Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 9, 2019


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 9, 2019

The Continental Congress renamed their new nation the United States of America, from the previously used “United Colonies” on September 9, 1776.

On September 9, 1933, WSB Radio in Atlanta was upgraded to broadcasting via 50,000 watt transmitter. The first broadcast included Will Rogers and a letter from President Roosevelt.

On September 9, 1939, an audience at the Fox Theater in Riverside, California watched a preview of Gone With the Wind.

The first actual computer bug was identified on September 9, 1947, when Grace Hopper removed a moth from an electrical relay in the Harvard Mark II computer. Hopper received her Ph.D. in Mathematics from Yale in 1934 and attained the rank of Rear Admiral, Lower Half in the United Stated Navy. USS Hopper (DDG-70) was named after her.

On September 9, 1954, Marvin Griffin won the Democratic Primary election over Melvin Thompson.

Elvis Presley first appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show on September 9, 1956.

Happy 77th birthday to former Congressman John Linder. Linder served in the State House from 1974-1980 and 1982-90. In 1990 he ran unsuccessfully for Congress against incumbent Democrat Ben Jones; in 1992, after redistricting, Linder was elected to Congress from the 7th District and served until his retirement after the 2010 election.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

A cargo ship capsized in St Simons Sound, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Coast Guard Capt. John Reed said Sunday afternoon that rescue teams safely evacuated 20 people from the ship in St. Simons Sound near Brunswick, but then determined the situation was too risky to go farther inside the vessel.

Reed said rescue teams, which involve federal, state and local agencies, are trying to stabilize the M/V Golden Ray cargo ship to continue their search for the missing crew members. He said they have been unable to determine if the fire has been extinguished.

Four people remain unaccounted for on the 656-foot vehicle carrier. The vessel is turned on its side in the St. Simons Sound about 400 feet off the St. Simons village fishing pier, said Robert Morris, senior communications officer for Georgia Ports Authority.

The [Brunswick] port is closed as search and rescue efforts continue. Morris said he didn’t know of any vessels that have been delayed and the focus remains on the rescue efforts.

Senator David Perdue (R) will speak at UGA on October 9 at 11:15 AM, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

The Associated Press writes that Congressman Doug Collins (R-Gainesville) expressed interest in appointment to the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Johnny Isakson.

Now, amid speculation over whom Gov. Brian Kemp might appoint to replace Isakson until a special election is held, some hopefuls are raising their hands for consideration.

One of those prominent contenders is Rep. Doug Collins, who has emerged as one of President Donald Trump’s chief defenders in Congress through his role as the top Republican on the House Judiciary panel.

But what exactly Kemp is looking for in a replacement is still largely unknown.

There will be no primary elections for Isakson’s seat, meaning the special election will be open to qualified candidates from all political parties. That could significantly increase the likelihood of a runoff, required by Georgia law if no candidate receives over 50% of the vote.

Republican strategists say other potential candidates include U.S. Rep. Tom Graves and statewide officers like Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan and Attorney General Chris Carr.

When asked about Isakson’s seat in a recent interview, Collins told The Associated Press: “If the governor were to ask me, would I like to take that position and begin that cycle? I would say yes.”

Democrat Lucy McBath (TN) didn’t rule out a Senate bid, according to the AJC.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath signaled Sunday that she hasn’t ruled out a bid for a newly-opened U.S. Senate seat, telling the crowd at a town hall meeting in Sandy Springs that she’s ignoring the “chatter” about her potential candidacy.

“What I will tell you is that I’m invested in your future,” she told an audience of hundreds, responding to a pointed question pressing her on whether she would commit to seeking a second term in Georgia’s 6th District.

McBath is said to be seriously considering a run, though some state and national Democrats are urging her to stay in the U.S. House, where she has the advantage of incumbency against former Republican Rep. Karen Handel and several other Republicans looking to win back the seat.

Former State Rep. Clay Cox (R-Lilburn) will run for the seat he lost in 2018, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Cox has announced he will run for the Republican nomination for the State House District 108 seat. Cox, a resident of Lilburn, represented the district several years ago and came back to serve a second two-year stint as the district’s representative during the 2017-2018 legislative session. He is seeking a rematch against state Rep. Jasmine Clark, D-Lilburn, who defeated Cox in the November 2018 general election.

“After much prayer, discussion with my family, and encouragement from so many throughout our community, I am proud to announce my candidacy for the State House of Representatives,” Cox said in a statement. “I love Lilburn, I grew up here, started a successful business in Lilburn and this is where we have raised our family. I have a strong desire to see our community reinvigorated and our economy growing.”

