Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 10, 2014


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 10, 2014

March 8, 1862 saw the Confederate ironclad CSS Virginia at Hampton Roads, VA, take ninety-eight hits from Union warships without sinking. Virginia sank USS Cumberland after ramming it, blew up USS Congress, and ran USS Minnesota aground. It was the worst day in US Naval history at that time. On the next day, March 9, 1862, Virginia and USS Monitor, a Union ironclad, fought to a draw in the Chesapeake Bay,

On March 8, 1946, a conference convened on Wilmington Island, near Savannah, that would lead to the creation of the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, commonly called the World Bank.

On March 8, 1946, a special train arrived at Savannah’s Union Station from Washington, holding nearly 300 delegates, government officials, technical experts and reporters from 35 nations. Thousands of Savannahians watched as a 100-car motorcade rolled along flag-bedecked streets to the General Oglethorpe Hotel on Wilmington Island.

Treasury Secretary Fred M. Vinson headed the American delegation; the British were led by John Maynard Keynes, “the father of modern macroeconomics.”

The stakes were enormous.

Two years earlier, as World War II neared its murderous end, the winning Allies pondered the nature of the postwar global economy. The United States was emerging as the leader of the free world, largely supplanting the British Empire, gravely weakened by the war.

The IMF and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (better known as the World Bank) were born at a July 1944 conference in Bretton Woods, N.H., where 44 countries established rules for the global monetary system.

The IMF was intended to promote international economic cooperation and secure global financial stability, providing countries with short-term loans. The World Bank would offer long-term loans to assist developing countries in building dams, roads and other physical capital.

The Bretton Woods agreements were ratified internationally by December 1945. Vinson, seeking a site for the new organizations’ inaugural meetings, sent Treasury agents around the country. “They made some fine reports on Savannah,” he later told the Morning News. He had never visited the city.

On March 8, 1982, President Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Union “an evil empire” for the second time, in an address to the National Association of Evangelicals.

On March 9, 1866, Governor Charles Jones Jenkins signed two pieces of legislation dealing with African-Americans, one recognized their marriages, the other legitimized children born to African-American couples prior to the act and required parents to maintain their children in the same way white were required.

On March 9, 1970, Governor Lester Maddox signed legislation setting the Georgia minimum wage at $1.25 per hour.

On March 10, 1734, a group of German immigrants reached the mouth of the Savannah River, from where they would proceed on to Savannah. Today, the Georgia Salzburgers Society works to preserve the Salzburger heritage and traditions in Georgia.

On March 10, 1866, Governor Charles Jones Jenkins signed legislation allowing women to have bank accounts separate from their husbands as long as the balance was less than $2000; an earlier act set the limit at $1000.

Governor Ellis Arnall signed two important pieces of legislation on March 9, 1945. The first created the Georgia Ports Authority, with its first project being the expansion of the Port of Savannah. The second authorized the placement of a referendum to adopt a new state Constitution (in the form of a single Amendment to the Constitution of 1877) on the ballot in a Special Election to be held August 7, 1945.

On March 10, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell transmitted the first speech over his new invention, the telephone.

Thomas B. Murphy was born on March 10, 1924 in Bremen, Georgia and would first be elected to office in the 1950s, winning a seat on the Bremen Board of Education. In 1960, Murphy ran for the State House facing no opposition and was sworn in in 1961. In 1973, he became Speaker Murphy and would hold the post until Bill Heath, a Republican, beat him in the November 2002 General Election.

Murphy held the top House seat for longer than anyone in any American state legislature. He died on December 17, 2007.

This next one contains a million-dollar quote.

Under the Gold Dome Today

Senate Meeting Calendar

8:00 AM FINANCE – Subcommittee 125 CAP
3:00 PM FINANCE Subcommittee 125 CAP


HB 60: Firearms; certain laws regarding carrying and possession by retired judges; provide exemption (Substitute) (JUDYNC-43rd) Holt-112th

HB 215: Superior courts; filings in the clerk’s office; change provisions (JUDY-29th) Benton-31st

HB 292: Magistrates Retirement Fund of Georgia; maximum average final monthly compensation calculated in determining benefits; establish (RET-43rd) Battles-15th

HB 495: State Properties Code; conveyance of state property and consideration of conveyances by General Assembly; modify provisions (SI&P-25th) Hill-22nd

HB 770: Crimes and offenses; crime of home invasion; create (Substitute) (JUDYNC-6th) Efstration-104th

