The blog.

20
Jan

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for January 20, 2023

Eleven puppies from the Whitfield County Animal Shelter were transported to a rescue group in Philadelphia via airplane, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News:

“We contacted a rescue that we work with in Philadelphia and told them we had some animals that were in need. Originally, we had planned to transport them by van in late January, but in working with our receiving partner we arranged Pilots to the Rescue,” said Franklin. “The majority of these puppies have been arranged for forever placement.”

Pilots to the Rescue (PTTR) is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven, “public benefit” aviation organization. Its mission is to carry domestic, endangered animals and people at risk. With the trip, Mike Martins and Sebastian Rodriguez completed their fourth rescue flight just this year.

“We do this to give dogs a second chance at life,” said Rodriguez.

“We were extremely happy to work with PTTR and finally get to meet the pilots in person. They communicated with us the entire time, all the way to their landing in PA,” said Weaver. “And all the puppies transported today have been vaccinated, spayed and neutered, and microchipped.”

Sixty-six animals have been surrendered to the Animal Shelter since Jan. 1.

“We are always trying to get in touch with shelters to take in rescues that have been brought to us,” said Franklin. “But we want to reiterate, having to transport is not the answer — spay and neuter is the answer.”

The Whitfield County Animal Shelter is offering $20 spay and neuter services for cats and dogs. To schedule an appointment please call the shelter at (706) 278–2018. For more information on Pilots to the Rescue, visit pilotstotherescue.org.

Sadie is an adult female Dachshund mix who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of NWGA in Dalton, GA.

Sadie is a 7 year old Dachshund/Terrier mix whose life has been turned upside down. The only momma she has ever known was diagnosed with cancer and could no longer care for her. Sadie is a sweet and friendly girl that would do best in a home with an adult or family with older children. She forms a close bond with her owner and seldom will be far from your side. She’s a healthy medium size dog and weighs 33 pounds. Sadie has a lot of zip for a dog of her age and enjoys going on walks and car rides.

Sadie is completely housebroken and barks when she needs to go out. She loves sunbathing and would enjoy having her own fenced in backyard. Sadie gets along well with male dogs of all ages. If you currently have a dog, we can arrange a playdate to see if they are compatible. Sadie is a truly a treasure and will be a wonderful companion. Let’s turn her heartbreak into joy! Do you have room in your heart and home for this very special sweet dog?

Valentino is a young male Border Collie mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of NWGA in Dalton, GA.

Valentino could be yours just in time for Valentine’s Day. He is one of a litter of Border Collie pups that were born just before Thanksgiving. He should be a medium sized dog when full grown. He is a beautiful brown and white pup with a brown patch over one eye. He would be fine with children and other pets. Come visit this pup and see if he’s the right fit for your home.

Biscuit is a young female Chihuahua mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of NWGA in Dalton, GA.

This litter of eight came to rescue just after they were born, a few days after Christmas. They are teeny tiny now and won’t get to be very large. They are chihuahua mixes and ready to find a home to grow up in. They would be great to add to your current family of pets or to be a child’s new best friend. There are mostly females in this litter, but a couple of boys, too. They are all variations of tan, white and black.To adopt this pet, please go to hsnwga.org, ‘Adoption’ then ‘Application for Adoption’, to complete an online application to be preapproved. Due to the high volume of applications received, our Adoption Coordinator will only contact the applicant that best meets the needs of the pet.
20
Jan

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for January 20, 2023

On January 22, 1733, James Oglethorpe arrived at Yamacraw Bluff, where the colony of Georgia would be founded.

On January 20, 1788, the First African Baptist Church was established in Savannah, Georgia, one of the first black churches in the United States.

John Marshall was nominated as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States by President John Adams on January 20, 1801.

Robert E. Lee was born on January 19, 1807 at his family home, Stratford Hall, Virginia.

Lieutenant William T. Sherman was ordered to Georgia for the first time in his military career on January 21, 1844.

Delegates to the Secession Convention in Milledgeville voted 208-89 in favor of seceding from the United States on January 19, 1861.

On January 22, 1861, following the passage of Georgia’s Secession Resolution, six delegates, including both from Gwinnett County, signed a statement protesting the decision to secede. 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. The next day, the secession convention in Milledgeville elected ten delegates to a conference of Southern states in Montgomery, Alabama.

On January 22, 1866, Georgia Governor Charles Jenkins signed a resolution by the legislature asking for federal troops to be removed from Georgia.

On January 19, 1871, Savannah, Georgia became the first city to recognize Robert E. Lee’s Birthday as a public holiday.

On January 20, 1920, DeForest Kelley was born in Atlanta and he grew up in Conyers. Kelley sang in the choir of his father’s church and appeared on WSB radio; he graduated from Decatur Boys High School and served in the United States Navy. Kelley became famous as Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy in the original Star Trek series.

On January 20, 1928, Franklin Delano Roosevelt visited Warm Springs, Georgia for the tenth time, staying through February 11th. During the visit, he spoke to the Chamber of Commerce of Americus and Sumter County, telling them

“In Georgia the movement towards the cities is growing by leaps and bounds and this means the abandonment of the farms or those farms that are not suited to the uses of agriculture. It means that we will have vacant lands but these can and should be used in growing timber.”

January 20th became Inaugural Day in 1937; when the date falls on a Sunday, a private inauguration of the President is held, with a public ceremony the following day. The Twentieth Amendment moved inauguration day from March 4 to January 20. Imagine six additional weeks of a lame duck President.

