The blog.


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for February 12, 2024

The Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, Georgia will hold their “Love A Mutt” event on Saturday, February 17 from 11:00am to 3:00pm, and will include waived adoption fees, according to a post on Facebook.

Tampico (Pen 216) is a 9-week old, female Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA.

Ozzy (Pen 217 #1) is a 9-week old, male Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA.

Magnolia (Pen 216) is a 2-year old, 54-pound female Terrier (or Boxer?) mix who is available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 12, 2024

Today is Georgia Day, celebrating the founding of the Thirteenth Colony on February 12, 1733.

After years of planning and two months crossing the Atlantic, James Oglethorpe and 114 colonists climbed 40 feet up the bluff from the Savannah River on this day in 1733 and founded the colony of Georgia.

George II granted the Georgia trustees a charter for the colony a year earlier. The trustees’ motto was Non Sibi Sed Allis—not for self but for others. Georgia would be a philanthropic and military enterprise that would provide the “worthy” poor a new start and serve as a buffer between Spanish Florida and the English colonies.

The trustees prohibited slavery and large landholdings….

Congress enacted the first fugitive slave law, on February 12, 1793 requiring states to return runaway slaves to their owners, even if the state in which the slave was captured did not permit slavery.

Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809 in Hodgenville, Kentucky.

On February 12, 1867, the editor of the Milledgeville Federal Union expressed dismay at the rapidity with which Atlanta was growing and basically everything about Atlanta.

“Atlanta is certainly a fast place in every sense of the word, and our friends in Atlanta are a fast people. They live fast and they die fast. They make money fast and they spend it fast. They build houses fast, and they burn them down fast… . They have the largest public buildings, and the most of them, and they pass the most resolutions of any people, ancient or modern. To a stranger the whole city seems to be running on wheels, and all of the inhabitants continually blowing off steam.”

On February 12, 1999, the United States Senate voted 55-45 against convicting impeached President Bill Clinton on a charge of perjury. Senator Paul Coverdell voted guilty and Senator Max Cleland voted not guilty. On the second charge of obstructing justice, Coverdell and 49 other Republicans voted guilty and Cleland joined 49 other senators in voting not guilty. A two-thirds vote of the Senate is required to convict a President, so Clinton was acquitted on both counts.

On February 12, 2014, most of Georgia state government was closed by Executive Order because of an ice storm.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Today is the last day to register to vote in order to be eligible for the March 12, 2024 Presidential Preference Primary, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.Continue Reading..


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for February 9, 2024

Pearl is a young female Labrador Retriever & Australian Shepherd mix puppy who is available for adoption from Athens Canine Rescue in Athens, GA.

Introducing The Munchkins! This group of 11 pups was born on 11/24/23 and are just about ready for the forever homes! This litter includes 6 sisters and 5 brothers, all of whom have their own unique coloring and personalities! At this age they weigh between 8-10 pounds each, and we guess that they will likely be in the 50-80 pound range as adults. At this age, they’ve been exposed to each other and their mama, so they’re learning appropriate social cueing from each other. They have a solid foundation, but it’s up to any future adopter to continue with proper socialization in order for them to continue to fit well into any home.

Pearl said she was very much meant to be a pro dock diving dog. She loves fetch, water and running way too much for an average pup. She is the first to bring you a toy to toss for her, or go wild in the tub. She is the biggest girl in the group with the personality to match. She wants to have the most fun and to PLAY all day.

Hogan is a young male Labrador Retriever & Vizsla mix puppy who is available for adoption from Athens Canine Rescue in Athens, GA.

Hogan is the biggest of the bunch with the personality to follow. He is always the first pup to great you when he sees you. He is always excited to play and discover new environments and toys. You can find him setting himself up in a hiding spot to surprise his siblings and snag their toy and RUN!

Dot is a young female Labrador Retriever & Vizsla mix puppy who is available for adoption from Athens Canine Rescue in Athens, GA.

This sweet girl is Dot! Did you know dogs can tap dance? Dot can show you how! She likes to have what we call happy feet and prance up to the toy, sibling or person she wants to play with. When she’s not dancing she’s patiently waiting to get your attention, toy in mouth ready for a game of tug-o-war.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 9, 2024

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

On February 8, 1751, the first session of the Georgia Provincial Parliament adjourned, having convened on January 15, 1751.

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

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

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

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

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

Alexander Stephens was elected Vice President of the Confederate States of America on February 9, 1861.

On February 10, 1861, Jefferson Davis of Mississippi received word that he was chosen as President of the Confederate States of America.

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

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

On February 8, 1955, Gov. Marvin Griffin signed a resolution by the General Assembly calling on Congress to require racial segregation in the military.

On February 8, 1956, the Georgia State House adopted a resolution purporting to hold the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education null and void.

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

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

On February 8, 1981, R.E.M. held their first recording session at Bombay Studios in Smyrna, recording “Gardening At Night,” “Radio Free Europe” and “(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville,” as well as others.

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

Savannah will unveil a new marker for Taylor Square, fka Calhoun Square, according to WTOC.

The City of Savannah is turning a page of history this weekend when it unveils a marker for the newly-named Taylor Square.

The Council voted back in November of 2022 to remove the name “Calhoun Square.”

They took public suggestions on what to replace it with and last August, the city landed on honoring Susie King Taylor .

She was the first Black nurse during the Civil War, and the first Black teacher to open a school in Savannah.

This started over three years ago when the Center for Jubilee, Reconciliation, and Healing started advocating for the removal of John Calhoun’s name from the square and the addition of Susie King Taylors.

Calhoun was not a Georgia native, but a South Carolina native and a former Vice President of the United States.

The Center for Jubilee wanted to change the name due to his stance on slavery.

