking off new sessions. We are fortunate to have Congressman Jack Kingston, who is running for U.S. Senate, and Ga. Rep. Lynne Riley, who is Gov. Deal’s floor leader.
Northside Hospital – Cherokee Conference Center, 1130 Bluffs Parkway Canton , GA 30114 + Google Map
Join us as we celebrate our 2013 accomplishments, welcome our 2014 Board of Directors, present our Volunteer of the Year & First Citizen! No refunds. Priority seating given to reserved tables as secured.
City Club of Buckhead, 3343 Peachtree Rd. NE Atlanta, GA 30326 + Google Map
Join the Consul General Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford of the United Kingdom for a discussion on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Learn how you can prepare to take advantage of the business opportunities presented by TTIP upon its implementation. Consul General Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford will lead the discussion and will be joined by business executives who are currently conducting business in the UK and the US. They will share details on the business landscape in the UK, how it might change…
Hilton – Atlanta, 255 Courtland St NE Atlanta , GA 30303+ Google Map
Mayors’ Day Features U.S. Senate Candidates Forum Register online. Download paper registration and training/conference schedule (PDF, 1.46MB). City officials will have the opportunity to hear directly from candidates seeking to replace Saxby Chambliss in the U.S. Senate during GMA’s 2014 Mayors’ Day. Since Chambliss has decided not to seek reelection a number of individuals have already announced their intention to run for the seat. On Monday, Jan. 27, 2014, GMA will hold a U.S. Senate Candidates Forum. Candidates from both the Republican and…
The Garlic Clove Italian Eatery, 4523 Washington Road Evans , GA 30809 United States+ Google Map
Join the Columbia County Republican Party for our monthly breakfast meeting. We will have two speakers this month: State Representative Barry Fleming and Nancy Gay from the Columbia County Board of Elections. Breakfast is $8 Doors open at 8:45 Meeting begins at 9:00 No RSVP necessary
Cobb Galleria Centre, Two Galleria Parkway Atlanta, 30339+ Google Map
Cobb Chamber of Commerce: Annual Dinner Event Description: This black-tie dinner affair celebrates the many accomplishments of 2013 and sets the standard for a successful 2014! Attended by nearly 1,000 of Cobb County’s finest, this gala serves as an opportunity to honor those that have made significant contributions to enhance our quality of life, make Cobb a better place to live, improve our education, medical and public service communities. Tickets: $165 per individual ticket; $1,500 per Table of 10. For…
Crowne Plaza Ravinia, 4355 Ashford Dunwoody Rd Dunwoody , GA 30346+ Google Map
11th Annual Taste of Dunwoody Be a part of our annual Taste of Dunwoody and enjoy an evening of food and fun benefiting Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Featuring delicious fare from more than 25 Atlanta restaurants, a silent auction, a cash bar and live music performed by Yacht Rock Revue, the Taste of Dunwoody is always a sell-out event! With “spot on renditions” Yacht Rock Revue is possibly the best tribute to 70s light rock and always promise a good time. We…
The RJC Atlanta Chapter invites you to A Job Interview with the Candidates for Georgia U.S. Senate with invited guests: Congressman Jack Kingston, Former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel, Congressman Phil Gingrey, Former CEO of Dollar General and Reebok, David Perdue, and Congressman Paul Broun. During this job interview, the Republican Candidates campaigning to be next U.S. Senator from Georgia will one at a time make their case for why they are uniquely qualified for the job. Following each…
On January 15, 1796, Jared Irwin was inaugurated Governor of Georgia for his first term. Irwin repealed the Yazoo Act. Irwin County, the city of Irwinville, and the town of Irwinton are named after Governor Irwin. He previously served in the State House and the convention that ratified the United States Constitution in 1787. After his first term in office, Irwin served as President of the State Senate and became Governor again in 1806 when Gov. John Milledge resigned. After completing that term, he was elected to another full term as Governor.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia. I had the pleasure of working at the State Capitol several years ago with a lady who had known King as a youngster, as a fellow member of “Daddy” King’s church and schoolmate. Dr. King’s march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama helped the passage of the Voting Rights Act.
On January 16, 1997, a bomb exploded in a Sandy Springs abortion clinic, later determined to be the work of Eric Rudolph, who also bombed Centennial Olympic Park in 1996, a lesbian bar in Atlanta in February 1997, and a Birmingham abortion clinic in 1998.
Last night on Facebook, a friend asked why the Georgia legislature is addressing the scheduling of party primary elections. Here’s what he said:
Question. Why is the state supervising and funding party primaries?
Parties are private organizations. Let ’em run (and pay for) their own primaries.
That’s a legitimate question. Here’s why.
After Reconstruction, whites in some Southern states attempted to retain exclusive power and deny black citizens the right to vote. One of the tools they used was “white primary” elections. After Supreme Court decisions striking down state-administered white primaries, some states then tried privatizing the primary elections as a way of continuing to disenfranchise black voters. An initial Supreme Court allowed this, reasoning that private parties were free to determine eligibility of voters.
The United States Court of Appeals in New Orleans upheld the district court decision in an opinion written by Judge Samuel Hale Sibley, a Georgia native and alumnus of UGA and the UGA School of Law. Thurgood Marshall, later an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, was one of the lawyers representing Primus King.
So, that’s why the state administers party primary elections in Georgia.
[O]n the second day of this year’s session, FOX 5 found a number of lawmakers potentially soliciting donations.
FOX 5’s Chris Shaw found both Democrats and Republicans in both the state House and Senate accepting donations when law says they cannot. Most said it was simply an oversight, some took measures to pull donation pages from their websites while FOX 5 cameras rolled.
§21-5-35. Acceptance of contributions or pledges during legislative sessions
(a) No member of the General Assembly or that member’s campaign committee or public officer elected state wide or campaign committee of such public officer shall seek or accept a contribution or a pledge of a contribution to the member, the member’s campaign committee, or public officer elected state wide, or campaign committee of such public officer during a legislative session.
(b)Subsection (a) of this Code section shall not apply to:
(1) The receipt of a contribution which is returned with reasonable promptness to the donor or the donor’s agent;
(2) The receipt and acceptance during a legislative session of a contribution consisting of proceeds from a dinner, luncheon, rally, or similar fundraising event held prior to the legislative session;
(3) The receipt of a contribution by a political party consisting of the proceeds from a dinner,luncheon, rally, or similar fundraising event in which a member of the General Assembly or a public officer elected state wide participates; or<
(4) A judicial officer elected state wide, a candidate for a judicial office elected state wide, or a campaign committee of such judicial officer or candidate
That said, if you receive a contribution during the session, your best bet is to return it immediately, and document the check you sent.
Governor Deal’s State of the State
The Senate Press Office brings you a nearly-three minute “Senate in a Minute,” featuring Governor Deal’s State of the State.
Here are some of the best quotes from the State of the State 2014:
1.My basic focus has been on creating private-sector jobs for Georgians. With your help and the involvement of our business community, we have done some great things. We have implemented real tax reform, such as eliminating sales tax on energy for manufacturing; we have essentially removed the marriage tax penalty on working Georgia couples; and we have abolished the annual birthday tax on vehicles. And each of these are part of a mosaic that led Site Selection Magazine to declare Georgia to be the number one state in the nation in which to do business.
