President elect Abraham Lincoln arrived in Washington, DC on February 23, 1861.
On February 23, 1945, United States Marines raised the American flag on Mount Suribachi, the highest point on the Pacific island Iwo Jima.
This first flag-raising was photographed by Marine photographer Sgt. Louis R. Lowery. On Lowery’s way down Mt. Suribachi, he ran into AP photographer Joe Rosenthal and two other Marine photographers, PFC Bob Campbell and PFC Bill Genaust, who was shooting movies, informing them that the flag-raising they were looking for had already occurred, but encouraging them to check out the view from the top of the hill. The three men continued up the volcano.
Once atop Mt. Suribachi, Rosenthal attempted but was unable to find the soldiers involved in the first flag-raising, deciding instead to photograph the second flag-raising, which featured a much bigger and more photogenic Stars and Stripes. Lowery’s film was sent back to military headquarters for processing via ordinary army post–and took a month to arrive. Rosenthal’s film was sent by seaplane to Guam, and sent from there via radio-photo to the United States. The photograph so impressed President Roosevelt that he ordered the men pictured in it to return home for a publicity tour. Rosenthal later won a Pulitzer Prize for the photo, but for years was forced to deny erroneous reports that he personally staged the second flag-raising and attempted to pass it off as the original.
Although the famous photograph has long led people to believe that the flag-raising was a turning point in the fight for Iwo Jima, vicious fighting to control the island actually continued for 31 more days.
Today, the first and second flags flown atop Mt. Suribachi are held at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle, Virginia.
On February 23, 1954, the first children in the U.S. were inoculated against polio using a vaccine developed by Dr. Jonas Salk.
Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections
Under the Gold Dome Today – Legislative Day 23
8:00 AM APPROPRIATIONS – Criminal Justice & Public Safety Sub 450 CAP
8:00 AM SENATE APPROP – Insurance Sub 341 CAP
8:00 AM HOUSE APPROP HIGHER ED 403 CAP
8:00 AM HOUSE NAT’L RES & ENV’T 606 CLOB
8:00 AM REAPPORTIONMENT 506 CLOB
9:00 AM HOUSE RULES 341 CAP
9:00 AM HOUSE SMALL BUSINESS 606 CLOB
10:00 AM HOUSE SESSION (LD 23) CHAMBER
12:00 PM SENATE RULES- Upon Adjourment 450 CAP
1:00 PM SENATE REGULATED IND AND UTIL 310 CLOB
1:00 PM SENATE PUBLIC SAFETY 307 CLOB
1:00 PM House Reeves Sub Jud’y Non-Civil-CANCELLED 415 CLOB
1:00 PM House Transportation Special Sub 515 CLOB
1:00 PM HOUSE JUVENILE JUSTICE 406 CLOB
1:00 PM HOUSE STATE PLANNING AND COMMUNITY AFF 606 CLOB
1:00 PM HOUSE APPROP GEN’L GOV’T 341 CAP
1:00 PM HOUSE INTRAGOV’TAL COORD 403 CAP
2:00 PM SENATE INTERSTATE COOP 125 CAP
2:00 PM SENATE SCIENCE & TECH 310 CLOB
2:00 PM SENATE HEALTH & HS 450 CAP
2:00 PM HOUSE TRANSPORTATION 506 CLOB
2:00 PM HOUSE J’Y CIVIL 132 CAP
2:00 PM HOUSE EDUCATION 606 CLOB
2:00 PM House Driver’s Safety and Services Sub 403 CAP
2:00 PM House Regulations Sub Regulated Ind 514 CLOB
2:30 PM HOUSE MOTOR VEHICLES 403 CAP
3:00 PM SENATE STATE INST AND PROP 123 CAP
3:00 PM SENATE TRANSPORTATION 310 CLOB
3:00 PM HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS 406 CLOB
3:00 PM House Resource Mgmt Sub 515 CLOB
3:00 PM HOUSE DEFENSE AND VETERANS AFFAIRS 415 CLOB
3:30 PM House Energy Sub 403 CAP
4:00 PM SENATE APPROPS – Education Sub 450 CAP
4:00 PM SENATE APPROP – Higher Ed 341 CAP
4:00 PM SENATE JUDICIARY 307 CLOB
4:00 PM House Env’tal Quality Sub 515 CLOB
4:30 PM House Telecommunications Sub 403 CAP
SENATE RULES CALENDAR
SB 88 – ‘Narcotic Treatment Programs Enforcement Act’ (Substitute) (RI&U-53rd)
SB 108 – Veterans Service; maintenance of a women veterans’ office by the commissioner of veteran services; require (VM&HS-20th)
SB 128 – Drivers’ Licenses; Department of Natural Resources; limited purposes; allow for the sharing of personal data (NR&E-50th)
SB 137 – Child Support Recovery Act; federal Deficit Reduction Act of 2005; require the obligor to pay the full fee (H&HS-13th)
SB 141 – Carnival Ride Safety; engineering evaluation with a carnival ride permit application; require (RI&U-14th)
HOUSE RULES CALENDAR
Modified Open Rule
HB 162 – Income tax; transfer of setoffs by the Administrative Office of the Courts; revise procedures (Judy-Price-48th)
