The blog.

15
Feb

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for February 15, 2018

Buttons Cedartown

Buttons is a young female Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from Cedartown Animal Rescue, Education & Sterilization in Cedartown, GA.

Buttons is an adorable girl who is super playful! She loves running with her friends in the fenced yard, chasing after toys and hanging out after a hard day’s play. She has a gorgeous black coat with a unique white pattern that extends down her chest to her belly and even onto her front leg. At 17 weeks old (DOB: 9/21/17), she is 28 pounds. Buttons is perfectly crate trained – does not potty in her crate at all, does not whine and does not tear up her big fluffy bed and toys in there. She is super friendly, learns quickly and just a great dog. Buttons learned “sit” and “down” with 5 minutes of training! She is healthy and is ready for her forever home now.

Godiva Cedartown

Godiva is a young female Australian Shepherd & Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from Cedartown Animal Rescue, Education & Sterilization in Cedartown, GA.

Godiva is out of a litter of 4 puppies who were saved from a kill shelter. They were originally found by animal control on the side of the road in a box labeled with their breed and age. They had ringworm and some other issues but we got them healthy and they are all doing great now. At 3.5 months old (DOB: 10/16/17), Godiva is 19 pounds. She is a gorgeous pup with a beautiful chocolate coat and a great personality. Godiva is friendly, adores people and seeks out attention. She learns quickly and currently does her business in a potty box but prefers to go outside.

Godiva gets along well with other dogs and is used to going outside in a fenced yard to play with all her litter mates. We do not have any cats but she should do fine with them if introduced as a puppy. Godiva is a typical playful puppy and enjoys running, playing with toys and quiet time with her human parents at the end of a long hard day. Fully vetted, Godiva is now looking for her perfect inside forever home. Could that be you? Her wish list includes a house of her very own, a big bed (or can she sleep with you?) and a fenced yard for interactive play time. She would also prefer a parent who is retired or works from home so that she can get the attention and training a puppy requires.

Whitney Cedartown

Whitney is a young female Basset Hound & Shepherd mix puppy who is available for adoption from Cedartown Animal Rescue, Education & Sterilization in Cedartown, GA.

Whitney is a adorable, precious puppy! She is super sweet, friendly and loves everyone! She was rescued out of a kill shelter and soon became ill from the deadly parvovirus. She is a strong girl, survived the battle and is completely happy and healthy now. At 3.5 months old (DOB: 10/12/17), she is currently 16 pounds. She gets along well with other dogs and should be fine with cats when introduced as a puppy. She is used to going out into a fenced yard for play time and does well. She is crate trained and uses a potty box but prefers to do her business outside.

Being a typical puppy, Whitney loves playing with toys, running with her friends and snoozing by your leg when she is tired from a long day. Whitney is a “low rider” and has adorable shorter legs. We adore Whitney’s sweet but playful personality and want to find her the best home. She is healthy, fully vetted and ready for her inside forever home now. Her wish list includes a home of her very own with a fenced yard for play time, a soft bed for nite-nite and parents who will give her all the attention she deserves. Parents who are retired or work from home would be a plus as puppies require a lot of training, socialization and love to be well adjusted. Does that sound like you?

15
Feb

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 15, 2018

On February 15, 1796, Georgia Governor Jared Irwin and legislators gathered with a crowd for the burning of the “Yazoo Act.”

On February 15, 1898, the battleship U.S.S. Maine exploded in Havana harbor, Cuba.

On February 15, 1952 Gov. Herman Talmadge signed a joint resolution directing the purchase of Stone Mountain for development as a Confederate Memorial.

On February 15, 2011, Georgia Congressman John Lewis was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work in the civil rights movement.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal has ordered flags to half-staff on Friday, February 16, 2016 at the State Capitol and in Henry County to honor the late Locust Grove Police officer Chase Maddox. The Memorial Service will be held Saturday.

The Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform delivered its 2018 Report to Gov. Deal and recommended a legislative package:Continue Reading..

14
Feb

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for February 14, 2018

Duke Toccoa

Duke is a male Hound dog who is available for adoption from the Toccoa-Stephens County Humane Shelter in Toccoa, GA.

Landen

Landen is a young male Shepherd mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Toccoa-Stephens County Humane Shelter in Toccoa, GA.

Ruby Toccoa

Ruby is a female Hound dog who is available for adoption from the Toccoa-Stephens County Humane Shelter in Toccoa, GA.

14
Feb

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 14, 2017

On February 14, 1779, Lt. Col. Elijah Clarke led a charge against British forces at the Battle of Kettle Creek.

On February 14, 1956, the Georgia General Assembly passed legislation calling for the protection, cleaning and maintenance, and display of historic Confederate flags at the State Capitol.