HB 838: Invasions of privacy; transmission of photography or video depicting nudity or sexually explicit conduct of an adult under certain circumstances; prohibit (Substitute) (JUDYNC-45th) Tanner-9th

HB 843: Retirement and pensions; ensure compliance with federal laws and regulations; change certain provisions (RET-54th) Riley-50th

HB 898: Interstate Compact for Juveniles; enact (I COOP-23rd) Pak-108th

HB 911: Crimes and offenses; strangulation as aggravated assault; add provisions (JUDYNC-30th) Ballinger-23rd

HB 985: Crimes and offenses; filing false liens or encumbrances against public employees; change provisions (JUDYNC-46th) Kirby-114th


8:00 AM Jacobs Subcommittee of Judiciary Civil 133 CAP
9:00 AM Fleming Subcommittee of Judiciary Civil 415 CLOB
9:30 AM RULES 341 CAP
1:00 PM Welch Subcommittee of Juvenile Justice 506 CLOB
2:00 PM Professions, Boards and Commissions Subcommitte of Regulated Industries 403 CAP


Modified Open Rule

HR 1523 Joint Study Committee to Review and Recommend Necessary Changes to
Georgia Code of Military Justice; create (Substitute)(D&VA-Coomer-14th)

HR 1585 County and municipal officials; display American flag at courthouses and
other government buildings; urge (GAff-Clark-98th)

SB 349 Behavorial Health and Developmental, Dept. of; changes to the powers and
duties (GAff-Coomer-14th) Bethel-54th

Modified Structured Rule

SB 318 Alcoholic Beverages; allow for local authorization/regulation of sale for
consumption on the premises on Sundays; celebration of St. Patrick’s Day
(RegI-Stephens-164th) Jackson-2nd

SB 342 Evidence; disclosure of a person’s HIV status to certain health care
providers (Substitute)(H&HS-Sims-123rd) Burke-11th

There are no hostages under the Gold Dome

Last week, WSB-TV ran a story under the headline, “State senator admits she’s holding medical marijuana bill hostage,” but failed to do the story justice.

Gwinnett County Republican state Sen. Renee Unterman admitted to Channel 2’s Lori Geary that she is holding up the bill until the House makes progress on her bills.

“My main concern is that you are giving false hope,” Unterman told Geary. “I’ve had a lot of representatives come over here and say, ‘I voted for the bill for the families,’ but yet I know the bill does nothing.”

Unterman told Geary she doesn’t believe the research institutions would risk losing their federal funding by dispensing the drug.

Families with children who suffer from severe seizure disorders have spent two months lobbying lawmakers to make cannabis legal in Georgia.

Parents told Geary that Unterman has said she’s holding the bill hostage until the House takes action on her bills, and she didn’t deny it when Geary asked.

“Are you holding this medical marijuana bill hostage because of the what the House is doing?” Geary asked.

“Well, always when we get to the last 10 days of the session there’s a lot of bills held hostage. I have worked on the autism bill and it has not had a hearing in the House,” Unterman said.

That’s not actually an admission to holding the bill hostage. It’s a statement that Sen. Unterman believes there are flaws in the bill that would prevent it from actually allowing parents to buy CBD oil in Georgia because she believes none of the institutions authorized to produce the oil in the House-passed version will actually make it.

WSB used 32 seconds of Senator Renee Unterman, when they shot 10 to 15 minutes of video in her office after waiting there two hours to speak to her.

And I think she’s got a point. Emory University, my alma mater, is among the institutions that would be allowed to produce the oil under HB 885 as it currently is written. Under HB 885, “academic medical centers” would be authorized to produce the oil and dispense it under a doctor’s prescription.

In 2011, Emory received more than $370 million in federal funding, and that’s before you count federal student financial aid. The University will not risk that money over medical marijuana, especially since much of it is geared toward things like fighting cancer.

And without a supply, parents whose kids need the drug will not have any more options than they currently have.

And that’s not just my opinion. State Rep. Allen Peake, the author of the bill, agrees.

The federal barriers between Georgians and an epilepsy medicine made from cannabis are so insurmountable that the Macon representative who is championing the cause plans to propose licensing nonprofit dispensaries in Georgia.

“I’m going to provide that as an option to include in our next draft of the bill,” said state Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, if a Senate committee hears his House Bill 885 by a key legislative deadline Wednesday.

