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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 6, 2018

On March 6, 1857, the United States Supreme Court published its opinion in Sanford v. Dred Scott.

the Court held that African Americans, whether slave or free, could not be American citizens and therefore had no standing to sue in federal court,and that the federal government had no power to regulate slavery in the federal territories acquired after the creation of the United States. Dred Scott, an African American slave who had been taken by his owners to free states and territories, attempted to sue for his freedom. In a 7–2 decision written by Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, the Court denied Scott’s request and in doing so, ruled an Act of Congress in this case—the Missouri Compromise of 1820 which prohibited slavery north of the parallel 36°30′ north—to be unconstitutional for the second time in its history.

The decision would prove to be an indirect catalyst for the American Civil War and was functionally superseded by the post-war Reconstruction Amendments. It is now widely regarded as the worst decision ever made by the Supreme Court.

One member of the Court that decided Dred Scott was Associate Justice James M Wayne, who was born in Savannah and served in Congress from Georgia from 1829 to 1835.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal signed House Bill 159 yesterday.

“In this exceptional state in which so many choose to work, learn and create a home, we continue to value the cornerstone of our society: the family,” said Deal. “Today, I signed HB 159 into law, finally bringing much-needed reforms to our adoption laws and making it easier for adoptive parents to create a loving family in our state. This critical and bipartisan bill streamlines the adoption process and updates Georgia’s adoption laws for the 21st century. The work leading up to today has been years in the making, as we last updated these laws when I was in the state Senate, a full generation ago. With the signing of this bill into law, we are giving children, including the 13,500 children in foster care, renewed hope for a forever family.

HB 159 passed the House on Feb. 1 with a vote of 168-0. It passed the Senate on Feb. 5 with a vote of 53-2.

From the Associated Press:

One change reduces the length of time a birth mother has to change her mind and take back custody of a baby from 10 days to four. Another makes it possible for adoptive parents to help a birth mother with certain living expenses in private adoptions.

Under the Gold Dome Today


8:00 AM House Game, Fish & Parks Sub 403 CAP

9:00 AM SENATE APPROP – Higher Ed Sub 341 CAP


9:30 AM House Ways & Means Ad Valorem Sub 133 CAP

9:45 AM House Ways & Means Income Tax Sub

10:00 AM SENATE APPROP – Crim Just and Public Safety Sub 307 CLOB

10:00 AM House Judy (Civil) Fleming Sub 132 CAP

10:00 AM Fleming SubWays & Means Sub Tax Reform 133 CAP

11:00 AM SENATE APPROP – Insurance Sub 341 CAP






2:00 PM SENATE APPROP – Judicial Sub 341 CAP








3:00 PM House Insurance Admin/Licensing Sub 406 CLOB



Georgia Court of Appeals Judge Tilman “Tripp” Self III was confirmed as a Judge for the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia by an 85-11 vote of the U.S. Senate.

Congressman Buddy Carter (R-Pooler) hosted a school safety meeting yesterday in Jesup, according to the Brunswick Times.

School leadership from 14 counties, including Glynn, were invited to the meeting. Frederica Academy officials were also invited.

Jim Pulos, assistant superintendent of student achievement for Glynn County Schools, attended the meeting along with Rod Ellis, chief of Glynn County Schools Police.

After the meeting, Carter said his take-aways included a need for more school resource officers as well as a need to make school facilities safer.

Congressman Rick Allen (R-Augusta) faces two Democratic challengers for reelection this fall, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

On the first day of candidate qualifying for the Augusta-area elections, two Democrats – Francys Johnson and Robert Ingham – qualified with the state party to pursue the 12th Congressional District seat held by Rep. Rick Allen, R-Augusta, who also qualified to run for re-election Monday.

Two Democrats and a Republican qualified Monday to challenge 10th Congressional District Rep. Jody Hice, whose district includes part of Columbia County. Hice will face Iraq war veteran and businessman Bradley Griffin in the May 22 Republican primary, while teacher Chalis Montgomery and professor Richard Dien Winfield qualified for the Democratic primary.

In the closely watched race for Columbia County Commission chairperson, all three announced candidates – Commissioner Doug Duncan, builder Mark Herbert and former emergency management director Pam Tucker – each qualified Monday to face off on the May 22 Republican primary ballot.

Also qualifying Monday as Republicans in Columbia County were the two announced candidates for Duncan’s District 1 seat, Hafeez Chaudry and Connie Melear, and Dewey Galeas for the District 4 commission seat. George Bratcher and Andrew Kemp qualified for the nonpartisan District 3 seat on the Columbia County Board of Education.

Former State School Superintendent John Barge qualified to run for his old seat against current incumbent Richard Woods, according to the Rome News-Tribune.

Barge, a Republican, is a Berry College graduate who taught in Rome, Floyd County and Bartow County schools. He was elected to the state position in 2010 and served four years in the top slot. Instead of seeking re-election, he made an unsuccessful challenge to Gov. Nathan Deal in the 2014 Republican primary.

This year, Barge will go up against incumbent State School Superintendent Richard Woods, who he beat in the 2010 primary. Democrat Sid Chapman also qualified Monday to run for the seat.

State House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) qualified for reelection yesterday, according to

“Serving as House District 7’s voice in the Georgia General Assembly is an honor and responsibility I hold dear,” said Ralston. “Representing the best interests of North Georgia remains my number one priority.

“In the State House, we passed comprehensive tax reform that will empower job creators, spur economic growth, and keep more money in the pockets of Georgia taxpayers. Thanks to President Trump and the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, we delivered the largest tax cut in modern, Georgia history.

