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