2. the Affordable Care Act is anything but affordable and is costing our state $327 million dollars this year. You should be aware that, even without expanding, currently Medicaid and PeachCare cost every Georgian through federal and state taxes nearly $1,000 each year. Expansion would add 620,000 people to our taxpayer funded health plan, costing us even more. Now, the executive branch in Washington is trying to do what the courts deemed unconstitutional for Congress to do, but we will not allow ourselves to be coerced into expansion. Be assured, I am prepared to fight any intrusion into our rights as a state.
3. According to the federal department of labor, in the three years since I became governor, there have been approximately 217,000 new jobs added in our state, and major job announcements are almost a weekly occurrence. As a result, our state unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in 5 years!
4. I have included $35M for the deepening of the Port of Savannah. If approved, we will have $266M, which will represent Georgia’s share of this important project.
5. For students who pursued those areas, we have paid 100 percent of their tuition through the HOPE Grant. This year I am asking you to expand that to an additional 4 areas of training—welding, health care technology, diesel mechanics and information technology.
In order to fill the needs of a growing economy, we need more of our citizens to acquire education and skills beyond high school. To encourage this, I am asking you to create a new Zell Miller HOPE Grant for students in our technical college system. This grant will cover 100 percent of tuition for those who maintain a 3.5 grade point average.
6.[D]uring my administration, funding for education has increased by over $930M. That does not include capital spending for education, which represents 76% of our entire state bond package. $239M of this year’s capital investments went to the Department of Education for use on K-12 programs. Since FY 2012, nearly 50 cents of every dollar of new revenues has been dedicated to education. In the budget I am sending you for FY 2015 almost 82 percent of new revenue receipts are dedicated to education, with 68 percent of those new revenues going to k-12 alone.
As these numbers indicate, we will spend almost $8 billion in next year’s budget on k-12 education. My proposal represents the largest single year increase in k-12 funding in 7 years. That’s an addition of $547M….
7. I have included $44.8M in the budgets to better connect every classroom in Georgia, including those in rural areas, to the internet and digital resources students need to thrive. It is my goal that every child in any classroom in our state will have access to the best instruction possible, and this can be done by expanding the availability of our on-line learning.
8. This year, we intend to roll out our third leg of our criminal justice reforms, the one that will sustain our previous efforts. If an offender has been equipped to enter the workforce upon release, that person will stand a greater chance of avoiding relapse. If our reentry and reform efforts reduce our recidivism rate by 25 percent, we would see around 1,400 fewer crimes each year, with at least 1,100 fewer victims! This is a goal we should be able to achieve or exceed.
These Criminal Justice reforms will allow non-violent offenders to break their addictions, reclaim their lives and keep taxpayers from spending $18,000 per inmate for each year they are in prison. These reforms will also increase the safety of our society.
9. [T]oday, more Georgians have jobs than at any other time since October 2008. We are getting people in our state back to work at a faster rate than the national average. For those 217,000 or so Georgians who now have jobs, they know what the sting of the frozen economy feels like. They lived through it. But for them, the freeze has ended.
This is what we’ve done in three years … imagine what we will do in the next five.
And since Georgia has now been recognized as the No. 1 state in the nation in which to do business, we can rightfully expect many more jobs to come our way.
Here’s an audio clip that we’ve converted to a YouTube clip, so that it can be viewed on an iPhone or other mobile devices when you receive our morning email. It’s a bit of work to do it, but we’re interested in whether you think it’s useful.
“I applaud Governor Deal on his third State of the State Address. Georgia has a come long way in the last three years, with 217,000 new jobs and millions of dollars in new private system. The Governor’s low tax policies are exactly what we need to keep attracting new business. I look forward to hearing from the Governor again next year and three years to follow.”
Today under the Gold Dome
8:00 AM – 9:30 AM Appropriations Higher Education 606 CLOB
8:00 AM – 10:00 AM Joint Appropriations Education 341 CAP
8:00 AM – 10:00 AM Joint Appropriations Public Safety 506 CLOB
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM (Projected) Floor Session
12:30 PM – 5:30 PM Joint Appropriations Economic Development and General Government 307 CLOB
12:30 PM – 4:00 PM Joint Appropriations Health and Human Services 341 CAP
Her website can be found at VoteCatherine.com. It’s worth noting that yesterday was apparently her birthday. She can thank Rep. Jacobs for his vote to repeal the Birthday Tax, which meant that she didn’t have to pay ad valorem tax to renew her car tag yesterday.
“What Ms. Marlow did is send a letter to AdvancEd in which she made several, pretty serious allegations against the board chair and the board, and never did she address those concerns to the Board of Education,” Roach said.
Marlow said she was sanctioned for the “act of sending a letter,” and if the sanction is upheld, “the effect would be chilling.”
“It will send a message that the voice of the minority does not matter,” she said. “It’s not OK for a member, who is in the minority, to speak up when they see something wrong. To not be able to say, ‘I smell smoke, I think there may be a fire.’”
Roach said the “matter of free speech in this context is quite complicated.”
Here’s a general rule regarding free speech: if someone says the issue of free speech is “complicated,” they’re almost always trying to use government to stop it.
The First Amendment statement that Congress [later extended to most levels of government] “shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances” is no more complicated than the Second Amendment’s statement that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Rep. Allen West to speak in Cobb County
Former Congressman (and retired Lt. Colonel) Allen West will deliver the keynote address at the Cobb County Republican Party’s President’s Day Dinner on February 17, 2014 at the Renaissance Waverly. Save the date if you’re interested in going, and be sure to purchase your tickets as soon as they’re available, as the event is likely to sell out.
Bridging The Gap of Georgia is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization created to assist veterans with their transition home. Many of the veterans we serve suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Combat Stress and are homeless. We utilize a mentorship program to enable veterans to function as productive members of our society by addressing their housing, job placement, and health needs.
We’re still awaiting details on the location of the Muscogee County Republican Party event on February 28, 2014.
Old Vinings Inn was built in the 1880s and served as the village post office. Over the years, the building was purchased and renovated, used as an apartment building, a general store, a filling-station with a family residence upstairs. This unique setting is full of warmth and of history. Today’s Old Vinings Inn is inviting and sophisticated while preserving its rich history — the perfect setting for an evening out.
On January 8, 1783, Lyman Hall, a Georgia signer of the Declaration of Independence, was elected Governor.
Lyman Hall appears on one piece of a two-piece set by Wedgwood celebrating the Bicentennial of American Independence. In 1918, Hall County was named after Lyman Hall, and in 1848, a Signers Monument was built in Augusta, where the remains of Hall and fellow signer George Walton were interred.
A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well-digested plan is requisite; and their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories as tend to render them independent of others for essential, particularly military, supplies.
The proper establishment of the troops which may be deemed indispensable will be entitled to mature consideration. In the arrangements which may be made respecting it it will be of importance to conciliate the comfortable support of the officers and soldiers with a due regard to economy.
There was reason to hope that the pacific measures adopted with regard to certain hostile tribes of Indians would have relieved the inhabitants of our southern and western frontiers from their depredations, but you will perceive from the information contained in the papers which I shall direct to be laid before you (comprehending a communication from the Commonwealth of Virginia) that we ought to be prepared to afford protection to those parts of the Union, and, if necessary, to punish aggressors.
Uniformity in the currency, weights, and measures of the United States is an object of great importance, and will, I am persuaded, be duly attended to.