HB 246 – Elementary and secondary education; annual fitness assessment program; repeal sunset provision (Substitute)(Ed-Cantrell-22nd)
Modified Structured Rule
HB 153 – Council on American Indian Concerns; attach to Department of Natural Resources (NR&E-Rogers-10th)
HB 205 – Mining and drilling; regulate exploration and extraction of gas and oil; provisions (Substitute)(EU&T-Meadows-5th)
HB 222 – HOPE; members of Georgia National Guard and reservists meet residency requirement; provide (HEd-Blackmon-146th)
HB 239 – Low-voltage Contractors, Division of; require continuing education; authorize (RegI-Hawkins-27th)
HB 305 – Domestic relations; category of third parties who may be awarded custody in certain circumstances; add stepparents (JuvJ-Beskin-54th)
HB 93 – Sales and use tax; no interest shall be paid on refunds; provisions (Substitute)(W&M-Corbett-174th)
HB 134 – Sales and use tax; special district mass transportation; provisions (Substitute)(W&M-Epps-144th)
The AJC Political Insider writes that the
Casino Gambling Destination Resorts bill by Sen. Brandon Beach is likely to be heard in the Senate Regulated Industries Committee today. I’m betting (a) against it being on the agenda; and (b) against it passing. At the time of this writing, no agenda for the Regulated Industries Committee has been published on the legislative website.
Supporters of this year’s bill, sponsored by Sen. Marty Harbin, R-Tyrone, are hoping that simply adopting the federal law regarding “government burdens on the free exercise of region” will be a sufficiently narrow approach to get the bill through the General Assembly and back to the governor’s desk.
However, there’s no sign the opposition to religious freedom legislation in any form in Georgia is any less than last year. In fact, a coalition of Georgia businesses worried about a convention and tourism boycott of the state if lawmakers adopt a religious freedom bill is growing.
The bill faces long odds this year. For one thing, being introduced just more than halfway through the 2017 session leaves little time for supporters to steer it through the committee process successfully. Also, House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, has vowed not to let his chamber take up the legislation, even if it does get through the Senate.
“No longer can we have people sitting in their cars two to three hours a day,” Gooch said. “That’s time they could be at work. They could be more productive. They could be at home with their families.”
Gooch pointed to a report by transportation analysis firm Inrix that ranked Atlanta as the eighth most congested city in the world.
“We’ve got to get people moving,” he said.
The council would look at road congestion relief and dependable trip times for commuters.
The council would present its findings to the general assembly by the end of next year.
Private colleges that don’t cooperate with federal immigration authorities would lose state funding for scholarships and research under a bill approved by the Georgia House.
The chamber voted 115 to 55 on Wednesday, sending the bill to the Senate.
No schools in Georgia have embraced policies connected to the “sanctuary campus” label, but students at several metro Atlanta schools petitioned administrators following President Donald Trump’s election. Trump issued a series of immigration measures in January, including a crackdown on cities that don’t cooperate with authorities.
Senate Bill 98 by Sen. Elena Parent addresses unfilled pre-K slots by allowing greater flexibility in the use of some state funds.
“Part of the problem is that there aren’t the available classrooms to house the program,” said State Senator Elena Parent, D-Decatur.
Under current state law, school systems can only use capitol funds for kindergarten through 12 grade expenditures. That means, unless they already have a pre-kindergarten classroom, they cannot spend money to build or retrofit one for students.
Sen. Parent filed Senate Bill 98, which would allow school systems to voluntarily use capitol money for pre-kindergarten space if they desire.
House Resolution 158 by Rep. Jay Powell (R-Camilla) would place a Constitutional Amendment on the ballot in November 2018.
This year’s proposed amendment, sponsored by House Ways and Means Chairman Jay Powell, R-Camilla, would let lawmakers dedicate fees to go to specific funds and causes for up to 10 years, when they would come up for renewal.
