Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 27, 2018


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 27, 2018

Thomas Jefferson was elected as a Virginia delegate to the Second Continental Congress on March 27, 1775.

Colonel James Fannin, a Georgia native and Colonel in the Texas Regular Army and more than 300 other members of the Georgia battalion were executed on March 27, 1836 after surrendering to Santa Anna’s Mexican Army. Fannin County, Georgia is named after Col Fannin.

On March 27, 1912, the first Japanese cherry trees were planted on the northern bank of the Potomac River near the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC. Next weekend, Brookhaven will hold the second annual Brookhaven Cherry Blossom Festival.

On March 27, 1941, Governor Eugene Talmadge signed legislation outlawing the handling of venomous snakes in such a way as to endanger another person or to encourage another person to handle a snake in such a way as to endanger them. The legislation resulted from a six-year old handling a venomous snake during a church service in Adel, Georgia, during which she was bitten and died. Under that act you could still handle snakes yourself as long as you didn’t endanger someone else.

On March 27, 1947, Governor Melvin Thompson signed legislation that made Georgia a “Right to Work State,” meaning that employees cannot generally be forced to join a union or pay dues in order to take a job. On the same day, gambling on sporting events was outlawed by another bill signed by Gov. Thompson.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Today at 10 AM, a service honoring the life of former Governor Zell Miller will be held at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church, 3180 Peachtree Road in Atlanta. From ABC News:

A funeral service is to be held Tuesday in Atlanta for former Georgia governor and U.S. senator Zell Miller with three former presidents set to speak: George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.

It’s the second following one Monday attended by hundreds of mourners in Young Harris, Georgia, where Miller died Friday at the age of 86. Tuesday’s service will be held at a Methodist church in Atlanta.

Afterward, Miller’s remains will lie in state at the Georgia Capitol until a state funeral Wednesday.

Peachtree Road UMC also hosted the funeral for United States Senator Paul Coverdell, whose seat Miller was appointed to.

The [Coverdell] service drew a host of political dignitaries and Atlanta luminaries, including Texas Gov. George W. Bush, who was relying on Coverdell as his point man in the Senate during his campaign for the presidency.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, and former senator and 1996 GOP presidential candidate Bob Dole also attended the service, at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church in Atlanta.

Governor Nathan Deal announced this morning that an increase in projected revenues led to an amended budget recommendation.

Gov. Nathan Deal today announced an increase in the FY 2019 state revenue estimate by more than $194 million over initial projections, bringing the new revenue estimate to more than $26.2 billion. As a result, Deal amended his budget recommendation initially presented in January to include an additional $167 million for K-12 education. These funds will ensure the state is fully funding the Quality Basic Education (QBE) funding formula and providing local school systems with 100 percent of the state’s share in financing for local schools.

“Georgia’s strong economic growth in recent years has allowed us to invest heavily in education, transportation, public safety and health care,” said Deal. “These investments have in turn helped to create more economic growth by helping Georgia achieve and maintain its state as the No. 1 state in which to do business. This year, as a result of stronger-than-anticipated state revenue performance and federal tax reform, I’m amending my FY 2019 budget to include additional funding in a number of areas, including education and transit, two areas that companies often cite as important factors in determining where they wish to grow and expand their businesses.

“The addition of $167 million to K-12 education will bring total funding for education to $9.6 billion. This investment will give local school systems the opportunity to provide the programs necessary to improve struggling schools and enhance student performance. During my time as governor, I have consistently heard from educators who have cited a lack of funding as a barrier to achieving success in their classroom. This additional $167 million will ensure the state is fully doing its financial part to address their concerns. Finally, fully funding QBE provides a stronger foundation to lawmakers and stakeholders to reform this outdated formula to accommodate the needs of today’s students and 21st century classrooms.

“In keeping up with the demands of a 21st century economy and workforce, and in agreement with House and Senate leadership, we are allocating $100 million in bonds for transit funding. This investment will go a long way in reforming and addressing our transit system needs. Pending passage of a transportation bill I can sign, this funding will go into effect.

“I look forward to final passage of a budget that prioritizes the long-term economic health of our state by fully funding our K-12 schools and improving transit opportunities for Georgians statewide. These additional investments, along with my other budget priorities, will continue to keep Georgia the top place to live, work and raise a family.”

Read the FY19 budget amendment letter here.

The House Rules Committee meets today at 8:30 AM in Room 341 of the State Capitol. The Appropriations Conference Committee meets today at 8:30 in Room 403 of the State Capitol. The House Energy, Telecommunications, and Utilities Committee meets today at 3 PM in Room 403 of the State Capitol.

Today is Legislative Day 39 at the Georgia General Assembly, also known as “Rat Day.”

Click here for the Senate Rules Calendar, featuring 80 bills to be considered today and Thursday.

Click here for the first House Rules Calendar for today.