Roosevelt was sworn-in to a fourth term as President on January 20, 1945 and died in Warm Springs on April 12, 1945.

On January 20, 1939, Paul D. Coverdell was born in Des Moines, Iowa. Coverdell was one of the key figures in the development of the Georgia Republican Party.

On January 22, 1959, Atlanta buses were integrated after a federal court decision.

United States Senator and former Georgia House Speaker and Governor Richard B. Russell, Jr. died on January 21, 1971.

On January 22, 1973, the United States Supreme Court issued its 7-2 decision in the case known as Roe v. Wade.

On January 20, 1977, former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter was inaugurated as the 39th President of the United States.

On January 21, 1977, President Jimmy Carter pardoned draft resistors from the Vietnam War era and urged Americans to conserve energy.

On January 21, 1978, the Bee Gees Saturday Night Live album hit #1 on the sales charts, where it would stay for 24 weeks.

On January 20, 1981, Ronald Wilson Reagan was inaugurated 40th President of the United States.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp announced House and Senate Floor Leaders for the Session, according to a Press Release:

“As we enter a session of importance for all Georgians, I’m proud to announce the dedicated public servants who will serve as my Floor Leaders,” said Governor Kemp. “In my first term we passed historic budgets and bills that benefit hardworking Georgians and families. As we enter my second term, I’m looking forward to working with these Leaders to build on those achievements. Together, we will make even more history for the Peach State.”

2023-2024 Georgia State Senate Floor Leaders

Senator Bo Hatchett, Senate District 50

Senator Mike Hodges, Senate District 3

2023-2024 Georgia House of Representatives Floor Leaders

Representative Lauren McDonald, House District 26

Representative Soo Hong, House District 103

Representative Will Wade, House District 9

Representative Matthew Gambill, House District 15

From The Brunswick News:

[Sen. Mike] Hodges said he is humbled and proud to be asked by the governor to serve.

“I believe this position will help me provide stronger representation to the good folks living in District 3,” he said.

Senate District 3 includes a part of Ware County and all of Glynn, McIntosh, Camden, Brantley and Charlton counties.

Garrison Douglas, the governor’s press secretary, was asked if it is unusual for a freshman senator to be appointed a floor leader.

“While a privilege, it is not unusual for floor leaders to be members of the freshman class,” Douglas said.

State House Committee rosters also appear to have been filled out.

From AccessWDUN:

Representatives Matt Dubnik, Chris Erwin and  Senator Greg Dolezal were named committee Chairmen this past week.

State Representative Matt Dubnik (R-Gainesville) was named the Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Education.

“What an honor it is to lead the investment in Georgia’s 1.8 million young learners,” Rep. Dubnik said. “The responsibility of overseeing more than $12 billion dollars in the state budget for K-12 education is a task that I am ready for and have prepared for during my time serving on the Appropriations Committee since 2019, as well as serving as the chairman of the House Education Committee since 2021. We will help all students, teachers and school systems to succeed, regardless of their zip code.”

State Representative Chris Erwin (R-Homer) was named the Chairman of the House Education Committee.

“I am honored to serve the communities in House District 32, especially the families who’ve chosen to call Northeast Georgia home,” Erwin said. “My passion all of my adult life has been to assist our youth in their quest for education and to develop their path to a productive future. I look forward to guiding legislation that can help our youth achieve their goals and help parents feel secure in sending their children to our K-12 schools.”

Senator Greg Dolezal (R – Cumming) was appointed to serve as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Transportation and as the Vice Chairman of the Appropriations Committee last week.

“I am honored to have been chosen by Lt. Governor Burt Jones and my fellow members of the Senate Committee on Assignments in for the opportunity to serve as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Transportation,” Senator Dolezal said. “Establishing the infrastructure to ensure that Georgians are able to move around the state with ease is of the utmost importance. It is up to the committee to guarantee that all issues relating to highway safety, regulation of intrastate common carriers including railroads, buses, trucks, vessels, pipelines, and civil aviation are heard and vetted thoroughly within the committee process.”

From the Athens Banner Herald:

On Thursday, Rep. Marcus Wiedower, R-Watkinsville, was announced as the chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government.

“I am excited about the opportunity Speaker Burns has given me, and I fully intend to be a good steward of resources in this role,” Wiedower was quoted as saying in a press release. “I look forward to working together with our state agencies to ensure our government continues to function in an efficient and effective manner for the people of Georgia.”

The Subcommittee on General Government considers the budget as it relates to various state agencies.

New State House Speaker Jon Burns (R-Newington) says he is undecided about some issues before the legislature, according to the Capitol Beat News Service via the Rome News Tribune.

Burns, R-Newington, said he’s waiting to see how a court challenge to Georgia’s 2019 abortion law plays out before deciding whether any additional anti-abortion legislation is necessary this year.

Ditto when it comes to whether lawmakers should enact a full expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act as legislative Democrats have advocated for years. The General Assembly should give fellow Republican Gov. Brian Kemp’s limited Medicaid expansion a chance before going further, Burns told reporters Thursday during his first news conference since House lawmakers elected him speaker earlier this month.

Burns also pledged to consider a proposal to eliminate general-election runoffs in Georgia, which gained momentum after U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., defeated Republican challenger Herschel Walker in November but was forced into a taxpayer-funded runoff when he failed to win a majority of the vote. Warnock won the December runoff by a larger margin.

