Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for January 23, 2023


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for January 23, 2023

On January 23, 1775, the Georgia Commons House elected three delegates to the Second Continental Congress.

On January 23, 1861, Georgia’s members of the United States House of Representatives resigned following passage of the Secession Ordinance; her Senators had resigned earlier. The next day, the secession convention in Milledgeville elected ten delegates to a conference of Southern states in Montgomery, Alabama.

On January 23, 1923, Georgia ratified the Twentieth Amendment to the US Constitution, which ended Presidential terms on January 20th following an election and those of Congress to January 3d.

On January 23, 1973, President Richard M. Nixon announced that terms had been reached to settle the Vietnam War, a document known as the “Paris Peace Accords.”

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Under the Gold Dome Today

TBD Senate Rules Committee: Upon Adjournment – 450 CAP

10 AM Senate Floor Session (LD 5) – Senate Chamber

10 AM HOUSE FLOOR SESSION (LD 5) House Chamber

1 PM Senate Agriculture & Consumer Affairs – 450 CAP

1 PM Senate Government Oversight – 307 CLOB

1 PM Senate Transportation – Mezz 1 CAP

1 PM HOUSE Education Approp Sub 341 CAP

2 PM Cancelled- Senate Health & Human Svcs – 450 CAP

2 PM HOUSE Health Approp Sub 506 CLOB

3 PM Senate Finance – Mezz 1 CAP

4 PM Cancelled- Senate Judiciary – 307 CLOB

Governor Brian Kemp’s proposed FY 2024 budget includes funding for the Savannah Convention Center, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s 2024 budget proposal includes $8 million for furniture, fixtures and equipment for the larger exhibition hall. According to Mark V. Smith, chair of the Savannah-Georgia Convention Center Authority, the allocation would put the project within $2 million of being fully funded, and he is “optimistic” the Georgia General Assembly will add that amount during the appropriations process during the recently opened legislative session.

The General Assembly works with the governor’s office to refine and adopt the final budget.

The expansion will double the size of the facility and make it among the 75 largest convention centers in North America. Officials broke ground on the project in 2021. The opening is scheduled for January 2024 with the Southeast Regional Fruit & Vegetable Conference.

The expected 2024 budget allocation marks the sixth time in the last eight years the Savannah Convention Center has received funding for the expansion. The majority of the construction funding – $263 million – was included in the last three state budgets.

From WALB:

Gov. Brian Kemp’s new budget proposal for this year and 2024 places education as one of its top priorities. Educators hope the money will help Georgia students to get back on track.

The proposal would offer a $2,000 salary increase for teachers along with money for many other departments.

“It provides a $50,000 grant per school for school safety to be used as the school sees fit to enhance safety in the schools,” [Dougherty County School Superintendent Kenneth] Dyer said. “For the Dougherty County School System, that’ll amount to about $1.1 million that we can invest in enhancing school safety. And if you heard me say anything, you heard me say that school safety is our money important priority.”

The budget also aims to provide $25 million for grants to help with learning loss over the COVID-19 pandemic.

State Senator Billy Hickman (R-Statesboro) will Chair the Senate Committee on Higher Education, according to the Statesboro Herald.

“I am honored to be given the opportunity to serve as Chairman of the Senate Commit-tee on Higher Education,” Hickman said. “I want to thank Lt. Governor Burt Jones as well the Senate Committee on Assignments.

“Higher education is something I am passionate about and I am looking forward to working alongside my fellow committee members to pass meaningful legislation. We will ensure that Georgia students are able to have access to the necessary resources for them to achieve the best education they can, as we work to better college affordability, student financial aid, education grants and more.”

In addition to serving as chairman of the Senate Committee on Higher Education, Sen. Hickman also will serve as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Sub-Committee on Education and Higher Education, secretary of the Senate Committee on Finance as well as a member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations and Economic Development and Tourism.

WABE reports on new Speaker Jon Burns’s press conference last week.

Burns has restructured the House committees in a way meant to encourage lawmakers to dig into complex health care issues, and he says a possible tobacco tax increase is an example of a health care policy that could bubble up from the committees.

Behavioral health will also be a “front burner issue” for these committees, he said. Last year, lawmakers passed a celebrated bipartisan behavioral health parity bill that was seen at the time as the beginning of an effort to improve access to treatment in Georgia. Advocates and lawmakers hope to build on that work this year.