Municipal tourism groups are reportedly discussing tax collection with AirBNB, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

As travelers increasingly opt for online platforms such as Airbnb over traditional hotels, municipalities are looking for ways to recoup the loss in lodging taxes. Many have entered into “voluntary collection” agreements with online providers, where the company itself handles collection and remittance of taxes from those using their service. Other cities, such as Savannah, have enacted registration ordinances for short-term rental property owners.

In Augusta, where the Masters Tournament fills hotels and many private residences for one week a year, officials estimate they are losing up to $200,000 a year in lost lodging taxes.

The city’s tourism-marketing organization, the Augusta Convention & Visitors Bureau – one of two recipients of city lodging taxes – has begun laying the groundwork for a voluntary tax-collection agreement with home rental giant Airbnb.

Though Airbnb has such agreements with municipalities across the nation, it has none in Georgia, one of the few states that has not negotiated a deal with the San Francisco-based company.

Airbnb rentals are on the rise in Augusta. The company reported a 42 percent increase in bookings during Masters Week 2018 compared to the previous year. It has not disclosed figures for the 2019 tournament.

The Georgia Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus, headed by Augusta resident Jay Markwalter, a former executive with the Augusta CVB, said in a statement that Georgia is going through a learning process, and acknowledged some of its member organizations are interested in pursuing tax-collection options for short-term rentals.

“As with many new platforms in the shared economy, the learning curve is often steepest in the beginning. Short-term rentals have grown into a significant option as part of the total tourism package,” Markwalter said. “We recognize that economic benefit to homeowners, local businesses, and destination marketing organizations around the state. We believe that communities throughout Georgia benefit when the entire lodging industry collects and remits appropriate taxes and fees.”

The Ledger-Enquirer looks at the current regional Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) and projects.

Your sales tax dollars will help pay for more thanr $260.3 million worth of roads, bridges and pedestrian pathways in Muscogee County by the year 2022.

The 10-year tax, approved by voters in 2012, is budgeted to fund transportation improvements in 16 counties including Muscogee.

The other counties are Chattahoochee, Marion, Talbot, Harris, Stewart, Webster, Taylor, Schley, Macon, Sumter, Quitman, Clay, Randolph, Dooly and Crisp.

The original approved budget for all 23 of the region’s projects is $410,754,730.

All of the counties recently passed resolutions in favor of a second 10-year sales tax except Muscogee County, which effectively began the process of bringing the proposal to voters.

Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson said that a conflict with the city’s proposed 1% sales tax could mean the Columbus Council actively campaigns against the transportation tax.

Despite Columbus Council’s decision not to endorse another transportation tax, the process to put it on the ballot will still continue, as the counties could be penalized for not bringing a project list before voters.

The current tax ends Dec. 31, 2022. A second tax could be seen on the ballot in 2020, 2021 or 2022.

The Glynn County Board of Elections meets Tuesday to discuss implementing new voting machines, according to The Brunswick News.

Elections and Registration Supervisor Chris Channell said he couldn’t talk specifics. Due to the hurricane, board staff members had yet to fully prepare for the meeting, he said.

Glynn County is one of the counties that will continue to use old voting machines in the November municipal elections. Channell has previously said he expects Glynn County will get a few machines soon to use for training and public education before the 2020 elections.

The board is scheduled to meet at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday on the second floor of the Office Park Building, 1815 Gloucester St. in Brunswick.

Hall County will begin mailing property tax statements on September 13, with a November 15 due date for payments, according to the Gainesville Times.

Statesboro City Council voted to appoint Leah Harden as the new City Clerk, according to the Statesboro Herald.

Georgia Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Mark Williams partially reopened shellfish harvesting, according to The Brunswick News.

The closure of the state’s shellfish fishery as a preemptive, protective measure ahead of Hurricane Dorian ended Friday morning as state Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Mark Williams issued a new administrative order reopening harvesting for clams and other bivalve mollusks.

However, oyster harvesting remains closed until at least the beginning of October, when ocean temperatures are projected to drop below 81 degrees Fahrenheit.

“The harvest of shellfish was previously closed out of caution to protect public health and in accordance with the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference and Federal Food and Drug Administration guidelines,” according to a release by the DNR’s Coastal Resources Division.

Floyd County Commission will vote on whether to renew a road maintenance contract with the Georgia Department of Transportation, according to the Rome News Tribune.

Hall County Superior Court Judge Kathy Gosselin will Chair the Council of Accountability Courts beginning July 1, 2020, according to AccessWDUN.

Gosselin has 15 years of experience presiding over a mental health court and five years of experience with the veteran court.

Her election as Chair to this state-wide council comes after serving as the mental health court representative on the Executive Committee for three years (the initial three years of the Council’s formation), the Funding Chair for the last four years (overseeing grants to all the accountability courts in the State), and as Vice-Chair last year.

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