House Majority Leader Jon Burns, (R-Newington) also plans to run for reelection.

State Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs) will not run for reelection, according to the Bristol Herald Courier.

The Georgia House’s longest-serving Republican is retiring.

News outlets report that Rep. Earl Ehrhart of Powder Springs announced Monday that he will not run for re-election after having served in the House for 30 years.

Ehrhart’s wife, Ginny Ehrhart, says she intends to run to succeed her husband.

Former State Rep. Donna Sheldon (R-Dacula) is running for the House District 105 seat being vacated by State Rep. Joyce Chandler.

“I am excited to announce my candidacy for State House,” said Sheldon. “Joyce Chandler has done a great job serving our area, and with her retirement, it is vital that we have a proven and effective leader step up to deliver for our families.

“During my time in the State House, I had a consistent and proven record of leading on the issues important to our community. I’m ready to do the same again. With the issues we face in regards to education, public safety, healthcare, transportation, and ensuring prosperity for all of our families, we simply cannot afford a radical or ineffective representative.

“In the months ahead, I look forward to earning the trust and support of our community.  I would be honored to once again to go to work for them and deliver at the State Capitol. I will not let you down in working to secure a bright and prosperous future for everyone.”

State Rep. Chad Nimmer (R- Blackshear) announced via Facebook that he will not run for reelection.

Macon-Bibb County Commissioner Gary Bechtel qualified to run for the State House District 141 seat being vacated by State Rep. Allen Peake, according to the Macon Telegraph.

“I’ve represented a good portion of House District 141 for about 18 years (including) the school board, and I feel like I have enough knowledge and experience to hit the ground running,” Bechtel said, clutching a folder of papers he’d just received when he registered to run in Atlanta.

So far, three Republicans including Bechtel have signed up to run for the seat. Shane Mobley founded Southern Sleep Technologies, a company that diagnoses and treats sleep disorders. Todd Tolbert is a financial planner.

Gwinnett County Board of Education member Dan Seckinger will not run for reelection, after serving seven terms, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Democrat Stacey Abrams campaigned for Governor in Columbus, according to WTVM.

Hall County Commissioners voted to join a national lawsuit against opioid manufacturers, according to AccessWDUN.

“This is part, basically, of a national litigation front of many counties and cities, and states for that matter throughout the country, that have entered into such litigation,” County Attorney Bill Blalock told commissioners at their work session Monday afternoon.

“Assuming you pass the resolution we will be filling a civil lawsuit, probably, the middle to latter part of this week and it will be against certain manufacturers and distributors of opioid drugs,” Blalock added.

Blalock said entering the litigation would not cost the county financially.  “It will be on a contingent fee basis.  If they don’t recover we don’t pay anything.”

“It needs to be done; it keeps getting worse and worse,” Commission Chairman Richard Higgins commented.

Grovetown City Council member Dr. Deborah Fisher is at odds with the City Attorney over comments by the Mayor, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Recent comments attributed to Grovetown’s mayor could sink the city into further legal trouble, a Grovetown city councilwoman claimed Sunday.

Grovetown’s city attorney said Monday that Deborah Fisher “lacks a firm grasp” of the case she referred to.

Bulloch County will host at least two contested elections for County Commission and one for Board of Education, according to the Statesboro Herald.


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for March 4, 2018

Jim Bob Angel Dog

Jim Bob is a male Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Angel Dog Rescue, Inc. in Georgetown, GA.

Leroy Angel Dog

Leroy is a young male Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Angel Dog Rescue, Inc. in Georgetown, GA.

Lola Angel Dog

Lola is a young female Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Angel Dog Rescue, Inc. in Georgetown, GA.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 5, 2018

On March 5, 1735, James Oglethorpe presented a budget to the trustees of Georgia and proposed seeking an appropriation from Parliament, thus beginning the addiction of the Georgia government to Other People’s Money.

On March 5, 1869, the United States Congress refused to seat Georgia’s elected members of the House and Senate.

On March 5, 1977, President Jimmy Carter held the first “Dial-A-President” radio broadcast in which he fielded questions from radio listeners.

Ron Daniels brings you more on the Presidential Q&A from 1977.

Regardless of Carter’s policy positions and his answers to questions, “Ask President Carter” was a truly historic broadcast. Never before had the President been accessible via telephone on a live radio broadcast. And the questions presented to the President weren’t confined to one or two issues that he had been prepared to handle. One can argue that the American people were also fascinated with the concept of calling and speaking directly to Carter; nine million people called into the broadcast trying to reach him.

The President seemed to enjoy the broadcast as well, remarking: “[t]he questions that come in from people all over the country are the kind that you would never get in a press conference. The news people would never raise them, like the Ottawa Indian question. And I think it’s very good for me to understand directly from the American people what they are concerned about and questions that have never been asked of me and reported through the news media.”

Revolutionary War burial sites at the Kettle Creek Battle Ground near Washington, GA have been located by cadaver dogs. From Fox News:

For nearly 240 years, many of those slayed soldiers lied untouched in cursory, makeshift graves – until recently.

An incredible sense of smell zeroed in on more than two dozen graves, according to Walker Chewning, president of the Kettle Creek Battlefield Association. Cadaver dogs surveyed about a quarter of the battlegrounds near Washington, Ga, sniffing out where soldiers could have fallen.

Chewning told Fox News “the use of cadaver dogs is something new in archaeological research” and certainly something the association will continue to utilize.

This research helped the battlefield park earn federal money for an expansion. Kettle Creek Battlefield Association announced the acquisition of 180 additional acres – tripling the American Revolutionary War park’s size – during the anniversary month of the hasty encounter.

