Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for December 21, 2016

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for December 21, 2016

On December 21, 1829, Georgia Governor George Gilmer signed legislation outlawing the teaching of African-Americans to read or write. One year later to the day, he signed legislation claiming for the state all territory occupied by the Cherokee tribe.

On December 21, 1835, Oglethorpe University was incorporated near Macon, later moving to Atlanta.

On December 21, 1863, the Confederate government selected a site in Sumter County for construction of Camp Sumter, which would be better known by the name Andersonville Prison.

General William Tecumseh Sherman received the surrender of Savannah, Georgia on December 21, 1864.

Sixteen years ago, DeKalb County was reeling from the assassination of Sheriff-elect Derwin Brown. His predecessor, Sheriff Sidney Dorsey was convicted and is still serving time.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

One of the Republican electors who voted for someone other than Donald Trump for President is from Georgia… by way of Texas. From TheBlaze.com,

[W]hile the majority of the electoral votes in Texas went to President-elect Donald Trump, some went astray. One elector gave his vote to Ohio Governor John Kasich, and another elector who had remained anonymous gave his over to 1988 Libertarian candidate for President, and retired Texas Congressman Ron Paul.

But the identity of the elector who cast his vote for Ron Paul has been revealed, and it’s a political science professor at South Texas College by the name of Bill Greene.

Greene was first identified by The Statesmanand has since had his social media accounts suspended, and his inbox overwhelmed with emails about his decisions, and requests for explanations.

Greene is a former Georgia political activist, and the article also brings in a one-term Georgia State House member who won a special election and was retired in the very next primary.

The Georgia Public Service Commission approved a deal struck between PSC staff and Georgia Power about financing for the two new reactors at Plant Vogtle.

The commission said the agreement benefits customers because it avoids potential litigation with Georgia Power over who will cover cost overruns. It also sets stiff penalties if the Atlanta utility doesn’t complete the project by the end of 2020.

The PSC staff and Georgia Power say the Oct. 20 pact will save ratepayers about $185 million over the next four years.

“I think what we’ve done is remove the threat of litigation and front-load a lot of savings,” said Chuck Eaton, PSC chairman.

The settlement gives Georgia Power an additional 18 months to complete the first new unit and six months to complete the second one.

The deal also delays Georgia Power’s collection of another $139 million until the project is completed, over the expected 60-year life of the reactors.

Customers’ rates won’t go down as a result of the deal. They just won’t go up next year, because a surcharge on customers’ bills that finances the Vogtle project is expected to stay at this year’s level. As part of the settlement, Georgia Power withdrew a request to increase the surcharge next year.

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Renee Unterman, Chair of the Senate HHS Committee, held a press conference yesterday with her House counterpart, Rep. Sharon Cooper, and Sen. Valencia Seay about legislation regarding dental hygienists.

[A] bill pre-filed Tuesday in the Georgia General Assembly…. would let hygienists practice in safety-net clinics, nursing homes, school-based clinics and other locations without a dentist present.

On Tuesday, the two powerful chairs of the Health and Human Services committees — one in the House and one in the Senate — spoke of the need for passage of the dental hygienist bill in the 2017 General Assembly, to help people who don’t have regular access to dental care.

The proposal would help the most vulnerable – seniors, the disabled and children, said Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford), head of the Senate health panel. In Georgia, she said, “118 of 159 counties are considered dental health professional shortage areas.’’

Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-Marietta), who chairs the House panel, said there was “misinformation’’ that the previous proposal would allow dental hygienists to practice independently. That was never the case, she said, as a dentist would have to agree to authorize a hygienist to work in designated settings.

The legislation differs from the earlier version in that it would allow general supervision in private practice, Unterman said.

That means that dentists can be on sick leave or vacation and not have to close their practices, because hygienists could still see patients. “It’s common-sense legislation,” Unterman said.

“People can stay in place [in a nursing home] and at least get their teeth cleaned,’’ she added. “It’s a basic necessity in life.”

Elly Yu of WABE looks at the effects on a rural community of their local hospital closing.

Cindy Jones still can’t help but think about the timing of things. Stewart-Webster Hospital, the place she and her family had gone to for years, closed in March of 2013. A month later, her husband Bill suffered a heart attack.

She called an ambulance, which arrived about 15 minutes later, she said. They took him to a hospital in Cuthbert, Georgia, about 25 miles from her Lumpkin home. Her husband was pronounced dead there. He was 52 years old.

“I just feel like that not getting him there within that golden hour had a lot of bearing on his death,” Jones said.

She said she feels like they lost time traveling to the hospital, and would have taken him to their local hospital, which was 9 miles away, had it still been open.

It’s a very good piece, worth reading (or listening to) in its entirety.

Georgia had the seventh-largest population increase in the nation.

The state’s population grew by 110,973 between 2015 and 2016 – the seventh-largest surge in the nation, according to data collected and analyzed by the U.S. Census Bureau and released Tuesday.

By mid-2016, there were 10,310,371 people in Georgia, the bureau said.

[Since 2010,] Georgia has added 621,691 people – a 6.4 percent expansion of the population. That compares to a national increase in that time of 14.4 million people, a 4.7 percent.

In late 2010, the Georgia unemployment rate was 10.5 percent — which did not include thousands of people who had left the workforce and stopped looking for a job. The current rate is 5.3 percent — and that includes a surge of people who have recently entered the workforce.

A new elephant sanctuary is being planned for Southwest Georgia, near Bainbridge.

An 846-acre cattle ranch located 30 miles northwest of Tallahassee will soon be converted into an elephant sanctuary.

The South Georgia ranch just sold to the Founder of Elephant Aid International, Carol Buckley.

The site plans to be a refuge for elephants recovering from life in captivity and past traumas. Buckley founded America’s first elephant sanctuary in Tennessee 20 years ago.

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