The advancement of agriculture, commerce, and manufactures by all proper means will not, I trust, need recommendation; but I can not forbear intimating to you the expediency of giving effectual encouragement as well to the introduction of new and useful inventions from abroad as to the exertions of skill and genius in producing them at home, and of facilitating the intercourse between the distant parts of our country by a due attention to the post-office and post-roads.
The welfare of our country is the great object to which our cares and efforts ought to be directed, and I shall derive great satisfaction from a cooperation with you in the pleasing though arduous task of insuring to our fellow citizens the blessings which they have a right to expect from a free, efficient, and equal government.
Meagan Biello (R) 576 votes (23.67%)
Nate Cochran (R) 359 votes (14.76%)
Jeff Duncan (R) 574 votes (23.59%) Sam Moore (R) 924 votes (37.98%)
Looking at his public statements, supporters, and contributors, it appears to me that Sam Moore is supported by a number of members of the burgeoning Liberty wing of the Republican Party. Make of it what you will.
Yesterday, I was on Greg’s List Live, an internet radio show with Greg Williams, who writes the Greg’s List blog about Georgia politics. I still don’t understand how the internet works over a radio, but I wanted to share a couple of things we discussed. Here are a couple of my predictions:
1. Expect political grandstanding by candidates for higher office. This includes Ed Lindsey, who is now supporting HB 707, anti-Obamacare legislation while Ed runs for Congress from the 11th District, and Jason Carter, running on spending more of your money in various ways as a Democrat for Governor.
2. The session won’t be super-short. Every year people predict a short session, and this year is like that but more so. I’d guess the third week of March will see Sine Die.
3. The overwhelming theme will be “gimme some money,” as state employees, teacher’s group, and anyone else who receives a paycheck from the state sees rising revenues as a ticket to a raise. Many of our state employees have seen no raises for as long as seven years, while the cost of insurance has gone up, and this year the state benefits health plan actual benefits declined dramatically like something off of Healthcare.gov. The folks most likely to benefit from rising revenues are those with a political constituency beyond their own members. In Georgia, and I suspect most other states, this means teachers.
GAGOP Senate Debates
A great question Greg raised is what are the qualifications to be onstage at the GAGOP Senate debates – will all announced candidates be given a seat at the table, or will there be some measure of viability – financial or otherwise – used to winnow the field.
The problem is that an eight (or more) candidate debate will hardly be compelling watching, because it reduces the number of rounds and questions that can be asked, and by the time the last candidates answers, the audience will likely have forgotten the original question. On the other hand, it can be hard to say today who will be viable in May, and the State Party should’t be playing favorites.
I suggest we adopt the “Survivor” model, where each candidate is voted on by GAGOP members after the debate, and the lowest vote-getter is eliminated from the next debate. At 50 cents per call if we use the phone number voting method, it’d also be a great way to transfer money from the candidates’ backers to the state GOP. Obviously, the last debate will be ThunderDome style.
Gary Gerrard brings the TV to CD10
Gary Gerrard has announced that he will be the first on television with an ad running on Cable television. It’s above. That’s Mike Hassinger in the voiceover and on-screen with Gerrard.
By mid-December, more than $17.5 million had been spent on TV ads in just four Senate contests: in North Carolina ($8.3 million), Kentucky ($3.5 million), Arkansas ($3.4 million) and Louisiana ($2.3 million), according to a recent piece by Roll Call’s Kyle Trygstad.
The numbers are interesting and newsworthy. But it’s important to understand the dirty little secret of early TV ads: At the end of the day, most of the ads, and most of the money spent on them, won’t make a dime’s worth of difference in the November results.
Strategists who advocate or justify TV ads 10 or 12 months before Election Day will tell you that it is important to get up on the air to “introduce” an opponent before he or she can introduce himself (Arkansas) or to dissuade a potential opponent from running (Kentucky). And in a few rare cases, that may work. But most of the time it doesn’t, especially if both sides have plenty of money.
It certainly is true that given the suffocating nature of the final weeks of a campaign, when every candidate for every office seems to be buying up whatever air time is still available, many strategists believe that the value of late advertising is dropping. And if late ads are ineffective, the idea of early TV ads sounds more appealing.
“Late ads don’t do much anymore, in part because there are so many ads, so the odds of getting through with a message are better early than late,” one pollster argued.
One difference between Gerrard’s race and the scenario by Rothenberg is that Gerrard’s contest is over after the Republican Primary and likely Runoff Election, so we’re not really 10-12 months out for him. More like 5 months and change from the first round of voting, so his conclusions don’t necessarily hold for this race.
Is Gerrard’s early television drop brilliant strategery or bad political consulting? Only time and election results will tell, but in what appears from the 2013 year-end and early 2014 special elections to be a very low-turnout electorate, it’s more important than ever for campaigns and strategists to Think Different(ly).
“Since the only constitutionally mandated requirement is that we pass a balanced budget, I expect the budget to be front and center,” said Rep. Randy Nix, R-LaGrange, who represents a portion of Carroll County.
State revenues are expected to be up this year, said Sen. Mike Dugan, R-Carrollton, but population has also increased, meaning that the budget situation is “revenue neutral.”
“New growth in business across the state, as we were selected as the best state in which to do business, will help, but we still have some areas of the budget where we won’t be able to allocate what we’d like,” Dugan said. “There’s some uncertainties from Obamacare that we’ll have to consider this year as well.”
Dugan said there’s been numerous individual projections on how much will be spent on medical cost, but until the system is up and running, nobody knows what the increases will total.
Sen. Mike Crane, R-Newnan, who represents a portion of Carroll County, also feels the budget will be at the top of the priorities.
“I haven’t seen the final numbers, but it’s going to be a pretty tight budget,” Crane said. “The cost increases have outpaced the revenue growth again, which will make for some challenging decisions.”
“Other significant topics I expect are education, health care and continued work on gun legislation that stalled on the last day of the 2013 session,” Nix said.
Nix said that while he hasn’t pre-filed any legislation, he has been engaged in listening sessions on education.
“I anticipate co-sponsoring legislation to address some of the issues we’ve heard around the state,” he said, “primarily to allow local school systems greater flexibility and more options as to how their systems can operate.”
“The General Assembly does have to pass a budget and a supplemental budget,” said Randy Evans, an attorney and political columnist. “After that, look for Republican leaders to rock and roll with a General Assembly session moving along as quickly as possible, with an early adjournment to leave plenty to time for campaigning, fundraising and re-election efforts.”
“We don’t have, from all indications, a very aggressive agenda this session,” says Sen. Bill Cowsert (R-Athens).
University of Georgia President Jere Morehead has said he’ll push for raises for faculty and staff, who haven’t had one in five years.
State Rep. Spencer Frye (D-Athens) wants the state to use extra tax revenue to give teachers a raise. Or buy him another phone.
“Public school teachers haven’t had raises in forever,” says state Rep. Spencer Frye (D-Athens). “University folks haven’t had raises in forever. Hopefully, we’ll see we need to invest in that instead of big corporate tax breaks because we have extra money.”
Under Chancellor Hank Huckaby, a new era of austerity is coming for Georgia colleges and universities. With stagnant lottery revenue and declining state support, Huckaby has warned that the higher education system will have to do more with less, and the days of big building projects are all but over.
Guns: A bill that could allow people with concealed-carry permits to take their guns into churches and bars and on college campuses is still alive.
