Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 14, 2019

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 14, 2019

The Magna Carta was sealed by King John on June 15, 1215.

The charter consisted of a preamble and 63 clauses and dealt mainly with feudal concerns that had little impact outside 13th century England. However, the document was remarkable in that it implied there were laws the king was bound to observe, thus precluding any future claim to absolutism by the English monarch. Of greatest interest to later generations was clause 39, which stated that “no free man shall be arrested or imprisoned or disseised [dispossessed] or outlawed or exiled or in any way victimised…except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.” This clause has been celebrated as an early guarantee of trial by jury and of habeas corpus and inspired England’s Petition of Right (1628) and the Habeas Corpus Act (1679).

On June 14, 1736, James Oglethorpe ordered plans to be drawn for a new city to be called Augusta.

On June 16, 1736, General James Oglethorpe arrived in England with Tomochichi, the Yamacraw Indian chief, Tomochichi’s wife and several other members of the tribe on a trip to meet the Georgia Trustees and King George II.

On June 15, 1740, Spanish troops attacked the English who were led by James Oglethorpe, at Fort Mose, two miles north of St. Augustine, Florida. With 68 English killed and 34 wounded, it was the heaviest losses sustained by Oglethorpe during his campaign against St. Augustine.

Happy birthday to the United States Army, established on June 14, 1775.

George Washington accepted the assignment of leading the Continental Army on June 15, 1775.

On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress adopted a resolution, “the flag of the United States be thirteen alternate stripes red and white” and that “the Union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.” One hundred years later, on June 14, 1877, was the first observance of Flag Day.

Creek Indians signed the Treaty of Fort Wilkinson on June 16, 1802, ceding two parcels of land in Georgia to the United States.

The Oregon Treaty was signed on June 15, 1815 between England and the United States, establishing the border between the U.S. and Canada.

On June 16, 1858, Abraham Lincoln addressed the Illiniois Republican Convention as a candidate for U.S. Senate and warned that “a house divided against itself cannot stand.”

On June 15, 1864, a funeral was held at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Atlanta for Confederate General Leonidas Polk, who was killed the day before at Pine Mountain near Marietta.

The Atlanta Constitution was first published on June 16, 1868.

Bob Dylan recorded “Like a Rolling Stone” on June 16, 1965.

The Monterey Pop Festival opened at the Monterey Fairgrounds on June 16, 1967, often considered one of the opening events of the “Summer of Love.” Among the artists playing the Festival were the Jefferson Airplane, The Who, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, and Macon-born Otis Redding.

Six Flags Over Georgia opened on June 16, 1967.

Atlanta Braves player Otis Nixon tied the modern record for steals in one game with six stolen bases agains the Montreal Expos on June 16, 1991.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp announced that the major bond rating agencies kept Georgia’s ratings at the same level, according to the Albany Herald.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced Thursday that Georgia again secured the highest ratings of AAA with a stable outlook from the three main credit rating agencies: Fitch, Moody’s, and Standard & Poor’s. Of the states that issue general obligation bonds, only nine currently meet this standard. Georgia’s upcoming general obligation bond sale will fund more than $997 million in capital projects. The Peach State’s AAA rating allows for the lowest possible interest costs when going to market next week.

“This announcement is great news for Georgia, demonstrating our commitment to fiscal balance and ensuring we can meet our present and future obligations,” Kemp said in a news release. “Maintaining the Peach State’s AAA bond rating is one of my highest priorities as governor, and I am proud that we again secured this important distinction. Our fiscal leadership means that our bonds are highly attractive to investors, and as a result, enables the state to save taxpayers millions of dollars each year with low interest rates for borrowing.

“This rating emphasizes the strength of our economy and shows companies that we are a well-managed, reliable state in which to invest.”

Democrat Stacey Abrams said she’s still considering running for King of the World President, according to the Statesboro Herald.

Abrams, who spoke at the Women’s E3 Summit at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, said she has not yet settled on the next steps for her political career.

“I am not being coy when I say that I have not decided what I’m going to do next,” said Abrams, the event’s keynote speaker. “I’m not going to make a choice because I feel a sense of urgency from others. I’m going to make a choice because it’s the right thing to do.”

Democrat Sarah Riggs Amico is said to be preparing for a run for United States Senate, according to the AJC.

Democrat Sarah Riggs Amico is lining up strategists and making a series of other behind-the-scenes moves as she prepares for a possible run for U.S. Senate against first-term Republican David Perdue.

The logistics executive, who ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 2018, is in talks with progressive pollster Cornell Belcher and Perkins Coie, a law firm with a large elections practice, to advise her potential campaign.

And she’s likely to hire several former Stacey Abrams aides, including communications specialist Abigail Collazo and senior adviser Karen Finney, said a veteran strategist who is not authorized to speak publicly about the discussions.

Democrats consider Georgia a must-win to flip control of the U.S. Senate, but the field has been slow to develop. After Abrams decided against a run, only one major Democratic contender is in the race: Former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson. Other potential contenders include former 6th District candidate Jon Ossoff.

Augusta University Health Center announced a financial restructuring, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Facing a $24 million fiscal year loss, the board of Augusta University Health System on Thursday approved a restructuring plan that merges the leadership of the health system and its largest single entity – AU Medical Center – into a single position.

