The blog.

28
Mar

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for March 28, 2017

SkylarHenry

Skylar is an adult female German Shepherd Dog who is available for adoption from the Henry County Humane Society in McDonough, GA.

Rush

Rush is an adult female German Shepherd Dog who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Morgan County in Madison, GA.

“Hi! My name is Rush. I’m a very sweet and friendly girl. I’m a little shy at first, but once I get to know you, I love you. I LOVE attention. I’m looking for my forever family to love. Are you my forever family?”

Chief

Chief is an adult male German Shepherd Dog who is available for adoption from the Clayton County Humane Society in Jonesboro, GA.

Chief is even more stunning in person than he is in these photos! He is 3 years old and weighs 89 pounds. The rescue requires previous large breed experience and a fenced in yard in order to adopt this beautiful dog. He walks great on a leash but is extremely strong and will need someone strong enough to handle him. Chief needs to be the only pet in the home.

28
Mar

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 28, 2017

The British Parliament enacted The Coercive Acts on March 28, 1774.

The Coercive Acts were a series of four acts established by the British government. The aim of the legislation was to restore order in Massachusetts and punish Bostonians for their Tea Party, in which members of the revolutionary-minded Sons of Liberty boarded three British tea ships in Boston Harbor and dumped 342 crates of tea—nearly $1 million worth in today’s money—into the water to protest the Tea Act.

Passed in response to the Americans’ disobedience, the Coercive Acts included:

The Boston Port Act, which closed the port of Boston until damages from the Boston Tea Party were paid.

The Massachusetts Government Act, which restricted Massachusetts; democratic town meetings and turned the governor’s council into an appointed body.

The Administration of Justice Act, which made British officials immune to criminal prosecution in Massachusetts.

The Quartering Act, which required colonists to house and quarter British troops on demand, including in their private homes as a last resort.

Governor Ernest Vandiver signed legislation authorizing the construction of monuments to Georgians killed in battle at the Antietam and Gettysburg battlefields on March 28, 1961.

Identical 15 1/2-foot-tall monuments of Georgia blue granite were sculpted by Harry Sellers of Marietta Memorials. At the top of the shaft is the word “GEORGIA” over the state seal. Lower on the shaft is the inscription, “Georgia Confederate Soldiers, We sleep here in obedience; When duty called, we came; When Countdry called, we died.”

Georgia’s first “Sunshine Law” requiring open meetings of most state boards and commissions, was signed by Governor Jimmy Carter on March 28, 1972.

A nuclear reactor at Three Mile Island near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania overheated on March 28, 1979 and within days radiation levels had risen in a four county area. It was the most serious accident in commercial nuclear history in the United States.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Bart Simpson Chalkboard Erratum

Former United States Senator Saxby Chambliss has endorsed Karen Handel in the Sixth Congressional District.

Chambliss served in the United States Senate from 2003 to 2015.

“Karen is one of those people who simply gets things done,” he said. “Her reputation from Atlanta to Washington is that she is the kind of person…that you can work with. And she will do what she says she’s going to do.”

Handel is the candidate he “feels most comfortable” with as Republicans work to maintain control of the seat, which covers north Fulton and parts of Cobb and DeKalb counties.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to receive the support of Senator Chambliss, who was an effective advocate in Washington,” Handel added. “If elected to represent the 6th Congressional District, I intend to lead by his example and always put the interest of Georgians first.”

Senator David Perdue endorsed Dan Moody for the Sixth District this morning. From the Press Release:

U.S. Senator David Perdue today endorsed Dan Moody’s campaign for Congress in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District.  Perdue, a successful businessman and CEO before his outsider campaign for the U.S. Senate, is seen as a major force for change and getting things done in Washington, and is a staunch ally of President Donald Trump.

“In politics, there are endorsements and there are endorsements,” Moody said.  “This is an Endorsement with a capital “E.” and I couldn’t be prouder to have David’s support.  He is one of the top “get things done” members of the Senate and I look forward to helping him strike while the iron is hot and implement real conservative change in Washington.”