In November of 2022, Savannah’s City Council voted to remove the name, and began the process of picking a new name. People were able to submit applications for what they thought the new name should be.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Under the Gold Dome Today

TBD UPON ADJOURNMENT– HOUSE Natl Res Sub Resource Mgmt – 606 CLOB
TBD Senate Rules: Upon Adj – 450 CAP
TBD Senate Spcl Comm on Investigations: Upon Adj Rules – 341 CAP
7:30 AM Senate Finance Committee – 450 CAP
8:00 AM Senate Education & Youth – 450 CAP
9:00 AM HOUSE FLOOR SESSION (LD18) – House Chamber
9:00 AM Senate Floor Session (LD 18) – Senate Chamber
12:30 PM HOUSE Pub Sfty and Homeland Sec 2-A Sub – 506 CLOB
1:00 PM HOUSE Appropriations Sub Public Safety – 415 CLOB
1:00 PM Joint Education & Higher Ed – 450 CAP

Today, I tip my hat to the sponsors of the “Bridging the Gap for ALS and Chronic Kidney Disease Act of 2024.” House Bill 1098 by Dr. Lee Hawkins, (R-Gainesville) and SB 409 by Sen. John Albers (R-Alpharetta).Continue Reading..


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for February 7, 2024

Bonnie (24-01-0147a) is an adult female Terrier mix who is available for adoption from Paulding County Animal Control in Dallas, GA.

Clyde (24-01-0147b) is an adult male Terrier mix who is available for adoption from Paulding County Animal Control in Dallas, GA.

Hazel (24-01-0076) is an adult female Terrier mix who is available for adoption from Paulding County Animal Control in Dallas, GA.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 7, 2024

On February 7, 1733, the first Georgia colonists had been here a week and they finished building a hand-operated crane to move heavy supplies and livestock from their boats to the top of the forty-foot high bluff where they were building a settlement.

On February 7, 1962, President John F. Kennedy issued an Executive Order embargoing Cuba.

On February 7, 1990, the Communist Party Central Committee of the Soviet Union agreed to a proposal by Prime Minister Mikhail Gorbachev that is should give up its political monopoly.

The response from the United States was surprise and cautious optimism. One State Department official commented that, “The whole Soviet world is going down the drainpipe with astonishing speed. It’s mind-boggling.” Former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger indicated that he was “personally gratified and astonished that anyone would have the chance to say such things in Moscow without being shot.” President George Bush was more circumspect, merely congratulating President Gorbachev for his “restraint and finesse.”

Ironically, the fact that the Communist Party was willing to accept political challenges to its authority indicated how desperately it was trying to maintain its weakening power over the country. The measures were little help, however–President Gorbachev resigned on December 25, 1991 and the Soviet Union officially ceased to exist on December 31, 1991.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Vice President Kamala Harris spoke about abortion and Georgia’s “Heartbeat Bill,” according to WTOC.

Vice President Kamala Harris made a stop in Savannah on Tuesday as part of her “Fight for Reproductive Freedoms Tour.”

She highlighted the impacts she said come from abortion bans across the country.

This was the third stop on Vice President Harris’ tour. While at the Savannah Civic Center, she criticized Georgia’s LIFE Act, also known as the state’s “heartbeat bill.” It essentially bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.

Vice President Harris called that law and others like it in some states “extreme.”

One of her concerns, she said the law forces women to leave the state to seek care.

“They have to leave their family and friends who might be with them in this moment to give them comfort and care to travel to a state that protects reproductive freedom. There is only one state in the south without an abortion ban: The State of Virginia. In the entire south, one – a six hour drive from here in Savannah,” Vice President Harris said.

The Vice President also criticized the state’s maternal mortality rate, which she said is one of the highest in the nation. Saying more needs to be done to protect women seeking care.

She also said President Joe Biden would veto any attempts by Congress to pass a national abortion ban. In her speech, Vice President Harris said the former president is to blame for the overturning of Roe versus Wade, and she went on to say former President Trump bragged about being proud of that reversal.

“How dare he. How dare he. Understand the former president is the architect of the health care crisis. And extremists are not done,” Vice President Harris said.

A statement was sent to WTOC by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp’s office about the vice president’s trip to the Peach State.

“Georgia is proud of its record on protecting the life of the most vulnerable among us. If the Biden Administration’s Border Czar is looking for something to do, her time would be better spent walking to the Oval Office and telling Joe Biden to secure the border,” Gov. Kemp’s spokesperson, Garrison Douglas said.

Georgia’s abortion ban still faces legal challenges. Just four months ago, a ruling by the state Supreme Court put the ban back in place while the court case against it plays out.

From WSAV:

“Freedom is fundamental to the promise of America. Freedom of speech. Freedom of worship. Freedom of assembly. The freedom to vote,” Harris said. “In America, freedom is not to be given it is not to be bestowed. It is ours by right.

“And that includes the freedom to make decisions about one’s own body and not have the government telling people what to do.”

From the AJC:

Harris also used the remarks as an opportunity to attack Biden’s likely general election opponent, former President Donald Trump. She called Trump “the architect of this health care crisis” because he appointed three Supreme Court justices who voted to repeal Roe v. Wade.

Harris met privately with local government officials and abortion activists prior to her speech. She also spent several minutes with the family of Army Reserve Sgt. Breonna Moffett, the 23-year-old Savannahian who was one of three Georgians killed in a drone attack on Jan. 28 in Jordan.

Savannah Mayor Van Johnson honored Moffett and fellow reservists Sgt. William Jerome Rivers and Sgt. Kennedy Sanders with a moment of silence in the minutes before Harris delivered her remarks. He called the soldiers “bright, shining stars lifted from us too soon.”

Harris’ speech was briefly interrupted by a pro-Palestinian demonstrator, who was escorted out of the venue. A small group of protesters waving Palestinian flags and holding a banner condemning the Biden administration’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war gathered outside the building.