If the state faced a financial emergency, lawmakers could suspend the dedication of the fees and the money could go into the government’s general fund to be spent where it’s needed.
The measure has been a kind of pet project for the powerful Association County Commissioners of Georgia, which has been critical of not being able to get the fee money sent back to local governments to fix problems such as leaking landfills.
The resolution is co-sponsored by House Rules Chairman John Meadows, R-Calhoun, and House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, D-Atlanta.
“This is something we’ve been discussing at least since I have been in the Legislature,” said Powell, who joined the state House in 2009.
[Current s]tate law allows a district attorney to determine whether to try a juvenile as an adult if the juvenile is charged with one of eight offenses: murder, murder in the second degree, voluntary manslaughter, rape, aggravated sodomy, aggravated child molestation, aggravated sexual battery and armed robbery if committed with a firearm.
State Rep. Bert Reeves, R-Marietta, wants to add two more crimes to that list when committed against a police officer: aggravated assault with a firearm or aggravated battery.
“No matter how old you are, if you’re going to shoot a police officer or pull a gun on a police officer, you’ve sailed beyond juvenile treatment and you will potentially face charges as an adult,” Reeves said.
Reeves’ bill to make that happen, House Bill 116, has taken a step toward becoming a law, passing out of the Judiciary Non-Civil Committee on Wednesday.
The Final Frontier
Senate Bill 46, which passed 49-2 and now moves to the Georgia House of Representatives, would set a stricter legal standard for a plaintiff injured while riding a spacecraft to collect damages in a lawsuit.
Georgia’s fledgling commercial space industry is generating $50 million in economic impact per year, said Sen. William Ligon, R-Brunswick, the bill’s chief sponsor.
The industry is poised for much greater expansion if Georgia matches other states that have adopted legislation requiring plaintiffs to prove “gross negligence” or “willful misconduct” in order to collect damages, a tougher standard than “ordinary negligence,” Ligon said.
The proposed Spaceport Camden could create more than 2,000 jobs in an economically stressed part of Georgia, while at the same time serving as a catalyst for companies involved in the commercial space industry in metro Atlanta.
“We have the resources in this state to attract this growing industry,” Ligon said. “[The bill would be] a signal to the industry that we’re open to them and want to encourage this activity in our state.”
This is what I envision when I hear about a “spaceport.”
Speaking of aliens, House Bill 452 by State Rep. Jesse Petrea (R-Savannah) would require the GBI to publicly post the names of aliens who have been arrested or convicted of crimes and subsequently released from federal custody in Georgia.
I assume the Intergalactic Chamber of Commerce will soon be wringing its hands publicly about how this discriminates against criminals from other planets.
The Democratic National Committee will meet in downtown Atlanta this weekend. Let me know if you’re interested in protesting them. I figure we’ll start with brunch and mimosas.
A tight race between front-runners Tom Perez, a former labor secretary, and Rep. Keith Ellison, a Minnesota congressman, marks the first heavily contested battle to run the organization in recent history. The contest comes with Democrats facing a power deficit in Washington and around the country after years of losses in Congress, governor’s mansions and statehouses, while also having no unifying national leader since former President Barack Obama left the White House.
Perez, who was encouraged by Obama administration officials to run for the post, has emerged as the apparent front-runner, with independent Democratic strategists tracking him at about 205 votes. But it’s not yet clear whether Perez or Ellison – or one of six other long-shot candidates – is positioned to capture the required majority of the 447-member national party committee.
Ellison, backed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and his supporters, has the support of about 153 members, the strategists said. Ellison spokesman Brett Morrow blasted the count as “totally inaccurate” and said his camp remains “incredibly confident.”
State Senator Josh McKoon (R-Columbus) continues his quest for more transparency in state government.
He said of the nation’s 99 state legislative chambers, the Georgia Senate is one of just 26 that does not broadcast its committee meetings on video and one of just 18 that does not broadcast on either video or audio.
“That means unless you are able to attend these committee hearings yourself, you don’t know what was said,” he said.
McKoon said another way in which the Senate lacks transparency is that it takes five senators to request a recorded vote on many measures. If five don’t request such a vote, senators vote by raising their hands. That leaves no official record of how they voted, and McKoon said senators will sometimes step underneath the balcony to vote so that TV cameras, which do record the Senate floor, can’t record them. Again, those who are not there can’t easily see how senators voted.
“I believe that the people who elected me have a right to know how I voted,” he said.