In the ad, Perdue says:

You sent me to Washington as an outsider to help fix a broken system. With a new president who isn’t afraid to shake things up, we finally have a real chance.

Trust me, we don’t need another career politician up here.

Dan Moody cares more about getting results, than getting credit. 

That’s so uncommon and exactly what we need.

Dan’s one of us.

The ad is running on broadcast and cable television across the district.  Bigly.

Liberal Democrat Jon Ossoff has Alyssa Milano and some guy I’ve never heard of driving voters to the polls for early voting.Continue Reading..

27
Mar

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for March 27, 2017

Dylan

Dylan is a young male Labrador Retriever and Basset Hound mix puppy who is available for adoption from Homeless 2 Happiness in Blue Ridge, GA.

Dylan is a sweet, happy, loving baby boy, who is approximately 10 months old. He gets along great with other dogs, cats and children. He loves riding in the car with his person, going for walks and snuggling up in your lap. He is just a big baby all around.

Dylan will make a wonderful addition to any family. He is compact with a punch of awesome! Please consider making Dylan a special member of your family.

Sophie Blue Ridge

Sophie is a young female Miniature Pinscher and Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Homeless 2 Happiness in Blue Ridge, GA.

Sophie has that puppy energy going on, loves to play with other dogs, cuddle with humans and is learning to play with toys.  Sophie will make a wonderful addition to any family as she seems to get along with everyone she has met.

Jersey Jacey

Jersey and Jacey are a bonded pair of Miniature Pinscher & Cocker Spaniel mix brother and sister who are available for adoption as a pair from Homeless 2 Happiness in Blue Ridge, GA.

Most important to note Jersey and Jacey are a BONDED pair who can NEVER be separated, they are available for adoption ONLY together and MUST remain together.

These little bundles of joy came to H2H after they were abandoned on the side of the road. They had demodex mange, fleas and were in real bad shape. After extensive vetting, bottle feeding and nurturing they were thriving and so full of energy. DNA tests revealved: Min pin, bichon, cocker spaniel and some other variations in there.

This brother and sister pair are about as bonded as they come, they cry without each other, they sleep together, eat together, play together…..they NEED each other. I cannot stress this enough.

Jersey stands quite a bit taller than his sister with his long skinny legs and fat little sausage body. He has big floppy ears, short coat and a spunky personality.

Jacey has short little legs, fat body and a medium length wirey coat! Total opposites, but such a cute pair.

They are both love bugs, they keep each other occupied with their antics and play all day long! Where one goes, the other isn’t far behind.

27
Mar

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 27, 2017

Thomas Jefferson was elected as a Virginia delegate to the Second Continental Congress on March 27, 1775.

Colonel James Fannin, a Georgia native and Colonel in the Texas Regular Army and more than 300 other members of the Georgia battalion were executed on March 27, 1836 after surrendering to Santa Anna’s Mexican Army. Fannin County, Georgia is named after Col Fannin.

On March 27, 1912, the first Japanese cherry trees were planted on the northern bank of the Potomac River near the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC. This past weekend, Brookhaven held its third annual Brookhaven Cherry Festival, while Macon’s Cherry Blosson festival continues through April 2d.

On March 27, 1941, Governor Eugene Talmadge signed legislation outlawing the handling of venomous snakes in such a way as to endanger another person or to encourage another person to handle a snake in such a way as to endanger them. The legislation resulted from a six-year old handling a venomous snake during a church service in Adel, Georgia, during which she was bitten and died. Under that act you could still handle snakes yourself as long as you didn’t endanger someone else.

On March 27, 1947, Governor Melvin Thompson signed legislation that made Georgia a “Right to Work State,” meaning that employees cannot generally be forced to join a union or pay dues in order to take a job. On the same day, gambling on sporting events was outlawed by another bill signed by Gov. Thompson.

