Georgia Political News for March 14, 2012


Georgia Political News for March 14, 2012

Joey is a 2-year old, 45 pound black lab mix who is spayed, vaccinated, and ready to go home with you. She was surrendered to Walton County Animal Services when her people lost their home to foreclosure. She gets along well with kids and other dogs.

Raymond is a 3-year old, 65 pound black lab mix who also is neutered and current on all vaccinations. A birth defect makes one eye small, but requires no treatment. readers have pledged enough money toward dog adoptions that we will pay the adoption fee for any reader who saves one of these dogs.

A former United States marine is working to adopt her retired military working dog, with whom she was injured in Iraq. The adoption is pending, but the bureaucracy moves slowly.

Legislative Day 33

The Senate Rules Calendar is available here and you may watch online here starting at 10 AM. The Senate Meetings Calendar is here.

The House Rules Calendar is available here and you may watch online here starting at 10 AM. The House Meetings Calendar is here.

In an op-ed in the AJC, Fulton County Chairman John Eaves writes that House Bill 1052, which moves authority to appoint two MARTA board members to North Fulton mayors divides citizens by “blatantly taking power away from Fulton County instead of addressing what truly harms MARTA today,” rather than by Eaves’s favored method of dividing citizens, which appears to be calling anyone who opposes him a racist.

State Rep. Mike Jacobs (R-Ashford Brookhaven) replied that “[t]o the extent that the Fulton county Commission is objecting, it’s driven by personal power and not the realities of how transportation policy is set in north Fulton County these days.”

On Monday the house passed “Taylor’s Law,” which creates an exception to some state laws to allow terminally ill children to obtain hunting permits. It will be sent to the Governor for his signature or veto.

A Senate subcommittee stripped parts of House Bill 811, which would require fees and fines paid to the state to be used for their stated purpose, rather than going into the general fund. Under the Senate’s addition, the law would be in effect only when the rainy day fund exceeds reaches seven percent of the prior year’s state budget, which currently would be nearly $1 billion.

Senate Democrats’ unity in opposition to the proposed Charter Schools Constitutional Amendment threatens the measure.

Sen. Steve Henson, Democratic minority leader said, “The truth is, this is all about money. That there are companies – private companies – that want to get contracts with these charter schools and they want the state to take control and do that.”

Sen. Fran Millar, Republican chair of the Education Committee said, “I’m about academic performance.At the end of the day, we spend $9 billion on education so if we have to have some for-profits involved in order to improve our academic performance, I don’t think that’s a bad thing.”

Columnist Dick Yarbrough is suspicious of for-profit charter schools, writing “I’m not against charter schools in principle, but don’t be surprised if powerful for-profit charter management companies come in and dominate the business with a little help and encouragement from certain politicians. This isn’t about the children. It is about money and political influence and special interests.”

The House Games, Fish and Parks Committee heard testimony on Sen. John Bulloch’s Senate Bill 301, which would allow hunters to use silencers. Some testified about concerns that silencers will allow more poaching, but Bulloch recommends tougher penalties for poaching regardless of silencer use. Silencer ownership is heavily regulated by the Federal BATFE, and requires a permit.

The House passed a delayed measure honoring Marine Corporal John R. Stalvey, who gave his life in Iraq in 2005. The honor was delayed because Cpl. Stalvey’s residence had been listed as his uncle’s home in Houston, though he grew up in Georgia. Rep. Alex Atwood learned of the oversight and introduced a resolution to correct it.

“If you can recognize a football player or a rap star, you’ve got to recognize him,’’ Atwood said.

Atwood said he learned of Stalvey when he went to a veteran’s observance at Gulfstream Aerospace’s Brunswick facility.

“I saw a Marine uniform on display and asked what it was,’’ he said.

He said he was told it was to honor the son of Billy Stalvey and Crystal Merrilat, who work at Gulfstream.

Executive Branch

Governor Nathan Deal will give the commencement address at the University of Georgia‘s undergraduate graduation on May 11, 2012 at 7 PM.

Gov. Deal and Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black kicked off Agriculture Week at the Capitol yesterday.

Campaigns and Elections

Adam Jacobson is running for State House District 180 as a Republican and will hold a “Red Solo Cup Fundraiser” on Tuesday, March 20, 2012 at The Pavilion at Horseshoe Cove. Jacobson is a former Chairman of the Camden County GOP and will meet State Rep. Jason Spencer in the primary.

Dalton Businessman David Renz will run as a Republican for House District 4, which is being vacated by Rep. Roger Williams. Also running for the seat will be Dalton businessman Dennis Mock, who ran against Williams two years ago.

Macon lawyer Jason Downey is a Republican and is running for Bibb County School Board District 6. Longtime Macon city councilwoman Thelma Dillard will run for District 2 on the school board.

Local News

Savannah’s Saint Patrick’s Day parade is expecting record crowds this year and may surpass the size of New York’s to take the title as world’s largest.

Muscogee County is beginning a search for a new superintendent as current superintendent Susan Andrews will retire July 31. Andrews nominated Ronie Collins as chief academic officer, but some board members expressed concern over Collins’s lack of experience, although Chair Cathy Williams said she believe Collins is “completely capable.”

In 2011, the Dougherty County Sheriff’s Department saw a 47% increase in criminal cases assigned to investigators.

The Tift County Hospital Authority has purchased Memorial Hospital of Adel, a nursing home, for $6.85 million.

The Savannah Economic Development Board will concentrate on preparing skilled workers and discussed the importance of making career and technical education more widely available.

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