Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 18, 2018


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 18, 2018

On April 18, 1775, Paul Revere and William Dawes mounted up on horseback to warn of British troops on their way to confiscate American arms and to warn patriots Samuel Adams and John Hancock, who the British sought to capture.

By 1775, tensions between the American colonies and the British government had approached the breaking point, especially in Massachusetts, where Patriot leaders formed a shadow revolutionary government and trained militias to prepare for armed conflict with the British troops occupying Boston. In the spring of 1775, General Thomas Gage, the British governor of Massachusetts, received instructions from Great Britain to seize all stores of weapons and gunpowder accessible to the American insurgents. On April 18, he ordered British troops to march against Concord and Lexington.

The Boston Patriots had been preparing for such a British military action for some time, and, upon learning of the British plan, Revere and Dawes set off across the Massachusetts countryside. They took separate routes in case one of them was captured….

About 5 a.m. on April 19, 700 British troops under Major John Pitcairn arrived at the town to find a 77-man-strong colonial militia under Captain John Parker waiting for them on Lexington’s common green. Pitcairn ordered the outnumbered Patriots to disperse, and after a moment’s hesitation, the Americans began to drift off the green. Suddenly, the “shot heard around the world” was fired from an undetermined gun, and a cloud of musket smoke soon covered the green. When the brief Battle of Lexington ended, eight Americans lay dead and 10 others were wounded; only one British soldier was injured. The American Revolution had begun.

President William H. Taft learned on April 18, 1912 of the death of his military aide, Major Archibald Butts of Augusta, Georgia on RMS Titanic.

The honeybee was recognized as the official state insect of Georgia on April 18, 1975.

On April 18, 2006, Governor Sonny Perdue signed legislation establishing February 6 of each year as “Ronald Reagan Day” in Georgia and celebrating the date of President Reagan’s birth.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal announced yesterday that a tentative agreement has been reached between Piedmont Healthcare and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia.

“A handshake agreement between Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia and Piedmont Healthcare was made in the governor’s office late this afternoon. Announcement of an agreement in the form of a contract will be made by the contracting parties as soon as possible. This deal ensures no interruption of coverage for Georgians using Piedmont Healthcare as a provider during the contract dispute.”

Charlie Walker, Jr. won the runoff election for Richmond County Board of Education District 7, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Walker garnered 725 votes (67.8 percent) of 1,072 ballots cast in the runoff with Elliott Melvin Brown, a postal trainer and combat veteran. Brown received 344 votes for 32.2 percent.

Turnout was low as expected in the single-contest election, with only 6.8 percent or 1,072 of District 7′s 15,738 registered voters casting ballots.

The National Rifle Association has endorsed Republican State Senator David Shafer’s campaign for Lieutenant Governor, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Shafer’s campaign announced the NRA endorsement Monday. It’s not the first time the NRA, which has found itself at the center of the school violence and gun safety debate, has recognized Shafer. Five years ago, he received the NRA Institute for Legislative Action’s Defender of Freedom award.

“David Shafer is a voice for freedom and faithful friend to Georgia’s law abiding gun owners,” NRA Political Victory Fund’s Chairman Chris Cox said. “This endorsement is a reflection of his unwavering support for the Second Amendment.”

Shafer’s campaign said the longtime senator received a letter from Cox in which the chairman told him “Nearly every Second Amendment bill in the last 16 years has had your name attached to it.”

The University System of Georgia Board of Regents voted not to raise tuition for the next academic year, according to the AJC.

USG officials cited budget increases recently approved by Gov. Nathan Deal and state lawmakers, in part, as the reason for not raising tuition. The budget for the coming fiscal year, which begins July 1, is approximately $2.43 billion, about $115 million more that the current total.

The board approved 14 fee increases at nine institutions. The increases are $3 to $31 per semester.

USG Chancellor Steve Wrigley has emphasized making its colleges and universities more affordable in response to frequent criticism in recent years about tuition and fees. A 2016 state audit found a 77 percent increase in the cost of attending a state college or university in the prior 10 years.

Georgia Supreme Court Presiding Justice Harold D. Melton has been elected Chief Justice by his colleagues, according to the Albany Herald.

Presiding Justice Harold D. Melton has been unanimously elected as the new chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court, succeeding Chief Justice P. Harris Hines. The court has also unanimously elected Justice David E. Nahmias to become the new presiding justice.

Hines, who was appointed to the court in 1995 by then-Gov. Zell Miller, plans to retire Aug. 31. Both justices will be sworn into their new positions in a ceremony at the Georgia House of Representatives chambers on Sept. 4.

The chief justice is the spokesperson for the court as well as for the entire judiciary, presiding over oral arguments and running meetings in which the court deliberates about cases. He or she serves one four-year term and also chairs the Georgia Judicial Council — the policy-making body for the judicial branch that is made up of the president of the State Bar in Georgia and 26 judges who represent the appellate courts and all classes of trial courts in the state.