Ron Daniels, our Poet Laureate, has a short history of the prohibition on sports gambling on the website.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Bart Simpson Chalkboard Erratum

On August 21, 2017, the first Total Eclipse of the Heart Sun in 38 years will cross the continental United States. In Georgia, it will only be fully visible in the Extreme Northwest Northeast (upper left-hand) corner of the state.

The centerline path of the eclipse just barely touches the state in Rabun and Stephens counties.  Clayton, Rabun Gap, and Dillard in Rabun County are located in the centerline of the path of totality.  Totality will occur there at 2:35:45 PM and last for 2 minutes, 34 seconds.  The entire event will take place over a couple of hours and viewers will have to wear protective eyewear.

Rabun County will party like it’s the end of the world. And for 2.5 minutes, you can say that Northwest Northeast Georgia is literally benighted.

Jon Richards, a fixture of the Gwinnett County Republican Party, the Gwinnett Chamber, and the General Assembly press corps, died at the age of 61.

Richards was an active member of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, the Gwinnett Republican Party, and various other civic, social, and political organizations.

He has also served as a member of the Gwinnett Transit System Advisory Board, and has been heavily involved in the county GOP for years, serving as the person the party turned to for information.

On Friday, a resolution was placed in the Senate hopper in recognition of Richards.

The resolution stated, “Richards has been a great family man as son to his mother, Caroline, and his late father, Glenn; his sisters Amy and Anne; his brother-in-law Andrew; and his nephews, Cal, Matthew, and Stuart, for whom he is an experienced pumpkin carver and the official distributor of presents found under the tree on Christmas morning.”

It continued: “Jon Richards has several decades of dedication to the Gwinnett and Georgia Republican Party organizations but has always sought to find solutions to problems based on the needs of our citizens rather than the needs of a political organization. Jon Richards has devoted hours and given selflessly to mentor high school and college students to become the leaders of tomorrow, many of whom are already the leaders of today.”

From the AJC’s Greg Bluestein:

About the only time we saw him struggle for words was at the Georgia GOP’s 2015 convention, when Jon was named the party’s volunteer of the year. He beamed for days after that award.

“He is the first to arrive and the last to leave and is always there to do a little more if needed,” former state Rep. Ed Lindsey wrote at the time.

As his cancer grew worse, Georgia’s political class united to show him their love. At a visit to his hospital in early January, a steady stream of friends and readers came to see him, hold his hands and tell him he was cared for. He hated to admit it, but he was worried he wouldn’t be able to follow the legislative session from his hospital bed.

He made one last visit to the statehouse in late February, escorted by Harper and other friends. He met with Gov. Nathan Deal, took pictures with the Capitol press corps and couldn’t move an inch without well wishers sending him their love.

From Charlie Harper at GeorgiaPol:

Jon was an active member of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, the Gwinnett Republican Party, and various other civic, social, and political organizations. He wasn’t “active” in the “member in good standing” meaning of the term. Jon was active in that he was always moving, always doing, always contributing. There was a constant theme in everything Jon did: Always helping.

Jon was a bit of a contrarian in political circles, as he was someone that eschewed the limelight, but instead preferred to remain behind the scenes. He strove to ensure that events were well planned and professionally executed. While having strong beliefs of his own, his overall goal was that the political processes and systems he participated in to be fair, transparent, and productive.

We anticipate a Celebration of Life service for Jon this Wednesday evening, in Gwinnett County. We will update here as plans are finalized with time and location.

Polls open today for early voting in the Sixth Congressional District and the 32d Georgia Senate District.

“As Georgia’s chief elections official, my top priority is ensuring elections are secure, accessible, and fair for all eligible voters,” said Secretary of State Brian Kemp in a statement. “With expanded early voting opportunities and new technologies in place, it has never been easier to take part in the electoral process, and I want voters to make sure their voices are heard in these important contests.”

In District 6, which includes parts of Cobb, DeKalb and Fulton counties, 18 are vying to replace Tom Price, who resigned his seat to become the nation’s health secretary. In District 32, which covers parts of Cobb and Fulton, eight candidates are trying to replace Judson Hill, who gave up his seat to run for the District 6 seat.