“We want to make sure we address the issue broadly, whether it be mental health professionals, as we look at an issue that impacts almost every family in this state,” he said.

Under Burns, public health has been peeled off as its own committee, led by Marietta Republican Rep. Sharon Cooper who was the chair of the health committee. Rep. Lee Hawkins, a Gainesville Republican, now chairs the health panel.

Rep. Butch Parrish, a Swainsboro Republican who formerly chaired the health budget subcommittee, now leads the House Special Committee on Healthcare.

“I think we have the right folks in place when we look at the focus we’re going to take on a broad perspective on health,” Burns said. “And certainly, if that’s something that rises to the level of us wanting to have more serious discussion, we can have those.”

State Rep. Lee Hawkins (R-Gainesville) will Chair the House Committee on Health and Human Services, according to AccessWDUN.

“In 16 years, I’ve been on health committees of the senate and the house. That’s been my life’s work with dentistry,” Hawkins said. “It’s been very close to my heart and I was very pleased and proud that (Burns) named me chairman of the committee.”

Hawkins represents State House District 27, which is made up, mostly, of the northern and eastern parts of Hall County. He was first elected to the seat in 2012 and previously served in the state senate from 2006 to 2010.

The Health Committee works on healthcare policy with an emphasis on regulatory and market issues.

From The Brunswick News:

Rep. Buddy DeLoach, R-Townsend, senior member of the [Glynn County] delegation, will chair the Ethics Committee and Rep. Steven Sainz, R-St. Marys, the Special Rules Committee.

“It is an honor to be one of the first Hispanic-American Georgians to serve as House committee leadership,” Sainz said. “This reflects the growing diversity of our Republican Majority Caucus and our General Assembly as a whole.”

Sainz represents Camden County and a part of Glynn County.

“I appreciate the confidence Speaker (Jon) Burns and my House colleagues have placed in me with this appointment,” he said. “Though my coastal community is one of the farthest from our state capitol, the continued priority of making the needs of Camden and Glynn County relevant to our state leaders remains.”

As for the 2023 session, DeLoach has several predictions.

“I have no doubt that the governor is going to respond to the lawlessness,” he said.

“We’re going to do whatever we have to do to support our law enforcement,” DeLoach said. “We cannot lose civil order in this state, and I don’t think the governor is going to let that happen.”

Legislators also will continue to improve mental health services by expanding on legislation Rep. Don Hogan, R-St. Simons Island, championed and which passed the General Assembly last year, he said. Hogan retired from the law-making body at the end of 2022.

From the Albany Herald:

State Sen. Carden Summers, R-Cordele, has been appointed to serve as chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking and Financial Institutions.

“I am honored to be given the opportunity by Lt. Governor Burt Jones and the Senate Committee on Assignments to serve as chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking and Financial Institutions,” Summers said in a news release. “Financial institutions are a cornerstone of this state, and I look forward to serving alongside my fellow committee members to work on legislation that impacts real estate and securities and as we continue to positively impact the citizens of Georgia.”

In addition to serving as chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking and Financial Institutions, Summers will serve as vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Regulated Industries and Utilities. He also will serve as a member of the Senate Committees of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs and Economic Development and Tourism.

Summers represents the 13th Senate District, which includes Ben Hill, Berrien, Crisp, Irwin, Lee, Tift, Turner and Worth counties, as well as a part of Coffee County. He may be reached at (404) 463-5258 or by email at

From WSAV in Savannah:

State lawmakers say part of Georgia’s budget will propose funding for roads, bridges and transportation.

“Certainly in my area where the Hyundai plant is being built and all the other associated infrastructure and support that is there,” said State Sen. Ben Watson (R-Savannah). “[The Georgia Department of Transportation] is already planning and helping with that because there will be 8,000 employees there and there will be trucks bringing in structure and infrastructure relating to building cars.”

“As we open up our infrastructure, people are going through more small towns,” said State Rep. Brian Price (D-Augusta). “We’re trying to get them off the main highways but they have to have some type of infrastructure so they can still communicate back to their base or to their companies to make sure they know where they are and they can deliver products on time.”

“I’m a small business owner, so the tax incentives are something that’s attractive and having the ability to grow business and not be burdened down with some of the high taxes allows us to hire more employees and bring more people in,” State Rep. Brent Cox (R-North Georgia) said. “So I think that’s a significant piece that allows us to have a thriving economy.”