Transportation: Local officials in Athens-Clarke County and other cities want to hold referenda on sales tax hikes to fund transportation, similar to the failed T-SPLOST referendum in 2012 but on a county rather than regional level. In ACC, the money would go toward improving Athens Transit bus service and road projects.
But after watching their brainchild go down in flames a year-and-a-half ago, Republicans aren’t inclined to even give voters the option of taxing themselves. “No new taxes,” Cowsert says.
Legislators representing Fulton County said the shorter legislative calendar means they will be working on a tight schedule. What that will mean for some high profile legislation, like bills calling for referendums to create new DeKalb County cities, isn’t clear, the legislators say.
State Rep. Wendell Willard, R-Sandy Springs, said he has been working on legislation reforming the state’s forfeiture laws and discovery of electronic records in civil cases that he’d like to get passed this year before the session wraps.
“We want to get everybody out of session as quickly as possible because it means we’ll be qualifying somewhere around March 15 to meet the deadlines,” Willard said. “I expect we’ll probably be out of session by March 20.”
State Sen. Judson Hill, R-Marietta, has part of Sandy Springs in his district. He said he thinks an election year is an ideal time to pass controversial legislation, like bills allowing for referendums on new cities.
“I’ve always been in favor of introducing and passing great legislation, no matter when it is,” Hill said. “The best time to pass really good bills is during an election year. If it’s not good in election year, in my view it’s not good.”
Hill said he’d like to pass legislation establishing charity care clinics and privatizing some of PeachCare, a service providing affordable health insurance to low-income children. He said new bills might be difficult to pass this year.
District 6 Sen. Hunter Hill (R-Smyrna), who represents a portion of Buckhead, said he plans to work on passage of legislation to streamline the process to create public-private partnerships for state projects. “This is about delivering mission-critical facilities,” he said.
Rep. Joe Wilkinson (R- Sandy Springs ) said he intended to work on economic development. “Georgia was named this past fall as the best place to do business,” he said. “I’ve been on the economic development and tourism committee from the time it was formed 11 years ago. … I see us trying to build on that connection. The companies we bring in, it brings jobs, it brings revenue.”
“The message that I’m hearing from everyone I talk to is ‘Let’s go ahead and get the people’s work done,’” said state Rep. Bruce Broadrick, R-Dalton. “Getting the work done early gives people confidence and predictability about where we are going.”
“My expectation is that everything will be moved to May 20,” said state Sen. Charlie Bethel, R-Dalton. “But until the ball starts rolling I can’t say for sure. I do think we will make that decision early. We will get that done quickly so that it isn’t an open question and so that people thinking about qualifying know when that will take place.”
“The amended budget will be more limited than usual,” said state Rep. Tom Dickson, R-Cohutta. “It will be just those things that have to be adjusted, such as changes in school enrollment or increased Medicaid costs.”
Sen. Rick Jeffares (R-Locust Grove, a floor leader and chairman of the ethics commission, said a bill to change state and local elections is likely to be introduced the first day of the legislative session, Jan. 13.
Assuming the bill becomes law, any Georgian planning to run for federal, state or local office will need to qualify to run for office much earlier as well, between March 3 and March 7 (independent candidates must qualify before June 27 to participate in the general election).
Jeffares said Republican leaders are aiming to end the session March 16, a month or two before the session normally wraps up.
“The Republican caucus is meeting Monday to talk about all the things we need to do and to do it all quick,” he said Thursday.
Jeffares said he didn’t think the faster session would really affect business, because the General Assembly is in the second year of a two-year cycle and many bills are already pending from 2013. Jeffares said the first couple weeks of session generally start off slower, so the shortened session might prompt people to get up to full speed from day one.
In addition, any legislators trying to get a bill passed in 2014 can pre-file their bill before the session starts to give it a better chance of being heard early, he said.
Rep. Matt Ramsey, R-Peachtree City, said the big chore as always will be to shore up the state’s budget expenses between the year-end supplemental budget and the coming fiscal year’s budget. But looming shortly in the distance is the prospect of politicking, specifically a much earlier qualification deadline in March to run for office.
Because of that deadline, Ramsey is predicting a fairly quick session that is hopefully not drawn out as many legislators are anxious to handle qualifying and segue into campaign mode, which is verboten during the session.
“I think the interest this year is having a very efficient session and to try and not get bogged down too much and hopefully get out in March sometime,” Ramsey said Monday.
An Act supplementary to an Act entitled ‘An Act for appropriating a part of the unlocated territory of this state for the payment of the late state troops, and for other purposes therein mentioned, declaring the right of this State to the unappropriated territory thereof, for the protection and support of the frontiers of this State, and for other purposes.’
This was one of the first major economic development undertakings by the state government and would come to be known as the Great Yazoo Land Fraud. The bill, passed under the pressure of intense lobbying, was such an abomination that the next year’s General Assembly revoked the Act and ordered all copies of the legislation burned, igniting a tradition that continues to this day.
Polls open for the 2014 Georgia Republican Primary Election in 134 days. Polls open tomorrow at 7 AM for Special Elections in Georgia State House District 2 (Catoosa, Walker and Whitfield) and District 22 (Cherokee, Forsyth and Fulton Counties.
Jack Kingston, US House Representative for Dist 1 and US Senate Candidate for GA, is appearing in the fourth of our US Senate candidate forums We are expecting a large crowd so come early to get your seat and to spend time talking with Rep Kingston before the program begins. Short candidate speech followed by questions posed by our panel Please bring a friend, neighbor, spouse – or even a stranger – who is interested in learning more about candidates…
Please join Speaker David Ralston, Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones, Majority Leader Larry O’Neal, Brookhaven Mayor J Max Davis, Chamblee Mayor Eric Clarkson and Dunwoody Mayor Mike Davis at a campaign fundraiser for State Rep. Mike Jacobs. With Ron Paul inspired primary opposition set to formally announce after the start of the legislative session, we need your help now. Olde Blind Dog is located in Town Brookhaven, off of Peachtree Road just south of Oglethorpe University.
You are Invited to a Reception For Senator Judson Hill, Vice Chairman of the Republican Senate Caucus, Chairman Senate Finance Committee. Suggested Contribution $250 Contributions may be made payable to Friends of Judson Hill, 3102 Raines Court, Marietta, GA 30062. In lieu of your appearance, please consider making an online contribution at www.judsonhill.com
PROGRAM: Forum of Candidates for 1st District Congressional Seat Candidates: Buddy Carter, Darwin Carter, Jeff Chapman, Bob Johnson, John McCallum and Earl Martin. PERMANENT RESERVATION LIST: If you are on permanent list and you fail to show or notify otherwise, you are responsible for paying for lunch. You will be removed from the permanent list after two infractions. You must cancel by Monday before the luncheon. Please RSVP: Reservations to: Rebecca Rhinehart (398-0111) email@example.com Reservation’s by Noon, Monday, January 6,…
The Greater Fayette Republican Women’s Club will hold their installation of officers for 2014-2015 on Thursday, January 9th. The officers to be installed are President Alberta Lucas, Vice President Mary Kay Rudd, Secretary Becky Steely, and Treasurer Debby Dickinson. For more information, please contact Debby Dickinson, 404-376-4132 firstname.lastname@example.org.
For 168 years the Chamber has been working for you in the Greater Columbus region. Join us for our Annual Meeting as we celebrate the successes of 2013. A review of 2013 and a preview of 2014 will be presented. There is no cost to attend this event. Reservations on-line only by January 6, 2014.