U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., said the joint program allows small communities who “work at it, they labor, they try to raise the money but they really are never able to come to the full extent of purchasing” to finally make ends meet.

“It just helps people connect our present generation with those who gave their lives to give us the greatest country in the world,” Hice said.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Flu-related hospitalizations are down for last week, according to the AJC.

As of the week ending Feb. 24, the Georgia Department of Public Health said 6.5 percent of patient visits to doctors were for the flu, down from 11.9 percent of patient visits the week before.

The number of new flu-related hospitalizations reported added up to 49, down from 91 during the previous week.

The flu season may have peaked according to the Centers Disease Control and Prevention, but expect several more weeks of the influenza.

First Lady Sandra Deal will kick off Read Across Georgia Month at the State Capitol at 10:30 AM today.

Get Georgia Reading Day highlights the importance of reading and literacy skills for future academic growth and success in the workforce. Launched in 2012, Read Across Georgia Month supports Gov. Deal’s Grade-Level Reading Initiative, which aims to have all Georgia third-graders reading at grade-level or better by the completion of the third grade.

Mrs. Deal will preview an unreleased children’s book that was written, illustrated, printed and published in Georgia. In partnership with the Georgia Forestry Foundation, the Get Georgia Reading Campaign will provide every public elementary school and public library system in the state with a copy of the book. In upcoming classroom visits, Mrs. Deal will also share with Georgia students “Behind the Little Red Door,” a new book by Georgia author and Zac Brown Band guitarist Coy Bowles.

Governor Nathan Deal will sign House Bill 159 at 1 PM in a public signing at the State Capitol.

Gov. Deal appointed Douglas County District Attorney Brian Fortner to a vacancy on the State Court of Douglas County.

United States Senator David Perdue (R) will visit the Georgia Capitol today, according to the AJC:

[H]is office said the former Fortune 500 chief executive does plan to talk to lawmakers about the $1.5 trillion tax cut bill, the national debt crisis and the federal infrastructure package.

He also plans to praise state officials for quick work on repairing the I-85 bridge collapse, which he said should be a model for the nation.

“To get this project completed weeks ahead of schedule, all levels of government worked together to waive regulations, maximize capital, and put in place reasonable incentive plans,” he said. “This common-sense, outside of the box approach worked and should be mimicked in future infrastructure projects.”

Legislative Day 30 commences at 10 AM when the House and Senate convene.








2:00 PM SENATE APPROP – Health and Human Dev, and Public Health Subs 341 CAP





HB 162 – Income tax; transfer of setoffs by the Administrative Office of the Courts; revise procedures (Substitute) (JUDY-3rd) Price-48th

HB 309 – State liability; activities of organized militia engaged in training or duty; provide exception (VM&HS-32nd) Barr-103rd

HB 475 – Charitable solicitations; use of collection receptacles for donations; implement additional requirements (Substitute) (RI&U-13th) Harden-148th

State Rep. Ron Stephens (R-Savannah) said his effort to (re)name the bridge over the Savannah River might move forward as an amendment to a legislative vehicle. From the Savannah Morning News.

A bill to name the bridge after Juliette Gordon Low did not make it out of committee by Crossover Day at the Georgia Capital, but state Rep. Ron Stephens, R-Savannah, said the legislation to honor the Girl Scouts founder and Savannah native could still move forward by attaching it to another bill — although her last name may be dropped from the proposal.

Instead, Stephens said he is leaning toward naming the bridge something along the lines of the Juliette Great Savannah Bridge to alleviate fears competitors would capitalize on ships having to go under a “Low” bridge to get to the Georgia Ports.

In the end, Stephens said the legislation could be attached to his resolution to name the new King George Boulevard bridge after Edward Zipperer, a Savannah native who served on the Georgia Senate from 1967 to 1975.

Dalton leaders are discussing school safety after a teacher fired a gun at school, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen.

Rep. Kasey Carpenter, R-Dalton, cautioned against knee-jerk reactions but said an on-campus shooting involving a teacher will likely “debunk” the theory — at least in the mind of some — that armed teachers may be a way to end the carnage.

“There may be more persuasive conversation that that is a solution, but just on the surface, the headline will tell you that that’s not going to work,” Carpenter said Wednesday.

Carpenter, a 1996 Dalton High graduate, was so troubled by the Dalton High incident that he scratched his name off a legislative resolution in the works “urging” school districts to arm educators as state law allows.

[State Rep. Jason] Ridley, who also represents Whitfield County, said the Dalton teacher’s action should not chill talk of equipping school personnel with firearms.

The Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office is offering a special session of its firearms training class to school system employees, according to

Deputy Shannon Volkodav said  the class is given on a regular basis, but a special session is open to anyone who works in a school system. She says the classes covers weapon options and laws that apply to carrying a firearm.

“It also covers weapons choices, accessories and holsters.” Volkodav said.

Volkodav adds what differs in the class is that it is geared toward educators and covers laws as they pertain to having a weapon on campus.

Albany and Dougherty County will see local contests on the ballot, according to the Albany Herald.

“I’m sure (District 4 Commissioner) Ewell Lyle will sign up for re-election, but we’re hearing that there are others who are seriously thinking about running, too,” [Dougherty County Republican Party Chair Stephen] Brimberry said. “I think (yoga instructor) Sylvia Maxwell is thinking very seriously about running for the (at-large) School Board seat held by Geraldine Hudley. And Tracy Taylor is reportedly thinking about swapping parties and running for a (County Commission) seat as a Republican.