Lawmakers say rural broadband expansion will allow schools, businesses and citizens to be connected and communicate more efficiently.

From WALB:

Representative Clay Pirkle sat down with WALB’s Jim Wallace to talk about transportation and infrastructure.

Wallace: I am joined now by Representative Clay Pirkle of Ashburn.  He has been named the Chair for the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Transportation and Infrastructure. That is a very important post because Clay, with the growth of both population and new industry in Georgia, there is a lot of needs for transportation and infrastructure.

Pirkle: You are right, Jim. Thank you. (Some) 330 million vehicles miles are traveled on GDOT-maintained roads a day. Can you believe that? (Some) 330 million vehicle miles a day. We have needs all over the state. We have them in Southwest Georgia. We have them right now where I am at in Atlanta. We have them all over.  Everyone is impacted by transit.

Wallace: (On Wednesday) the House committee assignments for chairs were made. And a lot of South Georgia representatives were named chairmen in those assignments. People who remember the two Georgia thoughts, should they be happy because of (Wednesday’s) actions at the Gold Dome?

Pirkle: I would think so. We are well represented in South Georgia with chairs of really important committees.  You know in the Albany area, we’ve got Chairman Greene, who’s been around for quite some time. If you recall last year, he secured some funding for this Albany terminal we have. We’ve got Chairman Darlene Taylor, we’ve got Chairman Corbett around the Valdosta area. Chairman LaHood. We’ve got chairmen, the majority whip in South Georgia. So we’ve got a lot of great potential in South Georgia.

From AccessWDUN:

Georgia House District 9 representative Will Wade will serve as the vice chairman of the House Banks & Banking Committee.

Additionally, Gov. Brian Kemp appointed Wade to serve as one of his Floor Leaders in the House.

The District 9 Republican represents voters from portions of Dawson, Lumpkin and White counties. Wade was elected to the House of Representatives in 2020.

“I am truly honored to serve as the next Vice Chairman of the Banks & Banking Committee,” Wade said in a press release. “This industry is close to my heart, and I have had a blessed yet challenging career in it for the past 25 years. The banking ecosystem in Georgia is the true catalyst for economic success and the pursuit of the American Dream. As such, these factors will help Georgia to continue to thrive in the 21st Century. This committee’s policy work will be vital to ensuring families and businesses reach new heights of prosperity.”

From the Gwinnett Daily Post:

[S]tate Rep. Chuck Efstration, … will be the new House Majority Leader in the Georgia House of Representatives while Rep. Sam Park, D-Lawrenceville, will be the Minority Whip. Meanwhile, Sen. Gloria Butler, D-Stone Mountain, will be the Senate Minority Leader.

And, state Sen. Nikki Merritt, D-Grayson, will be the vice-chairwoman of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus.

State Sen. Clint Dixon, R-Buford, was appointed the chairman of the Senate Committee on Education and Youth and vice-chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee.

State Sen. Bill Cowsert, R-Athens, will be the chairman of the Senate Committee on Regulated Industries and Utilities and the vice-chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary. Cowsert’s district stretches from Athens to eastern Gwinnett.

State Sen. Shawn Still, R-Norcross, will be the vice-chairman of the Senate Committee on State and Local Governmental Operations.

Freshman state Rep. Soo Hong, R-Lawrenceville, will be one of Kemp’s floor leaders in the House of Representatives. She will also be the vice-chairwoman of the House Reapportionment and Redistricting Committee.

State Rep. Scott Hilton, R-Peachtree Corners, will be the vice-chairman of two house committees: The Creative Arts & Entertainment Committee and the Education Committee.

Fellow freshman Rep. Matt Reeves, R-Duluth, will be vice-chairman of the House Judiciary (Non-Civil) Committee.

State Rep. David Clark, R-Buford, will be the vice-chairman of the House Defense and Veterans Affairs Committee.

State Rep. Rey Martinez, R-Loganville, will be the vice-chairman of the House Small Business Development Committee.

State Senator Bo Hatchett (R-Gainesville) spoke about his role as a Governor’s Floor Leader in the Gainesville Times.

“The week while we’re in session is pretty neat,” Hatchett said. “We have the key to the Governor’s Office and we meet with them just about every day…we track the legislation he’s interested in and will carry bills for the governor’s administration. That’s kind of what a floor leader is – someone who will carry bills on behalf of the governor.”

Hatchett uses the role as a platform to advocate for bills that directly impact his district.