On February 14, 1958, the Georgia General Assembly passed a resolution purporting to censure President Dwight D. Eisenhower for using National Guard troops in the integration of schools in Little Rock, Arkansas.

On February 14, 1977, the B-52s played their first gig at a Valentine’s Day party in Athens.

Later that year, the group began making regular runs in the Wilson family station wagon up to New York City for gigs at seminal New Wave clubs like Max’s Kansas City and CBGB’s. With Kate and Cindy in their mile-high beehive wigs and 60s thrift-shop best, and Fred looking like a gay, demented golf pro, the B-52s made an immediate impression on the New York scene, and their independently produced single, “Rock Lobster,” became an underground smash.

The B-52s are still in business three decades later, minus Ricky Wilson, who died of AIDS in 1985. Significantly, their success is widely credited for establishing the viability of the Athens, Georgia, music scene, which would produce many minor successes and one massive one—R.E.M.—in the years immediately following the breakthrough of the B-52′s.

On February 14, 2012, we published the first edition of the GaPundit daily political news, featuring dogs. We originally thought that the dogs would be temporary until enough people complained about them that we felt the need to go to once a week. We were surprised that the adoptable dogs have become the signature of GaPundit’s otherwise-political offerings and our greatest success.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Republican John LaHood smoked the competition to win outright the Special Election in House District 175, receiving more than 70% of votes cast. From the Valdosta Daily Times:

He said his priorities will be to make sure the community and South Georgia are given the same priority as the rest of the state.

LaHood stated he would “preserve our conservative South Georgia values. As a Christian, I will not apologize for my faith, and I will never back down from protecting our values.”

He would “protect taxpayers by using my business experience to bring a results-driven approach to state government.”

“Improve rural health care and health-care outcomes by pushing Georgia-focused, conservative reforms based in the private sector and protect and support Georgia’s aging population with more choices and a stronger workforce of qualified caregivers.”

“Stand strong for our farmers.”

Governor Nathan Deal yesterday introduced House Bill 918 by State Rep. Chuck Efstration (R-Dacula) and the other Administration Floor Leaders to overhaul the state tax code.

The bill addresses the state revenue projections resulting from the Federal Tax Act while mirroring its 10-year timeframe.

The legislation would allow Georgia taxpayers to take the increased standard deduction at the federal level while providing flexibility to take either standard or itemized deductions at the state level. Another component would enhance personal exemptions by 25 percent.

“This legislation provides more flexibility and fairness to Georgians to decide what’s best for their families,” said Deal. “It will allow taxpayers to take full advantage of federal reforms while ensuring the fiscal health of our state long-term. This legislation will keep more hard-earned money in Georgians’ pockets and is an important step forward in modernizing state law to conform with federal reforms.”

From the Associated Press via the Gainesville Times:

Now, with the governor’s office estimating that Georgians will pay an additional $4.7 billion in state taxes cumulatively over the next five years, lawmakers are debating what to do with the extra funds.

Deal introduced legislation Tuesday that would allow filers who take the standard deduction at the federal level to itemize deductions at the state level, which is currently prohibited in Georgia. This would let Georgians take advantage of a major increase in the federal standard deduction without being forced to take the state standard deduction, which is relatively low. Deal’s proposal also calls for increasing the state personal exemption by 25 percent.

From The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

“It will mean the state is not collecting as much money from them as it would have been had we not made these changes,” Gov. Nathan Deal told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday.

Administration officials said their bill would cut the estimated windfall by 75 percent over five years and all but eliminate it this year.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who is running this year to replace the retiring Deal, said, “I look forward to reviewing Governor Deal’s proposal and working with him to give hardworking Georgia families the tax cut they deserve.

“Ultimately, I’m committed to moving forward with comprehensive tax reform that will — at a minimum — return every surplus dollar collected back to Georgia taxpayers.”

“My criteria have been, let’s make sure we don’t jeopardize state revenue by getting carried away (with tax cuts) because there is going to be a windfall,” Deal said. “Let’s do it in a very select way, let’s make sure the benefits we convey in a tax reform are benefits we can sustain over a long period of time.”

Under the Gold Dome

Both chambers of the General Assembly convene at 10 AM today for Legislative Day 21.

LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE MEETING SCHEDULE

8:30 AM SENATE VETERANS, MILITARY & HOMELAND SECURITY 310 CLOB

9:00 AM HOUSE RULES 341 CAP

Upon Adjournment SENATE RULES450 CAP

1:00 PM SENATE PUBLIC SAFETY MEZZ 1

1:00 PM INSURANCE AND LABOR 310 CLOB

1:00 PM House Reeves Sub Judy (Non Civil) 132 CAP

1:00 PM HOUSE Education Sub Academic Support 415 CLOB

1:00 PM HOUSE State Govt Admin Subc Govtal Affairs 406 CLOB

1:00 PM HOUSE AGRICULTURE & CONSUMER AFFAIRS 403 CAP

1:30 PM SENATE APPROP – Comm Health & Human Development and Public Health Subs 307 CLOB

2:00 PM DOT ELECTIONS -DISTRICT 10 SENATE CHAMBER

2:00 PM SENATE TRANSPORTATION 310 CLOB

2:00 PM HOUSE APPROP HIGHER ED 341 CAP

2:00 PM House Ways & Means Income Tax Sub 133 CAP

2:00 PM House Kelley Sub Judy (Civil) 403 CAP

2:00 PM HOUSE BUDGET AND FISCAL AFFAIRS OVERSIGHT 506 CLOB

2:00 PM HOUSE RETIREMENT 515 CLOB

2:15 PM HOUSE GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS 406 CLOB

3:00 PM SENATE FINANCE MEZZ 1

3:00 PM SENATE EDUCATION & YOUTH 450 CAP

3:00 PM HOUSE PUBLIC SAFETY 606 CLOB

3:00 PM House Setzler Sub Judy (Non Civil) 132 CAP

3:00 PM House Ways & Means Sub Public Finance and Policy 133 CAP

4:00 PM SENATE JUDY SUB COMMITTEE B 307 CLOB

4:00 PM DOT ELECTIONS -DISTRICT 9 SENATE CHAMBER

4:00 PM DOT ELECTIONS- DISTRICT 14 SENATE CHAMBER

4:00 PM House Fleming Sub Judy (Civil) 132 CAP

4:00 PM HOUSE APPROP PUBLIC SAFETY 406 CLOB

SENATE RULES CALENDAR

SB 107 – Ethics in Government; filing campaign financial disclosure reports; additional date prior to general primary; revise the dates (Substitute) (ETHICS-40th)

SB 248 – Life Insurance; life insurers’ requirement to review the National Association of Insurance Commissioners life insurance policy locator; provide (Substitute) (I&L-16th)

SB 348 – Technical College System of Georgia; powers of arrest of campus policemen who are regular employees; revise (PUB SAF-7th)

SB 367 – Payment of Indemnification for Death or Disability; option of payment to an estate in the case of death; law enforcement officer; firefighter; emergency medical technician, emergency management specialist, state highway employee or prison guard; provide (PUB SAF-13th)

SB 368 – Criminal Justice Coordinating Council; functions and authority; add (PUB SAF-13th)

SB 369 – Revenues Collected from Fines and Fees; payments to Peace Officers’ Annuity and Benefit Fund; fees collected in criminal and quasi-criminal cases prior to adjudication of guilt; provide (Substitute) (PUB SAF-13th)

SB 366 – Local Government; counties and municipal corporations to perform wage and compensation studies for employees of sheriff’s office; require
(PUB SAF-51st)

HOUSE RULES CALENDAR

Open Rule

HR 898 Joint Study Committee on the Establishment of a State Accreditation Process; create (Ed-Coleman-97th)

Modified Open Rule

HB 190 – Domestic relations; marriage articles and antenuptial agreements; change provisions (Substitute)(Judy-Hanson-80th)

HB 740 – Education; local school system to conduct certain screenings, assessments, and reviews prior to expelling a student; require (Substitute)(Ed-Nix-69th)

Modified Structured Rule

HB 767 – State government; verification of lawful presence that may be utilized in conjunction with electronic filing of an application for unemployment insurance; provide (I&L-Werkheiser-157th)

HB 789 – Labor and industrial relations; marketplace contractors to be treated as independent contractors under state and local laws; provisions (Substitute)(I&L-Fleming-121st)

HB 800 – Workers’ compensation; eligibility for appointment as director emeritus and administrative law judge emeritus; change certain provisions (I&L-Bonner-72nd)

Structured Rule

HB 302 – Ad valorem tax; property; change certain requirements to notice pertaining to millage rate adoption (Substitute)(W&M-Nix-69th)

HB 749 – Income tax; retirement income is applicable as a retirement benefit from noncivilian service in the United States armed forces; clarify an exemption (Substitute)(W&M-Blackmon-146th)

HR 158 – General Assembly; provide for dedication of revenues derived from fees or other taxes to the public purpose for which such fees or other taxes were imposed; authorize – CA (Substitute)(W&M-Powell-171st)

Senate Bill 17, the “Brunch Bill” passed the Senate yesterday on a vote of 38-18. From the Gainesville Times:

Senators voted 38-18 in favor of Senate Bill 17, which would allow on-premise consumption to begin at 11 a.m. on Sundays. Off-premise sales, such as those at supermarkets, would remain illegal until 12:30 p.m. on Sundays.

