Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 29, 2018


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 29, 2018

General Robert E. Lee’s Confederates met General John Pope’s federal forces at the Second Battle of Manassas on August 29, 1862.

Union General William T. Sherman’s forces tore up 12 miles of railroad between Red Oak and Fairburn on August 29, 1864.

The United States Air Force Academy moved to its permanent home in Colorado Springs on August 29, 1958

The Beatles played their final concert at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park on August 29, 1966.

On August 29, 1971, Hank Aaron broke the National League record for most seasons with 100 or more RBI, as he drove in his 100th run to make 11 seasons hitting that mark.

On August 29, 1977, Lou Brock stole his 893d base, to surpass the record set by Georgia-born Ty Cobb.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Republican Brian Kemp said he will veto religious liberty legislation that differs from the federal statute, according to the AJC.

Speaking to a crowd of hundreds of hotel and hospitality industry officials at a Tuesday forum in Atlanta, Kemp said he would only sign a “mirror image” of the federal Religious Freedom and Restoration Act that became law in 1993.

“It’s time to do that, put that behind us so we can move on. It’s the same bill Nathan Deal voted on when he was in Congress,” he said. “That’s all I’m committing to do. Anything else, I’ll veto it.”

Abrams, who spoke to the Governor’s Tourism Conference shortly before Kemp, sharpened her opposition. She said no religious liberty bill “will ever become law in the state of Georgia” – including the measure Kemp has pledged to sign.

“No matter what you hear, there’s no necessity for this legislation in Georgia. And the notion that we can hearken back to 1993 ignores the very strong difference between then and now,” said Abrams.

Kemp campaigned in Coweta County, according to the Newnan Times-Herald.

Brian Kemp visited Coweta County on Tuesday, with a campaign stop at Sprayberry’s Barbecue on Jackson Street. Kemp is the Republican nominee for governor, and will face Democrat Stacey Abrams Nov. 6.

Kemp said one of his hopes is to improve the literacy levels in schools.

“Sixty-five percent of kids are not reading at grade level by third grade,” he said. During his time in Newnan, Kemp stopped at Elm Street Elementary School to understand local control on security and “to know what best to do in schools and what needs to be done.

“My opponent wants big government,” said Kemp, an advocate for smaller, streamlined government. “She wants to use tax dollars for universal health care and other government programs.”

The Dalton Daily Citizen writes about the strategy being followed by Democrat Stacey Abrams.

Abrams is not venturing into communities such as Fitzgerald, Valdosta, Camilla, Donalsonville and Dalton in hopes of wooing back disaffected Democrats who have bolted for the Republican Party.

“We have to run in every county no matter where we are because I want every vote that I can get,” Abrams said while in Dalton earlier this month. “But my job isn’t to flip every single county. It’s to get as many voters as I can from every single place.”

“It would take a substantial new pot of Democratic voters to really make the election in play, if you will,” said Trey Hood, a political science professor at the University of Georgia.

Abrams’ strategy is a challenging one that hinges not only on registering new voters but also keeping supporters motivated to show up in force on Nov. 6. Turnout among new voters, who have not yet made casting a ballot a habit, can be especially unpredictable. The deadline to register is Oct. 9.

Abrams appears to be undaunted by such skepticism. She points to a shrinking margin of victory for Republicans in gubernatorial races since 2006, a pool of voters who may lean to the left but who do not usually show up at the polls and a surge in voters who pulled a Democratic ballot during this year’s primary. There are also six legislative districts that Abrams helped flip, including one in south Georgia.

“It is not that this is a Republican state,” Abrams said. “It is that those who share Democratic values have not lifted their voices sufficiently in recent years, and my mission is to make certain they hear my message.”

Stacey Abrams also campaigned in Fitzgerald, according to the Union-Recorder.

“I’ve been trying to get to all 159 counties and I’ve been questioning myself because I don’t know why I didn’t start here first,” Abrams said.

“Fitzgerald is Georgia,” she said. “This is a community that has learned how to bring east and west, north and south together.”

Abrams was referring to Fitzgerald’s founding as a community for Civil War veterans, both Union and Confederate. The founder, Philander H. Fitzgerald, was a Union pension attorney from Indianapolis seeking warmer climates to build a new home in and advertised the land specifically to soldiers and veterans.

Issues related to healthcare and Medicaid, job development, quality public education and getting rural areas access to technology have been major talking points for Abrams throughout her campaign and she reiterated them at this stop.

Congressman Buddy Carter (R-Pooler) spoke to the St Simons Rotary Club, according to The Brunswick News.

“Now, there are 12 different appropriations bills that have to be passed,” Carter said. “Thus far, the House has passed six of them. The Senate, to their credit, has passed seven — I think it’s seven they’ve passed thus far.

“What we will probably do when we get back is we’ll take those six bills that we’ve already passed, and we’ll do what we call ‘minibuses’ — take them and combine them together, and then we’ll take the other six departments, the other six appropriations, and then we’ll probably do a continuing resolution, which none of us want to do, but we may have to do that. But, we’ll put it together with that minibus and then we’ll work out our differences with the Senate.”