The Capital Grille, 255 E. Paces Ferry Road Atlanta , GA 30305+ Google Map
You are invited to support Senate President Pro Tempore David Shafer at this fundraising reception for his re-election campaign. Authorized by the David Shafer Senate Committee. Kindly RSVP to Denise Deal at 678.617.1625.
Our speaker, Dr. Linda Tucciarone, is the Executive Director of Heritage Academy in Augusta, Georgia. She will discuss Georgia’s GOAL Scholarship program, school choice as well as the mission and success of Heritage Academy in providing quality education for students who would normally be in poorly performing schools. Social/Dinner is 6-7 pm. Meeeting is 7-8pm. $12 buffet style dinner per person.
Six Feet Under – Grant Park, 437 Memorial Drive S.E. Atlanta , GA 30312 + Google Map
Happy New Year! We enjoyed our break after the Holiday Party and look forward to catching up with everyone at our January Happy Hour. With the venue just down the street from the Georgia Capitol, we hope that interns and staffers (and any interested legislators) can drop by as well.
Golden Corral, 605 Bullsboro Drive Newnan , GA 30265 + Google Map
Please join us for the monthly Coweta GOP breakfast meeting. This month’s speakers will be U.S. Senate candidates Karen Handel and David Perdue. This will be your opportunity to meet the candidates in person and ask them questions about their vision for Georgia and America. We encourage everyone to come early and have breakfast. We look forward to seeing you Saturday!
Join us as we invite the candidates for the State School Superintendent to present their insights and vision for education in Georgia. Contact : Linda Kelley Smith, Chairman, Dekalb GOP Likesmith@aol.com 404-422-5462
Fayette County Teens Republicans have planned out their winter season projects and are ready to roll. Chairman Tylan Jones, VC Matt Stordy, Secretary Arik Li and Treasurer Jack Fredrikson are the newly elected Executive Board and ask you to attend the first meeting. Teens are very welcomed from the ages of 14-18 years of age and have the desire to learn of the political process especially with an upcoming active 2014 campaign year. Becoming a leader and learning lifelong skills…
The “Wild Hog Supper,” a Georgia tradition dating to 1962, marks the opening of the legislative session each year. In recent years, the Atlanta Community Food Bank has collected non-perishable food items donated by attendees. Please join our Honorary Host Committee Governor Nathan Deal, Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, Chairman John Wilkinson, Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee, Chairman Tom McCall, House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee, and the Executive Directors of Georgia’s 7 Regional Food Banks as we celebrate the…
On Monday, Jan. 13, SGA, in partnership with the Office of Government and Community Relations, will host its annual Georgia Tech Day at the Capitol and is inviting all students to join. At this event, students will learn more about what happens under the gold dome and can thank state leaders for their commitment to higher education. Students who attend will have the opportunity to: – Interact with representatives – Take a tour of the Capitol, receiving a special…
Register for Free Event Today! Invite A Friend! Concerned Women for America (CWA) of Georgia in partnership with American Principles Project is excited to announce the upcoming Confronting the Common Core education event in Gainesville, Georgia. Come hear a panel discussion that exposes the threat of the Common Core to Georgia’s educational sovereignty. Be ready to be educated, equipped and empowered to stop the Common Core! Walk away with the tools you will need to help Georgia reverse course and return…
The January meeting of the GGRW will be on Monday, the 13th at Mimi’s Restaurant in Buford near Mall of GA. The featured speaker will be Mark Rountree, noted political consultant and campaign advisor for some of the most prominent Georgians. Since this is an election year. and Georgia will be electing a new Senator and several Congressmen, Mark will discuss “winning in 2014” a strategy for Republicans. All are invited to attend what will surely be a topical and interesting meeting.…
Shane Wilson lost a leg in a motorcycle crash five years ago, and more recently, he lost his service dog, Lucy, when she jumped out of the bed of his pickup truck. Lesson one: dogs don’t belong in pickup truck beds when underway. Some folks found her roadside near a Cracker Barrel and returned her. Lesson two: always keep dog treats handy.
The friends were getting breakfast at the Cracker Barrel in Commerce when they saw Lucy. They walked down the exit ramp to get to her.
“We pulled out the treats and she just let me put the leash around her neck,” Davis said.
When Scoggins called him to say that she found Lucy, he was leery because he has had so many false hopes over the past six days.
Wilson told Scoggins to hold a dog treat up and say “Lucy, speak.” She did and Lucy barked. “I heard her bark and I said I’m on the way and I kind of hung up on her,” Wilson said.
“He was so happy, he was hysterical,” Davis said. “He immediately knew and said ‘stay right there, I’m coming’.”
Both the dog show and hunt are “world qualifying,” AKC officials state, with winners cleared to move forward to the World Hunt Championship or 2013 World Show.
While secondary to the main attractions, there will be an aspect to the show, Brown said, that was not included for the UKC events: Malaysian Semara chickens. According to Brown, the birds are small — less than 19 ounces — colorful and they “kind of strut” when they walk.
Over the long weekend, Georgia Right to Life dipped into the race with an email that included this:
“Dr. Dean Burke has not been endorsed by the Georgia Right to Life PAC or the National Right to Life Committee PAC. The NRLC PAC does not make state endorsements and its state affiliate – GRTL PAC – has only endorsed Mr. Keown. Any claims to the contrary are false.”
Political consultant Mark Rountree, working for Burke, says there’s no substantive difference between the two candidates on the issue of abortion. Local conversation, he says, has focused more on the $100 cap on gifts from lobbyists to lawmakers. Burke has pledged support for that limit, Rountree said, while Keown has not.
“I feel confident that the voters in HD 21 saw a clear difference between the two candidates for this race tonight. As candidates, we have a very important obligation to present our values, understanding, and plans to fix what is broken in state government. I provided a message to the voters assembled with the clear choice to reform our ethics laws, implement economically-friendly tax reforms, and return the legislature to the citizens of Georgia with term limits. Those who participated in this public debate responded with overwhelming support, and I’m humbled by those responses.
“The serious issues facing our state and county all revolve around a cornerstone issue: fixing our broken government. On the one hand, my opponent gave his view of government, which maintains the status quo. I gave voters a vision for the future; a future where government serves the people and not special interests.”
Incidentally, today is Scot Turner’s birthday. You can wish him a happy one by donating online to his campaign, as long as you are a Georgia resident or business and not a lobbyist or PAC.
“It’s extremely slow,” [Election Supervisor Janet] Munda added. “It looks like we may hit five percent this time.”
Munda was referring to the projection she originally predicted for the Jan. 8 special election for both the House and the Georgia Senate District 21 seats. The county ended up seeing a 10 percent turnout for that election.
Early voting started last Wednesday and will continue Monday through Friday through Feb. 1.
Voters who reside in the district, which encompasses Holly Springs, portions of BridgeMill, south Canton and parts of southeast Cherokee, can cast ballots between 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Albert L. Stone Elections Building at 400 East Main Street in Canton.
No voting will be held on Monday Feb. 4, and voters in the district will cast their ballots at 11 precincts in the district on Feb. 5.
Three percent cuts across the board, and slightly more funding for the state pre-K program, the HOPE scholarship, and juvenile justice reform.
He also continued his push to renew a hospital tax aimed at shoring up the state Medicaid program.