The bill was revised by the Senate Committee on Regulated Industries and brought to the Senate floor on Tuesday as a substitute bill. The original legislation also included grocery stores in the establishments that would be allowed to sell alcohol beginning at 11 a.m. on Sundays.

Republican Sen. Jeff Mullis, of Chickamauga, said he is personally against expanding alcohol sales but is in favor of the bill because it gives local communities the ability to decide whether or not to allow earlier sales.

“If this ever came to Chickamauga, … I would want my constituents to have the right to vote,” Mullis said. “I support the right to the ballot.”

From the AJC:

State Sen. Renee Unterman, R-Buford, said the legislation was a compromise made to appease opponents of the bill, including several who object to any expanded access to alcohol.

“The bill has been simplified and it’s had a lot of media attention, but I think everybody understands what they’re voting on,” Unterman said in brief remarks before the vote.

Unterman said she introduced Senate Bill 17 to let private businesses do what the state-owned Georgia World Congress Center already does, which is serve alcohol at its facilities on Sunday mornings.

State Rep. Meagan Hanson, R-Brookhaven, said while she is pleased the measure cleared the Senate, representatives still need to decide whether they’re comfortable with the time sales are permitted being later than originally proposed. Hanson will help steer the bill through the House this year.

House Bill 769, from the House Rural Development Council’s recommendations, passed out of the House Health and Human Services Committee. From Georgia Health News:

House Bill 769 would take several steps, including easing the creation of ‘’micro-hospitals,’’ with 24/7 care and a small number of beds, to replace full-scale hospitals that close.

It also would allow grants to help rural physicians afford medical malpractice insurance, as an incentive to practice in rural areas; permit remote pharmacy prescription orders from outside of Georgia; and require training of rural hospital board and authority members.

The legislation, sponsored by state Rep. Rick Jasperse, a Jasper Republican, would also raise the rural tax credit for donations to rural hospitals from 90 percent to 100 percent.

The rural health bill is not a silver bullet, Jasperse said after the approval by the committee. “It’s a piece of a puzzle that would help stabilize rural hospitals.”

State Rep. Kevin Tanner (R-Dawsonville), who Chairs the House Transportation Committee, introduced House Bill 930, which would coordinate transit development and funding across the Metro Atlanta region.

From The Atlanta Journal Constution:

With the introduction of HB 930, there are now two bills that seek to revamp transit oversight and funding in metro Atlanta. The Senate is considering similar legislation.

Both bills would create a new regional board to oversee transit planning in 13 metro Atlanta counties: Cherokee, Clayton, Coweta, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Paulding and Rockdale.

The bills would allow the counties to impose sales taxes for transit projects, if their voters approve them. The regional board would have to approve the project lists for any county transit referendum. But the taxes raised in any county would be spent only in that county.

From WABE:

State funds for a region-wide public transit system would come from two sources. One being a new, 1 percent sales tax on goods and services at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and Savannah’s International Airport and a 50-cent fee on each ride in a taxi, Uber or Lyft.

Rep. Kevin Tanner, R-Dawnsonville, helped write the bill. He said it would let the 13 counties in the metro Atlanta region create their own 30-year special purpose sales taxes for transit.

The bill would also create a single governing body to handle planning. It would work with counties to decide how the state and local funding is spent.

More from the AJC:

The bill would create a new board — dubbed Atlanta-region Transit Link, or “ATL” — to oversee transit planning in the 13-county metro Atlanta area. The transit-related sales taxes raised in any county would only be spent in that community, but the board would have to sign off on local project lists.

“This is not about forcing counties to take MARTA,” Tanner, a Republican from Dawsonville, said.

Maggie Lee of the Macon Telegraph writes about legislative attempts to curb opioid abuse:

In a rough 48 hours last June, Macon emergency rooms admitted more than a dozen people who had swallowed apparently fake Percocets.

“It’s not just an Atlanta problem, it’s a problem in middle Georgia,” said state Sen. Larry Walker III, R-Perry. “It’s ruining lives and killing people and probably driving up our crime.”

Renee Unterman has met countless people with stories of addiction. The state Senator’s name has been on many of the bricks in the legal wall that’s supposed to protect Georgians from the flood of strong opioids.

She looked up to the second floor of the Senate chamber, where the guests sit, as she presented Senate Bill 352 earlier this month. “I dedicate this bill to two mothers,” she said, looking toward Kathi Abraham and Lisa Manning, mothers whose sons Joseph and Dustin died of suspected opioid overdoses on the same day last year. The families lived in the same subdivision, just four streets apart.

“We have people peddling lethal substances,” said Unterman, R-Buford.

[Senator Larry] Walker is carrying another incremental bill, another one of the bricks in the wall Georgia is trying to put up between opioids and addiction. Georgia health care providers are supposed to log opioid prescriptions in a database, so that they can see if patients are getting a lot of prescriptions. His bill would allow law enforcement from other states look in the database, if they have a search warrant. It’s meant to remove state borders in investigation of possible criminal cases.