The Savannah visit is Harris’ third to Georgia in the past two months as she and Biden appeal to voters ahead of their 2024 reelection bid. Biden won the state by fewer than 12,000 votes in 2020, defeating Trump.

Harris’ other recent Georgia visits were both to Atlanta. She attended the Celebration Bowl in December. The football game pitting teams from historically Black universities was played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Harris’ alma mater, Howard University, played in the game, losing to Florida A&M University.

Harris returned to Atlanta last month to meet with voting rights advocates and pledged to counter what she called a “full-on intent to attack fundamental freedoms and rights in our country.”

First lady Jill Biden will travel to Atlanta on Wednesday to address efforts to improve women’s health in the state.

TVP also visited a local business in Savannah, according to WTOC.

During her trip to Savannah, Vice President Kamala Harris made a visit to Diaspora Marketplace on Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard.

He says he and the VP talked about how the Biden-Harris administration is making efforts to try to help small, minority business owners.

But not everyone was happy to greet TVP, according to WSAV.

Outside the event, there were activists protesting peacefully – pro-life members of Reformation Bible Church and the pro-Palestine group, Savannah 4 Palestine.

Savannah Police and organizers asked both groups to leave the property, but they stayed right where they felt their voices would be heard.

Both pregnant, Joy Chastain and Jenna Torres peacefully protested abortion.

“I just think it’s horrific to even consider taking that life away and not letting it have a choice. They deserve to be protected, and they deserve to be loved even from the very beginning,” Chastain said.

“Whatever you believe in, this is a life. These babies are alive, and they have rights, too. They have basic human rights, just like we all do. And that’s important. It’s not just important to God, it’s important to the human race,” Torres said.

Savannah 4 Palestine held up signs and yelled chants… calling for attention to reproductive needs in Palestine as well as calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. One protestor even made it inside the event to shout “Free Palestine” before being escorted out.

A spokesperson with Savannah 4 Palestine stated in part, “Our message to VP Harris is clear, do not claim to care about reproductive rights and justice when your party has failed the American people on this issue for decades. Her visit is doubly cruel considering the violence that US-backed Israeli forces inflict on pregnant Palestinians and daily denial of adequate healthcare to all Palestinians. We say to VP Harris and the Biden administration, do not campaign on reproductive rights or any issue while you oversee the systematic denial of basic human rights to Palestinians.”

Johnson recruited Harris to make Tuesday’s visit. He met with the vice president last month during the United States Conference of Mayors in Washington.

“She told me she was coming,” Johnson said Tuesday morning prior to Harris’ arrival, “and here she is.”

FLOTUS Jill Biden visits Atlanta today, according to the AJC.

First lady Jill Biden will be in Atlanta today to highlight the importance of women’s health research, according to the White House.

She will deliver remarks at the Morehouse School of Medicine’s “2024 Women’s Heart Healthy Luncheon,” which will be held at the Georgia Aquarium.

Under the Gold Dome Today

TBD Senate Rules: Upon Adjournment – 450 CAP
7:00 AM Senate Approp: Health & Human Dev Sub – 450 CAP
8:00 AM HOUSE Ways & Means Sub Sales Tax – 403 CAP
8:15 AM HOUSE Ways & Means Sub Pub Fin and Policy – 403 CAP
10:00 AM HOUSE FLOOR SESSION (LD16) – House Chamber
10:00 AM Senate Floor Session (LD 16) – Senate Chamber
1:00 PM HOUSE Education Sub Curriculum – 515 CLOB
1:00 PM Senate Public Safety – 450 CAP
1:00 PM Senate Econ Dev & Tourism – Mezz 1 CAP
2:00 PM HOUSE Education Sub Policy – 515 CLOB
2:00 PM Senate Approp: Judicial Sub – 450 CAP
2:00 PM Senate Agriculture & Consumer Aff – Mezz 1 CAP
3:00 PM HOUSE Ways and Means Sub Tax Revision – 506 CLOB
3:00 PM Senate Approp: Agriculture & Natl Res Sub – 450 CAP
4:00 PM Senate Finance – Mezz 1 CAP
5:00 PM Senate Government Oversight – 307 CLOB
5:00 PM Senate Health & Human Services – 450 CAP

The State House Appropriations Committee voted for a midyear budget revision, according to the Capitol Beat News Service.Continue Reading..


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for February 6, 2024

Wadley is a 5-year old, 55-pound male Hound mix who is available for adoption from the Cobb County Animal Shelter in Marietta, GA.

Mr. Wadley is 5 years old and weighs a mere 55lbs. Wadley was on a great adventure when he was spotted and was brought to the shelter on 1/28. Sadly, no one has come to reclaim this sweet baby. He is a wonderful pup who great on a leash so he would make a wonderful walking/running buddy. He is pretty calm and quiet in his run and he is well behaved and very attentive and stays focused. Look at that face! He is the cutest and sweetest little guy we have ever seen! Wadley is super smart as he knows simple commands such as sit when asked and he may know more. He would love to be taught so much more if you would be willing to take the time to teach him. Please come visit Wadley and see what he is all about. He has so much to offer and is eager to please. Wadley is current on vaccines, will be neutered, micro chipped and heart worm tested upon his adoption. He will be waiting for his new best friend in Run 50 and his ID is 653304.

Lily is a 1-year old, 35-pound female Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from the Cobb County Animal Shelter in Marietta, GA.

Could Lily be any cuter? She was on an adventure when spotted and arrived to the shelter on 1/30. Lily is 1 year old and weighs in at 35 pounds. She is a sweet heart. She knows to sit, lay down and stay when asked. Her favorite time is play time. Wouldn’t you like to wake up to that face every morning? Ask for ID# 653327 Run 850. She will be spayed soon, micro-chipped and heart worm tested upon adoption.