For more information on early voting, you can log into the Secretary of State’s MVP webpage or contact your local elections office.

Four of the Republican candidates for Congress met in a debate yesterday.

The candidates in attendance were David Abroms, Bob Gray, Judson Hill and Kurt Wilson. Karen Handel and Dan Moody were invited, but canceled beforehand. The winner will replace Tom Price, who resigned to serve as U.S. Health and human services secretary.

Health care was front and center in the debate, which followed House Republicans’ failure to pass a replacement for the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

The candidates for District 6 suggested that they would have voted against the alternative plan if they had the opportunity.

“I don’t think we actually saw the legislation,” Gray said. “And I’m not sure we should do, as Republicans, what the Democrats did and vote on something we haven’t yet seen … What I’d like to see is the establishment and Paul Ryan lead a collaborative approach … Once we have seen it, then we can determine whether it’s something we can pass.”

Hill said the bill did not go far enough to protect consumer choice.

“I would not have voted in favor of this version,” Hill said. “Americans deserve better. Americans deserve to address pre-existing conditions. We deserve to have an affordable health care system … We deserve to have expanded choice. We deserve to buy health care across state lines.”

LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE MEETINGS

1:30 PM HOUSE RULES 341 CAP

2:00 PM HOUSE SMALL BUSINESS 506 CLOB

Tuesday will be the penultimate day of the Georgia General Assembly, and Thursday they are expected to adjourn Sine Die.

The Rome News-Tribune looks at legislation of interest to Northwest Georgia in the last days of session.Continue Reading..

24
Mar

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for March 24, 2017

Homer

Homer is a 6-month old male American Foxhound mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA.

Bhodi

Bhodi is a 1-year old male Basset Hound and German Shepherd mix who is available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA.

Eddie Gwinnett

Eddie is an 11-week old male Beagle mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA.

24
Mar

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 24, 2017

On March 26, 1734, the British House of Commons voted £10,000 to subsidize the Georgia colony, down from £26,000 the previous year.

The British Parliament closed the Port of Boston on March 25, 1774, passing the Boston Port Act in retaliation for the destruction of $1 million worth of tea in the Boston Tea Party.

On March 26, 1920, This Side of Paradise, the debut novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald was published. The author was 23 years old.

Flannery O’Connor was born on March 25, 1925 in Savannah, Georgia. She would come to be recognized as one of the greatest American fiction writers. O’Connor graduated from the Georgia State College for Women, now called Georgia College and State University. She returned to Milledgeville in 1951, living at the family farm, called Andalusia, until her death at age 39 in 1964.

At GCSU, the Flannery O’Connor Room is located in the GC Museum, the Flannery O’Connor Collection includes manuscripts, and the College includes a program in Flannery O’Connor Studies.

O’Connor died of Lupus, which also killed her father.

Horton Smith won the first Masters tournament on March 25, 1934.

On March 25, 1937, Governor E.D. Rivers signed legislation creating the Georgia Department of Labor; in 1945, the Commissioner of Labor was upgraded from statutory office to Constitutional.

Governor E.D. Rivers signed a resolution on March 24, 1939, calling for the return of “General” locomotive made famous in the Great Train Chase from Chattanooga, Tennessee to Georgia. It currently resides in The Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History in Kennesaw, Georgia. The other locomotive involved in the chase, The Texas, is displayed at the Atlanta Cyclorama in Grant Park  until late last year, when it was removed for restoration and will be displayed in the Atlanta History Center beginning in fall of 2018.

Elvis Presley was inducted into the United States Army on March 24, 1958.

On March 24, 1970, Gov. Lester Maddox signed legislation naming the Largemouth Bass the Official State Fish.

On March 26, 1982, a groundbreaking ceremony was held in Washington, DC for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial; the design approved a couple weeks earlier was by 21-year old Yale architecture student Maya Lin.