I recommend reading the story in its entirety.

Former State Rep. Valerie Clark (R-Gwinnett) announced she will make a comeback bid after losing her 2016 reelection, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Clark, a Republican, held the House District 101 seat for three terms but was defeated by Rep. Sam Park, D-Lawrenceville, in 2016. The election is expected to pit Clark and Park against each other in a rematch of the 2016 election, which Park won by 460 votes.

“I authored legislation to protect patients in hospitals and to make it easier for seniors to age in place,” Clark said in a statement. “I also fought tirelessly to pass legislation to reduce the production of methamphetamine from prescription drugs.”

13
Feb

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for February 13, 2018

Aubie

Aubie is a young female Treeing Walker Coonhound mix who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Valdosta/Lowndes County in Valdosta, GA.

Aubie is a purebred Walker Hound mix born on December 28th 2016. Unfortunately she had to have her back leg removed but luckily dogs adjust well and she won’t let it slow her down. She just got out of her stay at the vet.

Collie Puppy 2

“Collie Puppy 2” is a male collie mix puppy, part of a litter, that will be available for adoption from the Berrien County Humane Society, Inc. in Nashville, GA.

The puppies were rejected by their mother at 2 weeks old and were raised by another dog who had recently had puppies.

Oshmae

Oshmae is a young male Australian Cattle Dog / Blue Heeler & Black Mouth Cur Mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Moultrie-Colquitt County Humane Society in Moultrie, GA.

Whitfield County Commissioners passed an ordinance intended to promote responsible pet ownership and spay/neuter. From the Dalton Daily Citizen:

Board members voted to approve a law that increases the fee to reclaim an animal that has been picked up by animal control from the animal shelter to $150 from $25. But the law automatically reduces that fee to $25 if the animal has been previously spayed or neutered. And If the animal has not been spayed or neutered, the law says the fee will be waived entirely if the owner requests that Whitfield County Animal Control carry the animal to a licensed spay/neuter clinic of the owner’s choice and the clinic confirms it has spayed or neutered the animal at the owner’s expense.

The board’s vote was greeted with applause from some 30 animal welfare activists who attended the meeting.

Robyn O’Kane, medical director of the National Spay and Neuter Alliance Foundation, called the new law “amazingly wonderful.”

 

13
Feb

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 13, 2017

On February 13, 1941, Gov. Eugene Talmadge signed legislation that proposed a Constitutional Amendment changing the 2-year terms for Governor and other statewide Constitutional Officers to 4-year.

On February 13, 1956, Gov. Marvin Griffin signed legislation adopting a new state flag incorporating the Confederate battle flag.

On February 13, 2007, United States Congressman Charlie Norwood (R-Augusta) died at home.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Voters in State House District 175 go to the polls today in a Special Election to fill the now-vacant seat.

Candidates are:

• Treva Gear, Democrat, Valdosta, educator.

• John LaHood, Republican, Valdosta, business owner.

• Bruce Phelps, Republican, Lowndes County, who lists his occupation as emergency medical technician.

• Coy Reaves, Republican, Quitman, self-employed.

The district represents part of Lowndes and Thomas counties and all of Brooks County.

The district was represented in the Statehouse for several years by Carter. She resigned at the end of 2017 to take a position as the executive director of advancement for the Technical College System of Georgia. She began her tenure as a Democrat who later switched to the Republican Party.

Governor Nathan Deal released a statement about the inclusion of $49 million for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project in President Trump’s proposed budget.

“I am encouraged to see that SHEP was President Trump’s top priority when it comes to port investments,” said Deal. “The expansion of the Port of Savannah is the single most important infrastructure project not only for Georgia, but for the Southeast as a whole, and deepening it is necessary to allow larger ships like the Neo-Panamax to navigate through our ports more quickly and ensure that a greater volume of goods will be able to move through our state. On top of President Trump’s budget, we are looking forward to investment from the Army Corps of Engineers work plan to supplement this amount. Finally, I am grateful for members of Georgia’s Congressional delegation and call upon them to redouble their advocacy for federal funding during the appropriations process. To date, Georgia taxpayers have already invested the state’s full local share to SHEP, amounting to roughly $266 million, and the state’s FY 2019 budget includes an additional $35 million to ensure its completion by 2021. A timely completion of this effort will ensure resources are allocated efficiently and taxpayer dollars are spent appropriately, while making a major step forward for our national infrastructure as more, larger ships will be able to navigate through the Port of Savannah and more quickly move goods through our nation.”

From the Savannah Morning News:

“It’s very good news,” Jamie McCurry, chief administrative officer for the ports said. “We are glad to see Savannah given the highest priority based on dollars of any expansion projects.”