Lydia is a 2-year old, 67-pound female Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from the Cobb County Animal Shelter in Marietta, GA.

Lydia is a beautiful girl! She was on an adventure when spotted and arrived to the shelter on 1/30. Lydia is 2 years old and weighs in at 67 pounds. She has a heart as big as she is. She knows to sit and stay when asked. Lydia is the whole package of beauty, brains and sweetness. We love her and think you will too. Ask for ID# 653340 Run 27. She will be spayed soon, micro-chipped and heart worm tested upon adoption.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 6, 2024

The House of Assembly, Georgia’s legislative body, held its second meeting after statehood on February 6, 1788 in Savannah.

Ronald Wilson Reagan was born on February 6, 1911 in Tampico, Illinois. In 1980, Reagan would be elected President of the United States, beating incumbent Jimmy Carter. When he was born, his father said, “he looks like a fat little Dutchman.  But who knows, he might grow up to be president some day.”

On February 6, 1952, Governor Herman Talmadge signed resolutions of the General Assembly that included:

A resolution calling on Congress to call a convention to propose a constitutional amendment to repeal the Sixteenth Amendment and instead allow a maximum rate of 25 percent on any federal income, transfer, gift, or inheritance tax.

A resolution urging U.S. Senator Richard B. Russell to run for the presidency.

On February 6, 1956, Governor Marvin Griffin addressed a joint session of  the Georgia General Assembly, asking their support for House Resolution 1185, which introduced the idea of “interposition,” in which the State of Georgia would declare the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1954 and 1955 Brown v. Board of Education decisions “null and void” in Georgia. That day Griffin also signed a raft of legislation for his “massive resistance” agenda against integration of state schools.

On February 6, 1985, Reagan gave the State of the Union. During the speech he announced what would be known as the “Reagan Doctrine.”

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The voter registration deadline for Georgia’s Presidential Preference Primary approaches, according to WALB.

The last day residents in the Peach State can register for the March 12 primary is Monday, February 12.

To check your registration status, early-in person polling locations and other important information, log into your “My Voter Page” by clicking HERE.

As a reminder, early in-person voting begins on February 19.

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks in Savannah at the Savannah Civic Center today, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Vice President Kamala Harris is expected to visit Savannah on Tuesday, according to a White House release.

The stop is the third leg of her “Fight for Reproductive Freedoms” tour. It is her 11th visit to Georgia since being sworn in, according to the release.

“The vice president will highlight the harm caused by extreme abortion bans and share stories of those who have been impacted in Georgia and across the country,” the release said.

From WTOC:

This will be the Vice President’s 11th visit to Georgia since taking office in 2021 and she’ll be visiting to discuss abortion bans in the state.

Detric Leggett, a City of Savannah Alderman, says that he’s excited for Vice President Harris’ visit, saying that everyone is doing their part to make sure it goes smoothly.

“We know that we’ll have an opportunity to get close. But between our police department, the local government, secret service, they’re doing a lot of work to make sure that everything is safe, everything around the area that she’ll be, they’ll let us know. And we’ll have an opportunity to say a couple of things to her,” said Alderman Leggett.

Dr. Shabazz says that she believes the Vice President’s visit to Savannah is a testament to the work that’s being put in in this area.

“This is a huge moment for Savannah. We continue to impress and attract the highest level federal officers and officials, and this is a testament to the work that our Mayor, Mayor Van Johnson, along with our city council, along with Team Savannah are doing on the ground here to make our city the best it can be. We share a desire with the Vice President,” said Dr. Shabazz.

Under the Gold Dome Today

TBD Senate Rules Committee: Upon Adj – 450 CAP
8:00 AM HOUSE Insurance Sub Life and Health – 415 CLOB
8:00 AM HOUSE Ways and Means Sub Income Tax – 403 CAP
8:15 AM HOUSE Ways and Means Sub Ad Valorem – 403 CAP
9:00 AM Appropriations Subcommittees – 341 CAP
10:00 AM Senate Floor Session (LD 15) – Senate Chamber
11:00 AM HOUSE RULES – 341 CAP
1:00 PM HOUSE FLOOR SESSION (LD15) – House Chamber
1:00 PM Senate State & Local Govtal Ops– 125 CAP
1:00 PM Senate Judiciary– 307 CLOB
2:00 PM UPON ADJ – HOUSE Reg Ind Sub Alcohol-Tobacco – 506 CLOB
3:00 PM HOUSE Govtal Affairs Sub State & Local Govt – 415 CLOB
3:00 PM HOUSE Insurance Sub Property and Casualty – 515 CLOB
3:30 PM HOUSE Govtal Affairs Sub Elections – 415 CLOB
3:30 PM Senate Regulated Industries – 450 CAP
4:00 PM Cancelled – Science & Tech – 310 CLOB
5:00 PM Senate Ethics – 307 CLOB

The funeral for the late Georgia State House Rules Committee Chair Richard Smith (R-Columbus) was held yesterday in Columbus, according to the AJC.Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 5, 2024

John and Charles Wesley arrived at Tybee Roads, at the mouth of the Savannah River on February 5, 1736, along with James Oglethorpe and 254 other colonists.

On February 5, 1777, Georgia’s first Constitution was adopted in Savannah, creating the first eight counties. Happy birthday to Wilkes, Richmond, Burke, Effingham, Chatham, Liberty, Glynn, and Camden counties.

The 1777 Constitution was progressive for the time, outlawing primogeniture and entail, English common law doctrines that controlled inheritance of land.

