Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections for January 23, 2014


Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections for January 23, 2014

On January 23, 1775, the Georgia Commons House elected three delegates to the Second Continental Congress.

On January 23, 1923, Georgia ratified the Twentieth Amendment to the US Constitution, which ended Presidential terms on January 20th following an election and those of Congress to January 3d.

On January 23, 1861, Georgia’s members of the United States House of Representatives resigned following passage of the Secession Ordinance; her Senators had resigned earlier.

On January 23, 1983, The A-Team was shown for the first time on NBC.

Gold Dome Today

Legislation to allow the keeping of hedgehogs as pets is serving as a textbook example of how a regular citizen can affect public policy in Georgia.

An Athens-elementary student’s lobbying effort began to pay off this week when the House of Representatives gave a “first reading” to a bill she wanted to legalize the keeping of pygmy hedgehogs as pets.

Bella Hayes, an 11-year-old student at Colham Ferry Elementary School, may be a political newcomer, but she’s using the techniques of a veteran.

She convinced Rep. Regina Quick, R-Athens, to sponsor House Bill 780 which would exempt African pygmy hedgehogs from the state’s wild-animal license requirements. Quick, sort of a rookie herself at lawmaking as a first-term legislator, used some political savvy that would make Bella proud by enlisting other members of the House to cosponsor the bill, including Rep. Matt Ramsey of Peachtree City, the Republican whip who is part of the majority party’s leadership.

Along with the first reading, the bill was assigned to a committee for consideration. In this case, it went to the House Game, Fish & Parks committee chaired by Rep. Jon Burns, R-Newington.

“That’s one of the chairmen Bella wrote to,” Quick said.

The chairman recalls the letter but declined to take a stand on the matter before getting more information.

“We’ll do what we always do when a member brings a bill,” he said. “We’ll do our due diligence, as is expected of committee work, and check out the viability of the proposition.”

Burns predicted the committee would hold a hearing in which Bella, animal experts, environmentalists and officials from the Department of Natural Resources would testify.

I am awarding three points to Rep. Quick, and one point each to the co-signers on the bill.

Savannah bars may be able to sell alcohol on Sundays when the “St. Patrick’s Day Holiday Period,” defined as March 16-18th, includes a Sunday. From the Savannah Morning News,

Bars in Savannah would be allowed to sell alcohol when St. Patrick’s Day weekend includes a Sunday if a bill read the first time Wednesday becomes law and the Savannah City Council agrees.

Current law only allows establishments to serve beer, wine and mixed drinks on Sunday afternoons in Savannah if the majority of their money comes from the sale of food. So last year, when the Irish holiday fell on Sunday, local restaurants had a business advantage over bars.

“We’re leveling the playing field for the bars and the restaurants,” said Rep. Mickey Stephens, D-Savannah.

The city asked the Savannah legislative delegation for a local bill to give the council authority to vote for an exception on those years when there is a Sunday anywhere between March 16 and 18. And the delegation members all agreed, even if for different reasons.

“It sort of goes to Republican principles of local control,” said Rep. Ben Watson, R-Savannah

House Bill 790 by State Rep. Chuck Williams (R-Watkinsville) would allow recovery of treble damages for lumber theft and give Georgia Forestry Commission foresters authority to enforce the laws against timber theft.

Forestry is the third-biggest industry in Georgia by number of employees. Its nearly 50,000 jobs make it second only to food processing and textiles, according to 2012 figures in a Georgia Tech report.

The bill is the result of several hearings last summer and is co-sponsored by state Rep. Wendell Willard, R-Sandy Springs, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

The legislative Rural Caucus plans an informal discussion of the bill next week.


Senate Rules Committee – TBA – 450 CAP
8:00am – 9:00am
House – Natural Resources & the Environment – 606 CLOB
8:30am – 9:30am
House – Energy, Utilities,& Telecommunication – 506 CLOB
1:00pm – 2:00pm
Senate Insurance & Labor Committee – MEZZ
1:00pm – 2:00pm
Senate Education & Youth Committee – CANCELLED
1:00pm – 2:00pm
Senate Public Safety Committee – 125 CAP
2:00pm – 3:00pm
House – Fleming Subcommittee of Judiciary Civil – 132 CAP
2:00pm – 3:00pm
Senate Natural Resources & Environment Committee – 450 CAP
2:00pm – 3:00pm
Senate Banking & Financial Institutions Committee – CANCELLED
2:00pm – 4:00pm
House – Transportation Committee – 606 CLOB
3:00pm – 4:00pm
3:00pm – 4:00pm
Senate Health & Human Services Committee – 450 CAP
3:00pm – 4:00pm
Senate Higher Education Committee – 125 CAP
4:00pm – 5:00pm
Senate Finance Committee – MEZZ

More polling data

InsiderAdvantage has a new piece up today on how many Georgians claim to pay attention to the General Assembly.

The poll conducted last week shows that only 25% of Georgians closely follow what goes on under the Gold Dome.
Of greater note is that nearly half (48%) of Georgia voters claimed to follow the legislature “somewhat.”

I’d frankly be shocked if 5% (1 in 20) of Georgia voters could correctly identify either their State Representative or their State Senator.

