Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 28, 2018


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 28, 2018

On June 28, 1742, Spanish forces based in Florida invaded Georgia.

On June 28, 1776, Thomas Jefferson’s second draft of the Declaration of Independence was presented to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

On June 27, 1864, Sherman’s Union forces attacked General Johnston’s Confederates at the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain.

One year later, the Military Department of Georgia was created to oversee Reconstruction in the state.

On June 28, 1887, John Pemberton patented Coca-Cola Syrup and Extract.

Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo, Bosnia on June 28, 1914, sparking the First World War.

The Gone with the Wind scene that includes the line, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn,” was filmed on June 27, 1939, along with an alternate that used the line, “Frankly, my dear, I just don’t care.”

The first production Corvette was assembled on June 28, 1953 in Flint, Michigan.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The United States Supreme Court issued a ruling in the multi-state water suit involving Georgia. From the Washington Post:

A divided Supreme Court on Wednesday gave Florida another chance to prove it deserves more water from its upstream neighbor Georgia in a long-running battle between the two states.

They have been fighting for three decades over the waters in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint basin, which covers more than 19,600 square miles in three states. The current Supreme Court battle has eaten up a combined $100 million in legal fees.

At stake is whether the flow of water will favor Atlanta and the farmers of southwestern Georgia or the seafood producers of Apalachicola Bay in the Florida Panhandle, who say the environment and their livelihoods have been harmed.

The court sent the case back to a special master who had sided with Georgia.

Governor Nathan Deal issued a statement on the decision.

“Though the Court remanded this case back to the Special Master following a five-week trial, during which the ineffectiveness of draconian caps placed on Georgia’s water use as a solution was demonstrated, I remain confident in the state’s legal position,” said Deal.

“Georgia heeded the Special Master’s warning and took legislative action, which is now law, to address his concerns. I look forward to continuing to defend our position in this case. Georgia remains committed to the conservation efforts that make us amicable stewards of our water resources and Attorney General Chris Carr and I remain committed to making every effort to defend Georgia’s water resources for our current and future citizens. We look forward to obtaining a positive ruling on the merits in this case,” [said Deal].

Gainesville Department of Water Resources director Linda MacGregor spoke to the Gainesville Times about the decision.

“We never expected this to somehow put an end to these discussions,” MacGregor told The Times on Wednesday. “We thought the Supreme Court would give us direction for a continuing conversation.”

She said the decision lays out at length the various areas the special master should further investigate with additional hearings.

“It’s going to take a fairly deep dive to really understand what this means,” she said.

The United States Senate passed a FY 2019 spending bill that allocates additional funds to the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The provision, which was introduced by U.S. Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., and co-sponsored by U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., ensures at least $100 million of the Army Corps’ unobligated construction account funding will go to navigation projects.

The fiscal year ends Sept. 30 and with the passage on Monday, Perdue said Congress had moved one step closer to funding the government on time.

“… East Coast ports are not deep enough to accommodate fully loaded Post Panamax ships, and this puts our country at a competitive disadvantage in the global trade market. Prioritizing these port projects will help keep us on pace with other trade competitors like China and generate a significant economic return when they are completed,” he said.

“…There is still much more work to be done. President Trump was clear when he said he will not sign another last-minute omnibus spending bill again. This is a good start, and I stand ready to work around the clock to get the results the American people sent us here to deliver.”

State Senator David Shafer (R-Duluth) campaigned for Lt. Governor in coastal Georgia, according to The Brunswick News.

“What I tell every voter, every audience, is to look carefully at the records these candidates have compiled while they were in public office,” Shafer said. “Because the way someone behaves in public office is a better indicator of how they will behave in the future than anything they say in their speeches, anything they write in their campaign literature or anything they say in their advertisements. I think that if you look carefully at the record that I’ve compiled and the time that I’ve served in the state Senate, I have led on every issue that conservatives care about.”

One of those issues, he said, was moving away from a practice that automatically rolled over spending from one budget to another.

“The very first year I was elected to the state Senate — and every two years for the next decade, until it was finally signed into law by Gov. (Nathan) Deal — I introduced legislation to abolish continuation budgeting and move us to a system of zero-based budgeting, where all spending has to be approved by the General Assembly,” Shafer said. “It’s a powerful tool that makes us better stewards of your tax dollars.”

He also noted he wrote the state constitutional amendment capping the state income tax, and said he wanted the tax to be lower.

“I’ve led on social issues as well — there hasn’t been a single piece of pro-life legislation that’s passed in the last 16 years that hasn’t had my name attached to it; no single 2nd Amendment piece of legislation that has passed that hasn’t had my name attached to it,” Shafer said.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation ranks Georgia 39th among the states for child and family well-being, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Rebecca Rice, Georgia Kids Count manager at Georgia Family Connection Partnership, said while some of the statistics are disappointing, the state is actually improving.

Last year’s report using data from 2011-2015 had 17 percent of children living in high poverty areas in Georgia. This year’s report, using data from 2016, reported 16 percent for the indicator. The national statistic is 13 percent over the same time period.

While that’s not a big improvement, Rice said tackling poverty is a problem that won’t be solved overnight.

“Nationally and in Georgia, I do think we’re capable of improving these poverty rates,” she said. “I don’t think it’s an overnight thing, I think it’s an incremental change thing.”

The Atlanta Regional Commission announced $5.4 million dollars in transportation projects in Cherokee County as part of $400 million in regional spending, according to the Cherokee Tribune and Ledger News.

Northwest Georgia counties will split about $200,000 in federal payments made in lieu of property taxes covering land taken off the property tax rolls by the federal government, according to the Rome News-Tribune.

Lawrenceville City Council will hold public meetings on a proposed property tax millage rate, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The city is planning to leave its millage rate at 1.909 this year. Since the tax digest has increased, that essentially means taxes will go up for property owners. The increase equates to about 4.55 percent over the rollback rate, city officials said in an announcement Wednesday.

Lawrenceville Director of Community and Economic Development Lisa Sherman said the increased dollar figure residents will have to pay in taxes is aggregate and will depend on whether their home value increased this year. No increase in value means no increase in taxes.

“(The increase for) a home with a fair market value of $200,000 is approximately $6.64, and (a) non-homestead property with a fair market value of $550,000 is approximately $18.26,” Sherman said.

Gwinnett County’s Transit Development Plan lays the groundwork for heavy rail to Gwinnett Place Mall, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

County officials had already revealed that part of the long-range plans for transit is an extension of heavy rail from the Doraville MARTA station to a proposed multi-modal hub on the Jimmy Carter Boulevard corridor about 15 to 20 years from now.

But now officials say that extension could itself be extended later on to continue up to the mall on Pleasant Hill Road — or a bus rapid transit route that would be installed in the nearer term could eventually be converted to a light rail line from the multi-modal hub to the Infinite Energy Center.

“It’s one of those things that if we had the funding long-range, we think it would be a great improvement because you’re able to catch commuters before they get into that worst part of (Interstate) 85,” Gwinnett County Transportation Director Alan Chapman said.

The final proposed version of the plan was presented to county commissioners Tuesday. It isn’t clear when commissioners will vote on adopting the plan, which would guide transit development in the county for the next 30 years.

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