Primogeniture ensured that the eldest son in a family inherited the largest portion of his father’s property upon the father’s death. The practice of entail, guaranteeing that a landed estate remain in the hands of only one male heir, was frequently practiced in conjunction with primogeniture. (Virginia abolished entail in 1776, but permitted primogeniture to persist until 1785.)

Georgians restructured inheritance laws in Article LI of the state’s constitution by abolishing entail in all forms and proclaiming that any person who died without a will would have his or her estate divided equally among their children; the widow shall have a child’s share, or her dower at her option.

The Southern Pacific Railroad completed its “Sunset Route” from New Orleans to California on February 5, 1883, giving the SP a dominant position in transcontinental railroading.

The Southern Pacific Railroad completed its “Sunset Route” from New Orleans to California on February 5, 1883, giving the SP a dominant position in transcontinental railroading.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt announced his “court packing” plan on February 5, 1937. After the United States Supreme Court found some of his “New Deal” legislation unconstitutional, Roosevelt’s proposal would have encouraged the retirement of justices older than 70 and for those who did not retire, appoint an assistant Justice with full voting rights on decisions by the Court.

On February 5, 1945, Governor Ellis Arnall signed legislation abolishing the poll tax, making Georgia the first Southern state to do so.

Georgia’s 1877 constitution authorized the tax, which limited voter participation among both poor blacks and whites. But most whites got around the provision through exemptions for those whose ancestors fought in the Civil War or who could vote before the war.

In 1937, the U.S. Supreme court upheld Georgia’s poll tax as constitutional. But in 1942, Georgia voters chose Ellis Arnall for governor and the progressive Arnall ushered in a wave of reforms, including abolishing Georgia’s poll tax.

Nigel Tufnel, of the band Spinal Tap, was born on February 5, 1948.

On February 5, 1974, “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe,” by Barry White reached #1 on the charts.

Def Leppard’s “Pyromania” began a 92-week run on the best-seller charts on February 5, 1983. Rock on.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

First Lady of the United States Jill Biden will visit Atlanta this week, according to the AJC.

She will deliver remarks at the Morehouse School of Medicine’s “2024 Women’s Heart Healthy Luncheon.”

She will then join a women’s health roundtable discussion with local leaders and key stakeholders from a range of sectors that are working to accelerate women’s health research. The location of this gathering will be announced later.

The Georgia General Assembly stands in recess today so many members can attend the Columbus funeral of the late Rules Chairman Richard Smith. For the rest of the Session schedule, check House Resolution 978, the revised Adjournment Resolution.

In Columbus, some street closures will result from the funeral, according to WTVM.

In honor of the late Georgia State Representative Richard Smith, a funeral procession will be held next week, leaving several streets in Columbus temporarily closed.

The funeral will take place on Monday, February 5. The roads affected by the funeral include 12th Street, Veterans Parkway, and 2nd Ave in Columbus. The roads will be affected from 4 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The celebration of life service will be held on Monday, February 5 beginning at 11 a.m. from the First Baptist Church on 12th Street in Columbus.

Officials say the closure is necessary to facilitate the safe passage of the funeral procession which is expected to draw a significant number of attendees.

Officials also ask that residents and commuters make alternative travel arrangements.

Governor Brian Kemp went to the border in Texas to highlight immigration issues, according to the AJC.

Gov. Brian Kemp traveled to the U.S. border with Mexico on Sunday to back Texas amid a pitched confrontation with President Joe Biden over immigration and intensify calls for tighter measures to deter uncontrolled migration.

Kemp was among more than a dozen Republican governors who traveled to Eagle Pass, the border town of roughly 30,000 that has become a flashpoint in a growing power struggle between Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and the Biden administration.

“Every state is a border state,” said Kemp, who stood beside Abbott at a municipal park near the Rio Grande River that has become the center of the unprecedented legal standoff. Behind him, a phalanx of Texas National Guard soldiers and several armored vehicles fanned out.

“This is ruining lives in our states. It’s ruining our communities, and it’s taken a toll on our families. And it’s time that something was done about this,” Kemp said, adding: “Every state in the country is depending on Joe Biden acting, and if he does not, then we will continue to do so.”

“This is not a campaign tactic,” said Kemp, who has visited the U.S. border five times. “This is something that this group and other Republican governors have been concerned with for many, many months and years.”

Georgia is suing the Biden Administration over changes to the Georgia Pathways Medicaid waiver, according to the Associated Press via AccessWDUN.

Georgia sued the Biden administration Friday to try to keep the state’s new health plan for low-income residents, which is the only Medicaid program in the country with a work requirement, running until 2028.

Georgia Pathways launched in July and is set to expire at the end of September 2025.

The suit filed in U.S. District Court in Brunswick, Georgia, says the Biden administration’s decision to revoke the work requirement and another aspect of Pathways delayed implementation of the program. That reduced the originally approved five-year term of the program to just over two years.

A judge later ruled the revocation was illegal.

“This case is about whether the federal government can benefit from its own unlawful conduct,” the suit says.

It seeks a court order forcing the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to extend the Pathways program until September 30, 2028. A spokesperson for CMS said in an email the agency does not comment on pending litigation.

CMS rejected the extension request in October and again in December. The agency was unable to consider it because the state had failed to meet requirements to seek an extension, including a public notice and comment period, CMS Deputy Administrator and Director Daniel Tsai said in a Dec. 22 letter.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said in a news release announcing the lawsuit that the Biden administration was again trying to “interfere with Georgia’s innovative plan.” He accused the administration of playing politics “by refusing to give us back the time they stole from delaying the Pathways rollout and implementation.”

The Kemp administration has estimated Pathways could add 100,000 poor and uninsured Georgia residents to the Medicaid rolls, but enrollment so far has been slow, with just under 2,350 people enrolled as of mid-December.

The work requirement was approved by then-President Donald Trump’s administration, but the Biden administration announced in December 2021 that it was revoking that approval and the premium requirement. That prompted Georgia officials to sue.