James Salzer with the AJC writes about the Senate Rules Committtee:

To the sounds of James Brown’s “I Feel Good,” the hardest working man in the state Senate, Rules Chairman Jeff Mullis, entered Room 450 of the Capitol on Monday, ready to dispense life or death on legislation for the 2018 session.

“We have 101 bills to consider,” Mullis said as he began the final meeting of this session of the Senate Rules Committee, which sets the calendar for his chamber. “Not every one of these is going to make it even though each is an outstanding piece of legislation.”

The two chambers treat the setting of the final calendar of bills differently. While the House Rules Committee will sometimes hold quickly called meetings a few hours before the session ends to add bills for consideration, the Senate sets a calendar a day or two ahead of time.

After hearing from House members, Mullis went a few rounds through his committee members as they picked bills to make the list. On two occasions he suspended the meeting to huddle with Senate President Pro Tem Butch Miller, R-Gainesville, and Senate Majority Leader Bill Cowsert, R-Athens. Then new rounds of bills made the grade.

A House-Senate Conference Committee is working to find common ground between two competing transit bills, according to the AJC.

Representing the Senate on the committee are Sens. Brandon Beach, R-Alpharetta; Steve Gooch, R-Dahlonega; and David Lucas, D-Macon. The House’s representatives are Reps. Jan Jones, R-Milton; Calvin Smyre, D-Columbus; and Kevin Tanner, R-Dawsonville.

Tanner told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution they two sides exchanged documents Monday morning. The conference committee scheduled a meeting Monday afternoon, then canceled it.

“I’m still hopeful we’ll come to a resolution,” Tanner said. “But we’re still in process of doing it.”

Tanner sponsored House Bill 930. Beach sponsored Senate Bill 386. Both bills that would allow 13 metro Atlanta counties to levy 1-cent sales taxes for mass transit.

House Bill 978 by State Rep. Chad Nimmer (R-Blackshear), set to be considered by the Senate, would authorize “automated traffic enforcement safety devices” in school zones. From the Valdosta Daily Times:

An automated traffic-enforcement safety device is a speed-detection device that photographically records the rear of a motor vehicle to include the vehicle’s license plate. It is able to monitor speed of a vehicle and photographically record it, according to the committee’s amendments to the code section.

The bill was voted out of the Senate Committee of Public Safety March 23, favorably reported with substitute, and now, the bill awaits a floor vote.

Sally Flocks is the president and chief executive officer of PEDs, which is a statewide pedestrian advocacy group, and is in favor of the bill. She said placing cameras in school speeding zones would save lives.

“The bill would authorize local governments to use cameras to ticket people who’re speeding in school zones, and I think that’s really important because it’s very hard to enforce the speed limit by traditional means; it would mean chasing people through a school zone,” Flocks said.

The UGA Terry School of Business released a report showing that 1 in 11 Georgia jobs is supported by the Georgia ports, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Georgia’s deepwater ports are one of the state’s “strongest economic engines,” fostering the development of “virtually every industry,” according to an economic impact study by Jeffrey Humphreys, director of the Selig Center for Economic growth at UGA’s Terry College of Business.

The study was supported by a grant from the Georgia Ports Authority and reviewed by GPA board members at their regular meeting on Monday.

In fiscal year 2017, Georgia’s ports at Savannah and Brunswick supported 439,220 full and part-time jobs in Georgia, representing 9 percent of all state employment, or one out of 11 jobs.

Hall County public schools are proposing an additional $150,000 in safety upgrades and policy changes to improve school safety, according to the Gainesville Times.

Gwinnett County’s Board of Education is considering a $2.1 billion dollar budget for FY 2019, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The increased proposed budget will push the total budget to $2.183 billion. According to Heffron, the majority of the budget will be under the marked under the General Fund.

The General Fund budget for fiscal year 2019 is proposed to be $1.696 billion, an increase of more than $74 million from this year.

The state’s largest school district is anticipating a projected growth of approximately 1,054 students across its 19 school clusters. In addition, the average cost per student will increase by 3.9 percent this year to $9,405.

The Brunswick News profiles five candidates in an open seat election for Glynn County Board of Education District Two.

Sharon Robinson, a Democrat, will run unopposed in April for the seat. She’ll face off in November against one of the four Republican candidates.

Michael Minutelli, David Sharpe, Lance Turpin and Eaddy Sams are are running for the Republican nomination.

Candidates for Mayor of Athens-Clarke County will meet Thursday in a voter forum that will be live-streamed, according to the Athens Banner-Herald.

Loganville‘s city server may have been hacked, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The city announced the suspected security breach by an outside person or group in a statement on its Facebook page on Monday. The incident happened around March 15, and officials did not say why they believe the server was targeted.

The server contained Social Security numbers and banking information, as well as other personal information, the city said in its statement.

“The City of Loganville has retained a company that specializes in computer forensics to further assess the breach,” the city said in its Facebook post. “Those who may be affected by the breach are encouraged to keep an eye on their accounts and monitor your credit.”

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