In the commission races, Chairman Chris Cohilas and Commissioners John Hayes (District 2), Lyle and Anthony Jones (District 6) are all expected to seek another four-year term in office. Cohilas told The Albany Herald last week he would qualify for re-election at 9 a.m. Monday.

Jason Anavitarte announced via Facebook that he will run for Paulding County Board of Education District 6.

Floyd County Commissioners meet today and tomorrow in a planning session to discuss topics ranging from prioritizing SPLOST-funded projects to solar energy.

Springfield, Georgia was designated a “Rural Zone” under legislation that offers tax credits for reveloping buildings, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The program that lasts five years includes three incentives: a job tax credit, investment credit and rehabilitation credit.

Investors can claim up to 25 percent of their acquisition costs and up to 30 percent of their renovation costs. Creating new jobs in the zone yields $2,000 per year per full-time job.

The Rural Zone program includes retail businesses, which previously were excluded from state job tax credits. And multiple sources can benefit – for instance, a new coffee shop might provide job tax credits for the local business owner, an investment credit to an urban investor and a rehabilitation credit to a local contractor.

Springfield applied for and won the designation first offered by the legislature in 2017. The law calls for up to 10 revitalization zones to be designated each year, provided that there are not more than 50 zones in existence at the same time.

Columbia County Commission Chair Ron Cross is not running for reelection and three candidates will vie for his seat, while Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis will be challenged by Gould Hagler, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Elections for mayor and Augusta Commission were moved by the Georgia Legislature from November to May four years ago. In addition to mayor, five commission seats are to be decided May 22. The election for Columbia County Commission chairperson will also likely be decided in May on the Republican primary portion of the ballot, as all announced candidates are Republicans.

Coweta County Fire Rescue trained workers on how to deal with behavioral health issues, according to the Newnan Times-Herald.

“It was a scenario-based class that helps responders deal with mental health issues as they apply to kids,” [Assistant Chief Jeff] Denney said.

In 2017, Coweta County formed a Behavioral Health Task Force made up of local public safety and law enforcement agencies as well as representatives from Piedmont Newnan Hospital, Pathways Community Service Board and Riverwoods Behavioral Health. Streamlining access to mental health care for those in crisis – the ones who depend on Coweta 911, in particular – is one goal of the task force, and another is education.

“We started pushing these issues last year in an effort to better educate our people on how to deal with these calls,” Denney said. “We as a county are trying to figure out better ways of actually helping these patients.”

Bulloch County Board of Education District 4 member Steve Hein will not qualify for reelection, but Adrianne McCollar announced in January she will run for the seat, according to the Statesboro Herald. Bulloch County will also see three Commission district races, with one incumbent retiring, and at least one incumbent being challenged.

Whitfield County Commissioner Roger Crossen announced he will run for reelection to his District 3 seat.

Candidate qualifying begins this morning at 9 AM, and Georgia Democrats are making a push for candidates in suburban districts. From the AJC:

In Cobb County, which Hillary Clinton carried in 2016, Democrats are targeting diverse districts around Smyrna and Marietta. One of the highest-profile contests pits Democrat Lucy McBath, a gun control activist whose son was shot to death in 2012, against state Rep. Sam Teasley, a Republican with an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association.

Across town in Gwinnett County, which like Cobb also flipped blue in the presidential race for the first time in decades, at least five Republican-held legislative seats will be open this year.

Retiring incumbents include state Rep. Joyce Chandler of Grayson, who narrowly kept her seat in 2016, and state Rep. David Casas of Lilburn, the state’s first Republican Hispanic legislator. State Sen. David Shafer’s bid for lieutenant governor leaves Democrats another pickup opportunity for a Duluth-based seat.

Houston Gaines, a few months removed from his stint as the University of Georgia’s student body president, was defeated by Democrat Deborah Gonzalez in a conservative-leaning Athens-based House district in 2017. He’s making another bid this year, hoping that heavier turnout will help.

And Democratic state Sen. Jen Jordan, who won a 2017 race to represent an Atlanta-based swing district, will have to fend off a challenge by Republican Leah Aldridge, who was the top GOP vote-getter in that special election.

From the Gwinnett Daily Post:

With five Republican-held seats in Gwinnett’s legislative delegation open with no incumbents running this year, there are two things at stake as qualifying begins Monday: influence and power.

Republicans currently hold the majority of seats in the delegation over Democrats by a 4-3 margin in the Senate and an 11-7 margin in the House of Representatives. There are enough open seats from Gwinnett in each chamber this year, however, to put the balance of power in Gwinnett’s legislative delegation into question.

Sen. David Shafer, R-Duluth, is running for lieutenant governor this year while state Rep. Buzz Brockway, R-Lawrenceville, is running for Secretary of State. Three other members of the House of Representatives from Gwinnett, Reps. Brooks Coleman, Joyce Chandler and David Casas, are either retiring from public service or are leaving to focus on other pursuits.

Rep. Sam Park, D-Lawrenceville, defeated then-Rep. Valerie Clark, a Republican, in the House District 101 race in 2016 — a victory that made Park in particular a legislative focus for Republicans who want the seat back. Clark has already announced she is running for the seat this year, and Seigle said Clark has stepped up her campaigning efforts from two years ago.



Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for March 2, 2018


Skipper is a young male Australian Shepherd puppy who is available for adoption from Country Livin Pet Rescue in Suwanee, GA.


Terra is a young female Australian Shepherd and Border Collie mix puppy who is available for adoption from Country Livin Pet Rescue in Suwanee, GA.


Elliott is a young male Dachshund and Miniature Pinscher puppy who is available for adoption from Country Livin Pet Rescue in Suwanee, GA.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 2, 2018

On March 4, 1762, legislation was passed by the Georgia General Assembly requiring church attendance on Sundays.