While the Georgia House and Senate have had their fair share of disagreements over the years, Burns predicted the two chambers will enjoy a smooth relationship. He pointed to the recent agreement House and Senate leaders reached to schedule the entire 40-day legislative session with a single resolution, something that hasn’t happened under the Gold Dome in memory.

“That speaks to the issue of are we going to be able to get along,” Burns said. “I think we’re going to get along well.”

From the Georgia Recorder:

Burns also said he has no interest in taking up new abortion restrictions while the state’s six-week abortion ban is being challenged in court – a position that will deflate any hope anti-abortion advocates had for more restrictions in the first legislative session since the U.S. Supreme Court made abortion access a state decision.

A Fulton County judge overturned Georgia’s law in November, but the state has appealed the ruling to the Georgia Supreme Court, which is set to hear arguments in March. An attempt to make it harder to access abortion medication in Georgia – requiring, for example, an in-person exam – stalled last session.

“I think the posture that the House should be in – and certainly the posture Jon Burns is in – is we’re going to wait and see exactly what becomes of the legislation we passed,” he said.

“We’re going to hear from the state Supreme Court, and then we’ll move forward on something if we need to. If not, we certainly have something in place.”

But Burns said he was open to another health care proposal that has gone nowhere in the past – raising the state’s tax on tobacco products. Georgia has the second lowest tobacco tax rate in the country.

Burns has restructured the House committees in a way meant to encourage lawmakers to dig into complex health care issues, and he says a possible tobacco tax increase is an example of a health care policy that could bubble up from the committees.

Under Burns, public health has been peeled off as its own committee, led by Marietta Republican Rep. Sharon Cooper who was the chair of the health committee. Rep. Lee Hawkins, a Gainesville Republican, now chairs the health panel.

Rep. Butch Parrish, a Swainsboro Republican who formerly chaired the health budget subcommittee, now leads the House Special Committee on Healthcare.

“I think we have the right folks in place when we look at the focus we’re going to take on a broad perspective on health,” Burns said. “And certainly, if that’s something that rises to the level of us wanting to have more serious discussion, we can have those.”

From the AJC:

Here’s what Burns said about other key issues:

Sports betting: “I believe the position in the House is that we’re still looking. We’re still considering. We want to make sure we consider all the implications … I’m not sure, at this point in time, about the ability to do something with sports betting or any other type of gambling issue without a constitutional amendment.”

Education policy: “I think we’re gonna have a very robust discussion when it comes to school funding, when it comes to vouchers and other issues that come before us. … Nothing is off the table for us.”

Legislation to change runoff elections is expected in the General Assembly, according to WSAV.

“We are going to see some issues with voting issues,” said State. Rep. Roger Bruce (D-South Fulton County)

“In the long run I support instant run-off or ranked choice voting – people can rank candidates – ranked choice is another term for that,” said State Rep. Marvin Lim (D-Norcross).

“I think evidence has shown outside of GA that can be an efficient way to do voting but will requite a lot of education,” Rep. Lim continued.

“I was on a Saturday in December and saw so many people show up that early voting – but these are educated so what are we doing year round to educate voters through digital means?”

Lawmakers say this is how military and overseas ballots work – with ranked choices – and it saves both money and time.

Coastal Georgia will see an influx of Korean families as the Hyundai plant is built and goes online, according to the Savannah Morning News.

As South Korean families prepare to take positions at the Hyundai plant, community members in Bryan, Bulloch, Chatham and Effingham counties must be ready to welcome them with open arms. More than 100 “team members” have already moved to the area.

The Savannah Joint Development Authority, the Development Authority of Bryan County, World Trade Center Savannah and the Richmond Hill/Bryan County Chamber of Commerce hosted a seminar Tuesday morning to discuss ways the community can be of assistance.

Work assignments can be anywhere from two to five years and although the stint is short, guest speaker Jeanne Charbonneau, who spent nearly two decades serving as the Korean Family Support Coordinator for Hyundai and suppliers, said first impressions will last a lifetime.

Carter Infinger, chairman of the Bryan County Board of Commissioners, suggested residents familiarize themselves with South Korean tradition and customs.

Typically, 50% of those families adjust after six months.

“It’s important that we build good long-term relationships for a successful future with Hyundai,” said Infinger. “One way to build those relationships is to be aware of the customs and traditions common in South Korea. We can learn from those that have been part of the new Hyundai Motor Company plant in other regions to facilitate our own success.”

“My general advice is welcome them with open hearts,” said Charbonneau. “In most cases, they didn’t have a choice in coming here. Knowing they can and will be supported here is going to be really important. Certain things can have a trickledown effect because they will talk to each other as the rotation starts to occur. Be sensitive to their culture, know a little bit about their culture and know a little bit about their history. This economic development project is going to change the landscape of these counties in a good way but you have to be receptive to that. Let them know we are happy that they are here in our community.”

Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division released preliminary mining plans for the Twin Pines mine near the Okefenokee Swamp, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The Georgia Environmental Protection Division released the Mining Land Use Plan for public comment on Thursday, kicking off the first of two public comment periods leading up to the final decision as to whether the controversial titanium dioxide mine will be permitted to operate at the edge of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.

Anybody can view and comment on the plan for the next 60 days. For more information, visit the EPD’s website. Public comments can be sent via email to twinpines.comment@dnr.ga.gov or physically to the office of the Land Protection Branch at 4244 International Parkway, Atlanta Tradeport- Suite 104, Atlanta, Georgia 30354.