On March 24, 1989, the Exxon Valdez ran aground in Prince William Sound, Alaska.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

COMMITTEE MEETINGS – LEGISLATIVE DAY 38

8:00 AM REAPPORTIONMENT AND REDISTRICTING 307 CLOB

8:00 AM >FULL HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS 341 CAP

8:30 AM REGULATED INDUSTRIES AND UTILITIES 310 CLOB

9:00 AM RULES 341 CAP

10:00 AM FLOOR SESSION (LD 38) HOUSE CHAMBER


SENATE RULES CALENDAR

HB 437 – Agricultural Education Advisory Commission; recreate (ED&Y-50th) Dickey-140th

HB 222 – HOPE; members of Georgia National Guard and reservists meet residency requirement; provide (Substitute) (H ED-46th) Blackmon-146th

HB 88 – Superior courts; qualifications for judges; revise (Substitute) (RULES-23rd) Fleming-121st

HB 340 – Alternative ad valorem tax; motor vehicles; change manner of distribution of proceeds (Substitute) (FIN-52nd) Blackmon-146th

HB 338 – Education; system of supports and assistance for low-performing schools in the greatest need; provisions (Substitute) (ED&Y-37th) Tanner-9th

HB 341 – Crimes and offenses; mandatory terms for trafficking individuals for sexual servitude; provisions (Substitute) (JUDY-45th) Reeves-34th

HB 290 – Ad valorem tax; definitions related to exemption of certain agricultural equipment; revise (FIN-7th) Watson-172nd

HB 261 – Penal institutions; certain individuals sentenced between March 18, 1968 and October 31, 1982; allow to petition court for first offender status (JUDY-19th) Werkheiser-157th

HB 510 – Alcoholic beverages; population and measurement of certain distances; repeal certain provisions (RI&U-15th) Smyre-135th

HB 221 – Commerce and trade; powers of attorney to a uniform Act; update and conform provisions (Substitute) (JUDY-18th) Efstration-104th

HB 202 – Public officers and employees; annual salary for the Governor; change provisions (Substitute) (APPROP-4th) Powell-171st

HB 153 – Council on American Indian Concerns; attach to Department of Natural Resources (NR&E-20th) Rogers-10th

HB 192 – Banks, trust companies, and corporations; responsibilities and standard of care of directors and officers; change provisions (B&FI-18th) Beskin-54th

HB 224 – Quality Basic Education Act; military student may attend any school in local system; provide (ED&Y-6th) Belton-112th

HB 452 – Georgia Bureau of Investigation; publicly post certain information to extent permitted by federal law; require (Substitute) (PUB SAF-6th) Petrea-166th

HB 241 – Cove’s Law; enact (H&HS-51st) Hawkins-27th

HB 210 – Health; certain specimen collection stations and blood banks are not considered clinical laboratories; provide (H&HS-17th) Lott-122nd

HB 134 – Sales and use tax; special district mass transportation; provisions (Substitute) (FIN-21st) Epps-144th

HB 234 – Motor vehicles; drivers stop at crosswalks with user activated rectangular rapid-flash beacons; require (PUB SAF-50th) Frye-118th

HB 253 – Special license plates; dog and cat reproductive sterilization support program; increase the proportion of moneys derived from the sale (Substitute) (PUB SAF-54th) Willard-51st

HB 257 – Local government authorities; register with Department of Community Affairs; require (SLGO(G)-7th) Tankersley-160th

HB 506 – Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority Act of 1965; award certain contracts involving concessions; provide for vote by Board (TRANS-21st) Taylor-79th

HB 154 – Dental hygienists; perform certain functions under general supervision; authorize (Substitute) (H&HS-45th) Cooper-43rd

HB 117 – Sales and use tax; certain voluntary contributions; exclude from definition of retail sales (FIN-56th) Watson-172nd

HB 205 – Mining and drilling; regulate exploration and extraction of gas and oil; provisions (Substitute) (RI&U-52nd) Meadows-5th