Peake won nearly universal House support for his original bill, which said that Georgia’s medical research universities could grow a type of cannabis that’s high in cannabidiol, or CBD, and make liquid epilepsy medicine from it. Such CBD-rich liquids are nonhallucinogenic and are already used in Britain and Colorado to treat children who have intractable, severe epilepsy disorders.

But he and other bill supporters admitted that they do not have a clear path for getting Georgians something the federal government says is forbidden.

Growing an illegal substance could jeopardize universities’ federal funding, so they are not likely to take that chance. Colorado cannot export any marijuana products. The British medicine is available only in very small U.S. trials. And though the federal government cultivates some research cannabis, it’s not a high-CBD variety.

He needs approval from the Senate Health and Human Services Committee by Wednesday in order to try for full legislative passage by March 20, the last scheduled working day of the year.

But the story line of a state senator holding the bill and the children who would benefit from it “hostage” is much more compelling than admitting that the bill as it currently exists will not help a single child in Georgia.

What’s more disappointing to me is that liberals have used this as an excuse to attack Senator Unterman over “the optics of using sick kids to get your bills passed.”

Even if we accept the premise advanced by the liberal media that Unterman is “holding the bill hostage,” and ignore the very real problems with the bill that both Sen. Unterman and Rep. Peake share, we should look at what bills Unterman is trying to pass in the House, and which also have seen no action since being passed in the Senate.

Specifically, we’re talking about Senate Bill 397, also known as “Ava’s Law,” which passed the Senate on February 25th without a single dissenting vote. Families across Georgia have been working on Ava’s Law since 2009 and it will help more children than the medical marijuana bill. We’re also talking about bills on Child Welfare Reform, Autism, Alzheimer’s and Dementia and Lupus. In fact, I was at an event for the Lupus Foundation of Georgia on Saturday when their lead advocate singled-out Senator Renee Unterman for being an advocate for Georgians suffering from Lupus.

So, even if we accept the premise that Sen. Unterman is holding HB 885 “hostage” to pass a bill, it’s a bill that will help a large number of children in Georgia get treatment that is not currently available to them. But both WSB-TV and Peach Pundit left that fact out, didn’t they.

But the most disappointing aspect of this is that folks are taking this opportunity to trash the reputation of the state Senator who has arguably done more to improve the lives of children in Georgia and the healthcare available to them than any other member of the legislature. And, again, that’s not just my opinion.

Renee Unterman named 2013 Legislator of the Year by the National Association of Local Boards of Health

Renee Unterman named Georgia Senior Living Association Legislator of the Year

Renee Unterman named 2013 Family Medicine Legislative Champion of the Year Award by the Georgia Academy of Family Physicians (GAFP)

Renee Unterman named 2013 “Legislator of the Year” by Georgia Women for a Change because of her unwavering commitment to advancing the fight against human trafficking.

Renee Unterman given Child Advocacy Award by The Interfaith Children’s Movement

Renee Unterman received 2011 Star of Life Legislator Award from the Georgia Association of Emergency Medical Services.

Renee Unterman receives “Legislator of the Year” Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics

Renee Unterman awarded 2012 Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals Legislator of the Year

Renee Unterman awarded Nellie D. Duke Award for Leadership from the Georgia Women’s Institute and is recognized by Senate Democrats saying “Senator Unterman continually demonstrates tireless and unyielding advocacy for issues affecting women and children”

So let’s ponder the “optics” of attacking a public servant for having the temerity to try to pass legislation to improve the lives of children with autism and improve House Bill 885 so that it actually does what it purports to, something that the bill’s author admits it doesn’t.

There are some folks who should be ashamed of their actions here, but none of them are named “Renee Unterman.”

Last night, I received an email from Sen. Unterman on the status of HB 885. Here are some actual facts that you may not have received from the mainstream media or the lefties on the internet.

So where is the bill now?  It has a scheduled hearing on Wednesday.  I am working on a [Committee Substitute] as is [State Rep.] Peake.  We will compare the two and hopefully come up with a more valid, realistic solution that is more than “no hope”.  Bills are due out of comm in the Senate by Thursday morning before session.  I am also working on [Committee Substitute]v for several other bills, which is all normal for the last few days of session.

After 20 something years now, I am use to political pressure, producing with time demands, and working very hard.

Here’s the real issue, folks: the media are not talking about the medical marijuana bill because it will help children or because they have bleeding hearts. They are talking about it because it’s “sexy” and will drive more viewers their way and thus more advertising revenue. They didn’t trash the reputation of a Senator who has spent 20 years working to improve the lives of children so that House Bill 885 has a better chance of passing. They did it for money.