Greg Bluestein of the AJC covered a gubernatorial debate sponsored by the National Federation of Independent Business.

Some of the Republican candidates for Governor attended a forum in Cherokee County last night, according to the Cherokee Tribune & Ledger News.

Eddie Hayes, Hunter Hill, Clay Tippins and Marc Urbach attended the forum. Secretary of State Brian Kemp, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Sen. Michael Williams, R-Cumming declined their invitations to the night’s forum.

Republican candidates for Lieutenant Governor also appeared in Cherokee County.

Two of the three Republican lieutenant gubernatorial candidates introduced themselves to Cherokee residents Monday night at a forum hosted by local GOP organizations at downtown Canton’s Historic Courthouse. The forum for gubernatorial candidates followed.

Sen. David Shafer, R-Duluth and [another candidate] attended the night’s forum. Rick Jeffares declined an invitation.

Shafer, president pro tem of the state Senate, opened with the acknowledgement of general platform uniformity for Republican candidates for elected office.

“It’s interesting to me that every Republican candidate at every level says basically the same things,” he said. “And it’s got to be confusing to those of you who’ve got to make up your mind… What I would encourage you to do is look carefully at the records we’ve compiled while in public office.”

Shafer said his 16 years’ service in the state Senate, work to end continuation budgeting, limit income tax hikes and his endorsements from the National Rifle Association and Georgia Right to Life show that he is the most qualified candidate for lieutenant governor.

Columbus Mayoral candidate Zeph Baker‘s residency has been challenged by rival candidate Beth Harris, and the decision to keep on the ballot has led to an appeal in Superior Court, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

Her appeal is to Muscogee Superior Court, which will hold a hearing to review the Muscogee County Board of Elections and Registrations’ April 5 decision not to disqualify Baker for filing a homestead exemption on a residence in Newnan, Ga., where Baker said his wife Sharon Cosby lives.

Baker maintains his primary residence remains 1091 Bolton Court, the address listed on his notice of candidacy.

The Augusta City Commission is moving forward on an ordinance for smoke-free workplaces, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Mayor Pro Tem Mary Davis, who had voted against a previous ordinance, made a motion to have city legal staff work with members of the Breatheasy Augusta coalition on creating a new, tougher smoking ordinance and bringing it back to a commission committee on May 8. That motion passed 8-1-1, with Commissioner Wayne Guilfolyle voting no and Commissioner Marion Williams abstaining.

“This I think is definitely more doable,” Davis said, thanking members of the coalition for working with commissioners and others on shaping the proposal.

[Commissioners] Guilfoyle and Williams raised familiar objections that such an ordinance would trample private property rights. Williams said he had no problem with banning smoking in government buildings.

Bibb County schools will receive $1 million dollars as part of a settlement over allegedly fraudulent purchases made under former Superintendent Romain Dallemand, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Statesboro City Council was forced to cancel a meeting due to a lack of quorum, according to the Statesboro Herald.

Glynn County’s Finance Committee recommended spending $93k on renovations of the tax commissioner’s office, according to The Brunswick News.

Orange Crush hits Tybee Island this year, with locals prepared with an alcohol ban, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Orange Crush, Tybee Island’s biggest unofficial celebration, is set to begin this weekend despite the city government’s attempts to dissuade the college-aged masses from visiting the small island community.

Tybee Mayor Jason Buelterman said Orange Crush’s lack of permits, leadership and structure puts undue pressure on Tybee’s government.

In an attempt to curb attendance, Tybee’s city council introduced legislation in 2017 that banned the consumption of alcohol and the playing of amplified music in public spaces during two weekends in April – which is usually when Orange Crush is held. City Council voted this March to reinstate the ban for 2018.

Buelterman said the ban is in place to keep both spring breakers and Tybee residents safe. In January, he went to city council with a proposal to extend the ban to include March 12-16 – when most schools within the University System of Georgia have their spring breaks.

An Osprey chick in The Landings on Skidaway Island can now be viewed via webcam, according to the Savannah Morning News.

At 6:12 [Sunday] morning, the Osprey couple nesting in a dead pine tree on Skidaway Island welcomed their first chick into the world,” wrote volunteer camera operator Mary Lambright on the Youtube clip of the event.

Bald eagles originally built the nest the ospreys now occupy, high in an aging loblolly pine on a golf course. Skidaway Audubon partnered with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to set up the video cameras in 2014 in the hopes of capturing eagles raising their brood. Instead, great horned owls took over the nest and raised owlets in the spring of 2015 and again in 2016. Last year, it was the ospreys’ turn. A pair of these large slender hawks with 6-foot wingspans produced three eggs in the nest last year. But only one hatched and that chick died shortly after an intruding osprey stepped on it with its razor-sharp talons. Now it looks like the same pair is back, trying again.

You can view the ospreys here or here.

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