The EPD will host virtual public hearings at 6 p.m. Feb. 21 and 23 on the mining plan. Attendees should register in advance using the link provided in the Twin Pines Public Notice Announcement.

The Mining Land Use Plan is an operational blueprint outlining the engineering of the plan and its ability to operate while protecting adjacent watersheds, in this case the Okefenokee Swamp and the St. Marys River. Once the public comment period is closed, the EPD will take those comments into consideration. Should the agency approve the plan, it will then move to start another 60-day public comment period for the overall permit. At the earliest, this places any final decisions around late May.

“The draft Mining Land Use Plan released (Thursday) by EPD is deeply flawed,” said Rhett Jackson, a hydrologist at the University of Georgia who has been independently publishing analyses of the mining plans. One of the major issues Jackson has with the plan is how the EPD conducted its research.

Rather than using a river gauge closer to the mining site to understand water flow in the area, the EPD is using one several miles downstream on the St. Marys River. EPD documents argue this is because the gauge farther away has more accurate data. Jackson said data from the closer gauge is more accurate and reflects much more severe ecological damage than the EPD’s analysis.

From The Brunswick News:

Opponents say mining near the Okefenokee could permanently damage the swamp’s ability to hold water. Twin Pines officials argue mining will have minimal impacts.

Josh Marks, an Atlanta lawyer who helped lead the fight to stop DuPont from mining near the Okefenokee in the 1990s, also expressed concerns about Twin Pines’ plans.

“Twin Pines Minerals’ dangerous proposal to strip mine along the hydrologic boundary of the Okefenokee would be a massive threat to the swamp’s integrity even if Twin Pines Minerals was a flawless, experienced operator,” Marks said.

The company has no experience developing titanium mines, and has a “laundry list of violations and misrepresentations,” the most recent of which being its apparent violation of state law governing its exploratory drilling and data collection when it was developing the project, Marks said.

“Simply put, Twin Pines Minerals can’t be trusted to operate in the middle of a desert much less next to Georgia’s greatest natural treasure,” Marks said.

A speed camera malfunction is causing questions about Savannah’s deployment of the technology, according to WTOC.

When a WTOC employee received a warning citation, we checked our cameras and found his ticket was issued at a time his car was sitting idly in our employee parking lot.

Savannah Police said it was human error addressed before any real tickets were issued, and that the machines work. But some drivers, like WTOC employee Ian Robinson, are skeptical.

The warning ticket shows it happened during after school pickup, when the limit is reduced to 25 mph. The ticket time said 3:57.

“Everything said I was here at the time… which I think was 3:57,” he said.

We checked our cameras to verify.

“And, low and behold, we look at the camera, and he sends me a picture of my car sitting in the parking lot at 3:57… just sitting basically right here,” Robinson said. “And I’m like, huh.”

Gavin said, the camera was off by three hours. But, he said they found out about it, and fixed it right away. He said the malfunction happened during a 30-day warning period after they installed the cameras in October.

“So, this was part of the, one of the cameras that was off on its time,” Gavin explained. “This is human error. This was someone who was supposed to set that camera to the specific time, and didn’t do that.”

Then, there’s the hours of enforcement. SPD said they differ across school zones. But, we found those reduced hours are not clearly posted in all school zones, and are also not easy to find online.

We could not find them listed anywhere on the department’s web site.

Assistant Chief Gavin told us speeding is the #1 complaint the department receives. After installing the cameras, SPD reported a 59% drop in speeding in those school zones.

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr joined twenty other state AGs in signing a letter protesting mail sales of abortion pills, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

The FDA decided to permanently allow doctors to prescribe the Mifeprex (mifepristone) with misoprostol medication remotely, a decision that was initially allowed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pills can terminate pregnancy up to 10 weeks.

“In direct contravention of longstanding FDA practice and congressional mandate, the FDA’s rollback of important safety restrictions ignores both women’s health and straightforward federal statutes. We urge you to reverse your decision,” the Jan. 13 letter states.

“In our states, we prioritize the health and safety of women and children and our laws reflect this.,” the letter continues. “And in many states, including Alabama, elective abortion is illegal. … Our States will not yield to the Administration’s radical pro-abortion policies.”

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, Georgia AG Chris Carr — who is enforcing a six-week abortion ban — and attorneys general from 20 other states where abortion is illegal or restricted, signed the letter.

Under a more recent guidance from the FDA for the mifepristone risk evaluation mitigation strategy program, pharmacies can now become certified to dispense the medication by completing a Pharmacy Agreement Form. Pharmacies that get certified to dispense the mifepristone must be able to ship it using a shipping service that provides tracking information and ensure the pill is dispensed to the patient in a timely manner, the FDA states.

Gwinnett County Board of Education member Tarece Johnson will remain as Chair, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The Gwinnett County Board of Education voted on Thursday to keep board member Tarece Johnson as is chairwoman for the next 12 months, but a decision on who will lead the board during meetings that she cannot attend has been postponed.

Johnson, who was the chairwoman for 2022, was nominated by fellow board member Mary Kay Murphy to remain in the position with board member Adrienne Simmons seconding the nomination. No one else was nominated for the position and the board approved by a 4-0 vote.

Board member Steve Knudsen, who was the board’s vice chairman in 2022, was not at the meeting.