“I think it is critical,” said Deal. “We cannot afford to have a $700 million hole in our Medicaid budget,” said Deal.
Otherwise, the governor’s budget projects 4.8 percent revenue growth in 2014. That’s compared to the 3.9 growth seen this year.
If the revenue projection holds true, Georgia in 2014 would be back to where it was at its 2007 peak, before the recession.
House Appropriations Chair Terry England said the numbers are reason for cautious optimism, but warned the state isn’t out of the woods yet.
“The problem with that is we’re a larger state than we were in 2007 so there’s more people needing more services and resources, so even though you have that growth, the demand is still greater than it was in 2007.”
Accordingly, the 2014 budget includes increased funding for education and healthcare, but most would be used to simply keep up with population growth.
Senate Appropriations Chair Jack Hill said ultimately the final budget won’t veer too far from the governor’s recommendations.
“In years where you’re spending a lot of new money, there might be more needs and more wants than there are dollars, but we have such a lean budget to begin with, I don’t know what we’d have to fight over.”
“We have reduced per capita spending of state dollars for our citizens,” [Deal] said. “Using 2012 dollars, we are spending money at a rate of 17 percent less than we did a decade ago. And we now have 9,000 fewer state employees than we did five years ago.”
Georgia’s economy should see slow but steady growth over the next few years as the job and housing markets continue to improve, the state’s main economist told lawmakers Tuesday.
Heaghney said that tax collections — an indication of the state of the economy — will be up 3.9 percent the rest of fiscal 2013, which ends June 30. The economy will pick up during the second half of the year and revenue should increase 4.9 percent next fiscal year, allowing the state to add about $550 million in spending, he said.
Heaghney told legislators that the state’s job growth is outpacing the national growth rate, and that “housing appears to have turned the corner, both nationally and in Georgia.”
Georgia is seeing an increase in information technology, business services, manufacturing and transportation jobs.
“We’d expect growth to pick up in the middle of 2013 and then accelerate the rest of the year,” he said. “In 2014, we should see much more rapid growth than we’ve seen prior to this year.”
Higher taxes, a sluggish global economy and the federal debt crisis will continue to weigh on the economy, he said, dampening consumer spending and adding uncertainty to the equation.
“This all creates an environment where there is still a lot of economic uncertainty,” Heaghney said. “We try to plan for that, but there are a lot of different ways the economy could move.
Supporters are pushing for an additional $1.5 million to expand public access to the state’s important and historical records dating to at least 1733, saying the additional money would reopen the archives from two to five days a week.
A local clothing boutique visited Friday by NBC 26 is still ringing up its merchandise the old fashioned way.
“We write up all the tickets by hand and then we add up the totals and the tax with a calculator,” Alex, a sales associate told NBC 26. She said the store is still charging seven percent sales tax.
“I didn’t know about it until you came in,” another associate said. “I didn’t know it was in effect starting January first. So, I haven’t started using it yet.”
We asked the Georgia Department of Revenue how it informed retailers in regions where the T-SPLOST passed.
“In December, we emailed an informational bulletin concerning T-SPLOST, concerning the TSPLOST going into effect to all businesses that e-file as well as other businesses who have signed up for that specific mailing list,” said Jud Seymour, communications director for the Georgia Department of Revenue.
Seymour said if stores missed the instructional email, they could’ve looked up the information online on the Georgia Department of Revenue’s website.
On December 27, 2012, my oath of office was administered by our Probate Judge (Keith Wood), with the final sentence stating, “. . . and that I will support the Constitution of the United States and of this State, so help me God.”
Therefore, I will fully exercise the power of the Office of Sheriff to protect and defend the Constitutional rights of the citizens of Cherokee County. My position is best stated by fellow Sheriff Tim Muller of Linn County, Oregon in his letter to the President. “We are Americans. We must not allow, nor shall we tolerate, the actions of criminals, no matter how heinous the crimes, to prompt politicians to enact laws that will infringe upon the liberties of responsible citizens who have broken no laws.”
Along with Sheriff Muller, other sheriffs throughout the country (including Georgia) and I, will not enforce any laws or regulations that negate the constitutional rights of the citizens of Cherokee County.
Nor shall those laws and regulations be enforced by me or by my deputies, nor will I permit the enforcement of any unconstitutional regulations or orders by federal officers within the borders of Cherokee County, Georgia.
Commissioner Allen insinuated that some school board members may have benefited personally from deals with outside companies.“The investigation should examine any companies or firms […] doing any business with the BOE [Board of Education] where funds might have been used to directly or indirectly unlawfully benefit certain members of the BOE,” Allen read from prepared remarks.He declined to offer any evidence that would lead federal prosecutors to investigate such a question.“These allegations,” Allen said without specifying or attributing any allegations directly, “must be investigated immediately by a federal authority, as the facts show a possible misuse of federal funds, not to mention state and local money as well.”
A study has found that Plant Vogtle’s emergency evacuation plan for people within 10 miles of the nuclear site is adequate. But the study says traffic control points and better highway infrastructure would improve it.
The updated analysis was filed with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and was posted on the agency’s website last week.
Depending on the weather, time of day and other factors, Southern Nuclear’s consultants’ models found evacuations could take between 90 and 205 minutes.
During the first of two public hearings on a proposal to allow chickens on property under 2 acres in size, speakers on both sides of the issue provided emotional appeals to the board.
Banks Wise, 25, of Mableton, said he had planned to attend the board meeting just to listen to what others had to say about various code proposals, including the one on chickens.
But then he stepped up to the lectern to address the commissioners during the public comment period, and board chairman Tim Lee asked him to recite his name.
Wise declined. Lee asked several more times for him to give his name before the police officers escorted him out of the board room, handcuffed him and took him to a lobby elevator.
“The gentlemen was not following the rules of the commission,” Lee said. “I asked him multiple times. He did not, so the officers removed him.”
Wise said two things prompted him to speak to commissioners. One was a comment by a previous public speaker opposed to a code change for chickens. That speaker, Ron Sifen of Vinings, argued that homeowners had certain expectations with the zoning laws in place when they bought their homes. To allow chickens in their neighborhood was, therefore, wrong.
Wise said he wanted to argue that just because a law is on the books, it doesn’t make it constitutional.
“I’m saying that being able to have a chicken was always right. There was just at some point a very bad law,” Wise said.
Another point that bothered him was that Lee demanded that each speaker give his or her name.
Anonymous political speech is a revered tradition among those of us who love America; perhaps Mr. Lee should take a remedial class in the First Amendment.
“We hope that this film will illustrate some of the issues our city has been discussing,” the couple said in a joint press release. “Furthermore, we hope that this film brings people together for a fun evening of entertainment and camaraderie.”
A supporter of small families owning livestock, McHaggee said she usually gets eggs from Morning Glory Farm in Cedartown and is concerned with the state of some of the breeds of chicken that need space to thrive.
“That’s part of the reason I feel so strongly about this,” she said. “There are some of the American Heritage breeds that are in trouble of becoming extinct.”
Governor Deal is expected to address today’s joint budget hearing at 10:30 AM. Also addressing today’s hearing will be state fiscal economist Kenneth Heaghney, the Department of Education, the University System of Georgia, the Technical College System of Georgia, the Department of Early Care and Learning, the Student Finance Commission and the Secretary of State’s Office.
Wednesday’s budget hearing will include the Departments of Correction, Juvenile Justice, Transportation, Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, Natural Resources, Agriculture, Labor and Economic Development.
