Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 23, 2015

23
Mar

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 23, 2015

King George III approved of the passage of the Stamp Act legislation on March 22, 1765 designed to pay for some of the costs the UK incurred in protecting the colonies, but it would lead to the movement that culminated in the American Revolution. No word on where the Myrmidons were on this.

Ten years and one day later, Patrick Henry addressed the Virginia Convention in Richmond on March 23, 1775, stating,  “I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

On March 23, 1861, the Georgia Secession Convention adopted a new state Constitution to be submitted to a referendum of the voters on the first Tuesday in July and then adjourned.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Beer and Wine Revenue Act on March 22, 1933, allowing the sale of alcoholic beverages, and later that year, the federal Prohibition was ended.

The first Masters golf tournament began on March 22, 1934 in Augusta, Georgia.

The state prohibition on all alcoholic beverages ended on March 22, 1935 with Governor Eugene Talmadge’s signature of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act.

Governor E.D. Rivers signed a resolution on March 24, 1939, calling for the return of “General” locomotive made famous in the Great Train Chase from Chattanooga, Tennessee to Georgia. It currently resides in The Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History in Kennesaw, Georgia. The other locomotive involved in the chase, The Texas, is displayed at the Atlanta Cyclorama in Grant Park.

The United States Congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment on March 22, 1972; it would fail to garner enough state ratifications.

On March 23, 1972, in the case of Gooding v. Wilson, the United States Supreme Court held that a Georgia statute, OCGA § 26-6303, which provided: “Any person who shall, without provocation, use to or of another, and in his presence . . . opprobrious words or abusive language, tending to cause a breach of the peace . . . shall be guilty of a misdemeanor,” was unconstitutionally vague and violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution

On March 23, 1983, President Ronald Reagan called for the development of an anti-missile system that would come to be known as the Strategic Defense Initiative.

On March 25, 2006, Alvis E Owens, Jr, known as “Buck” Owens of Hee-Haw fame, died. Buck Owens named himself after the family donkey at the age of three or four. During his musical career, Owens had twenty #1 hits on the Billboard Country Music charts.

ERRATUM: Last week, I mistakenly referred to Gov. Melvin Thompson as having been sworn-in to succeed Ellis Arnall as Governor at the conclusion of the “Three Governors Affair” in 1947. Luckily, a reader caught my error and emailed me,

Lt Governor [later Governor from 1947-1948] Melvin Thompson is the correct name.   He ran for re-election later with the campaign slogan “ME for Me.   I vividly recall attending his campaigning in Albany, GA  (1948) with my Dad.  We stood on the lawn of the Dougherty County Courthouse, with ME speaking from the courthouse steps to the gathering.   My first political rally in South Georgia.

One of the great treasures of publishing this morning news is hearing firsthand stories from our readers about the historical events of Georgia.

An exhibition at the Old Capitol museum in Milledgeville commemorates the visit of the Marquis de Lafayette to Georgia 190 years ago.

Revolutionary War hero Marquis de Lafayette of France was nearly moved to tears by the Southern hospitality he enjoyed in Milledgeville in 1825.

His secretary noted in his diary that Lafayette was shown so many kindnesses at a ball in his honor that “the general forgot that Georgia was a new acquaintance.”

The Milledgeville celebration nearly 200 years ago included speeches, rockets, cannon fire, a hot air balloon and a picnic.

Lafayette feasted on squirrel pie and barbecue deer at the $6 a plate ball that night that would be now worth $146, Wright said.

Milledgeville will celebrate Lafayette’s contributions this week, culminating Friday with a 10 a.m. parade from the Old Governor’s Mansion to Georgia Military College, where a “welcome ceremony” is planned at 11 a.m.

GMC alumnus and benefactor, W.J. “Bill” Usery, who was U.S. secretary of labor under President Gerald Ford, is sponsoring the celebration in honor of Lafayette.

To learn more about Milledgeville’s celebration, visit www.lafayette190.com and www.oldcapitalmuseum.org.

