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


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

Thomas Jefferson was born on April 13, 1743 in what is now Albemarle County, Virginia. Jefferson served as Governor of Virginia, United States Secretary of State, delegate to the Second Continental Congress, and Third President of the United States. Jefferson is credited with writing the first draft of the Declaration of Independence.

On April 13, 1861, Union forces surrendered Fort Sumter after 33 hours of bombardment by Confederates.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp yesterday signed Senate Bill 319, the “Constitutional Carry Act of 2021,” according to Fox5Atlanta.

Gov. Brian Kemp signed a bill allowing Georgia residents to carry handguns in public without a license or background check into law Tuesday.  The governor signed a second measure that gives concealed weapons permit holders from other states the ability to carry legally in Georgia as well.

The Georgia Senate passed what supporters call the “Constitutional Carry Act” at the beginning of April, sending it to the governor’s desk for signature.

“SB 319 makes sure that law-abiding Georgians — law-abiding Georgians, including out daughters and your family too — can protect themselves without having the permission of the state government. The constitution of the United States gives us that right, not the government,” Kemp said Tuesday. “HB 218 ensures that individuals who are licensed to carry in another state are also authorized to do so here in Georgia.”

“This isn’t a bill that’s going to create more crime. This is allowing law-abiding citizens to carry a weapon without a license in Georgia,” said state Sen. Jason Anavitarte, R-Dallas.

From 11Alive:

“This here mentioned earlier has been a team effort, and I just appreciate all the members, all the advocacy groups, who all hunkered down to get two great bills across the finish line,” Kemp said at Gables Sporting Goods in Douglasville.

Kemp spoke about the history of the bill and key players who helped make it a reality. He added that he bought his daughter her first gun at Gables and that she was carrying it with her at the event.

“A Glock 43, 9mm, which she is carrying today,” Kemp said. “We did that not only because we believe in the Second Amendment but so that Lucy and her sisters, and all Georgians have the right to defend themselves.”

State law previously required a license to carry firearms. People needed to fill out an application in probate court, undergo a background check and pay a fee no higher than $75.

Those permits would still be available – and valuable for gun owners who want to carry guns into other states that recognize Georgia permits.

If you listen closely to the story, he actually says his daughter’s pistol is a Glock 43X. Here’s a comparison of the 43 and the 43x.

From another story on 11Alive:

“Let’s get this done,” Kemp said to a crowd of cheering onlookers outside of a gun store in Douglasville, as he stepped to a table to sign two bills enacting “constitutional carry.”

“This simply allows you not to have to get a piece of paper to legally carry. And look, the criminals are getting the guns anyway,” Kemp told reporters afterward.

Savannah Mayor Van Johnson (D) is not impressed. From WSAV:

Savannah Mayor Van Johnson wants the governor to rethink his decision.

Johnson says he and other Georgia mayors are penning an open letter to Kemp asking him not to sign off on the bill.

“If this bill becomes law, it simply becomes easier for people with a criminal history to purchase a gun through a private sale to carry a weapon in our community without any background check,” said Johnson.

Johnson says lawmakers should be trying to make it more difficult to obtain guns, not easier.

“We’re asking the governor to reconsider his position and not sign this harmful legislation,” the mayor pleaded.

Former United States Senator David Perdue bemoaned the lack of “elite” status for the Georgia State Patrol, according to the AJC.

“We’ve got to get our State Patrol back to the elite level that it always was,” Perdue said. “Somehow it’s been let to deteriorate by a lack of leadership from the governor’s office in the last three years, in my opinion.”

Kemp’s aides cast Perdue’s remarks as another “bizarre” attempt to revive his insurgent campaign, which is lagging in recent polls ahead of the May 24 primary despite Donald Trump’s support.

The unit’s officers, [Kemp] said, prevented Atlanta from “being burned down” during the mass protests for social justice in 2020 while Perdue “was at home in his bed.”

“I’m used to being attacked, especially by people that don’t have their own record to talk about,” Kemp said. “But I’m not gonna allow people to attack the Georgia State Patrol. They are elite men and women that have been serving our state admirably for a long time.”

Glynn County election officials say it will be costly to comply with new state rules, according to The Brunswick News.

Georgia’s elections law overhaul of 2021 required local governments to keep on hand one voting machines per 250 voters. The law made sense in major metro counties, especially in the wake of the 2020 election. In several, voters waited hours in line to cast a ballot in the presidential election.

In what local elections officials think is a kneejerk reaction, the General Assembly passed a raft of voting regulations, including the 250-to-1 voting machine ratio. That might work for larger counties, but for Glynn, that figure is well above what turnout calls for. In fact, some polling places may not even be able to accommodate the number of machines required, county Elections and Registration Director Chris Channell told the board of elections at a Tuesday meeting.

Purchasing enough machines to meet the state requirement would cost just shy of $200,000, Channel told The News following the meeting. That’s well outside the elections board’s contingency fund and would require the Glynn County Commission to approve additional funding in its 2022-2023 fiscal year budget. The request would come right on the heels of the commission’s approval of a $1.7 million overhaul of the old CVS on Gloucester Street to serve as the board’s new office.