“It benefits my district significantly, I believe, because I do have a relationship with (the governor’s staff),” he said. “When there’s something that’s needed in the district, I feel comfortable just picking up the phone because I have that relationship.”

“Basically, just building off of the relationships I’ve built with the governor and his staff the last two years, they asked me to stay on for another two,” Hatchett said. “It’s kind of neat – I will be the senior floor leader in both chambers now.”

Hatchett will share the role of floor leader alongside Sen. Mike Hodges, R-Brunswick, of District 3, during the General Assembly’s current legislative session, which began Jan. 9.

Legislation on school choice is expected in this Session, according to the Center Square.

“I think we’re going to have a very robust discussion when it comes to school funding, when it comes to vouchers and other issues that come before us,” House Speaker Jon Burns, R-Newington, said during a press conference this week. “I believe we have … a very diverse state when it comes to education funding, whether you’re from rural Georgia, or whether you’re from urban Georgia, and how funding impacts us all and comes into this equation.”

“Parents are demanding more options in education, spurred on by the seismic changes we’ve seen in K-12 schools during the pandemic,” Buzz Brockway, executive vice president of public policy for the Georgia Center for Opportunity, said in a statement in response to Gov. Brian Kemp declaring Jan. 22-28 as National School Choice Week.

“On this front, we’re proud that Georgia is leading the charge on expanding educational opportunity for every child, not just for those from families with the right income or who live in the right zip code,” Brockway added. “This legislative session, Georgia lawmakers must build on the progress we’ve made in recent years by approving Education Scholarship Accounts to ensure educational access for all.”

State legislators are assessing the effectiveness of industry tax breaks, according to the AJC.

“I am highly in favor of eliminating special-interest tax breaks to reduce taxes for everybody,” said Senate Appropriations Chairman Blake Tillery, R-Vidalia.

But House Ways and Means Chairman Shaw Blackmon, R-Bonaire, whose panel is where tax breaks commonly start, said lawmakers need to be careful not to eliminate incentives for businesses to create jobs.

“I think obviously we want to work with our leadership to make sure that Georgia is getting the best bang for the buck,” Blackmon said. “That doesn’t necessarily mean you eliminate all or parts of our credits or exemptions.

“Any knee-jerk reaction is going to have an impact on those businesses. We want to do everything we can to keep jobs here.”

Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Hufstetler, R-Rome, last year sought to cap how much the state spends providing tax credits to the film industry at $900 million annually. Auditors say it is the state’s largest income tax credit and the most lucrative film incentive in the country. Supporters say it has created a booming film industry in Georgia, and it has broad backing from lawmakers from both parties.

Hufstetler also wanted to eliminate the ability of film companies to sell the credits. About 80% of the credits are sold by out-of-state film companies — who owe little in the way of state taxes — to people or companies with big state tax bills, according to state auditors.

One incentive for capping or eliminating tax breaks, officials say, is that it could save money that the state could use to reduce income tax rates, a top goal of House and Senate leaders.

Tillery, the Senate budget chairman, said: “If it’s level across the board and everybody is paying the same (rate) and nobody is getting exemptions, we can cut the income tax main rate more efficiently. Right now, everybody pays more for the benefit of those getting exemptions. Many pay for the benefit of a few.”

The Rev. Karlton Howard was sworn in to represent State House District 129, according to WJBF.

Howard serves District 129, which includes portions of Richmond County. In addition to being sworn in, Rep. Howard was named to the Education, Interstate Cooperation, and Public Health committees.

“I am humbled and excited to have been chosen to serve the people of District 129 as a new legislator,” said Rep. Howard.  “It is an amazing privilege to be appointed to significant committees and help shape policies that make a direct impact on my constituents and the great state of Georgia.”

Rep. Howard was elected in November to take over the spot for his brother, the late Henry ‘Wayne’ Howard, who passed away in October at the age of 67.

Georgia’s medical cannabis commission will vote on rules governing the production program, according to the Capitol Beat News Service via the Athens Banner Herald.

Georgia’s long-delayed medical marijuana program is about to take off, despite a spate of unresolved lawsuits from companies that lost out in the bidding for licenses.

The Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission is expected to vote Wednesday on rules governing all aspects of the program from growing the leaf crop in greenhouses under close supervision to manufacturing low-THC cannabis oil to treat patients suffering from a variety of diseases to selling the product at a network of dispensaries across the state.