Once the omnibus bill is passed in March, appropriations can move forward, officials with Georgia Sen. David Perdue’s office said. An omnibus spending bill allows appropriations bills to be combined into one bill that can be passed with one vote in each legislative house.

McCurry said the FY 2018 and FY2019 funding will help towards the $88-$100 million needed each year for the project.

“We are certainly thankful for the $49 million,” [Congressman Buddy] Carter said. “We all know we need more money to avoid any interruptions in this project. That’s our goal — not to have any interruptions.”

Under the Gold Dome

The House and Senate each convenes at 10 AM today for Legislative Day 20, the halfway point in the legislative session. It’s a doozy of a day for committee meetings.

LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE MEETING SCHEDULE.

8:00 AM SENATE STATE & LOCAL GOVT OPS 307 CLOB

8:00 AM SENATE APPROPRIATIONS 341 CAP

8:00 AM House Envtal Qual Subc  Natl Res & Envt 403 CAP

8:00 AM HOUSE MILITARY AFFAIRS WORKING GROUP 415 CLOB

9:00 AM HOUSE RULES 341 CAP

Upon Adjournment SENATE RULES – UPON ADJOURNMENT 450 CAP

1:00 PM SENATE ECON DEV & TOURISM – CANCELED 125 CAP

1:00 PM SENATE HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES 450 CAP

1:00 PM House Setzler Sub Judy (Non-Civil) 506 CLOB

1:00 PM HOUSE APPROP PUBLIC SAFETY 415 CLOB

1:00 PM HOUSE APPROP TRANSPORTATION 406 CLOB

2:00 PM SENATE RETIREMENT MEZZ 1

2:00 PM SENATE SCIENCE AND TECH 307 CLOB

2:00 PM DOT ELECTIONS -DISTRICT 2 SENATE CHAMBER

2:00 PM SENATE NATL RES & ENVT 310 CLOB

2:00 PM HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS HIGHER ED 341 CAP

2:00 PM HOUSE JUDY (CIVIL) 132 CAP

2:00 PM HOUSE APPRO GENL GOVT 403 CAP

2:00 PM HOUSE REGULATED IND 415 CLOB

2:00 PM HOUSE BANKS AND BANKING 515 CLOB

2:00 PM HOUSE HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES 606 CLOB

3:00 PM SENATE HIGHER ED 307 CLOB

3:00 PM SENATE REG IND & UTILS 450 CAP

3:00 PM DOT ELECTIONS -DISTRICT 5 Senate Chamber

3:00 PM DOT ELECTIONS-DISTRICT 13 Senate Chamber

3:00 PM HOUSE MEDICAL CANNABIS WORKING GROUP 406 CLOB

3:00 PM HOUSE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY 506 CLOB

4:00 PM SENATE STATE INST & PROP 450 CAP

4:00 PM SENATE BANKING AND FIN INST – CANCELED MEZZ 1

4:00 PM HOUSE Govt Affairs Special Sub Voting Tech 506 CLOB

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee today will hear testimony on Senate Bill 351 by Chair Renee Unterman (R-Buford), which would allow a greater scope of practice for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses in rural parts of Georgia. From Jill Nolin at CNHI:

Unterman, who chairs the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, has introduced a measure that would empower the nurses to practice to the fullest extent of their training.

“I just think it’s a shame that, here at the General Assembly, they’ve been held back and repressed for so long,” Unterman said during an interview at the state Capitol.

Georgia has one of the most restrictive laws for nurse practitioners. Nationally, 22 states and the District of Columbia grant them what is known as full-practice authority.

Proponents argue expanding the scope of practice for nurse practitioners could help fill in the health-care gaps in a growing state with increasing needs, especially with primary care. Nurse practitioners can also specialize in certain areas, such as pediatric care or mental health treatment.

“Everybody says, ‘Oh, it’s anti-doctor,’” Unterman said of her proposal. “It has nothing to do with that. It’s about access to care, and if you have a ready, willing and able workforce out there that’s willing to fill in the gap, I say let them have it.”

 

House Bill 865 by Rep. Miriam Paris (D-Macon) would reduce possession of small amounts of marijuana to a misdemeanor. From the Macon Telegraph:

[Rep. Paris] says the bill is not about legalizing marijuana, but about an appropriate punishment for a nonviolent crime.“It is just making it where we’re not sending people to jail, where they have to go and sit just because they can’t make bail or for it,” she said. Her bill says that a possession of up to a half-ounce of marijuana would be punishable by a maximum $300 fine.

Right now, possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is a misdemeanor and subject to up to a year’s imprisonment and up to a $1,000 fine. An ounce or more of marijuana is a felony.