A federal judge reinstated both parts of the program in 2022, saying the revocation was arbitrary and capricious.

Some Republican state legislators are pushing for paper ballot voting, according to the Capitol Beat News Service via the Augusta Chronicle.

“It will bring more confidence,” state Rep. Steve Tarvin, R-Chickamauga, said on the House floor Jan. 31. “It’s something we need to restore.”

The 2024 crop of election bills includes:

• Senate Bill 89 and House Bill 975, requiring use of the text portion of paper ballots in tabulating votes rather than QR codes.

• House Bill 974, requiring Georgia’s secretary of state to develop and implement a statewide system allowing members of the voting public to scan paper ballots.

• House Bill 976, requiring a “visible security device” in the form of a watermark on paper ballots.

• House Bill 977, expanding the number of races subject to “risk-limiting” audits.

The QR codes bill already has cleared the Senate Ethics Committee but remains pending before the House Governmental Affairs Committee. Republican lawmakers have cited numerous complaints from constituents about the use of QR codes.

“There’s been a lot of doubt surrounding the QR code, voters questioning whether the QR code is interpreting their vote accurately,” said Rep. John LaHood, R-Valdosta, chairman of the House Governmental Affairs Committee. “Having the actual text they can see and interpret themselves … is the right correction for us to go in.”

Senate Ethics Committee Chairman Max Burns, R-Sylvania, said the Dominion touch-screen voting system the state uses is capable of allowing the text portion of paper ballots to tabulate votes instead of the QR code.

“We’re going to leave the details and technical requirements up to the secretary of state,” he said.

The House hasn’t hesitated on the watermark bill, the only one of the four measures that has cleared a legislative chamber. The House passed House Bill 976 Jan. 31 with only one “no” vote.

The other two bills – House Bill 974 and House Bill 977 – have passed the Governmental Affairs Committee but not yet reached the House floor.

House Bill 974 would expand to a statewide program an existing pilot project giving voters the ability to scan paper ballots online.

House Bill 977 would expand the number of election contests subject to audits from just the race at the top of the ballot to a second race involving one of the statewide races. The second race to be audited would be chosen by a committee of five officials: the governor, lieutenant governor, the speaker of the state House of Representatives, and the House and Senate minority leaders.

Georgia Lieutenant Governor Burt Jones (R-Butts County) allegedly asked for access to election servers, according to the AJC.

Republican Lt. Gov. Burt Jones allegedly sought access to election computers in Butts County after the 2020 election, an effort that, if successful, would have been illegal, according to emails among state election officials that were shown in court Thursday.

Jones, a state senator representing Butts County at the time, was one of 16 Republicans who attempted to award Georgia’s electoral votes to Trump after he lost to Democrat Joe Biden by about 12,000 votes.

Jones asked election officials in Butts County whether he could bring a “forensic analyst” to inspect the county’s elections management server in December 2020, according to an email from Michael Barnes, the director of the Georgia Center for Election Systems.

“This would be against the law,” responded Ryan Germany, general counsel for Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger at the time. “They are not allowed to give an unauthorized person access to their EMS server. That would be a huge security breach.”

Jones has always been concerned about protecting election security, spokesman Chris Hartline said.

“During the 2020 election, there were numerous complaints from his constituents in Butts County about irregularities in the voting process. His job as a state senator was to ask questions and try to resolve those issues, and that’s what he did,” Hartline said.

Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs said Jones shouldn’t have supported efforts to gain access to election computers.

“It’s obviously inappropriate and not the sign of mature leadership,” Fuchs said. “We applaud the Butts County election officials who did the right thing working with our office to protect the voting equipment from unauthorized access.”

Senate Bill 366, the “Tax Expenditures Transparency Act of 2024,” by Senate Finance Chair Chuck Hufstetler (R-Rome) passed the Senate and would require periodic reviews of the effectiveness and cost of various tax breaks, according to the Rome News Tribune.

“This doesn’t actually affect any tax credits in and of itself, but it sets forward a process that we think will be better,” said panel co-chair Sen. Chuck Hufstetler, R-Rome, in presenting his SB 366 to the full Senate last week.

The Tax Expenditures Transparency Act of 2024 passed that chamber unanimously.

“This will put us on a posture where we can review these tax credits annually and continue to lower our income tax,” said Senate President Pro Tem John F. Kennedy, R-Macon. “Good job to you and your committee.”

The bill has been assigned to the House Ways & Means Committee headed by the panel’s other co-chair, Rep. Shaw Blackmon, R-Bonaire.

“We went 12 years without doing a review on these tax credits. Every state around us does a regular review,” Hufstetler said.

It’s an excellent article on an important but decidedly unglamorous topic. The Rome News-Tribune also checks in with the status of local legislation.

Senate Bill 203, the Trucking Opportunity Act of 2023, by State Sen. Jason Anavitarte (R-Paulding County) would allow some military veterans to qualify for free CDL classes, according to WTOC.

The bill allows only for veterans that have been honorably discharged from the military to qualify for tuition-free CDL classes under the bill.

According to Senator Watson, the bill would also be a big help for veterans who have truck-driving experience in the [military].

At current, they have to get re-certified outside of the military and this would remove an obstacle for that.

According to the Savannah Economic Development Authority, there are around 12,000 military retirees in the area and Watson believes that with activity at the Georgia Ports, a career as a truck driver would offer incentives for newly retired veterans to stay in the area.

The bill was first introduced in the 2023 legislative session, and is due for a third reading in the House this week.

After that, will be voted on. If passed, it’ll go to Governor Kemp’s desk for his signature.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (D) acknowledged a “personal relationship” with the outside prosecutor she hired to lead the Trump indictments, according to the Capitol Beat News Service.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis acknowledged in a court filing on Friday having a “personal relationship” with a special prosecutor she hired for the Georgia election interference case against former President Donald Trump but argued there are no grounds to dismiss the case or to remove her from the prosecution.