As for who will serve as the vice chairman in 2023, however, that decision has been tabled for a month. It is expected to be taken up at the board’s February meeting, when Knudsen is expected to be in attendance.

United States Senator Jon Ossoff (D-Atlanta) announced new federal education funding for the Columbus area, according to WTVM.

“I have a 13-month-old baby girl at home, and I know there’s nothing more important than the safety, security, and opportunity for our kids,” says U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff, D-Georgia.

Ossoff and Congressman Sanford Bishop, D-Georgia, are working with local education leaders and Columbus State University to expand Columbus State’s Coca-Cola Space Science Center by building a new steam facility in the city.

“This is a $4 million contribution to expand this facility, to help kids achieve their dreams and be inspired in the careers in these important fields,” says Ossoff.

The collaboration is between Muscogee County School District, Columbus State University’s robotics program and the Space Science Center to build an integrated facility that will inspire the next generation of engineers, scientists, or even science educators.

The expansion is all about having a better technically trained workforce and community, starting at an early age.

18
Jan

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for January 18, 2023

McDouble is a young male Hound mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia in Gainesville, GA.

McChicken is a young male Hound mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia in Gainesville, GA.

McGriddle is a young female Hound mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia in Gainesville, GA.

18
Jan

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for January 18, 2023

On January 18, 1776, James Wright, Royal Governor of Georgia, was arrested by John Habersham, a member of the Provincial Congress.

On January 18, 1803, President Thomas Jefferson requested funding from Congress for the Lewis & Clark expedition.

L.Q.C. Lamar, born near Eatonton, Georgia, was sworn in as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court on January 18, 1888.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

President Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration for parts of Georgia, according to WALB.Continue Reading..

17
Jan

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for January 17, 2023

The Humane Society of Northeast Georgia is hosting a “Clear the Shelter” event with waived adoption fees after burst pipes at the shelter.

Brittany is an adult female Terrier mix who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia in Gainesville, GA.

Chewie is an adult male Terrier mix who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia in Gainesville, GA.

Vernon Dursley is a young male Terrier (or Labrador Retriever) mix who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia in Gainesville, GA.

17
Jan

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for January 17, 2023

On January 17, 1733, Georgia’s Trustees in London voted to ban Jews from the colony.

On January 16, 1786, the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, drafted by Thomas Jefferson, was adopted by the Virginia General Assembly.

On January 16, 1919, the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, prohibiting alcoholic beverages, when Nebraska became the 36th of the 48 states then in the Union to ratify the Amendment.

Martin Luther King, Jr. began the Chicago civil rights campaign on January 17, 1966.

At 4:30 PM on January 16, 1991, the Persian Gulf War began as air attacks against Iraq launched from US and British aircraft carriers, beginning Operation Desert Storm.

On January 16, 1997, a bomb exploded in a Sandy Springs abortion clinic, later determined to be the work of Eric Rudolph, who also bombed Centennial Olympic Park in 1996, a lesbian bar in Atlanta in February 1997, and a Birmingham abortion clinic in 1998.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

State tax revenues rose again in December, according to a Press Release.

The State of Georgia’s net tax collections in December totaled nearly $3.21 billion, for an increase of $224.9 million, or 7.5 percent, compared to December 2021 when net tax collections totaled $2.98 billion. Year-to-date, net tax collections totaled $15.82 billion, for an increase of $966.6 million, or 6.5 percent, over FY 2022 through six months.

The changes within the following tax categories account for December’s overall net tax revenue increase:

Individual Income Tax: Net Individual Income Tax collections totaled roughly $1.44 billion, for a decrease of $100.1 million, or -6.5 percent, compared to FY 2022 when net Individual Tax revenues totaled $1.54 billion.

The following notable components within Individual Income Tax combine for the net decrease:

• Individual Income Tax refunds issued (net of voided checks) increased by $17.1 million or 41.4 percent
• Individual Withholding payments decreased by $55.1 million, or -4 percent, compared to last year
• Individual Income Tax Return payments increased $15.7 million, or 114.9 percent, over last year
• All other Individual Tax categories, including Estimated Return payments, were down a combined $43.6 million

Sales and Use Tax: Gross Sales and Use Tax collections totaled $1.48 billion, for an increase of $108.3 million, or 7.9 percent, over last year’s total of $1.37 billion. Net Sales and Use Tax for the month increased by $52.2 million, or 7.5 percent, compared to December 2021, when net Sales Tax revenue totaled $694.8 million. The adjusted Sales Tax distribution to local governments totaled $729.6 million, for an increase of $59.1 million, or 8.8 percent, over FY 2022. Lastly, Sales Tax refunds decreased by $3.1 million, or 44.4 percent compared to the previous year.

Corporate Income Tax: Net Corporate Income Tax collections totaled $848.8 million, for an increase of $442.4 million, or 108.9 percent, over last year when net Corporate Tax revenues totaled $406.4 million in December.

The following notable components within Corporate Income Tax make up the net increase:

• Corporate Tax refunds issued (net of voided checks) increased by $2.5 million, or 13.6 percent, over FY ‘22
• Corporate Income Tax Estimated Return payments were up $236.8 million, or 72.4 percent, over last year
• All other Corporate Tax payments, including Corporate Return payments, were up a combined $208.1 million

Motor Fuel Taxes: Motor Fuel Tax collections for December decreased by $173.1 million, or -104.2 percent, compared to last year’s total of $166.1 million, as a result of Governor Kemp’s Executive Orders to extend the temporary suspension of the Motor Fuel Excise Tax until January 10th of 2023.