“Our fiscal year in the federal government runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30,” Carter said. “Therefore, we’ve got to get an appropriations bill on the president’s desk before Sept. 30, or the government shuts down. None of us want the government to shut down — I’m very confident that is not going to happen. But we have to get those appropriations bills to the president and get them signed.”

The General Assembly’s Joint Study Commission on Low THC Medical Oil Access meets today from 1 PM to 3:30 PM in State Capitol Room 341, according to the Newnan Times-Herald.

It’s one of five official meetings that the committee will hold. The purpose of the first meeting is to hear testimony from patients, parents and organizations who either support or oppose the expansion of patient access to medical cannabis oil.

State Sen. Matt Brass, R-Newnan, is co-chairman of the commission, and Troup county parent Dale Jackson is one of four citizen members on the commission.

“We look forward to hearing updates from Georgia patients regarding the effectiveness of treatments, as well as any difficulties or roadblocks individuals have experienced while trying to obtain this medicine now available to Georgia patients through their state issued I.D.,” Brass said.

Gwinnett County election officials are tallying the cost of a March 2019 transit referendum, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Requests for the elections division was made during the Gwinnett County Department of Community Services’ business plan presentation to county commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash’s citizens budget review committee. In all, the elections budget is $3.25 million for regular operations and a possible federal election runoff in January.

But how much the MARTA referendum — which has been speculated in the past to possibly cost about $500,000 — will cost hasn’t been determined yet.

“There was going to be a referendum in March,” Nash said. “It was either going to be our transit referendum or it was going to be the school system’s bond referendum, so the tax payers were going to pay for a referendum in March no matter which way it went.

“The school system lucks out because they get to do theirs in November so the cost of that March referendum will come from the county’s budget rather than the school system’s budget.”

Lexus lane tolls hit a new high yesterday, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

In just over a week since the State Road and Tollway Authority introduced new toll rates on express lanes around metro Atlanta, the lanes on I-85 have hit $15.50 for a full trip between Old Peachtree Road and Shallowford Road on three occasions. It’s a new record price for use the lanes for their entire stretch on I-85.

The first time was in the northbound lane, during the afternoon commute last Thursday, according to a SRTA spokesperson. It was first matched on Monday and then matched again Tuesday morning.

The National Park Service announced that Savannah’s Historic District is threatened, according to the Savannah Morning News.

A department memo regarding the district’s downgrade from a “satisfactory” status notes that instead of restoring the historic downtown street pattern by opening up West Oglethorpe Lane, the city’s arts center is being built over the former roadway.

“The principal historic feature of the district is the Savannah Town Plan designed by James Oglethorpe in the 1730s,” NPS officials said in a press release concerning the change.

The decision to drop the district’s condition comes after the department conducted a comprehensive study, site visits, public meetings, and a public comment period. In this case, “threatened” refers to the possibility that the Historic District’s character may be lost, not that the landmark designation may be revoked, according to NPS officials.

“The Savannah National Historic Landmark District remains a national treasure and we look forward to assisting the community in continued preservation efforts,” Cynthia Walton, Southeast Regional Office National Historic Landmark program manager, said in a statement. “By having this information, the community can better understand and protect the unique character of the Historic District that makes it such a special place to live in and visit.”

Hall County is working with local municipalities on a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax extension, according to AccessWDUN.

Officials from Hall County and a number of cities met Monday in Flowery Branch to give updates on projects and developments in a joint municipality meeting.

The meeting began with an update on Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax VII, which county Financial Assets Manager Tim Sims said has been drawing in more money than expected over the last three years. He said the tax has brought in 6.2 percent more funds so far in 2018 than projected, and 4.41 percent more than projected since it began in 2015.

Hall County Administrator Jock Connell spoke after the presentation, thanking the cities for their support of the SPLOST.

“One of the things that we want to make sure that we do is to…is that we as the county work with all the cities in the county to make sure we do everything we possibly can to set the stage for SPLOST VIII,” Connell said.

Savannah City Council will take up the sale of two buildings in its next meeting, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree did a Facebook Live interview with the Augusta Chronicle.

Vanessa Flucas is resigning her seat on the Valdosta Board of Education, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

Temple City Council adopted the rollback millage rate for property taxes, according to the Times-Georgian.

The Baldwin County Board of Education adopted the same property tax millage rate for FY 2019 as was levied the prior year, according to the Union-Recorder.

Roswell City Council adopted a property tax hike, according to the AJC.

A divided Roswell City Council approved a millage rate of 4.955 mills for FY 2019 property taxes, a 4.6 percent tax increase over the prior year.

The council voted 4-2 to approve the rate, with Council Members Michael Palermo and Marcelo Zapata casting the opposing votes. Earlier, the council voted 2-4 to reject a motion by Zapata, seconded by Palermo, to reduce the rate to 4.085 mills. The approved rate is 0.500 mills lower than the 5.455 mills of last year.

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