Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 5, 2015


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 5, 2015

On August 5, 1774, Royal Governor James Wright issued a proclamation banning assemblies to protest British policy.

President Abraham Lincoln imposed the first federal income tax on August 5, 1861 at the rate of 3 percent on all income over $800 per year.

On August 5, 1910, Gov. Joseph Brown signed legislation outlawing betting on election outcomes.

The caravan transporting 43 ounces of gold from Dahlonega to the State Capitol to be used in gilding the dome arrived in Roswell/Sandy Springs area on August 5, 1958. At the current price of $1291.80 per ounce, that would be worth $55,547.40.

President Ronald Reagan began the process of firing all striking Air Traffic Controllers on August 5, 1981.

Divers raised the turret of USS Monitor near Cape Hatteras on August 5, 2002.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

JMD Gov Deal Kids

Last night, Governor and Mrs. Deal headlined a fundraiser/GOTV reception in Brookhaven for J. Max Davis.

Nancy Jester GovDeal

Sheri Gilligan will be sworn in as State Representative for the 24th District later today.

Bibb County voters will go to the polls on November 3, 2015 to vote on the continuation of the 1-cent ESPLOST sales tax. The Bibb County Board of Education also voted to keep the property tax millage rate for schools the same.

Georgia State School Superintendent Richard Woods toured Veterans High School and held a Town Hall at Warner Robins High School, both in Houston County.

One of the main themes of Woods’ talk at the forum was the need to customize the educational process for each student as much as possible.

“I think every child is unique,” he said. “I like to look at every child, really, as individual works of art.”

Part of the realization that “one size does not fit all” in education means taking a closer look at the structure of the core subject paths, particularly at the high school level. For example, Woods said that computer science might be more relevant as a science option than one of the traditional courses if students want to work in the ever-growing technology industry.

Another facet is decreasing the emphasis on and changing the approach to testing. Woods said the current model is more of an “autopsy” approach as students’ knowledge is measured at the end of the year, instead of a “diagnostic” method that would measure growth throughout the year.

“So we are looking at how we test and what we test,” he said.

He also addressed a question about the Opportunity School District proposed by Gov. Nathan Deal and approved by state legislators, which would allow a state agency to take control of schools that score poorly on the College and Career Ready Performance Index. While Woods said he had no opinion either way on the proposal, he approved of local-level governance and would make it a priority to correct the “perpetual state of struggling” in some schools and districts.

“My job, if this were to come to fruition, is to put that organization out of business,” he said.

The proposal will be put to a statewide vote in 2016. Like with issues of teacher pension and benefits, he urged educators to make their voices heard by voting and contacting legislators.

“Teachers, you can and should have a large voice,” he said.


Carbon Rules to Impact Georgia Ratepayers

The Obama Environmental Protection Agency’s new Clean Power Plan will require a 25% reduction in carbon emissions by Georgia power providers by 2030, according to The Augusta Chronicle.

Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division said Monday’s proposal, unlike a draft released earlier this year, credits the state for investing in nuclear energy.

“I am pleased to see that the final rule does not penalize the foresight of the energy sector and the Public Service Commission in Georgia for investing in and building new nuclear generation capacity,” said Judson Turner, the state agency’s director.

“To do so would have sent exactly the wrong message to states and utilities that have proactively planned for and developed a diverse energy portfolio,” he said.

Georgia Public Service Commission Chair Chuck Eaton (R) wins the quote of the week.

After Georgia officials beseeched the Environmental Protection Agency, the state got more breathing room under the standards that were first proposed more than a year ago. As a result, Georgia Power’s massive investment in nuclear energy at Plant Vogtle near Augusta will help the state meet the requirements.

Georgia Public Service Commissioner Chuck Eaton said he “appreciated” the EPA’s shifts, but he still thinks the agency is overstepping its bounds and electric rates will go up.

“Some of these folks in Washington are trying to put the word out there that somehow this is going to decrease electric rates, which is really just a bunch of phooey,” said Eaton, a Republican.

More than a dozen states sued the EPA based on the proposed rule, but Georgia was not among them. Now that the plan is final, Georgia is expected to challenge it in court.

United States Senators Johnny Isakson and David Perdue also weighed in on the EPA rule, according to the Albany Herald.

“The Obama Administration continues to pursue policies that will raise the cost of living for hardworking taxpayers, this new rule being the latest example in a long-term trend,” Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., said. “Coal provides more than two-thirds of Georgia’s electricity and supports 8,800 jobs in our state.

“I will fight this energy tax that will destroy jobs and harm our economy. If the President truly wants to help our economy, he should approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which would create thousands of jobs and help secure our nation’s energy future.”

Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., agreed.

“President Obama’s constant barrage of overreaching regulatory mandates are crippling our economy’s ability to fully recover and stifling our global competitiveness,” Perdue said. “The damaging effects of this hostile executive action will drive up energy prices for Georgia families and businesses, while the ripple effect throughout our economy will increase costs of basic necessities for those already struggling to make ends meet.

“The Obama Administration’s short-sighted policies continue to hurt the very people they claim to help, which is why I will fight them with every tool at my disposal.”

The senators said Obama’s Clean Power Plan requires greater reduction of emissions than in the rule proposed in June 2014, will impact 600 coal-powered plants and gives each state one year to submit a plan to the federal Environmental Protection Agency to implement the federal rules.

Presidential Politics

AJC Reporter Greg Bluestein traveled to Nashville to write about Presidential candidates Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio addressing a convention of Evangelical Christians.

Bush’s comments, though, were overshadowed by a gaffe he made involving his effort to defund Planned Parenthood.

In a meandering response to a question about the women’s health group, the Republican said, “I’m not sure we need half a billion dollars for women’s health issues.” That drew a sharp rebuke from critics including Democrat Hillary Clinton, who tweeted that he is “unequivocally wrong.” Bush’s campaign said in a statement that he misspoke.

Bush, who took the stage to applause, otherwise said he would work to “depoliticize” the debate over religious freedom by enshrining those rights without discriminating against gays. And he said he would pursue a more muscular diplomacy to protect Christians in the Middle East facing persecution by the Islamic State and other threatening regimes.

Rubio, who spoke in prerecorded video interview, said he would consider committing ground troops to Iraq and Syria to fight the Islamic State’s spread. And he said he would combat “extremists” who want to expand abortion rights and a legal system that could punish those who refuse to participate in gay weddings by stocking the judiciary with like-minded conservatives.

“We’ve now entered a very tenuous moment in the relationship between church and state in this country,” Rubio said. “We’re now on the water’s edge of an argument that some have begun that if you do not agree with same-sex marriage or whatever, that you’re actually discriminating against people.”

Fox News has set the field for the first official RNC-sanctioned debate this week in Cleveland.

Real estate magnate Donald Trump; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker; former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee; retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson; Texas Sen. Ted Cruz; Florida Sen. Marco Rubio; Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul; New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

The roster of 10 candidates was determined based on an average of the five most recent national polls. Trump as expected made the cut, securing the top slot. Right behind him were Bush and Walker, who each have posted strong numbers in recent surveys.

The drama, rather, was at the edge of the top 10. Christie and Kasich, who were hovering by that edge in recent polling, were able to qualify.

But former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and several others will not be on the prime-time, 9 p.m. ET stage. The seven who did not make the top 10 will be invited to a separate 5 p.m. ET debate. Aside from Perry and Santorum, this includes Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal; former HP head Carly Fiorina; South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham; former New York Gov. George Pataki; and former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore.

Some folks think that not being on the main stage will give the other candidates a better opportunity to shine.

“I actually think we’re in a better position,” said Brett O’Donnell, a Republican consultant helping Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) prepare for the debate.

“We’re calling it the happy hour debate,” he said. “It’s going to be more substantive and give you a real opportunity to show you’re ready to be president, as opposed to just ready to take on Donald Trump.”

Meanwhile, some question the use of opinion polls that out some candidates on stage even though their numbers are lower than the margin of error.

The Marist Institute of Public Opinion suspended polling this week because it was worried polls were being used to make too fine of distinctions between candidates.

The five polls Fox used had maximum margins of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points or greater on questions about which GOP candidates people support. Averaging those polls together (see my spreadsheet of step-by-step math here) clearly diminishes that for most candidates — but not enough to (in this example) totally eliminate the overlap between 10th-place Kasich and 11th-place Perry. In this example, Perry’s margin of error now barely — but significantly — extends into Kasich’s territory by a little more than a tenth of a percent.

That means Perry could argue that the difference between his support and Kasich’s support isn’t meaningful enough to keep him out of the debate. And Rick Santorum also overlaps with Perry — perhaps he should be in. In which case maybe Jindal should. And so on.

Also, consider that the polls didn’t all measure the same populations — Fox, for example, surveyed likely Republican primary voters about their nominee preferences. Bloomberg, meanwhile, spoke to “Republicans or Republican leaners.”

“Polls are not very useful right now except for telling you about tiers of candidates. They really tell you that Trump has more support than Christie and Rand Paul. It really tells you about tier of public visibility,” said Cliff Zukin, professor of public policy at Rutgers University who serves on the executive council of American Association for Public Opinion Research.

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