Motor Vehicle – Tag & Title Fees: Motor Vehicle Tag & Title Fee collections for December fell by $2.7 million, or -7.8 percent, compared to FY 2022 when Motor Vehicle fees totaled $34.4 million, while Title ad Valorem Tax (TAVT) collections increased by $5.7 million, or 9.9 percent, compared to last year’s total of $58.3 million.

Governor Brian Kemp’s office released his proposed state budget for FY 2024, according to the Capitol Beat News Service via the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Gov. Brian Kemp released a $32.5 billion fiscal 2024 state budget proposal Friday that’s heavy on spending for education and gives Georgia teachers and state employees $2,000 raises.

The spending plan, up more than $2 billion over this year’s record budget, is built on an all-time high state surplus of more than $6 billion.

“As we look ahead to the upcoming fiscal year, we expect the state’s economy to be well positioned to withstand any further national economic slowing,” the governor wrote in his annual budget message to legislative leaders.

“As such, the … budgets I am presenting herein ensure that we continue to meet our financial obligations as a state while also investing in the education, health, and safety of our citizens to maintain our position as the best state in the country to live, work, and raise our families.”

After raising teacher salaries in Georgia by $5,000 during his first term, Kemp is calling for another $2,000 raise for teachers and other certified educators. State employees also would see their pay increased by $2,000.

Kemp is fulfilling a promise he made on the campaign trail last year to provide a second $1 billion state income tax rebate on top of the refund Georgia taxpayers received last year. He also is proposing $1.1 billion in property tax relief to homeowners.

“These actions will put real money back in the pockets of hardworking Georgians facing unforeseen jumps in property values and record-high inflation,” the governor wrote.

From the AJC:

This is called “budget week” at the state Capitol and with good reason: The Legislature all but shuts down while Appropriations committees start work reviewing Gov. Brian Kemp’s $32.5 billion spending proposal for the upcoming year.

But this year the joint House and Senate Appropriations committees are doing things a little differently: They are mixing in reviews of state audits on programs and tax breaks; they are listening to reports about how much debt the state owes; and they are discussing initiatives aimed at providing health care to more Georgians.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Blake Tillery, R-Vidalia, called it “a little accountability,” a chance to look at what is working, and maybe what is not.

Kemp last week released proposals that call for an increase of more than $1 billion in school funding, $567 million in pay raises, tax rebates, a bump in HOPE scholarship spending and big money to train workers for jobs in the electric-vehicle industry.

Most of what the governor requests he’ll get. Traditionally a big chunk of every state budget comes from a governor’s proposal, and Kemp dropped a 400-page plan on lawmakers Friday. It included funding for the midyear budget, which runs through June 30, and the fiscal 2024 budget, which picks up July 1.

This week’s hearings will begin Tuesday with a remote address from Kemp, who will be in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum. Then the state economist, Jeffrey Dorfman of the University of Georgia, will present his economic forecast.

From another story in the AJC:

Kemp on Thursday announced plans for a $2,000 pay raise for more than 200,000 Georgia teachers, state and university employees, in part to fight high turnover rates.

That alone would mean a big boost in education funding, but Kemp said his proposals also would fully fund the state’s school spending formula and provide extra to help children who fell behind during the COVID-19 pandemic. He would also spend money on school safety, help more paraprofessionals become certified teachers and increase spending on school counselors.

The governor is proposing that homeowners receive an extra one-time exemption of $20,000 on the value of their homes at tax time, a move that he said would save those Georgians on average about $500. Many Georgians would also get an income tax rebate, as they did last year.

His budget proposals were released two hours after he announced that December tax collections had risen. For the first half of fiscal 2023, collections are up 6.5%, or $966.7 million, over the same period the previous year.

The state had a record surplus in fiscal 2021 and then had another record surplus, about $6.6 billion, for fiscal 2022, which ended June 30.

The state is hoping for another surplus — what’s left over when all the bills are paid at the end of the fiscal year — in 2023.

However, the governor’s budget office is projecting a decline in revenue this fiscal year.

Much of the next state bond package proceeds will go to education, according to the Capitol Beat News Service via the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Schools account for a major portion of the $600 million bond package Gov. Brian Kemp is recommending in the $32.5 billion budget proposal the governor released late last week.

More than a third of the package – $217 million – would go toward K-12 school construction projects across the state financed by the Georgia Department of Education.

The rest of the bonds would be divided between the other state agencies, including $113.4 million earmarked for University System of Georgia campuses.

The Georgia Secretary of State held training for local election officials, according to the Albany Herald.

The Secretary of State’s Election Division hosted Elections officials from all 159 Georgia counties in Athens last week for 2 1/2 days of interactive, high-level training on Georgia’s Voter Registration and Information System, or GARViS 2023 SOS.

GARViS will replace Georgia’s current voter registration system, eNET, in time for the 2024 presidential election cycle.

“This conference and the launch of a new voter registration and information system brought county officials from across the state together, under one roof,” Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said in a news release. “Hands down, Georgia’s election directors are among the best our nation has to offer. The stand-out performance of these officials are why we proudly themed the conference ‘Georgia Leads … the nation!’”

More Georgians signed up for health insurance under the ACA or Obamacare than ever before, according to the Capitol Beat News Service via the Statesboro Herald.

