Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 4, 2016


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 4, 2016

Georgia began its love affair with the regulation of what can and cannot be sold on April 3, 1735, when James Oglethorpe, founder of the colony, helped gain passage of “An Act to prevent the Importation and Use of Rum and Brandies in the Province of Georgia.” The act provided that after June 24, 1735, “no Rum, Brandies, Spirits or Strong Waters” shall be imported into Georgia.” Permission was also required to sell beer, wine, and ale.

On April 3, 1776, the Continental Congress authorized “privateers” holding a letter of marque and reprisal to attack British ships. This essentially legalizes what would otherwise be considered piracy. Issuing letters of marque and reprisal is among the enumerated powers of Congress under Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, though they have seldom been used. Thus, I hope to someday see the Jolly Roger flying at Tea Party rallies alongside the Gadsden flag.

President William Henry Harrison died in office on April 4, 1841, a month after his inauguration.

At the inauguration of America’s first Whig president, on March 4, 1841, a bitterly cold day, Harrison declined to wear a jacket or hat, made a two-hour speech, and attended three inauguration balls. Soon afterward, he developed pneumonia. On April 4, President Harrison died in Washington, and Vice President John Tyler ascended to the presidency, becoming the first individual in U.S. history to reach the office through the death of a president.

On April 3, 1898, President William McKinley called on Georgians to contribute 3000 volunteers for the Spanish-American War.

The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., accompanied by Georgians Hosea Williams and Ralph D. Abernathy, was in Memphis, Tennessee, supporting a strike by sanitation workers on April 3, 1968. He delivered what is known as the “Mountaintop Speech.” On April 4, 1968 King was shot in Memphis. James Earl Ray would later be arrested and plead guilty to the assassination.

“[L]ike anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land. So I’m happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”

On April 4, 1974, Hank Aaron hit home run 714, tying Babe Ruth’s record.

On April 4, 1988, the Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly was recognized as the official state butterfly of Georgia.

The Atlanta Braves played their first game in Turner Field on April 4, 1997, defeating the Chicago Cubs 5-4. Denny Neagle started on the mound for the Braves and Mark Wohlers earned a save. Atlanta’s Michael Tucker hit the first homerun in the new stadium.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Legislation awaits Governor’s signature

Voters on both sides of the guns on campus debate are waiting for an indication whether Governor Deal will sign campus carry legislation passed by the General Assembly.

Rep. Buzz Brockway, a Republican from Lawrenceville, co-sponsored the bill, but said he did not want to predict which way the governor would lean.

Brockway also said he did not think the veto of the religious exemption bill earlier this week would weigh into Deal’s decision.

“I don’t think folks like retribution, or revenge in politics, so if he chooses to disagree, we will just roll up our sleeves and work harder,” he said.

House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams said she could not speculate on a reaction from Deal’s supporters on the right, but said the core group that lobbied for the bill would be impacted. She then said that the bill was not brought to the table by the entirety of the Republican base in the House, but by a smaller special interest group.

“I can say (Deal) raised some thoughtful and important concerns expressed both by House and Senate Democrats about the expansive nature of the legislation,” said Abrams, D-Atlanta. “There is no urgency to the passage of this bill.”

Legislation to reduce the burden of testing on teachers and students was passed by the state legislature and takes its place on the waiting list for Gov. Deal’s signature or veto.

The legislation passed by the General Assembly would cut the number of required tests from 32 to 24 and would reduce the percentage those test results make up of a teacher’s evaluation from 50 percent to 30 percent. The bill also reduces the effect on administrators’ evaluations from 70 percent to 40 percent.

The legislation would cut the number of required tests by eight. Reductions in Milestones tests would be for science and social studies at the third, fourth, sixth and seventh grades.

One of the immediate questions is what replaces that 20 percent of the evaluation that was based on test results.

“What is the growth measurement for that seventh-grade social studies teacher who no longer has tests results” that are as large a chunk of the evaluation, Ray asked.

Bell and Ray said that question has been raised with the state Department of Education, but answers are not expected until after Deal signs or vetoes the bill.

