On February 14, 1956, the Georgia General Assembly passed legislation calling for the protection, cleaning and maintenance, and display of historic Confederate flags at the State Capitol.
On February 14, 1958, the Georgia General Assembly passed a resolution purporting to censure President Dwight D. Eisenhower for using National Guard troops in the integration of schools in Little Rock, Arkansas.
On February 14, 1977, the B-52s played their first gig at a Valentine’s Day party in Athens.
Later that year, the group began making regular runs in the Wilson family station wagon up to New York City for gigs at seminal New Wave clubs like Max’s Kansas City and CBGB’s. With Kate and Cindy in their mile-high beehive wigs and 60s thrift-shop best, and Fred looking like a gay, demented golf pro, the B-52s made an immediate impression on the New York scene, and their independently produced single, “Rock Lobster,” became an underground smash.
The B-52s are still in business three decades later, minus Ricky Wilson, who died of AIDS in 1985. Significantly, their success is widely credited for establishing the viability of the Athens, Georgia, music scene, which would produce many minor successes and one massive one—R.E.M.—in the years immediately following the breakthrough of the B-52′s.
On February 14, 2012, we published the first edition of the GaPundit daily political news, featuring dogs. We originally thought that the dogs would be temporary until enough people complained about them that we felt the need to go to once a week. We were surprised that the adoptable dogs have become the signature of GaPundit’s otherwise-political offerings and our greatest success.
Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections
He said his priorities will be to make sure the community and South Georgia are given the same priority as the rest of the state.
LaHood stated he would “preserve our conservative South Georgia values. As a Christian, I will not apologize for my faith, and I will never back down from protecting our values.”
He would “protect taxpayers by using my business experience to bring a results-driven approach to state government.”
“Improve rural health care and health-care outcomes by pushing Georgia-focused, conservative reforms based in the private sector and protect and support Georgia’s aging population with more choices and a stronger workforce of qualified caregivers.”
“Stand strong for our farmers.”
The bill addresses the state revenue projections resulting from the Federal Tax Act while mirroring its 10-year timeframe.
The legislation would allow Georgia taxpayers to take the increased standard deduction at the federal level while providing flexibility to take either standard or itemized deductions at the state level. Another component would enhance personal exemptions by 25 percent.
“This legislation provides more flexibility and fairness to Georgians to decide what’s best for their families,” said Deal. “It will allow taxpayers to take full advantage of federal reforms while ensuring the fiscal health of our state long-term. This legislation will keep more hard-earned money in Georgians’ pockets and is an important step forward in modernizing state law to conform with federal reforms.”
Now, with the governor’s office estimating that Georgians will pay an additional $4.7 billion in state taxes cumulatively over the next five years, lawmakers are debating what to do with the extra funds.
Deal introduced legislation Tuesday that would allow filers who take the standard deduction at the federal level to itemize deductions at the state level, which is currently prohibited in Georgia. This would let Georgians take advantage of a major increase in the federal standard deduction without being forced to take the state standard deduction, which is relatively low. Deal’s proposal also calls for increasing the state personal exemption by 25 percent.
“It will mean the state is not collecting as much money from them as it would have been had we not made these changes,” Gov. Nathan Deal told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday.
Administration officials said their bill would cut the estimated windfall by 75 percent over five years and all but eliminate it this year.
Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who is running this year to replace the retiring Deal, said, “I look forward to reviewing Governor Deal’s proposal and working with him to give hardworking Georgia families the tax cut they deserve.
“Ultimately, I’m committed to moving forward with comprehensive tax reform that will — at a minimum — return every surplus dollar collected back to Georgia taxpayers.”
“My criteria have been, let’s make sure we don’t jeopardize state revenue by getting carried away (with tax cuts) because there is going to be a windfall,” Deal said. “Let’s do it in a very select way, let’s make sure the benefits we convey in a tax reform are benefits we can sustain over a long period of time.”
Under the Gold Dome
Both chambers of the General Assembly convene at 10 AM today for Legislative Day 21.
LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE MEETING SCHEDULE
8:30 AM SENATE VETERANS, MILITARY & HOMELAND SECURITY 310 CLOB
9:00 AM HOUSE RULES 341 CAP
Upon Adjournment SENATE RULES450 CAP
1:00 PM SENATE PUBLIC SAFETY MEZZ 1
1:00 PM INSURANCE AND LABOR 310 CLOB
1:00 PM House Reeves Sub Judy (Non Civil) 132 CAP
1:00 PM HOUSE Education Sub Academic Support 415 CLOB
1:00 PM HOUSE State Govt Admin Subc Govtal Affairs 406 CLOB
1:00 PM HOUSE AGRICULTURE & CONSUMER AFFAIRS 403 CAP
2:00 PM DOT ELECTIONS -DISTRICT 10 SENATE CHAMBER
2:00 PM SENATE TRANSPORTATION 310 CLOB
2:00 PM HOUSE APPROP HIGHER ED 341 CAP
2:00 PM House Ways & Means Income Tax Sub 133 CAP
2:00 PM House Kelley Sub Judy (Civil) 403 CAP
2:00 PM HOUSE BUDGET AND FISCAL AFFAIRS OVERSIGHT 506 CLOB
2:00 PM HOUSE RETIREMENT 515 CLOB
2:15 PM HOUSE GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS 406 CLOB
3:00 PM SENATE FINANCE MEZZ 1
3:00 PM SENATE EDUCATION & YOUTH 450 CAP
3:00 PM HOUSE PUBLIC SAFETY 606 CLOB
3:00 PM House Setzler Sub Judy (Non Civil) 132 CAP
3:00 PM House Ways & Means Sub Public Finance and Policy 133 CAP
4:00 PM SENATE JUDY SUB COMMITTEE B 307 CLOB
4:00 PM DOT ELECTIONS -DISTRICT 9 SENATE CHAMBER
4:00 PM DOT ELECTIONS- DISTRICT 14 SENATE CHAMBER
4:00 PM House Fleming Sub Judy (Civil) 132 CAP
4:00 PM HOUSE APPROP PUBLIC SAFETY 406 CLOB
SENATE RULES CALENDAR
SB 107 – Ethics in Government; filing campaign financial disclosure reports; additional date prior to general primary; revise the dates (Substitute) (ETHICS-40th)
SB 248 – Life Insurance; life insurers’ requirement to review the National Association of Insurance Commissioners life insurance policy locator; provide (Substitute) (I&L-16th)
SB 348 – Technical College System of Georgia; powers of arrest of campus policemen who are regular employees; revise (PUB SAF-7th)
SB 367 – Payment of Indemnification for Death or Disability; option of payment to an estate in the case of death; law enforcement officer; firefighter; emergency medical technician, emergency management specialist, state highway employee or prison guard; provide (PUB SAF-13th)
SB 368 – Criminal Justice Coordinating Council; functions and authority; add (PUB SAF-13th)
SB 369 – Revenues Collected from Fines and Fees; payments to Peace Officers’ Annuity and Benefit Fund; fees collected in criminal and quasi-criminal cases prior to adjudication of guilt; provide (Substitute) (PUB SAF-13th)
SB 366 – Local Government; counties and municipal corporations to perform wage and compensation studies for employees of sheriff’s office; require
HOUSE RULES CALENDAR
HR 898 Joint Study Committee on the Establishment of a State Accreditation Process; create (Ed-Coleman-97th)
Modified Open Rule
HB 190 – Domestic relations; marriage articles and antenuptial agreements; change provisions (Substitute)(Judy-Hanson-80th)
HB 740 – Education; local school system to conduct certain screenings, assessments, and reviews prior to expelling a student; require (Substitute)(Ed-Nix-69th)
Modified Structured Rule
HB 767 – State government; verification of lawful presence that may be utilized in conjunction with electronic filing of an application for unemployment insurance; provide (I&L-Werkheiser-157th)
HB 789 – Labor and industrial relations; marketplace contractors to be treated as independent contractors under state and local laws; provisions (Substitute)(I&L-Fleming-121st)
HB 800 – Workers’ compensation; eligibility for appointment as director emeritus and administrative law judge emeritus; change certain provisions (I&L-Bonner-72nd)
HB 302 – Ad valorem tax; property; change certain requirements to notice pertaining to millage rate adoption (Substitute)(W&M-Nix-69th)
HB 749 – Income tax; retirement income is applicable as a retirement benefit from noncivilian service in the United States armed forces; clarify an exemption (Substitute)(W&M-Blackmon-146th)
HR 158 – General Assembly; provide for dedication of revenues derived from fees or other taxes to the public purpose for which such fees or other taxes were imposed; authorize – CA (Substitute)(W&M-Powell-171st)
Senators voted 38-18 in favor of Senate Bill 17, which would allow on-premise consumption to begin at 11 a.m. on Sundays. Off-premise sales, such as those at supermarkets, would remain illegal until 12:30 p.m. on Sundays.
The bill was revised by the Senate Committee on Regulated Industries and brought to the Senate floor on Tuesday as a substitute bill. The original legislation also included grocery stores in the establishments that would be allowed to sell alcohol beginning at 11 a.m. on Sundays.
Republican Sen. Jeff Mullis, of Chickamauga, said he is personally against expanding alcohol sales but is in favor of the bill because it gives local communities the ability to decide whether or not to allow earlier sales.
“If this ever came to Chickamauga, … I would want my constituents to have the right to vote,” Mullis said. “I support the right to the ballot.”