The maintenance and warranties on the new machines alone would cost another $23,000 a year, Channell said.

This wouldn’t be necessary if the state legislature had passed a revision to state law requested by many of the 159 Georgia counties that did not have waiting times like those in the major metro counties, said Channell. It would have simply required a nine-word addition to the current law allowing counties to subtract the number of voters who cast a ballot during early voting or by mail when calculating how many machines would be needed at the polls on Election Day.

Speaking of new election rules, the AJC has an explainer on how to apply for an absentee ballot since the General Assembly changed the rules.

Voters can no longer request an absentee ballot online without signing a paper form, meaning they’ll need access to a printer in most circumstances.

A driver’s license number or other form of ID must be provided when applying for an absentee ballot.

Ballots must be requested sooner, and they’ll be mailed to voters closer to election day on May 24, leaving less time for voters to complete them.

And the law now limits ballot drop boxes to in-person early voting locations that close the Friday before election day, eliminating the opportunity to return a ballot at the last minute.

“This is simply making it less convenient for people to get a ballot, and harder for voter registration and election staff to meet those requests,” said Dele Lowman Smith, a Democrat and chairwoman for the DeKalb County elections board. “There is no question in my mind that we’re going to see a significant drop-off in absentee usage.”

State law still allows any registered voter to request an absentee ballot without having to provide a reason.

Dozens marched for voting rights in Savannah, according to WSAV. Dozens.

Tuesday, dozens hit the streets to empower more people to get out and vote ahead of May’s midterm elections.

“That is their God-given right, and we’re in an area where a lot of the civil rights activities took place, and we fought for people to have the right to vote and now it’s being taken from away from us little by little, and if we don’t continue the fight we will lose,” explained Rep. Edna B. Jackson, (D) Georgia District 165.

“I think democracy is on the line, I really do,” explained Nina Altschiller, President of the League of Women Voters of Coastal Georgia. “I think the world is trending towards autocracy, I think what we see happening in Ukraine should give us a wake-up call that we have a very special thing here, it’s called Democratic process, and it’s our obligation and right to vote.”.

The Georgia Primary Election is just six weeks away, it will take place on Tuesday, May 24. Early voting begins on May 2.

There are two Saturdays that you can vote, May 7 and May 14, and one Sunday, May 8, when the polls will be open.

Republican candidate for Agriculture Commissioner Tyler Harper (Ocilla) campaigned in Hamilton, according to WTVM.

The Republican National Committee hosted the event, and people came out to Kae Farm to show their support.

“I’m running for Agriculture Commissioner to be our next Agriculture Commissioner to put our farm family consumer and our producers first,” Harper said.

U.S. Representative Buddy Carter (R-Pooler) continues working to save funding for the Air Dominance Center at Savannah’s Air National Guard Base, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Carter called the decision to close the training center, also know as the Combat Readiness Training Center (CRTC), “ludicrous” as the “potential for World War III” looms.

“When you’re talking about the Savannah CRCT, it’s the most efficient out of the four training centers,” said Carter, referring to the three other CRTCs in Michigan, Wisconsin and Mississippi.

Carter said he wasn’t aware of the considerations behind closing the Savannah CRTC, but said this is what’s being proposed by the Air Force.

“I think what they looked at was just that this would be the easiest one to close, therefore, we’re going to close it,” said Carter.

“We’ve got to go through the budget process ourselves in the House and that’s where we’re going to change minds,” said Carter.

From WSAV:

“Behind me, you see a $24 million dollar investment we’re going to have the ribbon cutting on this in September and they’re closing it in April,” Carter said.

April 2023 would see the end to what Carter says is a dominant training center nationwide.

“We’re right here on the coast, we’ve got air space, the air space to train. Every 22 pilot has been trained right here,” Carter said. “The air space is all the way up from Daytona Beach to Charleston. And that gives us the air space to train all of these different branches of our military, whether it be the Navy, the Marines or the Air Force.”

Carter says this facility is the most utilized around the country but the only one slated for closure. He believes it means fewer, well-trained pilots.

“Here we are potentially on the verge of World War III and they’re talking about closing a Combat Readiness Training Center. It is simply ridiculous,” Carter said.

U.S. Representative Drew Ferguson (R-West Point) toured Columbus business sites, according to WTVM.

He was also the guest speaker at the Muscogee County GOP meeting.

While touring Char-Broil’s global headquarters, there was a lot of talk about the current state of the economy.

“What we’re about to see with food inflation is going to devastating to American families, and it all goes back to the weakness of this Administration and the failed policies,” stated Ferguson.

Republican candidates for Bryan County Board of Education met in a forum sponsored by the county GOP, according to WTOC.

There are four seats up for grabs, chairman, District 1, District 4 and District 5 for the upcoming election.