“We’ll have a big ramp-up,” said Andrew Turnage, the commission’s executive director.

Trulieve and Botanical Sciences were awarded Class 1 licenses under the 2019 law in September authorizing them to grow marijuana indoors in up to 100,0000 square feet of space.

It’s the four Class 2 licenses providing up to 50,000 square feet of growth space that are in limbo. Sixteen companies that were unsuccessful in bidding for those licenses filed lawsuits in 2021 claiming the selection process was unfair and arbitrary.

Georgia Rep. Alan Powell, chairman of the House Regulated Industries Committee, attempted to solve the legal logjam legislatively last year with a bill that would have increased the number of licenses to be awarded from six to 22, thus taking care of the 16 litigating companies.

But after Powell’s legislation died on the last day of the 2022 session, Gov. Brian Kemp stepped in by directing $150,000 from the Governor’s Emergency Fund to expedite hearings of the lawsuits.

Turnage said that money was used to send the legal challenges to the Georgia Office of Administrative State Hearings. Following a series of hearings last fall, an administrative law judge ruled in favor of the state in every case, he said. However, the lawsuits remain pending on appeal, he said.

With the awarding of the Class 2 licenses still uncertain, Powell said he expects lawmakers will make another attempt to find a legislative solution during the session that began this month.

“The cannabis issue still needs to be fixed,” he said.

Turnage said it’s not the commission’s role either to endorse or oppose a legislative fix.

The Forsyth County Probate Court will be performing free wedding ceremonies on Valentine’s Day, according to AccessWDUN.

“Being able to be a part of a couple’s big day is an honor and we are excited to offer ceremonies free to residents,” Probate Court Judge Daisy Weeks-Marisko said. “What better way to celebrate love than weddings on Valentine’s Day?”

According to a press release the ceremonies will be a basic civil ceremony held at the Probate Court Courtroom (100 W. Courthouse Square, Suite 008) between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 14. Parties must apply for a marriage license in advance in Probate Court prior to Feb. 14 and bring their marriage license and valid photo ID to their ceremony appointment time.

I’ll bet you at least one couple will end up there because the dude forgot to get a card and flowers. Make your plans now, my friends!

Gwinnett County Public Schools have a high turnover rate among teachers, according to the AJC.

From 2019 through 2022, 13.25% of teachers left the district or moved schools within Gwinnett, compared to 8.9% in Georgia and 10.9% nationally, [Alma Advisory Group CEO Monica] Rosen said, citing federal and state education data.

“Your recruitment challenges are by and large exacerbated by a retention challenge,” Rosen said. “Addressing retention in your schools will significantly reduce pressure on filling vacancies year over year.”

In schools where 75% of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, the turnover is 14.7% nationally. In Gwinnett, it’s 20.7%. Rosen also noted that teachers in these schools tend to be the least experienced. She said the district should work to reverse that trend, hiring veteran teachers for these schools and keeping teachers in them.

Gwinnett’s retention challenges have been greater among new hires, Rosen said. About 20% of teachers hired in the 2018-2019 school year left the district after a year, and 40% left by their third year. The national average is for 9% of teachers to leave after a year and 30% to leave by their third year.

Teacher exit surveys showed about 70% of teachers who left Gwinnett felt they did not have effective mentors in the same grade or subject, Rosen said. Teachers also said they didn’t have regular communication with administrators and that their feedback was ineffective.

The Georgia Department of Transportation will begin work on a project to replace parts of the Talmadge Bridge in Savannah, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The State Transportation Board voted Thursday to proceed with a plan to replace the cables on the Talmadge Bridge in Savannah and raise the structure to more easily accommodate cargo ships calling at the Port of Savannah. The work will be done without closing the bridge to traffic, at an estimated cost of $150 million to $175 million.

The project will be the first the state has built using the Construction Management/General Contractor (CM/GC) model of contracting. Unlike contracts the DOT normally undertakes, the CM/GC model gets the contractor involved as the project is being designed, Hoenig said.

“It’s projects that present unique needs that would benefit from contractor involvement early in the process,” he said. “You can tailor the design to the contractors.”

The project’s initial timetable calls for the DOT to issue a request for qualifications from interested contractors in April, with a June deadline for responses. The agency then plans to release a request for proposals in August, which will be due in November.

The United States Department of Agriculture approved the first honeybee vaccine, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

[T]his year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved the world’s first vaccine for American foulbrood, one of the viruses causing honeybee mortality, created by Athens-based biotech company Dalan Animal Health and researchers at the University of Georgia Bee Program.