Willis hired special prosecutor Nathan Wade in November 2021 to assist her investigation into whether the Republican ex-president and others broke any laws as they tried to overturn his loss in the 2020 presidential election in Georgia. Since Trump and 18 others were indicted in August, Wade has led the team of lawyers Willis assembled to prosecute the case.

The filing was the first time that Willis or Wade has directly addressed the allegations of a relationship in the nearly four weeks since they first surfaced in a filing by a defendant in the election case. In an affidavit accompanying the filing, Wade said that in 2022, he and the district attorney had developed a personal relationship in addition to their “professional association and friendship.”

“At times,” Wade said, “I have made and purchased travel for District Attorney Willis and myself from my personal funds. At other times District Attorney Willis has made and purchased travel for she and I from her personal funds.”

“I have no financial interest in the outcome of the 2020 election interference case or in the conviction of any defendant,” he wrote.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee, who’s presiding over the election case, has set a Feb. 15 hearing on Roman’s motion. Willis and Wade are among a dozen witnesses Merchant has subpoenaed to testify at that hearing, and Friday’s filing says the district attorney plans to ask McAfee to toss out those subpoenas.

Willis’ team’s filing argues that Willis has no financial or personal conflict of interest that justifies removing her or her office from the case. The filing calls the allegations “salacious” and says they “garnered the media attention they were designed to obtain.”

Willis, an elected Democrat, is up for reelection this year. The personal relationship with Wade does seem to contradict a statement she said while running to become district attorney in 2020. During an appearance on public access television, she said, “I certainly will not be choosing people to date that work under me, let me just say that.”

Hall County reminds residents that they can file for property tax homestead exemptions and some other related forms through April 1, 2024, according to AccessWDUN.

The Hall County Government is reminding residents now is the time for property owners to file for Homestead Exemptions, including the Total School Tax Exemption and 100% Disabled Veteran Homestead Exemption.

Hall County officials said property owners can file from Jan. 1 to April 1.

Now is also the time to return the Business Personal Property, Marine/Personal Watercraft or Aircraft form, sign up for or renew an Agriculture Covenant, and file a Taxpayer Return of Real Property with the Hall County Board of Assessors’ Office.

The Statesboro Herald has an explainer on how the city’s Flock surveillance system works.

So far there are 30 of the cameras in use, and ultimately there will be 36, leased from Flock Safety for three years and paid for entirely by a $565,942 Community Violence Reduction grant the city accepted from the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget last June. The grant, ultimately federal money increased to the states under the American Rescue Plan Act, also covers a couple of other police technology items.

The Flock LPR cameras are programmed to read the license plate and snap a still picture of every vehicle that comes by, and that’s not their only capability, says Statesboro Chief of Police Mike Broadhead.

“We can enter a specific plate into the system, and if that car (say, a reported stolen vehicle) rolls past, the officers get notified in their patrol cars instantly,” he wrote in an email.  “We have recovered several stolen cars, located wanted subjects, and even helped solve a homicide with the Flocks.”

After a subsequent phone interview, he supplied this tally of felonies and serious misdemeanors whose investigations have been “directly aided” by the Flock system so far: two homicides, one robbery, one home invasion, one aggravated stalking, one hit-and-run and seven vehicle thefts.

“It’s a still photo, and it doesn’t show the driver. It just shows the back of the car and the plate,” Broadhead said. “So it’s not as good, I guess, as having a picture of who’s driving the car at the time, but it does give you the make and model of the car and license plate. … It’s really good information.”

Incidentally, the images can also show cardboard or paper license plates or the lack of a license plate, and just as if they called in the plates themselves, police receive information on whether the plate matches the car for which it was issued.

If the department wanted to work traffic violations using the system, an officer could log into one Flock camera, park the patrol car and have the system run license plates for information on all the vehicles that go by, Broadhead acknowledges.

“You could do that. We don’t really have the resources to do that, but that is a function the system would allow,” he said.

Instead, the SPD’s main purposes for the cameras, its chief said, are to obtain evidence of serious crimes and stop specific suspects in their vehicles. He said he knows some people have privacy concerns about camera systems but believes the license plate readers allow police to “just focus with some surgical precision on the people that are doing wrong.”

“This is something that we’re referring to as ‘precision policing’ in that rather than throwing out a dragnet and catching every fish in the sea, these kind tools allow us to just focus on criminals and leave everybody else alone to kind of come and go as they please,” Broadhead said.

Using the example of a hypothetical drive-by shooting, he said Flock cameras should allow police to go after the shooter’s car by make, model and tag number instead of stopping every white, four-door car in a two-mile radius.

Enigma City Council and Mayor Cecil Giddens fired at least five volunteer firefighters for insubordination, according to WALB.

“You have displayed insubordinate behavior to our Town council, and it has led us to evaluate your performance as a volunteer in our program.”

That’s what a letter of termination said for about five volunteer firefighters with the Town of Enigma

The decision was made by the Enigma City Council and Mayor Cecil Giddens.

In a heated city council meeting at the beginning of 2024, there were concerns that the city could potentially be without a fire department.

In that same meeting, accusations came up that those volunteers made threats against the mayor, a council member and an elderly woman.

WALB received a statement from on[e] of the councilmen:

“Unfortunately, the Council and Mayor agreed that it was in the best interest of the City that a select few firefighters’ services were no longer needed.”

“We are proud of the unity and direction that our fully staffed volunteer Fire Department is now going. Already two new firefighters have joined the Department and are currently training to become certified Firefighters.”