Under The Gold Dome Today

8:15 AM SENATE FINANCE 307 CLOB
9:00 AM Regulated Sub of Reg Ind 506 CLOB
9:00 AM HOUSE RULES 341 CAP
10:00 AM FLOOR SESSION (LD 34)  HOUSE CHAMBER
12:00 PM SENATE RULES – UPON ADJOURNMENT 450 CAP
1:00 PM House Fleming Sub of Judiciary Civil  403 CAP
1:00 PM HOUSE ECONOMIC DEV & TOURISM  341 CAP
1:00 PM SENATE PUBLIC SAFETY 310 CLOB
1:00 PM SENATE INS & LABOR 125 CAP
1:00 PM SENATE EDUCATION & YOUTH 307 CLOB
1:30 PM HOUSE HUMAN RELATIONS & AGING  515 CLOB
1:30 PM HOUSE JUDICIARY NON-CIVIL  132 CAP
2:00 PM HOUSE JUVENILE JUSTICE  506 CLOB
2:00 PM HOUSE BANKS & BANKING  341 CAP
2:00 PM HOUSE MOTOR VEHICLES  606 CLOB
2:00 PM HOUSE INSURANCE  406 CLOB
2:00 PM SENATE ETHICS 310 CLOB
2:00 PM SENATE GOV’T OVERSIGHT 123 CAP
2:00 PM SENATE RETIREMENT 307 CLOB
3:00 PM HOUSE EDUCATION  406 CLOB
3:00 PM House Alc & Tob Sub Reg. Ind 515 CLOB
3:00 PM HOUSE DEFENSE & VETERANS AFFAIRS  415 CLOB
3:00 PM HOUSE HEALTH & HUMAN SVCS  606 CLOB
3:00 PM SENATE AGRICULTURE AND CONS. AFF. 450 CAP
3:00 PM SENATE REAPPORTIONMENT & REDISTRICTING 307 CLOB
4:00 PM House Jacobs Sub of Judiciary Civil  403 CAP
4:00 PM SENATE JUDICIARY NON CIVIL 307 CLOB
4:00 PM SENATE TRANSPORTATION MEZZ 1

Senate Rules Calendar

HB 164 – Professional Standards Commission; professional learning requirements for certification renewal; extend the suspension (As Passed House) (ED&Y-50th) Martin-49th

HB 174 – Urban Redevelopment Law; include blighted areas; provisions (As Passed House) (SLGO(G)-30th) Jones-62nd

HB 366 – Employment of minors; issuance of employment certificates; change certain provisions (As Passed House) (I&L-9th) Strickland-111th

HB 368 – Construction; glass installations; repeal and reserve Part 5 of said article (As Passed House) (RI&U-29th) Strickland-111th

HB 477 – Abandoned public road property; notice and right to acquire when located within a subdivision; provide (As Passed House) (Substitute) (SLGO(G)-56th) Jones-47th

HB 554 – Henry County; Board of Commissioners; authority, roles, and responsibilities of chairperson, board of commissioners and county manager; define (As Passed House) (SLGO(G)-56th) Rutledge-109th

House Rules Calendar

HR 601 – House Study Committee on Saltwater Intrusion into Coastal Aquifers; create (NR&E-Smith-70th)

SB 62 – Probate Courts; remove certain limitations on the jurisdiction of the probate courts over the game and fish violations (GF&P-Shaw-176th) Harper-7th

SB 112 – Wildlife; general hunting provisions; prohibit the removal, transportation; game animal or game bird carcasses (GF&P-Knight-130th) Harper-7th

Senate Pares Back Own Transportation Tax Plan

The Senate passed on Friday its own version of the House Transportation Tax Plan after amending it from the floor, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

The Senate version of the bill, which passed 29-25, would replace Georgia’s sales tax on gasoline with an excise tax of 24 cents per gallon. The House bill would set the excise tax at 29.2 cents a gallon.

Senators also amended the bill on the floor to do away with a proposed highway user fee of $25 a year on every car registered in Georgia, $50 annually on trucks and $10 a year on motorcycles. Opponents said the fee, which had been added to the bill by the Senate Transportation Committee to compensate for the lower excise tax, was too reminiscent of the “birthday” tax on motor vehicles that the legislature abolished several years ago.

Senators who supported scaling back the bill argued the House version poses too big a tax increase.

“Georgians are taxed enough,” said Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell. “We can solve this problem without burdening them further.”

Like the House bill, the Senate version still would impose a registration fee on non-commercial electric vehicles of $200 a year and $300 a year on commercial EVs. Albers made an unsuccessful bid on the Senate floor to reduce those annual fees to $95 on non-commercial EVs and $195 on the commercial version of the vehicles.

The Senate also passed the FY2016 budget.

The Senate sided with the House in rejecting Deal’s proposal to cut off health insurance coverage for part-time school bus drivers, janitors and cafeteria workers.

Senators also ratified the House’s addition of $200 million in bonds for transportation projects, to be divided equally between highway and bridge projects and transit projects, a move that increased the total bond package to $1.1 billion.

The biggest installment of the bond money – $218 million – would go for building projects and other capital improvements on University System of Georgia campuses.

The most high-profile Atlanta project in the package is $23 million in bonds to complete a parking facility on property owned by the Georgia World Congress Center Authority near the new Falcons stadium.

Politics Outside the Capitol

Cobb County is working on a new Behavioral Health Accountability Court to help people with mental health issues who are cited for misdemeanor offenses.

Cobb State Court Judge Marsha Lake, Commissioner Bob Weatherford and Cobb Solicitor General Barry Morgan have been working for the last nine months to start a new Behavioral Health Court, which would function as an accountability court.