On Thursday, the joint committees will hear the Departments of Human Services, Community Health, Public Health, Revenue and the Office of Planning and Budget.
Former state Sen. Chip Rogers will start his new job Tuesday earning a lofty $150,000 – making him the seventh executive at Georgia Public Broadcasting earning six-figures annually, despite a rather pedestrian title: Executive producer, community jobs program.
The position, like others at GPB, is paid solely through state taxpayers’ money. But it is more than Gov. Nathan Deal and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle each make in their public jobs.
And it is more than what some of Rogers’ new colleagues made in the last fiscal year, including GBP’s vice president for radio and its chief information officer.
Tax collections so far this fiscal year are coming in below the projected rate, prompting Deal to order all state agencies – except K-12 education – to trim 3 percent from their spending. At the same time, costs for Medicaid are more than $300 million over budget already this year, not counting a nearly $700 million hole that would be left in the budget if the hospital tax isn’t extended.
Legislative budget writers started requiring governors in recent years to submit a document called the Tax Expenditure Report that estimates how much each tax break leaves in the private economy and out of the government’s use.
“Although not direct government expenditures, tax expenditures represent an allocation of government resources in the form of taxes that could have been collected (and appropriated) if not for their preferential tax treatment,” State Auditor Greg Griffin wrote in his letter delivering the report.
The largest tax breaks is the so-called personal exemption from individual income taxes representing $1 billion. Exemptions for retirement income, $697 million, Social Security, $140 million, and credit for taxes paid to other states, $185 million, are also among the largest ways private Georgians keep from forking more over to the government.
Exemptions from the sales tax also benefit individuals, including $509 million on food, $423 million for prescriptions, $171 million on lottery tickets and $8 million on school lunches. The sales-tax holidays that temporarily exempt school supplies save another $41 million.
Some business tax breaks are due to expire this year. A break on seed, fertilizer and farm chemicals that ended Jan. 1 totaled $150 in the last fiscal year. The exemption of certain machinery used in the manufacturing of consumer items expired the same time and amounted to $175 million last year.
One due to expire in June is the sales tax exemption for airplane engine-repair parts worth $7 million last year. It’s being pushed by companies like Gulfstream Aerospace which argues jobs would be lost if airplane customers took their business to states that don’t charge the tax.
The city of Atlanta’s legislative wish-list for the 2013 General Assembly includes changes in state law that would allow the city to increase taxes on alcohol, sell condemned and blighted property to private parties, designate sales tax revenue disbursements by tenths of a cent rather than a full penny, and charge the public school system for the cost of running school board elections.
One proposal — such as slicing penny sales taxes into smaller increments of one-tenth of a percent, which could go to different purposes — is similar to those pushed this year by Cobb County.
A sales tax levied in Atlanta at a tenth of a percentage point could generate about $11 million or $12 million in revenue per year.
Yolanda Adrean, who represents northwest Atlanta on the City Council, said the proposal would provide municipalities with much-needed flexibility.
“If a penny of tax could be split between more than one priority, it could allow the city to move on some very crucial needs,” Adrean said. “I’m not suggesting that we add a penny of sales tax. In a time where there’s a great deal of sensitivity to how much you’re taxed and where that money goes, this gets everyone focused. There are lots of pressing needs that are not getting funded.”
State Rep. John Carson (R-Northeast Cobb) told Around Town on Thursday that he would introduce a bill, possibly as soon as this week, that would pave the way for such special local option sales taxes, also known as “fractional SPLOSTs.” The tax would be charged increments of a twentieth of 1 percent, if passed. At present the sales tax can only levied in increments of 1 percent, although receipts from that 1 percent are often divided among several jurisdictions.
In theory, they also would prevent situations in which a governing body, knowing that a full penny SPLOST would raise X amount of dollars, proceeds to inflate its SPLOST-project list in order to match the expected revenues.
The concept has the backing of Cobb Commission Chairman Tim Lee.
Carson’s bill would apply statewide and allow counties and cities to charge less than a full 1 percent sales tax. A similar bill is soon to be introduced in the state Senate, said Sen. Judson Hill (R-East Cobb).
Senator Lindsey Tippins (R-West Cobb) told Around Town the Cobb School District has approached him in the past about introducing legislation for partial-penny SPLOSTs.
If approved by the Legislature, voters would then have to approve a constitutional amendment before the tax could be levied on a jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction basis.
“I have told them I feel like you can accomplish the same thing by doing a SPLOST for a specified number of months based on what your true need is and make a promise to the voters that you won’t go back to them for five years for another tax,” Tippins said. “So if you need to collect 60 cents on the dollar, you could collect it for three years and promise not to go back for five.”
“Now obviously the action of that board would not be legally binding on a subsequent board, but whoever wanted to go back and change that would be facing political suicide, so in actuality you could bind the board so if anybody on the school board says ‘We want to do a partial penny,’ we can accomplish the same thing without a constitutional amendment.”
Tippins said the alternative to levying the tax is forgoing federal matching funds and paying for Medicaid services through the state budget.
“So you’d be taking another $700 million out of existing state funding, and that would come from other agencies,” Tippins said. “You’re going to be hitting education very, very strongly, and all the other good services that the state provides. The reality is that money would have to come from somewhere because the state in their agreement to access the federal stimulus money cannot change the delivery pattern for Medicaid until 2014, so we’re locked in under the same eligibility and also under the same payment program.”
Fulton’s countywide property tax rate has declined over the last decade, and most residents won’t see an increase this year. Under the proposed budget, residents of unincorporated South Fulton would see a 19 percent property tax increase to pay for police, fire and other municipal services. That would cost the owner of a $200,000 an extra $100 a year.
Fulton County would trim spending in its general fund – which pays for countywide services like courts, libraries and elections – 2 percent this year under the proposed $569.4 million budget.
Among other things, proposed cuts would lead to reduced library hours and spending for various social service programs. At a public hearing earlier this month, more than 60 people – many of them senior citizens – urged commissioners to restore funding for various programs.
As a result of declining property tax revenue and the incorporation of the city of Brookhaven, commissioners will have to consider spending cuts or a potential property tax rate increase proposed by DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis. The 1.9 percent millage rate increase would cost almost $49 dollars more a year for owners of a $200,000 home.
In December, Ellis proposed a more than $562 million dollar budget. In addition to a potential millage rate increase, the budget calls for a three percent cost of living adjustment for DeKalb County’s lowest paid workers, 25 additional police officers and maintaining $30 million dollars in reserve funding. Commissioners will have until the end of February to adopt the budget.
Handwritten letters, dated Jan. 18, from James Camp of Temple, a GeorgiaCarry.org founder and recent state Senate candidate, were hand-delivered to Carrollton Mayor Wayne Garner and Carroll County Commission Chairman Marty Smith.
In the letter to Garner, Camp challenges a city ordinance prohibiting firearms on the GreenBelt trail and another which says firearms cannot be carried by parade participants.
The letter to Smith challenges a county ordinance which says the commission chairman, in times of local disasters or emergencies, can suspend the sale, distribution, dispensing or transportation of firearms, alcoholic beverages, explosives and combustible products and can close businesses which sell them.
The National Republican Congressional Committee will continue to play Elmer Fudd to Georgia Democratic Congressman John Barrow’s Bugs Bunny, announcing yet again that they’re hunting wabbits targeting Barrow. Occasional Georgia resident Rob Simms, recently named Political Director for the NRCC, may have a better chance of catching the wascal beating Barrow.