“Our small town has had disagreements in the past, but we are uniting together for the betterment of the City.”

[signed] Councilman Bud Hutchinson

Savannah City Council canceled a retreat previously scheduled for St Simons Island, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Augusta Commissioner Jordan Johnson launched his campaign for reelection in District 1, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Augusta Commissioner Jordan Johnson launched his re-election campaign with a barbecue at the Julian Smith Casino on Friday. Johnson represents District 1, which covers downtown Augusta, east Augusta, and much of the surrounding area.

“I believe that we’ve made tremendous progress in the district since I took office in 2021 and I would like the opportunity to continue the work that we began,” he said.

“I still can hear constituents crying about being put out of their homes because they just didn’t have enough money to cover the rent. I’ve had calls about 14-year-olds being shot in my community,” he said. “I couldn’t tell you the amount of calls I’ve gotten that just still ring in my head and it just always reminds me of the work that’s yet to be done.”

Qualifying starts on March 4. Some of the other local seats up for re-election include four other seats on the Augusta Commission, Civil Court Marshal and Judge of the State Court. Election Day is May 21.

There are more local positions up for grabs this year with different qualifying and election dates like Richmond County Sheriff and five seats on the Richmond County Board of Education.

Republican Glenn Cook announced he will run for the House District 180 seat currently held by State Rep. Steven Sainz (R-St. Marys), according to The Brunswick News.

Jekyll Island resident and Satilla River Soil and Water Conservation District supervisor Glenn Cook has announced plans to run for the House District 180 seat, currently held by incumbent Rep. Steven Sainz, R-St. Marys.

District 180 covers Jekyll Island, Waverly, Woodbine, Kingsland and St. Marys.

Cook, also a Republican, served in the Navy for 10 years, where he was a pilot that flew out of NAS Cecil Field and the USS Eisenhower. He participated in operations during the crises in Libya and Lebanon, according to a press release.

In 2022, Cook was elected Satilla River Soil and Water Conservation District supervisor, beating out three other candidates in the nonpartisan race by earning 53.3% of the vote.

Cook’s campaign website can be found at


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for February 5, 2024

Coastal Pet Rescue in Metro Savannah is collaborating to open a Pet Pantry to help pet owners who cannot afford food for their pets, according to the Savannah Morning News.

CPR and Two Black Dogs Foundation are teaming up with the Effingham County Animal Shelter to help feed hungry pets of Effingham County residents who are enduring tough financial times.

CPR is a non-profit dedicated to animal rescue for abused and neglected cats and dogs in and around Savannah. Two Black Dogs Foundation provides affordable spay and neuter programs.

“Both organizations approached me within a day of each other,” Animal Shelter Director Lorna Shelton said. “They said, ‘We need to help people who have fallen on hard times.’ Since they didn’t have a stationary place to actually do this, they asked if we would join them as the ‘go to’ place if they supplied the food.”

The Pet Pantry, 307 Ga. Hwy 119 in Springfield, will open its doors Feb. 5. Hours of operation are 1-3 p.m. Monday-Friday.“If people need some help with pet food, we will have some applications for them to fill out,” said Shelton. “They will have to provide proof of residency in Effingham County.”

Shelton asks that folks who would like to donate bring dry dog and cat food, preferably Pedigree and Meow Mix.

“For a lot of people, pets can help with mental health challenges,” said [Coastal Pet Rescue Director Lisa] Scarbrough. “Financial issues are a huge stressor and is something that weighs heavily on people. I’ve read more than enough articles to know that when people are petting their pet, it lowers their blood pressure. It forces you to calm down. They don’t ask for a lot and are a source of comfort.”

Donations cannot be dropped at the Effingham County Animal Shelter. Food can be dropped off at either Coastal Pet Rescue, 7430 Thomas Ave. in Savannah, or Two Black Dogs Foundation on Oak Drive in Bloomingdale.

Pecan Pie is an 8-month old female Beagle and Hound mix puppy who is available for adoption from Coastal Pet Rescue in Savannah, GA.

Pecan showed up to her foster’s house on Thanksgiving Day. She was malnourished and skittish. She hadn’t eaten a proper puppy meal in days. We brought her inside, gave her a bath, and fed her. Her foster has 6 other dogs – 3 being Great Danes, and they all seem to get along. They also have 3 cats and she is very curious of them, but hasn’t bothered them. She loves to play the big dogs and she will also play by herself with stuffed animals. ( dog appropriate) Pecan is not house trained. We are working on that. She loves to cuddle at bedtime. She is very sweet and loving dog.

Hank is a 4-5 year-old male Beagle mix who is available for adoption from Coastal Pet Rescue in Savannah, GA.

Hank was originally rescued in 2020 but was recently returned to us by concerned citizens after he was found wandering the street.
We are still trying to evaluate Hank’s behavior, and reacquaint ourselves with him, but so far, he has been a sweet dog at our facility. He does have some separation anxiety (but who can blame him after who knows how long he was out roaming on his own). In typical Beagle fashion, he loves to sing you the song of his people; a unique musical styling to get your attention (or if left alone) so apartment living isn’t the life for him. He just loves to be with you and wants to remind you he’s there. If you’re looking for a sweet companion to serenade you, submit an application and let’s see if he’s the boy for you.

Sam is an 8-year old male Beagle mix who is available for adoption from Coastal Pet Rescue in Savannah, GA.

Sam is a really special senior who is going to need a really special someone who can give him the love and care he needs. Sam has a seizure disorder. While it is managed with medication and daily exercise, he is still prone to seizures when he gets really happy and/or excited. His foster tries to make sure he gets as much exercise as possible and walks him about 2 – 3 miles a day to keep his energy level on the lower side. Sam is a gentle soul who would be a great companion and is sure to melt your heart and make you laugh with his silly antics and playful spirit.