On March 3, 1779, the British Army met America forces in Screven County, Georgia. The rout of Americans by the British at Brier Creek was a considerable setback that changed the momentum in the Brits’ favor and gave them control over Georgia, which they would retain for three years.

The first Session of the United States Congress was held on March 4, 1789 at Federal Hall in New York City. Congress would not have a quorum for another month.

On March 2, 1807, the Congress passed legislation outlawing the importation of slaves from Africa or anywhere outside the United States.

On March 3, 1820, Congress passed the Missouri Compromise.

In February 1819, Representative James Tallmadge of New York introduced a bill that would admit Missouri into the Union as a state where slavery was prohibited. At the time, there were 11 free states and 10 slave states. Southern congressmen feared that the entrance of Missouri as a free state would upset the balance of power between North and South, as the North far outdistanced the South in population, and thus, U.S. representatives. Opponents to the bill also questioned the congressional precedent of prohibiting the expansion of slavery into a territory where slave status was favored.

Even after Alabama was granted statehood in December 1819 with no prohibition on its practice of slavery, Congress remained deadlocked on the issue of Missouri. Finally, a compromise was reached. On March 3, 1820, Congress passed a bill granting Missouri statehood as a slave state under the condition that slavery was to be forever prohibited in the rest of the Louisiana Purchase north of the 36th parallel, which runs approximately along the southern border of Missouri. In addition, Maine, formerly part of Massachusetts, was admitted as a free state, thus preserving the balance between Northern and Southern senators.

The Missouri Compromise, although criticized by many on both sides of the slavery debate, succeeded in keeping the Union together for more than 30 years.

On March 2, 1836, Texas declared its independence from Mexico.

Texas Flag 1836-39

On March 3, 1845, Congress overrode a Presidential veto for the first time.

On March 4, 1861, Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated as President of the United States.

In his inaugural address, Lincoln promised not to interfere with the institution of slavery where it existed, and pledged to suspend the activities of the federal government temporarily in areas of hostility. However, he also took a firm stance against secession and the seizure of federal property. The government, insisted Lincoln, would “hold, occupy, and possess” its property and collect its taxes. He closed his remarks with an eloquent reminder of the nation’s common heritage:

“In your hand, my fellow countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath in Heaven to destroy the government, while I shall have the most solemn one to preserve, protect, and defend it… We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

Also on March 4, 1861, the Confederate Congress adopted a first national flag.

Confederate 1st National Flag 1

This flag is depicted with varying numbers of stars – originally adopted with seven stars, by December 1861, a version with thirteen stars was flying.

Confederate 1st National Flag 2

The United States Congress passed the first Reconstruction Act on March 2, 1867.

On March 2, 1874, Gov. Smith signed legislation allowing anyone fined for a criminal conviction to arrange for a third party to pay the fine in exchange for the convict’s labor.

On March 3, 1874, Governor Joseph Brown signed legislation permitting persons or companies to lease Georgia prisoners for terms from one to five years, with the Governor setting the rates.

The act required the humane treatment of convicts and limited them to a ten-hour work day, with Sunday off. Equally important, leases had to free the state from all costs associated with prisoner maintenance. Once all state convicts were leased, the law provided that all state penitentiary officers and employees be discharged.

Just think of how much progress Georgia has made with privatizing the justice system — now, instead of leasing convicts, we have private probation companies overseeing released prisoners.

On March 2, 1950, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for the beginning of construction of Buford Dam, which would create Lake Lanier.

Ronald Reagan and Nancy Davis were married on March 4, 1952 in Los Angeles, California.

President Lyndon B. Johnson attended ceremonies at Lockheed in Marietta for the first C-5A aircraft to come off the assembly line on March 2, 1968. President Johnson’s remarks can be read here.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections


Governor Nathan Deal appointed a committee to investigate charges against Macon County Sheriff Charles M. Cannon, II and report back to the Governor.

Vice President Mike Pence will be the featured guest at the Georgia Republican Party’s Presidents Day Dinner on March 23, 2018, according to the AJC.Continue Reading..


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for March 1, 2018

Jud Hound

Jud is an adult male Hound dog who is available for adoption from Canine Crusaders of Atlanta in Acworth, GA.

My name is Judd. I am a 3 year old Bloodhound. I am current on all my vaccinations and negative for Heartworms. I am also neutered and microchipped. I am a great big handsome, clumsy, goofy, hunk of love. I have attended a basic obedience class and will be attending an Intermediate class the middle of August. I am very smart too. I can go to my place and wait for my food. I can sit, lay down, give kisses, and shake. I will do just about anything for a treat. I like to play this game called fetch or chase it is so fun. My foster parents throw a toy and I run get and they run after me. It is so much fun. I like to steal things from you too so be careful I am very quick and can grab my leash or your phone and take off with it. Oh yeah, I went to this thing called nosework where I got to find treats hidden different places by using my nose to find them, Now that was fun too.

Bella Acworth

Bella is an adult female Golden Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Canine Crusaders of Atlanta in Acworth, GA.

Bella is a female Golden Retriever/Australian Shepherd mix mix, around 9 1/2 years old. She’s intelligent, sweet and although she is middle aged, she’s still quite active. She’s laid back in the house but loves running around outside, chasing squirrels and loves walking on leash with her foster dad. She needs a fenced yard and also a home with someone who likes leash walks as much as she does. Bella currently walks around 2 miles a day and she really lives for her walks! She loves to hang out in the house with her foster parents too. She’s housebroken, does great in the house alone and is very well behaved. Bella would prefer to be an only dog though, no cats please. She sometimes be a little shy at first with new people and she feels most secure if she can approach strangers on her own. She is friendly once she realizes she can trust you and you are non-threatening. Bella has never been around children and is sometimes protective over her food, so no young kids please. METRO ATLANTA ADOPTIONS ONLY.