Lake, who would preside over the new program, explained the differences between the new program and the mental health program in Cobb’s Superior Court.

“Superior Court has a mental health court that’s doing well,” Lake said. “They work with people that have mental disabilities that have committed felonies. We’re wanting to do that with individuals that have mental health disabilities that have committed misdemeanors. They’re very similar in nature, but the crimes are different.”

The differences in the types of crimes necessitates a different program according to the best practices for dealing with individuals with mental health issues, Lake said.

Weatherford said the goal of the program is to prevent misdemeanor offenders with mental health issues from continuing down the path to felony crime or recidivism.

Cobb County Commission Chair Tim Lee may not move forward with Bus Rapid Transit unless he can get enough of the Commissioners on board, according to the Marietta Daily Journal.

The Floyd County Commission held an all-day retreat on Friday to discuss employee pay, jail safety, and SPLOST projects.

The City of Buford will issue $35 million in General Obligation bonds to finance a new high school, with approximately $22 million already socked away for the project, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The Crawford County Coroner wants a chaffeur but the County Attorney likens his demands to blackmail.

Former DeKalb County Commissioner Elaine Boyer will serve 14 months in federal prison for official corruption.

“Elaine Boyer helped herself to over $75,000 in taxpayer funds which were intended to benefit and improve DeKalb County,” said Acting U.S. Attorney John A. Horn following Boyer’s sentencing on Friday. “Instead, she used the money for things like her personal travel and for purchases at high-end department stores. The citizens of DeKalb County deserve to be represented by honest elected officials who put the interests of the public first.

The AJC reports that former Fulton County Commissioner Bill Edwards appears to be missing some $80k from his campaign account.

Nearly $80,000 in political donations disappeared from the campaign reports of former Fulton County Commissioner Bill Edwards in 2010, a joint investigation by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Georgia News Lab and Channel 2 Action News has found.

The funds vanished from Edwards’ campaign disclosures between June and September 2010, during a re-election bid in which Edwards had no opponent. The reports show no campaign expenses or refunds of contributions that would account for the missing $80,000.

In an interview, Edwards and his longtime campaign treasurer, Valencia W. Bean, provided reporters with bank statements they said would clear up the discrepancy. An examination of those records did not explain it and, in fact, raised new questions.

Beyond failing to account for the $80,000, the records show that for years Edwards had tens of thousands of dollars less in the bank than he reported having on hand in his official campaign disclosures. Edwards’ records are also riddled with discrepancies, with expenditures reflected in his bank account but not on official campaign disclosures, and vice versa.

Andre Walker of GeorgiaUnfiltered.com is not amused.

A Savannah Alderman questions whether the City Attorney’s 10x pay raise from $1200 to $12k per month was proper.

Ted Cruz Enters GOP Presidential Race

Ted Cruz Enters Prez Race

Herman Talmadge, III of Henry County wrote on Facebook last night that he’ll be supporting Cruz for President. The ever-effusive Joe McCutchen of Ellijay wrote, “I strongly support Ted Cruz and would support him over any body in history dead or alive.Go Ted go.” So he’s got that going for him.

The formal announcement will take place today at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University in Virginia. Not exactly where you’d make your announcement if you intended to avoid social issues.

Cruz visited Georgia in October 2014 to campaign for David Perdue, who is now the junior United States Senator from Georgia.

An article on the AJC website this morning notes that two Georgians are heading a Cruz-affiliated SuperPAC called Stand for Principle.

The first is David Panton, an Atlanta investment fund whiz and Rhodes scholar who is a longtime friend of Cruz. The Dallas Morning News describes him as “Cruz’s Princeton debate partner, Harvard law school classmate and best man.” He’s also the financial power behind a super PAC supporting the 44-year-old’s candidacy.

“I am thrilled that Ted may announce his bid for the presidency,” Panton said in an email late Sunday. “America needs strong, principled leadership that Ted provides. I look forward to supporting him and am confident he will make an exceptional president.”

The second is Maria Strollo Zack, who leads that aforementioned PAC, which is called Stand for Principle. Zack is a lobbyist and consultant based in Cumming who is a longtime GOP activist with deep roots in the party.

Zack also previously worked on the 2012 campaign for Newt Gingrich and in 2008 for Mike Huckabee. But more fascinating biography belongs to David Panton.

David Panton is no stranger to trailblazing. He was the youngest member of his undergraduate class at Princeton University at the age of 20. Then, at Harvard Law School, he was one of two black presidents in the history of the prestigious Harvard Law Review. The other was President Barack Obama.

He is also among the youngest Ph.D. holders from Oxford University.

[H]is former roommate and debate partner, Ted Cruz, … won election to the U.S. Senate from Texas.

Panton was a Rhodes Scholar and served as a Senator in Jamaica’s Upper House of Parliament.

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