It is surprising to me how often we, as Republicans or Conservatives, complain about the media’s treatment of national issues, but eat every last spoonful of whatever they’re dishing up about local events. Karl Marx was wrong when he said, “religion is the opiate of the masses,” because he didn’t live long enough to see broadcast television. If you want to accuse someone of using Georgia’s children as pawns, it’s not Senator Renee Unterman, it’s the media.

Speaking of cutting deals

Over at my other gig, as Editor of, I wrote on Friday that the number of retirements, especially in the State Senate, and especially among the Republican leadership in that chamber, may introduce a new dynamic to the legislative process this year.

With Majority Leader Ronnie Chance and Majority Whip Cecil Staton, as well as several of their colleagues, announcing their retirements from the legislature, they may become “free agents,” without the worry of how their votes will play with the base.

Not only does this allow retiring legislators to vote as they feel right, even if it might anger some of their primary voters, it may allow the killing of some popular bills about which legislators have qualms but feel pressured to pass. Easing toward retirement, those members who will not face an agitated electorate in the Primary may be willing to take a longer view of what is best for their party and the State of Georgia than the usual two-year terms allow.

On Saturday, Jim Galloway wrote about Senator Cecil Staton and the Campus Carry bill currently before the legislature.

As the last few minutes allotted to the 2013 Legislature drained away, a compromise on a gun bill was reached among five of six Republican lawmakers.
Over the objections of the Board of Regents, the measure would have allowed the carrying of concealed weapons on public university campuses — as long as younger permit holders obtained extra training in the use of firearms.
The fact that one lawmaker, state Sen. Cecil Staton of Macon, a former associate provost at Mercer University, refused to sign onto the deal reached by the House-Senate conference committee made no difference.
But Staton’s withdrawal a few minutes later mattered very much.
Without Staton’s support, the gun bill could go nowhere. And Staton had disappeared from the chamber. “I was busy,” a bespectacled Staton said this week. “So, yeah, I played a major role in stopping that bill last year.”

four Senate Republicans have announced they will not be running for re-election: Majority Leader Ronnie Chance of Tyrone, Tim Golden of Valdosta, John Crosby of Tifton – and Cecil Staton.
Three of the departing senators haven’t publicly indicated where they are on HB 875. But Staton has no qualms.
He collects guns. He considers himself a Second Amendment enthusiast. “But I also have a son in college. And the campus-carry thing, frankly, just made no sense to me,” Staton said. “And I don’t think it makes much sense to most Georgians — Republicans or Democrats. Especially mothers. They don’t want to think of their kids walking across the campus in Athens and seeing students with guns on their hips.”
HB 875 is another example, Staton said, of Republicans being pushed ever further to the right. “The difficulty for my party going forward is the influence of some of these groups. It doesn’t matter what your lifetime commitment may have been — it’s what you did on this amendment,” he said. “You make enemies out of 80 percent, 90 percent friends. We’re so good at doing that as Republicans.”

“I’m very concerned personally about any provision that requires houses of worship to opt out. I think that is bad public policy,” Staton said. “I can’t imagine why Republicans would want to require every house of worship to hold some kind of meeting — to essentially have a church conference where people have to vote.”

Campaigns and Elections

Over the weekend, the Libertarian Party of Georgia held their convention and nominated candidates for Governor, United States Senate, and at least one seat on the Georgia Public Service Commission. The LP tweeted that they “nominated a full slate of statewide candidates,” which presumably would include the South Georgia seat on the Public Service Commission, currently held by Republican Doug Everett, and for which the Democratic Party of Georgia nominated nobody.

AV Club

Coincidentally, it was Senator Bill Heath who defeated Democratic House Speaker Tom Murphy in a 2002 upset.

Gapundit Associate Editor Jeff Breedlove traveled to Macon for Saturday’s GAGOP Senate Debate and caught up with the major candidates. He asked each about where they would open offices if elected to the United States Senate.

David Perdue: GA GOP Senate Debate – Macon

Jack Kingston: GA GOP Senate Debate – Macon

Paul Broun: GA GOP Senate Debate – Macon

Phil Gingrey: GA GOP Senate Debate – Macon

Karen Handel GA GOP Senate Debate – Macon

And a bonus audio clip from Herman Cain, who says he’ll be discussing the 2014 Senate race in greater detail going forward

Herman Cain: On The GA GOP Senate Primary


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