A record number of Georgians — over 846,000 — signed up for health insurance for 2023 under the Affordable Care Act during the latest open enrollment period, which ended on Sunday.

The program allows individuals — many of them low-income or self-employed — to sign up for private health insurance. It offers significant tax subsidies to offset insurance costs for people earning between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level, or between $13,590 and $54,360 for an individual.

The program has steadily grown in popularity in Georgia. Only about 316,000 Georgians signed up in 2014, its first year.

Columbia County may consider ordinance revisions regarding pet owners’ responsibilities, according to WJBF.

Changes could be coming to hold pet owners in Columbia County more responsible after an 11 year-old was attacked by dogs despite previous complaints.

“We do place responsibility on the pet owners in Columbia County as it relates to leashes or keeping your dog inside your fenced yard,” says Scott Johnson, Columbia County Manager. “We do not allow dogs to run at large.”

Johnson says that, while the state has its own laws, county ordinances about pets could change.

“We have an animal advisory board that’s made up of citizens, that meets on a regular basis, that makes recommendations to Animal services- and, ultimately, to the Board of Commissioners,” says Johnson. “I think you could possibly see something there. There’s no guarantee that something’s going to come out of that.”

13
Jan

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for January 13, 2023

The Humane Society of Northeast Georgia will waive adoption fees for dogs and cats after storm damage, according to the Gainesville Times.

The Humane Society of Northeast Georgia announced an urgent “Clear the Shelter” adoption event for the next two weekends Friday, Jan. 13, through Sunday, Jan. 15, and Friday, Jan. 20 through Sunday, Jan. 22.

The event will be held at the HSNEGA Adoption Center, located at 845 W. Ridge Road in Gainesville, and potential adopters can view all available rescues prior to arrival by visiting HSNEGA.org/adopt. The shelter will be open from 1-6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 13, through Sunday, Jan. 15.

During the event, all available adult dogs and cats will have $0 adoption fees, with a donation of choice. This event comes during an urgent time of need for HSNEGA after more than 65 pipes burst during a winter storm, leaving the building extremely damaged.

HSNEGA was able to successfully place the majority of its available animals in temporary foster homes while repairs began, but animals still remain inside the building. During repairs, accommodations have been made for those animals still calling HSNEGA home, and while safe, they are far from ideal. Because of this, HSNEGA is sending an SOS to its community in hopes that each of these animals can find a happy and peaceful home.

Vixen is a young female Terrier mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia in Gainesville, GA.

Holly is a young female Terrier mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia in Gainesville, GA.

Tasha Jefferson is an adult female Coonhound mix who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia in Gainesville, GA.

13
Jan

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for January 13, 2023

On January 14, 1639, representatives of three cities in Connecticut adopted the “Fundamental Orders,” the first written Constitution in an American colony and one of the first founding document to cite the authority of “the free consent of the people.”

On January 13, 1733, the ship Ann (sometimes spelled “Anne”) sailed into Charles Town harbor and was met by South Carolina Governor Robert Johnson and the Speaker of the Commons House of Assembly. Aboard the ship were James Oglethorpe and the first 114 colonists of what would become Georgia. Later that year they would land at a high bluff on the Savannah River and found the city of Savannah.

On January 14, 1733, James Oglethorpe and the rest of the first colonists departed Charles Town harbor for what would become Savannah, and the State of Georgia.

An elected Provincial Assembly first convened in Georgia on January 15, 1751. The Assembly did not have the power to tax or spend money, but was to advise the Trustees.

On January 12, 1775, St. Andrews Parish on the Georgia coast passed a series of resolutions that included approving the actions of patriots in Massachusetts, three resolutions critical of British government actions, and a renunciation of slavery. The resolutions also appointed delegates to a provincial legislature at Savannah and urging that Georgia send two delegates to the Continental Congress to be held in Philadelphia the next year.

The state of New Connecticut declared its independence of both Britain and New York on January 15, 1777. In June of that year they would decide on the name Vermont. Vermont would be considered part of New York for a number of years, finally being admitted as the 14th state in 1791.

The Continental Congress ratified the Treaty of Paris to end the Revolutionary War on January 14, 1784. The Treaty was negotiated by John Adams, who would later serve as President, and the delegates voting to ratify it included future Presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe.

On January 14, 1835, James M. Wayne took the oath of office as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. A Savannah native, Wayne had previously served in the Georgia House of Represestatives, as Mayor of Savannah, on the Supreme Court of Georgia, and in Congress. His sister was the great-grandmother of Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts, and his home is now known as the Juliette Gordon Low house. When Georgia seceded from the Union, Wayne remained on the Supreme Court.

On January 14, 1860, the Committee of Thirty-Three introduced a proposed Constitutional Amendment to allow slavery in the areas it then existed.

The donkey was first used as a symbol for the Democratic Party on January 15, 1870 by cartoonist Thomas Nash.

democrat-donkey-cartoon

On January 12, 1872, Benjamin Conley stepped down as Governor of Georgia, the first Republican to hold the office and the last until January 13, 2003, when Sonny Perdue was sworn in.

He joined the Republican Party and became president of the state Senate after the Civil War. That was the office he held in October 1871 when Gov. Rufus Bullock, also an Augusta Republican, left the state under pressure from state Democrats. According to the Georgia Constitution, Conley became governor, holding the job until a replacement could be elected and take office two months later.