The approval is a USDA conditional license, meaning the product meets “an emergency situation, limited market, local situation or special circumstance” and that it will need to be renewed after a set period of time and demonstrated efficacy. According to a press release from Dalan Animal Health, the license is valid for two years and Dalan will distribute the vaccine on a limited basis to commercial beekeepers and anticipates having the vaccine available for purchase in the United States in 2023.

“We are committed to providing innovative solutions to protect our pollinators and promote sustainable agriculture,” said Dalan Animal Health CEO Annette Kleiser, noting that global population growth and climate change will increase the importance of honeybee pollination in the security of the global food supply. “We are ready to change how we care for insects, impacting food production on a global scale.”

No tiny, bee-sized needles are necessary: the groundbreaking vaccine is delivered in the form of a sugary dough-like substance that a female bee eats, and in turn, her eggs are exposed to the pathogen and by adulthood the offspring are immune. While the new young are exposed to the pathogen and create resistance, this doesn’t pass on to the next generation.

Georgia Ports are a leader in furniture imports, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Georgia Ports (GPA) handled more than a quarter of all furniture imported to the East Coast of the U.S. in the 2022 fiscal year, making it the busiest gateway for furniture in the Southeast.

Major furniture retailers credit Savannah’s location and efficiency in their decision to make Georgia a linchpin in supply chains.

Furniture was the No. 1 import commodity for the Port of Savannah in FY2022, coming in at 389,000 twenty-foot equivalent container units, or 14% of the Georgia Ports Authority’s total container imports.

“As the top gateway into the U.S. Southeast for furniture manufacturers, the Port of Savannah offers a central location and direct access to interstate and rail,” said Cliff Pyron, chief commercial officer at the GPA. “Major retailers have found greater efficiency by investing in near-port distribution centers here in Georgia, where they can serve inland markets with shorter hauls and less handling.”

He credited GPA’s resourcefulness in establishing “pop-up” rail yards around the Southeast for Savannah’s ability to avoid terminal congestion. GPA staged cargo closer to its destination, which kept the movement of goods efficient even when the furniture industry exploded during the pandemic as people outfitted home offices.

The City of Savannah has more than $2 million dollars in outstanding code violation fines, according to WTOC.

“I truly believe it’s city wide. You can go from the westside to the eastside. Then, when you go south, you see properties surrounding blighted properties that are in good condition,” said Cynthia Knight, director of code compliance for the City of Savannah.

The issue of properties with a history of blight goes back for years and the price tag is to the tune of millions of dollars.

WTOC obtained a list of outstanding fees from the city. 4,500 invoices that total $2.2 million.

Last year it was at $1.6 million.

Darien voters will elect a new City Council member in a Special Election on June 20, according to The Brunswick News.

Darien voters will go to the polls June 20 in a special election to complete what will then be the remaining 2 ½ years left in the four-year term of City Council member Marcy Goodyear who died suddenly this month.

The council also set a qualifying fee of $198 and set three days of qualifying, April 12-14.

Doll Gale, supervisor of elections for McIntosh County, said qualifying will run from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. April 12 and 13 and end at noon April 14. The city will conduct its own qualifying at city offices at 702 Northway Street.

Although the city election districts have been redrawn, the special election must be conducted using the boundaries that were in place when Goodyear won in November 2021, Gale said.

There will be two weeks of early voting beginning May 30, all at the Board of Elections office just north of the county courthouse. The poll there will be open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. on two mandatory Saturdays, June 3 and 10, she said.

Gainesville voters will elect three city council members and three Board of Education members this year, according to AccessWDUN.

The Gainesville City Council approved the qualifying fees for this year’s election at their meeting Tuesday evening.

“I do think what makes our country great is we get the opportunity to run for office. I always encourage people to get involved in the process, and this is their opportunity,” Gainesville Mayor Sam Couvillon said.

The qualifying period will start on August 21 and run through August 23.

The first Bald Eaglet of the season hatched in the Berry College nest, according to the Rome News Tribune.

The first of two eggs in the nest this year hatched on Saturday around 5:38 p.m. following a five-week gestation period. The second egg, if viable, should see an eaglet in a few more days.

The arrival begins the next big stage for the eaglet, with flying from the nest expected by late April or May. The next few weeks are tricky with the parents’ feeding, development, our spring weather and such.

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