Ace Acworth

Ace is an adult male Weimaraner who is available for adoption from Canine Crusaders of Atlanta in Acworth, GA.

Ace is a handsome 2 year old male Weimaraner. He’s a big, strong boy with a gorgeous coat! Ace has a thicker build than a typical, lean Weimeraner. Ace weighs around 75 lbs. He has a great personality and loves everyone he meets. He needs someone experienced with large breeds. Ace is very strong on leash and would be happiest having a fenced yard to run around in. His fence should be 5 ft or He also likes to play with other dogs but plays rough…so no small dogs or senior dogs please. Due to his size and energy level, any children in the home should be 12 and older. Please only inquire if you have a tall fence, at least 5 ft tall.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 1, 2018

On March 1, 1778, the Georgia legislature confiscated property owned by 117 people after labeling them traitors.

The Articles of Confederation were ratified on March 1, 1781.

The nation was guided by the Articles of Confederation until the implementation of the current U.S. Constitution in 1789.

The critical distinction between the Articles of Confederation and the U.S. Constitution —the primacy of the states under the Articles—is best understood by comparing the following lines.

The Articles of Confederation begin:

“To all to whom these Present shall come, we the undersigned Delegates of the States”

By contrast, the Constitution begins:

“We the People of the United States do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

On March 1, 1875, Governor James Smith signed legislation making cruelty to animals a misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $50.

Paul Broun, Sr. was born on March 1, 1916, in Shellman, Georgia, and served 38 years in the Georgia legislature.

Broun was first elected to the state senate in 1962 in a historic election that took place after the federal courts struck down Georgia’s long-established county unit election system. Broun was one of several new senators elected in a class that included Jimmy Carter, the future president of the United States; Leroy Johnson, the first black legislator elected in Georgia since Reconstruction; and politicians like Hugh Gillis, Culver Kidd, and Bobby Rowan, who would have a lasting impact on legislative politics.

Broun was elected to nineteen consecutive terms in the senate, where he served as the chairman of the Appropriations Committee and the University System Committee.

Dorothy Felton was born on March 1, 1929, and served as the first Republican woman elected to the Georgia legislature.

Dorothy Felton was the first Republican woman elected to the Georgia General Assembly and eventually became the longest-serving Republican and the longest-serving woman of either party in the state legislature. She also worked for more than a quarter of a century for the right of the Sandy Springs community of Fulton County to incorporate as a municipality, a goal that was not achieved until four years after she retired from elective office.

Felton was first elected to the state House of Representatives in 1974 from a district in Sandy Springs.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Deal yesterday held a press conference to discuss the Delta Airlines issue.

“In the world of politics… in this diverse state of more than 10.4 million people… in the halls of this historic building, there are many different and passionate voices. We are currently in a time of heated debate about a very emotionally-charged issue, one that people feel very intensely about. I certainly would never discount those strongly-held beliefs, but we should be mindful of what they do to a debate like this and how easily one’s temper can flair into one’s words and actions.”

“It is amidst such an environment that we are called upon to do what is right by all Georgians. It is in such circumstances that we are tasked with making the hard decisions in service to the people of this state, not ourselves. It is in such conditions that we must listen to all voices, all concerns, and do our best to craft policy which simultaneously lives up to our principles and positions Georgia for the bright future of which its people are worthy.”

“Today, an amended version of HB 918 – which includes the 2017 and 2018 Internal Revenue Code updates – passed out of a Senate committee. When it has passed both chambers, I will sign it into law, because it is what is right for our citizens… because it will save them in upwards of $5 billion in tax savings over the next five years… and because it is far too important to the well-being of our state to forfeit amid unbecoming squabbling.”

“This legislation – put at risk by the types of antics that tend to plague election years – serves as one of the single-largest income tax reforms in our state’s history, and I think Georgia’s families and businesses deserve to benefit fully from these significant tax cuts.”

“So as we call an end to the discord, let us refocus our attention on what is truly important in this debate. The real story is on the unprecedented $5 billion tax cut for Georgians.

“The real story is what it has always been: what is in the best interests of the people of Georgia.”

“But even as we find our composure and respect for one another again, we must remember that there is still more work to be done. The legislation we’re talking about today will not fix our compliance issue. We will still be in violation of federal statute. Therefore, I am committed to finding a pathway forward for the elimination of sales tax on jet fuel, which is non-negotiable. Finding a solution to that problem will require further discussion, so I am continuing an open dialogue with all stakeholders in the process, including Georgia’s largest private employer – Delta Air Lines.”

“If we truly wish to remain the No. 1 state in which to do business… if we want to attract more companies to our communities and more jobs for our growing populace… if we want to remain a truly competitive hub for global commerce and not be overshadowed by neighboring states, then we need to address the concerns of all in a dignified manner and with a maturity that our people deserve.”

“Ours is a welcoming state – the epitome of “Southern Hospitality.” We were not elected to give the late night talk show hosts fodder for their monologues or to act with the type of immaturity that has caused so many in our society to have a cynical view of politics.”

“We can sometimes ardently disagree with one another, but Georgia is a state of respect where we value and appreciate those who contribute to our communities and give jobs to the fathers and mothers of our children, not just today, but in the many years to come as we attract the jobs of the future.”