All Republican candidates were at the Richmond Hill City Center with the exception of Pamela Gunter, who lost her home in last week’s storms.

Each candidate fielded seven questions.

One of the biggest topics centered on Critical Race Theory or CRT.

The Richmond Hill-Bryan County Chamber of Commerce is in the process of planning another event for all candidates.

Local candidates in Athens-Clarke County met in a forum, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

A local nonprofit held a candidate forum Monday night for those running in the Athens-Clarke mayoral, commission and board of education races.

The three-hour forum was split into hour-long sections, starting with candidates for the school board, then the commission and closing with the mayoral hopefuls.

The questions included asking candidates their favorite historical site — where the Morton Theatre came up often — or their thoughts on historic preservation. The most deviation in responses came up during questions about short-term rentals and the creation of ordinances geared toward historic preservation.

Savannah elected officials urged the United States Senate to pass a clean energy bill, according to the Savannah Morning News.

“We know that our Senate has been slow to act on some things. We know on some things they’ve acted with amazing quickness, but it’s time for all of our senators to get on board to follow Savannah’s lead and to finally pass a climate bill,” said Mayor Van Johnson, who was joined by Savannah District 4 Alderman Nick Palumbo and Chatham County District 6 commission Aaron Whitely.

In December the city officially adopted the 100% Savannah Clean Energy Plan, which aims to achieve 100% renewable electricity community-wide by 2035 and 100% renewable energy for all energy needs by 2050.

The plan includes 45 strategies that fall into five categories: energy efficiency; renewable energy; transportation and mobility; community and economic development; and education and engagement.

“In short, we’re not talking about red or blue, we’re talking about green. I think that’s a color that we can all agree on. Green for the environment, green for our economy,” Johnson said.

From WTOC:

They asked lawmakers in D.C. to approve 550-billion-dollars in climate investments.

“We really need help from our federal partners. We’ve taken a 100% clean energy pledge, but really for the massive infrastructure we need to upgrade and improve, including our electrical lines, our charging stations and what’s needed to bring us into the 21st century we need our federal partners to help us out,” Alderman Nick Palumbo said.

They say switching to clean energy could bring nearly 110-thousand new jobs to Georgia over the next five years.

Waynesboro Mayor Greg Carswell pled guilty to four felonies, according to WRDW.

Carswell pled guilty to Identity Fraud, Theft by Taking, Theft by Deception, and 2nd Degree Forgery, according to the Bulloch County Clerk’s Office of the Superior Court.

[In May 2021], Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Friday signed an executive order suspending Waynesboro Mayor Gregory Carswell, who’s been indicted on suspicion of identity fraud, theft by deception, and forgery.

In July 2020, Carswell’s arrest was reported in Bulloch County on suspicion of several charges related to theft by deception and identity theft charges, according to law enforcement.

From WJBF:

Governor Brian Kemp issued an executive order March 28th, 2021, suspending Carswell from his elected office as mayor of Waynesboro.

No word if/when he’ll be reinstated as mayor.

First, it was May of 2021 when Gov. Kemp suspended Mayor Carswell. Second, I wouldn’t bet on his being reinstated.

Eleven possible new names for Fort Benning are being proposed, according to WTVM.

Major General Patrick Donahoe stopped by the city council today to let the community know of the 11 possible names that could replace Fort Benning within the next year or so.

“It is no choice of any local individuals. It is we in the united states army following federal law,” said Donahoe. “The commission will make a recommendation on one October 2022, and that is during the fiscal year 2023, the decision will be solidified. What exact date within the fiscal year I’m not sure of. We’ve invited members of the community and representatives across the Chattahoochee Valley to make sure we have diversity in the naming process.”

After Donahoe’s presentation at the city council, District 9 Councilor Judy Thomas said to Donahoe, “This issue is one that’s near and dear to our hearts. We’ll probably call it Fort Benning for the next generation anyway because that’s how we do things.”

Albany transit had to cut a bus route due to staffing shortages, according to WALB.

While Albany’s transit center is being built and moved close to downtown, the city is having issues finding drivers. They had to cut one route this week for that reason. Routes are back open, but it may not be the last time this happens.

The transportation director said the blue line transit is one of the first routes they shut down, and the only way it starts back up depends on staffing.

“We’re trying to be creative. We’re trying to attract new people, but it’s very competitive out there right now with CDL drivers,” said Hamilton.

David Hamilton, Albany’s transportation director says typically they have a little more than 20 full-time drivers and eight part-time. Now they have 12 full-time and two part-time drivers.

William “Bill” Fallon was named sole finalist for Glynn County Manager, according to The Brunswick News.

He replaces Alan Ours, who was released from his contract in April 2021 after he tendered his six-month resignation notice earlier in the year.

A search for a new manager was held last year, but commissioners did not support either of the finalists recommended last summer by a consultant.

They offered the job to Glynn County Tax Commissioner Jeff Chapman in a 4-3 vote, but he and commissioners were unable to reach an agreement, leading to Stewart being hired on a interim basis.


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