The reduction in the percentage that test results count toward a teacher’s evaluation also are likely to be more accepted than the 50 percent in current law, Bales said. He said most comments he has heard agree the 30 percent that test results would count in the evaluation “are relatively fair numbers.”

State Rep. Brett Harrell has three bills on Gov. Deal’s desk awaiting signature.

House Bill 935 would let referendums be held on creating exemptions to ad valorem taxes on fulfillment centers in an effort to attract online merchants.

House Bill 936 would require employers to pay workers in newly created positions more than the average salary of the county with the lowest such average to receive tax breaks on those jobs. It also creates a tax credit for companies that hire parolees.

House Bill 937 would add three years on to the sunset for sales and use tax exemptions given out for construction projects that have regional significance.

“This tax package will benefit all Georgia citizens, ranging from those hiring parolees, to enhanced job opportunities for individuals exiting incarceration, to the creation of 1,800 new Georgia jobs and a capital investment of roughly $650 million through the sunset tax extension,” Harrell said in a statement.

House Bill 402 by State Rep. Eddie Lumsden (R-Rome) will give business owners a 5% discount on workers compensation premiums if they participate in an apprenticeship program with local schools.

“The problem always is getting enough businesses to partner with the students,” Lumsden said. “It works well for 18-year-olds, but it’s hard for them to take on 16- and 17-year-olds because of workers comp issues.”

Locally, dozens of Floyd County Schools students get to have hands-on, real-world working experience every year through the Floyd County College and Career Academy’s work-based learning program.

The bill, now awaiting the signature of Gov. Nathan Deal, caps the premium discount at $2,500, but Lumsden said it should be enough to alleviate employers’ concerns about safety.

“The more partners we can have in the program, the more opportunity we can provide for our students,” he said. “A lot of kids — unless you get them engaged and involved, thinking about work and where their skills and interests lie — they’re behind when they graduate from high school.”

Lumsden, who has no opposition in November for a new four-year term, said he maintains an interest in encouraging work-based learning.

Last week, Governor Deal signed five local bills. You can monitor the bills he signs or vetos by clicking here.

Local Issues

At Morehouse School of Medicine last week, United States EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said she wants her agency to be known as a out-of-control bureaucratic job-killing machine “public health agency.”

Gwinnett County will hire and train several thousand poll workers for the upcoming May 24, 2016 Primary Elections, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

“We have several busy elections ahead of us and with more than 150 polling precincts in the county, it will take several thousand poll officials to staff just one election,” [Gwinnett County Elections Director Lynn] Ledford said in a statement.

There are certain criteria a person must meet to be a poll official. They include being at least 16, a U.S. citizen, a resident of the county, not having a felony conviction on their record, never having been declared mentally incompetent by a judge and be able to read, write and speak English.

Transportation is a must, as is computer access so they can go through an online training program.

They will also be expected to work a 14-hour day, beginning at 6 a.m., on election days and to take advantage of advance or absentee voting. Although they could be assigned to their home precinct if possible, assignments are based on vacancies and no guarantee is made that a person will be assigned to their voting precinct.

Attorney General Sam Olens fined the Hospital Authority of Valdosta and Lowndes County $500 for violating the Open Meetings Act and will require board members to undergo training in state transparency laws.

Former Carroll County Commission Chair Bill Chappell, trying to make a comeback against incumbent Marty Smith, who beat Chappell in 2012, will not participate in a debate hoted by the League of Women Voters.

“Oh I am very much able to participate,” said Chappell. “I’ve participated in many forums in the past and they are worthless. The incumbent needs to go there and explain why he hasn’t done anything. I have no intention of going there and attacking him. When you go there, you’ll see it’s not many people and they are already predetermined. They can judge me on what I have done in the past or judge the other candidate on what he has not done.”

On Friday morning, a tornado hit Warner Robins and a State of Emergency was declared.

Presidential Politics

Donald J. Trump wants Ohio Governor John Kasich to drop out of the presidential primary, according to the Associated Press.

