Georgia Political News for March 15, 2012

15
Mar

Georgia Political News for March 15, 2012

“22529” is a senior chocolate lab who was found stray and is at the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter. He is available for adoption now and is described as friendly and calm. Few things in life are better than senior retrievers.

This old guy can be adopted for $30 plus a $60 vet fee. GaPundit will pay $45 toward adoption of this guy.

Legislative News

Under the most current resolution, the General Assembly calendar for next week is:

Monday, March 19, Day 34
Tuesday, March 20 Day 35
Wednesday, March 21 Day 36
Thursday, March 22 Day 37

Brewpubs will be able to produce more beer under House Bill 472 by Rep. Richard Smith, who argued that “It’s an economic development issue.”

“The demand for craft beers has just skyrocketed,” said Georgia Alcohol Dealers Association lobbyist Stony McGill told the AJC. “This is a win-win for brewpubs, wholesalers, retailers and consumers.”

The President of the University of Georgia Young Democrats joined the “Intown Liberal Women’s Caucus” (Reps. Mary Margaret Oliver, Pat Gardner and Kathy Ashe) in the Capitol rotunda to oppose two bills that would lower the age for a concealed weapon permit to 18 from the current 21, and allow concealed carry on college campuses.

“Imagine university freshmen, emotionally unstable in the transition to college with easier access to weapons. Further, where would a responsible permit holder keep his weapon? Freshman dorms don’t have gun safes, college buildings don’t have places to safely keep your weapons. The lack of safety measures all but guarantees accidents will happen.”

With Georgia’s unemployment insurance trust fund broke, Senate Bill 447, which would reduce unemployment checks and delay the issuance of some checks, appears to be stalled in the House over concerns about the constitutionality of starting a revenue bill in the Senate.

[State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler] says it may not be constitutional because the House normally writes fiscal bills.

“I would like to be on the safe side and let it be a House bill,” he said, after attending hearings at the state Capitol Wednesday. “There’s no sense of us getting in a position where it could be challenged. But obviously it’s going to be the will of the General Assembly and what they decide to do.”

Stacey Abrams, the House minority leader, agrees. She cited a letter by the General Assembly’s legislative counsel.

The House killed HB 1235, which would have required some contractors for Augusta’s city government to submit to periodic financial audits. The Augusta legislative delegation is at loggerheads, failing to pass new maps for district lines for the Augusta City Commission and Richmond County Board of Commission.

Rep. Robert Dickey has proposed House Bill 1132, which would require telemarketers to transmit correct caller ID information, passed the House and unanimously passed the Senate Regulated Industries Committee.

Senate Bill 360 by Senator John Wilkinson would allow tilapia farming in Georgia, and is opposed by environmentalists who argue the fish might be the aquatic version of kudzu.

Presidential General Election

President Obama is within the margin of error of three Republican candidates in a poll of Georgia voters:

– Mitt Romney, 46 percent; Obama, 45 percent;

– Newt Gingrich, 46 percent; Obama, 45 percent;

– Obama, 47 percent; Rick Santorum, 44 percent.

Campaigns and Elections

Doug Collins’s congressional campaign has three events scheduled next week:

March 20th from 4:30 to 6:30PM
Young Professionals Meet and Greet
Grove Street Station 610 Grove Street Gainesville, Ga
March 20th from 4:30 to 6:30PM

March 22d from 4:30 to 6:30 PM
Union County Fundrasier
Union County Community Center

Mar 23d from 12:00 Noon to 1:30 PM
Women for Collins Luncheon
Chattahoochee Country Club, 3000 Club Drive, Gainesville, GA 30503
Special Guests Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones, Shirley Miller and others at a Luncheon in Support of Doug Collins Congressional Campaign. • Host $500 (Includes a Reserved Table of 8 and your Name on the Invitation) • Friend $250 (Includes a Reserved Table of 4) • Attendee $25

You may email Robyn [at] CollinsLeads.com for more information on these events.

Martha Zoller’s campaign for Congress  from the 9th district, currently in the midst of a mini-van tour of the district, will be the beneficiary of a reception and wine tasting in Braselton on Saturday, March 17th from 5:30 to 7:30 PM. Those interested in attending the $250 event may email pattipeach [at] mindspring.com.

Jackson County Commission Chair Hunter Bicknell is holding a campaign fundraiser on Thursday, March 22, 2012 from 5:30 to 7:30 PM at the Jefferson Civic Center. The suggested donation is $100 and for more information, you may click here or email events [at] votebicknell.com.

Voters in the April 3d runoff election for Flowery Branch City Council begin early voting today:

Residents can cast their ballots from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday through March 30, according to a legal advertisement from the South Hall city.

All voting on council races, advance or otherwise, takes place at City Hall, 5517 Main St. The runoff voting will take place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The USDOJ has approved new city council district lines for Gainesville.

The Executive Director of the Georgia Transportation Alliance told the GDOT forum at the Gainesville Chamber of Commerce that this year’s T-SPLOST election is “probably the most significant vote we’ll take in Georgia for a generation.”

Georgia Economy

Metro Atlanta’s unemployment rate rose to 9.2 percent in January, while Athen has the lowest rate at 7.1 percent and Dalton the highest at 12.7 percent. Atlanta’s rate is down from last year’s 10.3 percent. The state’s unemployment rate, at 10.1 percent, marked its sixth straight month of decline.

Foreclosures in the Augusta area were down for February and Georgia ranks fourth in the nation for its high foreclosure rate.

Transportation

Georgia DOT is considering expanding GA400 with an additional “HOT” toll lane from I-285 north to Highway 20 in Forsyth County.

Savannah Mayor Edna Jackson stressed the importance of deepening Savannah River access to the Port of Savannah in a Washington meeting with President Obama. “He’s gotten the message about the port,” Jackson said, adding that Obama mentioned Gov. Nathan Deal and other state leaders had shared the same concern.

Random Water Stories

Columbus will blast the Eagle and Phenix Dam on Wednesday as part of clearing a whitewater rafting course through downtown. There will be a spectator section for those wishing to watch. The 3.2 mile whitewater course should be completed next year and will be the world’s longest urban whitewater run and the southern-most class IV and V rapids in the eastern United States.

The United States Navy and environmental groups will be in federal court in Brunswick today in a lawsuit alleging that Navy plans to train 75 miles off the coast of Georgia and Florida will harm endangered right whales.

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