The board’s bylaw revisions, which take effect beginning Friday, will remove the AU Health System CEO title from AU President Brooks Keel and place it with interim AU Medical Center CEO Philip Coule, who was appointed to the position earlier this week following the abrupt departure of Lee Ann Liska.

The new health system CEO job also will encompass the duties of the university’s Executive Vice President for Health Affairs position, one of the titles held by Liska.

The Valdosta Daily Times profiles native Valdostan Joyette Holmes, who was appointed Cobb County District Attorney.

“Judge Holmes is a servant leader in her community, and I am very excited to select her as Cobb’s new district attorney,” [Governor Brian] Kemp said. “I know Joyette will put the safety of Cobb families first and always do the right thing — even when no one is watching.”

“I am honored to have the opportunity to continue to serve the people of Cobb County, and I thank Gov. Kemp for the trust that he has placed in me,” Holmes said. “I look forward to ensuring Georgians within my jurisdiction remain safe and continue to prosper in our great state.”

Holmes graduated from Valdosta High School and attended the University of Georgia, where she earned dual bachelor’s degrees in psychology and criminal justice. She went on to earn her law degree from the University of Baltimore School of Law in Maryland.

Before her appointment as the chief magistrate judge for the Cobb County Judicial Circuit, Holmes served in numerous roles, including as a prosecutor under District Attorney D. Victor Reynolds and Solicitor Barry Morgan.

Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter is investigating a former county assistant solicitor over allegations of working as a defense attorney while employed as a prosecutor, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

According to a search warrant filed by a Hall County Sheriff’s Office deputy, Koran Corbin, a defendant in Hall County State Court, “retained (then assistant solicitor) Gregory McKeithen to represent him” sometime between April and May.

McKeithen, who started with the Gwinnett solicitor’s office in January 2019, resigned from his position May 17, the same day the search warrant was applied for, documents obtained by the Daily Post show.

In the warrant, the Hall County deputy wrote that on May 3, while McKeithen was still employed by the Gwinnett solicitor’s office, he “accessed Tracker, the statewide prosecution database maintained by the prosecuting attorney’s council, and accessed the electronic file for … State v. Koran Corbin, a Hall County criminal case.”

Solicitors are prohibited from working as defense attorneys during their employment, given the solicitor’s office prosecutes misdemeanor crimes.

In response to the warrant, McKeithen said Corbin “never retained” him for the Hall County case, and that the “limited discussion” via text message between McKeithen said Corbin was “regarding potential representation after Mr. McKeithen’s last day in the Gwinnett County Solicitor’s Office.”

Today is the last day of early voting in the special election for Flowery Branch City Council, according to the Gainesville Times.

The Lee County Commission says that property taxes will not increase under a new FY 2020 budget, according to the Albany Herald.

The Dalton Board of Education adopted a FY 2020 budget of $84.8 million dollars and anticipates no change in the millage rate, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen.

The Dalton Board of Education will not officially set the millage rate until later this summer after the school system receives final tax digest information.

School board members unanimously approved an $84.8 million fiscal year 2020 budget on Monday, up from $81 million in the fiscal year 2019 budget, that anticipates no change in the property tax rate. The 2020 fiscal year starts on July 1.

The budget anticipates $83 million in revenue, up from $80 million in the 2019 budget. The school system will reach into its fund balance to cover the difference between revenue and spending. The budget forecasts ending the 2020 fiscal year with a fund balance of $16.3 million.

State funding for Dalton Public Schools will increase by nearly $4.2 million to fund $3,000 pay raises for teachers and other certified staff. The state budget approved by the legislature earlier this year provides funding for a $3,000 pay increase for teachers, counselors and other certified personnel.

Rome and the Rome City Schools have been given an extension for disentangling school transportation from the local transit system, according to the Rome News Tribune.

Officials were in a time crunch to change the 35-year-old arrangement before classes start this fall. The Georgia Department of Transportation recently notified City Manager Sammy Rich they’ll have until Jan. 1.

“The Department recognizes that complying with the implementation date will still be challenging … Please begin educating parents and children on the new procedures as soon as possible,” the letter from GDOT Transit Program Manager Leigh Ann Trainer reads.

Shorter University has been placed on probation by SACS, the regional accreditation agency, according to the Rome News Tribune.

“The decision of SACS was based on a financial report for the fiscal year ending May 31, 2018,” Shorter’s Associate Vice President for University Communications Dawn Tolbert said in a statement. “The SACS notification does indicate that we must carefully monitor our financial planning and procedures to ensure that our financial status is strengthened.”

The school has taken steps in the 2019-2020 fiscal year to work toward improving its finances, she said.

The Hall County Commission presented a FY 2020 budget that includes a full millage rate rollback, according to AccessWDUN.

The budget features a full mileage rate rollback down to 9.688 mills. It also represents a 2.5 percent increase from the county’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget.

County officials say the millage rate rollback will result in no property tax increases for unincorporated county residents.

The overall budget is more than $276 million. Hall County Financial Services Director Zach Propes said the budget is indicative of a strong financial position for the county.

“The financial decisions that we’ve made over the past few years have really started to come to fruition,” Propes said. “It’s really setting us up to have a strong and sustainable operation.”

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