“Disagreement on key issues of our time should not prevent Georgians from keeping more of their hard earned dollars, should not forfeit our state economic development opportunities, and should not stand in the way of providing the type of tax relief that we as Republicans believe in for all citizens and businesses, both big and small.”

“It is with that renewed determination to find a path forward for the elimination of sales tax on jet fuel and a true fix to our compliance issue that I will sign HB 918 into law in the near future, securing upwards of $5 billion in tax savings for our people over the next five years.”

Gov. Deal also announced that the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project remains on schedule.

“The completion of outer harbor dredging marks the midpoint for SHEP and represents a crucial milestone for the Savannah community, the State of Georgia and the nation as a whole,” said Deal. “The Port of Savannah is already the second busiest port in the nation for exports and the timely completion of this project will be a major step forward for our nation’s infrastructure. To ensure that SHEP remains on schedule, my FY 2018 budget proposal calls for $35 million in additional support for the project.

“Deepening the port, along with other investments to create the nation’s strongest statewide logistics network, will make American exports more competitive abroad and benefit businesses in every corner of the state. Georgia is currently investing $1 billion per year in transportation projects to widen interstates, add truck-only lanes and improve trucking routes between ports and interstates so that cargo may move across our state and the Southeast faster, without adding to traffic congestion. Just as we have been ranked the top state in which to do business for five consecutive years, Georgia will continue to make investments that will help us lead the way in transporting goods to the global marketplace.”

SHEP recently received $49 million in President Trump’s FY 2018 budget request to Congress. Georgia’s congressional delegation is working to increase funding to $100 million per year, the amount needed to complete the project in a timely manner.

Under the Gold Dome

The Georgia Senate convened for Legislative Day 29 at 10 AM this morning, and the House will convene at 1 PM.



Upon Adjournment SENATE RULES 450 CAP


3:30 PM House Judy (Civil) Kelley Sub 132 CAP


HB 273 – Quality Basic Education Act; daily recess for students in kindergarten and grades one through five; provide (Substitute) (ED&Y-53rd) Douglas-78th
HB 918 – Revenue and taxation; Internal Revenue Code; provisions (Substitute) (RULES-9th) Efstration-104th
HB 287 – Special license plates; honoring service members killed in action; provide at no cost to eligible family members (VM&HS-32nd) Kirby-114th


Modified Open Rule
HR 655 – Gold Star Father Day; November 9 annually in Georgia; recognize (D&VA-Burnough-77th)

Modified Structured Rule
SB 131– Juvenile Code; adoption proceedings be stayed while an appeal to terminate parental rights is pending; provide (Substitute)(JuvJ-Ballinger-23rd) Tillery-19th

Jill Nolin of CNHI covers legislators’ reactions to the Delta issue.

“They’ve stepped on the wrong toes,” said Rep. Jason Shaw, R-Lakeland. “We don’t need to be giving any kind of tax break to corporate citizens who don’t have any respect for our conservative values that the majority of Georgians share.”

Sen. Greg Kirk, R-Americus, said Delta should extend its decision to all groups.

“When you say everybody else can come but you can’t, that’s not neutral,” Kirk said, noting Delta’s opposition to a religious liberty proposal he sponsored in 2016 that was ultimately vetoed.

“Delta should not single out any group to discriminate against them,” Kirk said.

Sen. Chuck Payne, R-Dalton, who sits on the Senate Finance Committee, said he is troubled by Delta’s decision, but he said that does not necessarily mean the tax break should be thrown out.

“Something greater than politics should win at the end of the day,” said Payne, who is an NRA member.

From the Associated Press:

Sen. Chuck Hufstetler of Rome said lawmakers felt Delta unfairly singled out the NRA while maintaining special agreements with “many other controversial organizations.”

“There’s work ongoing to try to fix this disagreement,” Hufstetler said. “… I think this additional issue where they were treating (the NRA) different from all the other organizations pushed a lot of the members over the edge.”

Senate Bill 418, which would have prevented cities and counties from outlawing retail sales of dogs and cats, failed in the Senate. From 11Alive:

To discourage puppy mills, cities like Sandy Springs and Woodstock have banned the retail sale of puppies. Those local laws encourage folks to adopt pets from animal shelters like the Atlanta Humane Society, which sends to homes some 10,000 animals per year.

“As more and more people across the country are learning the source of that cute little puppy in the window, they don’t want those kind of businesses in their community,” said Debra Berger, Georgia’s director of the Humane Society.

But two bills in the legislature would overturn local laws that ban the sale of puppies. SB 418 was rejected on Wednesday, while no action has yet been taken on the House version.

Senate Bill 335 by Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford) expands the statutory definition of sex trafficking to match federal language. From the Gainesville TImes.

“This year … is consistent with each year since I have been here in 2010 that we have continued to tighten up the laws surrounding sexual servitude, sex trafficking (and) sexual solicitation,” said Sen. Butch Miller, R-Gainesville.

Senate Bill 335 would add the word “patronize” to the bill, which Miller said would affect the person paying for sex.

Anyone convicted of soliciting or patronizing a person 16 years or older who is the “subject of sexual servitude” to “perform sexually explicit conduct” would face five to 20 years in prison.

The phrase “or older” was also added in the bill.

The State House and Senate both passed bills that would expand transit in Metro Atlanta. From the Gwinnett Daily Post:

Both pieces of legislation, House Bill 930 and Senate Bill 386, would create a regional transit body in metro Atlanta that would guide transit projects in 13 counties, including Gwinnett. The Senate bill would also allow 30-year transportation SPLOSTs, also known as T-SPLOSTs.