A 2012 poll by the Pew Research Center found that, shockingly, poll respondents lie about themselves.

60 percent of people who aren’t registered to vote will falsely claim to be registered. Many people also seem inclined to misinform pollsters about their voting habits. Of those who were verified as not having cast a ballot in 2010, 65 percent told Pew that they “always” or “nearly always” vote.

Mark Blumenthal wrote about that phenomenon on his old blog, The Mystery Pollster.

Yesterday, I talked to two junior high school students doing a school project on political polling.    One of their questions was, “Do people tell the truth when they answer poll questions?”  The answer is, they usually do though there may be times when they do not, especially when the question asks about something that might create embarrassment or what social scientists call “social discomfort.”   If you did not vote, for example, you might be reluctant to admit that to a stranger.

In survey research circles, this is referred to as “social desirability bias.”

Election announcement and rumors

We’ve mentioned this before, but Catherine Bernard is running against State Rep. Mike Jacobs (R-Brookhaven), having announced last weekend. From the Brookhaven Post,

Bernard, an Emory University graduate who now works as an attorney, discussed her experiences in the Georgia Republican Party and how it motivated her to get involved in politics.  “I know what it takes to stand up to the people who are causing the problems, and I’m going to do it,” Bernard said.  “There are structural problems with our system of government, and they’re not going to be addressed by the people who are just going along to get along.”

Bernard acknowledged that some might consider advocacy for freedom, limited government, and the Constitution to be extreme, but pointed out how these issues ultimately affect each and every citizen.

State Rep. Delvis Dutton is considering a run for Congress in the Twelfth Congressional District against incumbent Democrat John Barrow. Dutton joins fellow Republicans Rick Allen and John Stone in the GOP Primary.

Augusta City Council member and Mayor Pro Tem Corey Johnson announced he is running for State Senate in the district being vacated by Senator Hardie Davis, who is running for Mayor of Augusta.

Check your calendar if you’re reporting on the 2014 elections for DeKalb County School Board. We’ve heard it reported that board members will be up for election in November, but if I recall correctly, the nonpartisan elections will be decided on May 20th.

Speaking of those nonpartisan elections for DeKalb County School Board, Dunwoody parent and software professional Stan Jester announced he will run for the District 1 seat formerly held by his wife, Nancy Jester, who is running in the Republican Primary for State School Superintendent. You can learn more about Stan Jester and his campaign for DeKalb County Board of Education on his website. Either way, expect to see a lot of Jester signs in Dunwoody ahead of the May 20th elections.

David Vogel, a Madison County Democrat, will challenge Republican Rep. Doug Collins in the Ninth Congressional District.

Vogel, 72, held a meet and greet Saturday at the Gainesville Civic Center to announce his candidacy. The retired professor said he has a “no slogan” approach to policy, with an emphasis on “evidence-based practices” and an eye-toward educating voters on the issues he think are most pressing.

His foremost platform is economic. There was a sense of urgency in his criticism of policies he said have led to disproportionate increases in wealth for the top 100th of the 1 percent of Americans.

“Financial aristocracy. It’s happening,” he said, later adding that, “it’s not hard to imagine a future where every American reaches adulthood in debt and stays in debt the rest of their lives.”

The rally offered a diverse mix of supporters across several Northeast Georgia counties. One hot topic on party members’ minds was health care reform, which has seen an onslaught of negative coverage as implementation of the Affordable Care Act rolled out last fall.

Vogel said “lies and deceptions have given Obamacare a black eye.”

“Businesses are lying about Obamacare as an excuse to cut back on your benefits,” he said.

Here’s my analysis – running on Obamacare in the Ninth District of Georgia will be a steep uphill climb. Though I would award him one point if he put “No Slogan” as the slogan on his yardsigns.

Vivian Childs will run as a Republican for the Eighth District Congressional seat held by Democratic Rep. Sanford Bishop. From

A Houston County woman plans to run for Sanford Bishop’s 2nd Congressional District seat, according to a news release.

Vivian Childs [announced] her candidacy Monday in Byron, her release says.

She is “one of a very few African-American women in Georgia who has chosen to run as a Republican,” according to her campaign.

The district includes most of Bibb county, Peach, Crawford, Dooly, Macon and Taylor counties .

Polls are open in the runoff election for State House District 22 between Republican Meagan Biello and Republican Sam Moore. Forsyth County voters have multiple locations available for early voting.

Early voting has also begun in House District 2 in the upper-left hand corner of Georgia, where Republicans Neal Florence and Steve Tarvin will meet in a runoff election on February 4th.

Catoosa County
8am – 5pm at Catoosa Hall, 7658 Nashville Street, Ringgold, GA
2nd Location: Westside Voting Precinct, 3319 Lakeview Drive, Rossville, GA

Walker County
8:30am – 5pm
Location: Walker County Courthouse, 103 S. Duke St., Rm. 110, LaFayette GA 30728

Whitfield County
8am – 5pm
Location: Whitfield County Courthouse, 205 N Selvidge St. Suite K

Republican Doug Woodruff, who came in third place in the January special election has endorsed Florence.

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