Her bill moves the felony line up to two ounces or more of marijuana. Her bill is identical to Senate Bill 105, which state Sen. Harold Jones II, D-Augusta, carried to state Senate Judiciary Committee approval last year.

House Bill 678 by State Rep. Richard Smith (R-Columbus) addresses surprise medical billing passed out of the House Insurance Committee by substitute. From the Rome News-Tribune:

“Two out of three of you will get a surprise bill within the next two years,” Rep. Richard H. Smith, R-Columbus, said before his House Bill 678 passed in a vote of 164 to 1.

Surprise or balance bills come when a service is performed at an in-network hospital by a contract provider and the patient is billed for the difference between what his insurance company covers and the contractor’s fee.

“You’ve done everything right, or so you believe … (But) some healthcare providers are not in the insurance network and they can charge you whatever they want,” Smith said. “In some cases it’s 10 to 12 times higher than in-network.”

HB 678 offers protections for scheduled procedures.

House Bill 887 by State Rep. Jay Powell (R-Camilla) could be the opposite of “Netflix and chill.” From the Valdosta Daily Times:

Sticking a tax on Netflix, e-books and other digital services that currently go untaxed in Georgia would help pay for upgrades to internet connections in neglected corners of the state.

“We tax books but not Kindle downloads,” Rep. Jay Powell, R-Camilla, said in an interview Thursday. “We used to buy movie tickets and go to Blockbuster – all of which were taxed – but now we videostream from Netflix.

Powell, who heads the House Ways and Means Committee, co-chaired the House Rural Development Council. The broadband bill, which was filed Thursday, is the most ambitious measure to come so far from that panel’s yearlong work. About 16 percent of Georgians lack internet access.

Powell’s measure would replace that lost revenue with a broader tax base, imposing a sales tax on music downloads, streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu, and other digital purchases.

Another tax would expand to all communications services, including those not currently taxed such as satellite TV.

Governor Deal’s  Commission on Children’s Mental Health recommended the increased use of telemedicine for providing services in rural areas. From the Gainesville Times:

Telemedicine, also called telehealth, is becoming a growing part of rural Americans’ health care consumption. Faced with few providers or high-deductible insurance (or no insurance at all), patients are turning to less expensive webcam consultations with a specialist.

Much of the almost $23 million for children’s mental health programs requested by the governor’s office and the commission is intended to “connect kids to services where they are everyday, and that’s schools,” Sitkoff said. “Where we’ve seen great success in tele-mental health is where these school-based health centers leverage telehealth equipment to get kids access to behavioral health providers.”

Tucked into the budget recommendations are two line items totaling $482,500 for telemedicine services and infrastructure — money that will help fund the cameras, computers and training needed to coordinate and carry out telehealth programs through public schools, the state and public-private health care providers.

Sitkoff held up the Tanner Health System in the West Georgia town of Carrollton as an example for its tele-mental health services, which include providing telehealth services in local schools. The system also does regular “mental health first aid” classes that teach people how to identify someone struggling with mental illness and how to approach them about it.

Dade County Commissioners are considering putting a sales tax referendum on the May 2018 ballot. From the Times Free Press:

The county commissioners are holding a special called meeting Thursday at 5 p.m. to decide whether to put a referendum on the May 22 ballot, asking whether people support a transportation special purpose local option sales tax. The 1 percent burden at the cash register would be earmarked for work on roads, bridges and other transportation projects.

If the commissioners put it on a ballot, this will be the second election in six months on the issue. In November, 55 percent of voters rejected it.

But County Executive Ted Rumley believes the referendum has a better chance to pass this time. With only Trenton, Ga., races on the ballot in November, just 911 people came to the polls.

The Coweta County Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing tonight to discuss the county’s “rural integrity.”

Coweta County public safety agencies are launching a new emergency notification system that works via smartphone app.

Macon-Bibb County already has at least two candidates for the next Mayoral election in 2020. From the Macon Telegraph:

Macon-Bibb County Commissioner Larry Schlesinger and Bibb County school board President Lester Miller have filed paperwork to begin raising funds for a mayoral bid. The election will be held in May 2020.

The Macon-Bibb mayor is limited to two consecutive terms under the consolidation charter, meaning that [Mayor Robert] Reichert will not be able to run again in 2020. That could open up the field to what might be a large group of candidates.

“When everyone knows the incumbent … does not have the option to run again and it’s going to be a wide open seat, I think it’s a natural progression for interested candidates” to begin their mayoral campaigns earlier than usual, said Cox, a former Georgia secretary of state.

Neighborhood activist Betty C. Reece filed paperwork to run against Augusta District 4 Commissioner Sammy Sias.

Lee County Coroner Bill Harris announced he will run for reelection.

Savannah Mayor Eddie DeLoach delivered his State of the City address, promising to continue to prioritize public safety while improving infrastructure.