Gwinnett County leaders are expected to put forward a transit referendum to voters either in November of the this year or November 2020, when voter turnouts are expected to be at their highest levels. Gwinnett County Commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash said she and other county leaders will be closely watching how legislation fares going forward.

“I am pleased that both the Senate and the House passed their respective transit bills with very strong votes,” Nash said. “I appreciate the hard work by many different folks. (Senate Transportation Committee) Chairman Brandon Beach has been ringing the bell on regional transit for years.

A main part of both bills would be the creation of a 13-county metro Atlanta regional transit governance structure. In the House bill, it is called the Atlanta-region Transit Link, or the “ATL” for short. The Senate Bill refers to it as The ATL Commission.

Three Atlanta tax bills passed the State House yesterday. From Maggie Lee with the Saporta Report:

The first would set up an Atlanta referendum to limit rises in homesteaded property tax assessments to 2.6 percent a year. The cap would apply to only the city of Atlanta portion of property tax bills, not the Atlanta Public Schools part.

“Atlanta’s feeling one of the negative effects of great success, which is skyrocketing property values,” said state Rep. Beth Beskin, R-Atlanta, said presenting the amended version of her House Bill 820.

Muscogee County Sheriff Donna Tompkins suggested that City Council members are insufficiently committed to funding public safety. From the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer:

Sheriff Donna Tompkins questioned Columbus Council’s commitment to public safety Tuesday night while wrangling with some councilors over her request for employee pay increases.

“When I stood here two weeks ago, I had 24 openings plus six that I could not fund because the money had to be used to fund Rapid Resolution,” she said Tuesday. “Today we have more openings than that.”

When pressed by Councilor Bruce Huff about how she intended to fund the proposed pay reform in future years, Tompkins made it clear that councilors’ stance on the issue would reveal how serious they are about public safety.

“It’s little bit amazing to me that when the Columbus Police Department came in here for pay reform, nobody said, ‘Oh gee, we might have to take it back next year.’ I mean that’s just a fact, sir,” said Tompkins in exasperation. “And it’s amazing to me that my folks, we can’t even think about how we’re going to work through July going forward.”

Georgia Power announced that ratepayers will see lower costs associate with the construction of two new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle. From the Augusta Chronicle:

Georgia Power customers will be charged less for two new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle both this year and in the future, the company announced Wednesday. Construction is also ahead of schedule and the predicted dates of bringing the new Unit 3 and Unit 4 reactors online in 2021 and 2022 appear more certain, the company said.

In its latest construction monitoring report filed Wednesday with the Georgia Public Service Commission, covering the last six months of 2017, Georgia Power noted that customers will be charged less this year for a variety of reasons:

• Federal cuts to the corporate tax rate and the impact of a $3.6 billion payment from the parent company of its former main contractor mean customers will be charged $139 million less;

• As part of its decision to allow Georgia Power and its partners to proceed on Vogtle, the PSC required Georgia Power to offer its customers $75 in rebates spread over three months, which will be $188 million in total customer savings;

• Congress approving federal production tax credits for new nuclear projects will save about $1 billion once the units come online;

• The Department of Energy providing an anticipated $5 billion in loan guarantees will save about $500 million.


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for February 28, 2018

Keelo Etowah

Keelo is a young male mixed breed puppy (part of a litter) who is available for adoption from the Etowah Valley Humane Society in Cartersville, GA.

Umi Etowah

Umi is a female mixed breed (looks like a Pointer to me) puppy who is available for adoption from the Etowah Valley Humane Society in Cartersville, GA.

Rosco Etowah

Rosco is a young male mixed breed puppy who is available for adoption from the Etowah Valley Humane Society in Cartersville, GA.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 28, 2018

On February 28, 1784, John Wesley executed a document titled “The Rev. John Wesley’s Declaration and Establishment of the Conference of the People called Methodists.”

On February 28, 1827, the first American railroad organized to transport people and freight commercially, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, was chartered. At the time, Baltimore was the second largest city in the nation.

On February 28, 1854, 30 anti-slavery opponents of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which would repeal the 1820 Missouri Compromise, met in Ripon, Wisconsin and called for the creation of the Republican Party.

On February 28, 1885, the American Telephone and Telegraph company was incorporated, though some accounts say March 3d.

On February 28, 1991, the First Gulf War ended, as President George H.W. Bush declared a ceasefire and that Kuwait was liberated.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The United States Senate confirmed Georgia Court of Appeals Judge Lisa Branch to a seat on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. From the AJC:

Senators voted 73-23 to seat Branch on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the 12-judge panel one step below the Supreme Court that has jurisdiction over Georgia, Alabama and Florida. All dissenting votes came from Democrats.

The Trump administration tapped the Fulton County native in September to replace Judge Frank Hull, a Clinton appointee who announced her semi-retirement from the court. The 11th District in recent years has ruled on hot-button issues such as voting rights and the death penalty.

The Senate has plans in the days ahead to debate and vote on the nomination of one of Branch’s colleagues on the Georgia Court of Appeals, Tripp Self, to fill an opening on the U.S. District Court in Macon.

Business Insider calls Sen. David Perdue “Trump’s favorite senator.”Continue Reading..


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for February 27, 2018

Snoozy Worth

Snoozy is a young male American Bulldog mix who is available for adoption from Best Friends Humane Society in Worth County in Sylvester, GA.

Bailey Worth

Bailey is a young female Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from Best Friends Humane Society in Worth County in Sylvester, GA.

Shana Worth

Shana is a young female American Bulldog mix who is available for adoption from Best Friends Humane Society in Worth County in Sylvester, GA.