He said he is looking at either running for one of the “power positions” in state government or backing someone who will. He noted that he was married just a few months ago and the decision to run for higher office “is not just mine now.”
McKoon’s quest for government transparency paid off at the local level.
Coweta County has settled a lawsuit brought by four Cowetans who accused the Coweta County Board of Commissioners of violating the Georgia Open Meetings Act.
A settlement agreement in the case, which stemmed from the May 2015 approval of a retirement agreement for a former deputy fire chief, was approved at Tuesday night’s meeting of the Coweta County Board of Commissioners.
Under the agreement, the county will pay $12,500, which goes to the plaintiff’s attorney, Josh McKoon. Coweta County does not admit any wrongdoing, and the plaintiffs agree not to file new suits or make other claims related to the commission’s approval of the retirement agreement.
McKoon said, after Blackmon’s ruling, that the county could eliminate the main reason for the lawsuit by putting the retirement agreement back on a meeting agenda and allowing public comment. That happened at the Dec. 8, 2016 commission meeting, and it was approved by the same 3-2 vote.
Fayette County Sheriff Barry Babb says the county saw a 7% decrease in serious crimes in 2015.
North Florida Congressman Neal Dunn is opening a new front in the water war between Georgia and Florida.
North Florida Congressman Neal Dunn wants to throw out a federal plan that would reduce freshwater flowing into the struggling Apalachicola Bay. The move comes after a Supreme Court-appointed lawyer ruled against the state in the decades-long water war with Georgia.
“With my friend and fellow congressman Al Lawson I have introduced legislation to nullify the newest water control manual and send it back to the Corps for rewriting,” Dunn said.
Florida suffered a blow earlier this month when Supreme Court Special Master Ralph Lancaster ruled against the state’s interest. Lancaster says the state didn’t adequately prove what’s at the heart of the bay’s struggle: drought, over-harvesting, or the water use regulations set by the Army Corps of Engineers.
“Florida has not met its requirement to show by clear and convincing evidence that its injury can be redressed by increased flows during non-drought conditions,” Lancaster wrote.
No word on whether the University of Georgia will attempt to nullify its last game against Florida because they didn’t like the outcome.
Florida’s U.S. Senator Bill Nelson will try a similar measure in the Senate.
Nelson, who visited Florida A&M University and the state Capitol, said he and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio will support Senate legislation similar to an effort in the U.S. House led by Rep. Neal Dunn, who represents the Apalachicola Bay area. Dunn has said he will file a resolution under the Congressional Review Act to permanently block a Corps’ rule that regulates water releases in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river system.
Dunn, who announced details of his legislation Tuesday in Apalachicola, has said he wants to block the Corps rule and allow Florida and Georgia officials to come “to an equitable agreement” on water use in the region.
The action by the U.S. senators and Dunn follows a decision by a U.S. Supreme Court-appointed special master who recommended last week that Florida should be denied relief in a lawsuit that alleges Georgia is taking too much water from the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint system and is damaging Apalachicola Bay. The special master said a settlement could not be reached without the Corps’ involvement.
The Lake Lanier Association has released a statement on Floridians’ interest in our water.
“Lake Lanier is under pressure from numerous directions, not the least of which is the threat that the next lawsuit or bill may result in a win for those who want to use Lanier for purposes for which it was never intended,” the Lake Lanier Association said in a statement. “It is a limited resource for growing demands.”
Lake Lanier Association officials said Nelson’s plan wouldn’t work for the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint watershed though. The group said the senator’s plan would include basing a new Water control Manual on the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s study on freshwater flows, requiring peer review by the National Academy of Sciences and approval from multiple federal agencies.
The association is calling on Georgia’s representatives in the U.S. House and Senate to fight the bill, citing previous successful efforts to defeat similar legislation from members of Alabama’s congressional delegation.
Grady County Commissioners imposed a moratorium on solar panel installations.
County Administrator Carlos Tobar said the reason for the discussion was an out-of-state firm approached the county about submitting a proposal for a solar panel farm.
Tobar added a constituent would lease land to the firm for the farm. The projected scale of the solar panel farm would be between 100 to 500 acres, according to Tobar.
Commissioner Keith Moye questioned how Grady County would benefit from solar panel use.
According to Tobar, property tax value could increase, based on what a commissioner from a different county said.
The prospect of enacting a moratorium also was discussed.
“You (the board) just need to define the parameters,” Cauley said regarding a moratorium, adding if he knew the specifics, he could draw up a moratorium draft.
The board unanimously approved enacting a 60-day moratorium.
A less-generous soul might consider such a move “benighted.”