On January 12, 1906, the American Intercollegiate Football Rules Committee legalized the forward pass. Some credit Georgia Tech coach John Heisman as having popularized the idea of making the forward pass legal after seeing it in a game between Georgia and North Carolina.

Kenesaw Mountain Landis was elected the first Commissioner of Baseball on January 12, 1921. Judge Landis was named after the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, where his father was wounded fighting for the Union.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Julian Bond was born on January 14, 1940 in Nashville, Tennessee, and was one of eleven African-American Georgians elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1965. After his election, on January 10, 1966, the State House voted 184-12 not to seat him because of his publicly-stated opposition to the Vietnam War. After his federal lawsuit was rejected by a three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, the United States Supreme Court ordered Bond seated.

True story: Julian Bond was the first Georgia State Senator I ever met, when I was in ninth grade and visited the state Capitol as part of a school assignment.

On January 14, 1942, Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Presidential Proclamation No. 2537, requiring Japanese-Americans, including American-born citizens of Japanese ancestry, as well as Italians and Germans to register with the federal Department of Justice. The next month, Roosevelt would have Japanese-Americans interned in concentration camps in the western United States.

On January 13, 1959, Ernest Vandiver was inaugurated as Governor of Georgia.

On January 13, 1966, President Lyndon Baines Johnson appointed Robert C. Weaver head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), making Weaver the first African-American cabinet secretary in U.S. History.

Jimmy Carter was inaugurated as Governor of Georgia on January 12, 1971.

On January 13, 1982, Hank Aaron was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.

January 13, 1987 saw the inauguration of Governor Joe Frank Harris to his second term in office.

On January 13, 1998, Governor Zell Miller presented his $12.5 billion FY1999 budget to the Georgia General Assembly, including $105,000 to provide CDs of classical music for every baby born in the state. According to the New York Times,

“No one questions that listening to music at a very early age affects the spatial, temporal reasoning that underlies math and engineering and even chess,” the Governor said[]. “Having that infant listen to soothing music helps those trillions of brain connections to develop.”

Mr. Miller said he became intrigued by the connection between music and child development at a series of recent seminars sponsored by the Education Commission of the States. As a great-grandfather and the author of “They Hear Georgia Singing” (Mercer University Press, 1983), an encyclopedia of the state’s musical history, Mr. Miller said his fascination came naturally.

He said that he had a stack of research on the subject, but also that his experiences growing up in the mountains of north Georgia had proved convincing.

“Musicians were folks that not only could play a fiddle but they also were good mechanics,” he said. “They could fix your car.”

Legislators, as is their wont, have ideas of their own.

“I asked about the possibility of some Charlie Daniels or something like that,” said Representative Homer M. (Buddy) DeLoach, a Republican from Hinesville, “but they said they thought the classical music has a greater positive impact.”

“Having never studied those impacts too much,” Mr. DeLoach added, “I guess I’ll just have to take their word for that at the moment.”

In 2003, on January 13 at the Georgia Dome, Sonny Perdue took the oath of office as Georgia’s second Republican Governor, the first since Reconstruction.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp was sworn in yesterday at the Georgia State University Convocation Center, to serve his second term as 83d Governor of Georgia. From the Valdosta Daily Times:Continue Reading..

11
Jan

Official (Adoptable) Georgia Dogs for January 11, 2023

The Gwinnett County Animal Shelter has temporarily suspended intake and adoptions, according to the AJC.

The Bill Atkinson Animal Welfare Center in Gwinnett County is suspending dog intakes and adoptions until Jan. 19 to protect against a canine viral infection.

The virus, spreading across the United States, is similar to kennel cough but moves faster. Symptoms include coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, labored breathing, lethargy and decreased appetite.

Lifeline Animal Project, which operates in Fulton and DeKalb, reported on Christmas Eve more than 300 of its dogs had symptoms of the virus, canine influenza type H3N2, otherwise known as the dog flu.

Gwinnett County said it coordinated with the Georgia Department of Agriculture before making the decision to suspend dog intakes and adoptions.

The shelter is located at 884 Winder Highway, Lawrenceville. It is still taking in and adopting out cats, according to the county website. The shelter is also accepting injured dogs, the county said. Owners can still reclaim lost dogs and other pets during business hours.

Goober is a young male mixed breed puppy who is available for adoption from the Thomasville-Thomas County Humane Society in Thomasville, GA.

Sophia Grace is a young female mixed breed puppy who is available for adoption from the Thomasville-Thomas County Humane Society in Thomasville, GA.

Dancer is a young female mixed breed puppy who is available for adoption from the Thomasville-Thomas County Humane Society in Thomasville, GA.

11
Jan

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for January 11, 2023

On January 11, 1765, Francis Salvador of South Carolina became the first Jewish elected official in America when he took a seat in the South Carolina Provincial Congress. Salvador’s grandfather was one of 42 Jews who emigrated to Georgia in 1733. Salvador later became the first Jewish soldier to die in the American Revolution.

On January 11, 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt declared the Grand Canyon a national monument.

“Let this great wonder of nature remain as it now is,” he declared. “You cannot improve on it. But what you can do is keep it for your children, your children’s children, and all who come after you, as the one great sight which every American should see.”

Marvin Griffin of Bainbridge was inaugurated as Governor of Georgia on January 11, 1955.

Marvin Griffin Monument

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Tomorrow, Thursday, January 12, 2023 will be Inauguration Day for the Governor and state Constitutional Officers.Continue Reading..