Chatham County Probate Court is struggling to keep up with an increasing number of applications for concealed weapons permits. From the Savannah Morning News:

Deputy Clerk Jennifer Fogle recently handled 180 applications for weapons carry licenses in one day in Chatham County Probate Court.

About 60 of those required background checks, a time-consuming process that sometimes requires follow-ups that have contributed to a current five-month timeframe to complete the process.

For Fogle, it is a daily challenge to satisfy legal requirements and the patience of members of the public who might not understand the process or court staff who must satisfy both.

Chatham County commissioners on Friday granted an emergency request by court officials and transferred $25,000 from contingency fund to cover overtime and equipment funding to help deal with backlogs.

12
Feb

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for February 12, 2018

Boss Albany

Boss is a young male Pibble mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Albany Humane Society/Sally Wetherbee Adoption Center in Albany, GA.

Baby Doll Albany

Baby Doll is a young female Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from the Albany Humane Society/Sally Wetherbee Adoption Center in Albany, GA.

Zoe Albany

Zoe is a young female Jack Russell Terrier mix who is available for adoption from the Albany Humane Society/Sally Wetherbee Adoption Center in Albany, GA.

9
Feb

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for February 9, 2018

Annie

Annie is a two-year old female Basset Hound mix who is available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA.

Albus

Albus is a ten-year old male Dachshund mix who is available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA.

Scruffy

Scruffy is a small, 9-year old female Terrier mix who is available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA.

9
Feb

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 9, 2018

On February 11, 1733, the first military formation in Georgia was held, as male colonists assembled with their muskets.

On February 11, 1776, Georgia Royal Governor Sir James Wright escaped from house arrest in Savannah to a waiting British warship HMS Scarborough.

On February 10, 1787, the Georgia House of Assembly named William Few, Abraham Baldwin, William Pierce, George Walton, William Houstoun, and Nathaniel Pendleton to the Constitutional Convention called to revise the Articles of Confederation at Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

On February 9, 1825, the United States House of Representatives elected John Quincy Adams as President of the United States, despite his having received fewer popular votes than Andrew Jackson. Congress voted for the President after no candidate received a majority of electoral votes in the 1824 election.

The 12th Amendment states that if no electoral majority is won, only the three candidates who receive the most popular votes will be considered in the House.

Representative Henry Clay, who was disqualified from the House vote as a fourth-place candidate, agreed to use his influence to have John Quincy Adams elected. Clay and Adams were both members of a loose coalition in Congress that by 1828 became known as the National Republicans, while Jackson’s supporters were later organized into the Democratic Party.

Alexander Stephens was elected Vice President of the Confederate States of America on February 9, 1861. On February 10, 1861, Jefferson Davis of Mississippi received word that he was chosen as President of the Confederate States of America.

On February 9, 1926, the Atlanta Board of Education voted to prohibit teaching evolution in the Atlanta Public Schools.

Burt Reynolds was born on February 11, 1936 in Lansing, Michigan, though some accounts say Waycross, Georgia. Beginning with Deliverance, filmed along the Chattooga River in North Georgia in 1972, Georgia rose to number three in the nation for film production while Reynolds’s star rose to prominence. Other Reynolds movies filmed in Georgia include The Longest Yard, Gator, Smokey and the Bandit, Cannonball Run, and Sharkey’s Machine.

On February 9, 1964, the Beatles debuted in America on The Ed Sullivan Show.

On February 10, 1964, the United States House of Representatives voted 290-130 for passage of the Civil Rights Act.

On February 10, 1972, David Bowie made his first appearance as Ziggy Stardust.

On February 10, 2015, on the anniversary of the United States House of Representatives passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Gov. Nathan Deal signed legislation proclaiming February as Black History Month.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

A new Public Service Announcement has been released, aimed at reducing youth suicide in Georgia, according to Fox5 Atlanta.

A startling statistic, 144 youths have taken their own lives in the past three years in Georgia.

That is part of a new public service announcement that will soon hit TV screens around the state. The PSA includes survivors who bravely share their stories about suicide attempts.

The Georgia Child Fatality Review Plan is behind that new ad. They were at the Georgia State Capitol on Thursday to raise further awareness.

https://youtu.be/6mlpCG_SqO8

Georgia is ranked as the sickest state in the nation, due to widespread flu-like symptoms, according to WSAV.com.Continue Reading..

8
Feb

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for February 8, 2018

Save the Date Rescue Day

Beryl

Beryl is a young male Boxer mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Dolly Goodpuppy Society Inc in Barnesville, GA.

Amber Barnesville

Amber is a young female Boxer mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Dolly Goodpuppy Society Inc in Barnesville, GA.

Malachite

Malachite is a young male Boxer mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Dolly Goodpuppy Society Inc in Barnesville, GA.