Gov. Nathan Deal urged the quick passage of a Medicaid funding plan that would spare legislators from raising taxes and instead allow a state agency to fill the gaping hole in Georgia’s budget.
Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and House Speaker David Ralston on Wednesday also endorsed the governor’s plan to extend the 2-year-old funding mechanism, known as the “bed tax,” despite criticism from conservatives who oppose tax increases. The plan is expected to reach a Senate vote Thursday, and House lawmakers could debate it later this month.
We have had one of the best years of economic development in quite some time. A few notable companies that have chosen Georgia include Baxter, General Motors, and Caterpillar, along with numerous others. We did this with your help, with both the private and the public sector doing their parts!
As governor, my goal is to see Georgia become the No. 1 state in the nation in which to do business. I have made that clear from the beginning, because I believe that is the best path to economic growth and the quickest way to get Georgians into jobs. And we are not all that far off from reaching our target: For two years in a row, we have ranked in the top five for business climate by Site Selection Magazine, and we ranked No. 3 for doing business in 2012 by Area Development Magazine. But we certainly still have some hurdles that we must overcome before we get there.
This morning I will focus my remarks on one of the highest hurdles facing state government, that of healthcare.
Right now, the federal government pays a little under 66 cents for every dollar of Medicaid expenditure, leaving the state with the remaining 34 cents per dollar, which in 2012 amounted to $2.5B as the state share.
For the past three years, hospitals have been contributing their part to help generate funds to pay for medical costs of the Medicaid program. Every dollar they have given has essentially resulted in two additional dollars from the federal government that in part can be used to increase Medicaid payments to the hospitals. But the time has come to determine whether they will continue their contribution through the provider fee. I have been informed that 10 to 14 hospitals will be faced with possible closure if the provider fee does not continue. These are hospitals that serve a large number of Medicaid patients.
I propose giving the Department of Community Health board authority over the hospital provider fee, with the stipulation that reauthorization be required every four years by legislation.
Of course, these fees are not new. In fact, we are one of 47 states that have either a nursing home or hospital provider fee—or both. It makes sense to me that, in Georgia, given the similarity of these two fees, we should house the authority and management of both of them under one roof for maximum efficiency and effectiveness.
Sometimes it feels like when we have nearly conquered all of our hurdles, the federal government begins to place even more hurdles in our path.
Georgians who have already received a paycheck this January have no doubt noticed that their payroll taxes went up and their take-home salary went down. This is the cost of entitlements. If you think your taxes went up a lot this month, just wait till we have to pay for “free health care.” Free never cost so much.
Ralston says House lawmakers plan to propose a permanent change regarding lobbyist gifts in the near future. Ralston plans to introduce legislation that would include a complete ban on items given by lobbyists.
One of the largest criticisms of the new Senate rule is that there are a number of exceptions. For instance, the law allows lobbyists to give multiple gifts that are $100 or less. It also allows for lobbyists to pay for travel and a number of other expenses related to Senators’ official duties.
Dugan said repeatedly on the campaign trail that he hopes to introduce term limits in the General Assembly. He hopes to work toward this goal in 2013.
“What I’d like is a maximum of 10 years, which is five terms,” Dugan said. “The longest a person can be president is 10 years.
He can assume two years of a predecessor’s term and run for two terms on his own. My thought process is this can’t be more complicated than being president. If we limit that position then I think we can limit these others. There are also term limits on the Georgia governor.”
If 10 years are served, Dugan feels it should be required that a legislator sit out two terms, or four years, before running again.
“The common refrain is that we do have term limits — they are called voters,” said Dugan. “The way campaign contributions are set up now it’s really not that way. The other side is, if you have 10 years to get something done, instead of worrying about getting reelected in perpetuity you will actually make the tough decisions.”
State Sen. Mike Crane, R-Newnan, started the 2013 Georgia General Assembly session off with a bang when he became the most vocal opponent of a set of rules that would restore much of the power that Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle was stripped of two years ago.
“This may be the end of my political aspirations, but I will never stop fighting for liberty,” Crane said on the Senate floor.
On Tuesday, the second day of the session, Crane reiterated his position.
Crane addressed his colleagues and told them he would bring up the matter each of the remaining 38 days in the legislative session.
“Do you think freedom is at the helm of this body?” he asked.
After Crane’s comments, Sen. John Wilkinson, R-Toccoa, expressed exasperation with his fellow sophomore. Both were elected in special elections to complete terms of men Gov. Nathan Deal appointed to state jobs.
“I think we need to decide if we’re more interested in getting things done or in making a point,” he said, noting that the rule empowering Cagle had already been voted on and was settled.
Sen. Bill Jackson, R-Appling, stood up to add, “I just wanted to say ‘amen’ to what Sen. Wilkinson for what he said.”
“They don’t think that anybody is going to buy into it this year,” said Kay Godwin, a Republican activist from south Georgia. “It’s not the right time, but it’s the right thing to do. We’ve mentioned to everybody that this is the direction that we want to go in. The legislators all agree with us. And the tea party.”
If you get what you pay for, then Georgians should have no reason to complain. They’ve been paying for an army of fry cooks and dishwashers.
The problem is that lawmakers themselves are loathe to raise the pay issue. “I’m not going to vote for an increase in legislative pay when I have school teachers in every district that I represent who are being furloughed,” said state Sen. Josh McKoon, R-Columbus, the Capitol’s most aggressive proponent of a $100 cap on gifts for lawmakers.
No, livable wages for state lawmakers would have to be an issue taken up by a fellow with plenty of clout and little to lose. A governor in his second term, for instance.
Passing legislation that would allow north Fulton to break away to form a new Milton County remains impractical, mainly because the idea’s most powerful advocate, House Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones, R-Milton, has never been able to assemble enough votes.
More doable this year: a reconfiguration of the County Commission that would give north Fulton more input into the distribution of hundreds of millions of dollars in tax funds and services for nearly 1 million people.
The Legislature could also beef up the powers of the commission chairman and protect the county manager from being fired without cause, changes that could lessen the circus atmosphere of public meetings.
Rep. Wendell Willard, R-Sandy Springs, said such structural changes won’t end the push for secession.
“Maybe lessen the steam,” he said. “Trying to get Milton County has several hurdles that nobody’s figured out how to get around. So in the meantime, let’s make what we have work better.”
“I am appalled to hear Gwinnett County and corruption mentioned together,” said Nash, who joined the board after a special grand jury’s land investigation led to the public disgrace of two commissioners but faced the issue again when a commissioner pleaded guilty in a federal bribery probe last year. “Wrongdoing by leaders hurts the community, breaks the public trust and embarrasses all of those who call Gwinnett home.”
Nash pointed to changes in the county’s ethics and land purchase laws during her time in office, but said commissioners will keep working to restore trust with citizens.
“We know that we’ll have to work hard to overcome this, and we’ve taken steps to do just that,” she said. “Ultimately, it will be our behavior over time that will help us regain the community’s trust.”
This year, she said, the board will continue to try to restore public trust by hosting town hall meetings. Plus, commissioners approved a new lead investigator for the district attorney’s office, added specifically to root out corruption among public officials. She also noted the new non-profit entity created to keep public dollars separate and transparent in the Partnerhips Gwinnett economic development initiative.