State Sen. Renee Unterman, R-Buford, said the legislation was a compromise made to appease opponents of the bill, including several who object to any expanded access to alcohol.
“The bill has been simplified and it’s had a lot of media attention, but I think everybody understands what they’re voting on,” Unterman said in brief remarks before the vote.
Unterman said she introduced Senate Bill 17 to let private businesses do what the state-owned Georgia World Congress Center already does, which is serve alcohol at its facilities on Sunday mornings.
State Rep. Meagan Hanson, R-Brookhaven, said while she is pleased the measure cleared the Senate, representatives still need to decide whether they’re comfortable with the time sales are permitted being later than originally proposed. Hanson will help steer the bill through the House this year.
House Bill 769 would take several steps, including easing the creation of ‘’micro-hospitals,’’ with 24/7 care and a small number of beds, to replace full-scale hospitals that close.
It also would allow grants to help rural physicians afford medical malpractice insurance, as an incentive to practice in rural areas; permit remote pharmacy prescription orders from outside of Georgia; and require training of rural hospital board and authority members.
The legislation, sponsored by state Rep. Rick Jasperse, a Jasper Republican, would also raise the rural tax credit for donations to rural hospitals from 90 percent to 100 percent.
The rural health bill is not a silver bullet, Jasperse said after the approval by the committee. “It’s a piece of a puzzle that would help stabilize rural hospitals.”
State Rep. Kevin Tanner (R-Dawsonville), who Chairs the House Transportation Committee, introduced House Bill 930, which would coordinate transit development and funding across the Metro Atlanta region.
With the introduction of HB 930, there are now two bills that seek to revamp transit oversight and funding in metro Atlanta. The Senate is considering similar legislation.
Both bills would create a new regional board to oversee transit planning in 13 metro Atlanta counties: Cherokee, Clayton, Coweta, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Paulding and Rockdale.
The bills would allow the counties to impose sales taxes for transit projects, if their voters approve them. The regional board would have to approve the project lists for any county transit referendum. But the taxes raised in any county would be spent only in that county.
State funds for a region-wide public transit system would come from two sources. One being a new, 1 percent sales tax on goods and services at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and Savannah’s International Airport and a 50-cent fee on each ride in a taxi, Uber or Lyft.
Rep. Kevin Tanner, R-Dawnsonville, helped write the bill. He said it would let the 13 counties in the metro Atlanta region create their own 30-year special purpose sales taxes for transit.
The bill would also create a single governing body to handle planning. It would work with counties to decide how the state and local funding is spent.
The bill would create a new board — dubbed Atlanta-region Transit Link, or “ATL” — to oversee transit planning in the 13-county metro Atlanta area. The transit-related sales taxes raised in any county would only be spent in that community, but the board would have to sign off on local project lists.
“This is not about forcing counties to take MARTA,” Tanner, a Republican from Dawsonville, said.
Maggie Lee of the Macon Telegraph writes about legislative attempts to curb opioid abuse:
In a rough 48 hours last June, Macon emergency rooms admitted more than a dozen people who had swallowed apparently fake Percocets.
“It’s not just an Atlanta problem, it’s a problem in middle Georgia,” said state Sen. Larry Walker III, R-Perry. “It’s ruining lives and killing people and probably driving up our crime.”
Renee Unterman has met countless people with stories of addiction. The state Senator’s name has been on many of the bricks in the legal wall that’s supposed to protect Georgians from the flood of strong opioids.
She looked up to the second floor of the Senate chamber, where the guests sit, as she presented Senate Bill 352 earlier this month. “I dedicate this bill to two mothers,” she said, looking toward Kathi Abraham and Lisa Manning, mothers whose sons Joseph and Dustin died of suspected opioid overdoses on the same day last year. The families lived in the same subdivision, just four streets apart.
“We have people peddling lethal substances,” said Unterman, R-Buford.
[Senator Larry] Walker is carrying another incremental bill, another one of the bricks in the wall Georgia is trying to put up between opioids and addiction. Georgia health care providers are supposed to log opioid prescriptions in a database, so that they can see if patients are getting a lot of prescriptions. His bill would allow law enforcement from other states look in the database, if they have a search warrant. It’s meant to remove state borders in investigation of possible criminal cases.
Former State Rep. Valerie Clark (R-Gwinnett) announced she will make a comeback bid after losing her 2016 reelection, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.
Clark, a Republican, held the House District 101 seat for three terms but was defeated by Rep. Sam Park, D-Lawrenceville, in 2016. The election is expected to pit Clark and Park against each other in a rematch of the 2016 election, which Park won by 460 votes.
“I authored legislation to protect patients in hospitals and to make it easier for seniors to age in place,” Clark said in a statement. “I also fought tirelessly to pass legislation to reduce the production of methamphetamine from prescription drugs.”