Trump said it wasn’t fair for Kasich, who has won only his home state, to continue his campaign. He suggested instead that Kasich, who has pledged to make it to the summer convention, follow the example of Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush — candidates who quit after lagging behind.

“He doesn’t have to run and take my votes,” he said.

“I said, ‘Why is a guy allowed to run?’ All he’s doing is just he goes from place to place and loses,” Trump told reporters at Miss Katie’s Diner in Milwaukee, where he stopped for breakfast. The state holds its presidential primaries Tuesday.

This weekend, North Dakota Republicans chose 25 delegates (the ND STate Party Chair, Republican National Committeewoman and Committeeman are also delegates) to the National Convention, all of whom are unbound to any candidate. Of the 25 delegates chosen, 18 appeared on a slate promoted by the Ted Cruz campaign.

Details on the next steps in delegate selection for Georgia are trickling out. Over the weekend, an email from the Athens-Clarke County Republican Party contained details.

The Tenth District “CALL” letters have been mailed to all Delegates and Alternates to the Tenth District Convention. They should be arriving in your mailbox early next week.

However, the deadlines for submitting Nominations to be a Delegate/Alternate to the National Convention, and submitting Resolutions and Rules has been set for Thursday, April 7th.

Presidential Delegate/Alternate Slots:

The presidential delegate/alternate slots for the tenth congressional district have already been determined by the 2016 presidential preference primary.

There are a total of three delegate and three alternate slots in the tenth congressional district. The only available delegate/alternate slots to run for are as follows:

Two (2) delegates and two (2) alternates for Donald Trump

One (1) delegate and one (1) alternate for Marco Rubio

You cannot run to be a delegate/alternate for any other candidate. This is based on the rules and laws regarding the 2016 Georgia presidential primary as established by the Georgia GOP.

What Will Be Required Of Each Applicant?

1.) Letter of intent: why should you be chosen as a delegate/alternate to represent the tenth district GOP?

2.) Up-to-date political bio/resume: detailed description of your involvement in the Republican Party

3.) Eight copies of the documents listed in items #1 & #2.

4.) Send copies to:

Tenth District Republican Party
Nominating Committee
PO Box 933
Greensboro, GA 30642

5.) Documents must be received by April 7th

7.) Be prepared to be interviewed in person by the committee on a date(s), and time, and location as determined by the chair of nominating committee

What Will Be Required Of Each Delegate/Alternate Once Elected By The Convention Delegates At The Tenth District Convention?:

1.) You will be responsible for all the costs related to the 2016 national convention. This includes convention fees, transportation to and from Cleveland, Ohio. All food expenses, incidental, and entertainment expenses. All hotel fees, parking fees, tips, baggage fees and any costs associated with your stay in Cleveland.

2.) These fees have been guesstimated to be anywhere between
$4,000-$6,000. Please note this is only a guess. Regardless of the amount, you are 100% responsible for all your costs associated with the 2016 national convention.

3.) The tenth district gop will not be providing any delegates/alternates with any financial assistance

4.) You must stay in the hotel designated for the Georgia delegation. You cannot stay at you’re “uncle bob’s house” in Cleveland. The hotel has not yet been determined.

I would expect similar processes to be in place in most Districts. This probably favors Ted Cruz, as his campaign appears to have the most extensive delegate whip organization in Georgia. Under Georgia Republican Party rules, delegates are unbound after the first ballot at the Republcian National Convention.

Gwinnett County Democrats will select delegates to the Democratic National Convention on April 16, 2016.

Delegates must be registered to vote in their respective congressional district, be a Democrat and declare which presidential candidate — Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders — they want to pick delegates for.

The Seventh district delegates will be picked during a meeting from 9 a.m. until noon at Norcross High School, 5300 Spalding Dr., in Norcross. The county party said this district will have four delegates, to be split between two men and two women.

Three of them will be voting for Clinton while the other will vote for Sanders, based on the results of the March 1 presidential primary.

Meanwhile, the Fourth District delegates will be picked at Stronghold Christian Church, 724 Rock Chapel Road in Lithonia. Registration runs from 10 a.m. until noon. This district has six delegates, which will be split three women and three men.

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