HB 453 – County law library; board of trustees; add chief judge of magistrate court (SJUDY-42nd) Dreyer-59th

HB 481 – Aviation; unmanned aircraft systems; provide for preemption (TRANS-21st) Tanner-9th

HB 67 – Crimes and offenses; entering a motor vehicle with the intent to commit a theft or felony; provide for increased punishment (Substitute) (JUDY-30th) Boddie-62nd

HOUSE RULES CALENDAR

Modified Open Rule
HR 462 – House of Representatives; commitment to strengthening military installations located within state; reaffirm (D&VA-Belton-112th)

SB 8 – “Surprise Billing and Consumer Protection Act”; health insurance; provide consumer protections; definitions (Substitute)(Ins-Smith-134th) Unterman-45th

SB 117 – Georgia Technology Authority; definition of the term “agency”; change; establishment of certain policies and standards used by all agencies; provide (Substitute)(GAff-Rogers-10th) Martin-9th

SR 229 – Public Property; granting of non-exclusive easements for the construction, operation, and maintenance of facilities, utilities, roads; authorize 10 counties (Substitute)(SProp-Pirkle-155th) Jones-25th

Modified Structured Rule
SB 153 – Hearing Aid Dealers and Dispensers; exempt certain activities (Substitute)(RegI-Ehrhart-36th) Brass-28th

SB 219 – Motor Vehicles; definitions; operation of motor vehicles with automated driving systems on certain public roads; provide (Substitute) (Trans-Kelley-16th) Gooch-51st

Note: I would guess that more Senate Bills will be added to the House Rules Calendar at the 9 AM House Rules Committee meeting.


Governor Nathan Deal earlier this week appointed Jeffery N. Osteen as State Court Judge of Liberty County. Osteen previously served as Solicitor General for Liberty County, which opens that seat up.

Nineteen-year old Spelman student Mary-Pat Hector, whose candidacy was challenged on account of her age, reached the runoff election for Stonecrest City Council against first-place finisher George Turner, Jr.

Voters in two counties passed referendums to dedicate public funding to keep local hospitals open.

Voters in Monroe and Jefferson counties Tuesday approved tax increases to help preserve their rural hospitals, which are in financial danger.

[T]he Tuesday vote in the hospital referendums in Monroe County, just north of Macon, and Jefferson County, in east Georgia, had many in the health care industry breathing sighs of relief. It followed similar success in Cook County, in South Georgia, where commissioners, hearing from residents and businesses, voted to approve funding to build a new hospital there.

Jefferson County residents, in a nonbinding referendum, voted to let commissioners raise the county millage rate by up to 3 mills to support operations at Jefferson Hospital. Three mills is the equivalent of $1.2 million, the Jefferson Reporter newspaper said.

Monroe County voters also easily approved a tax increase to keep the local hospital open. County officials in January had voted to begin a shutdown of Monroe County Hospital pending the outcome of the vote.

Ronnie Ridley was elected to the Haralson County Commission, winning the seat vacated up the death of his twin brother, Donnie Ridley.

“I promise them I’ll do a good job, not just for those who voted for me, for everybody,” Ridley said.

Last week, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation secured an arrest warrant for him and 10 other people as a result of a commercial gambling investigation. The bureau had executed search warrants at several businesses in Carroll and Haralson counties in January as part of the investigation. Ridley had turned himself in on Thursday. He was released on $15,000 bond.

Mary Layton, a supporter of Ridley who was at the after party and also the subject of one of the warrants, said the timing was bad, and she had worried that it might affect the election. She was excited about the win.

Speaking of commercial gambling, yesterday a House subcommittee heard testimony on the Destination Resorts Casino Gambling bill previously declared “mostly dead.”

Thursday Rep. Ron Stephens, R -Savannah, presented an updated “destination resort” bill to the House Regulated Industries Committee.

The House Bill 158 substitute expands the maximum number of state-licensed casinos from two to four, which Rep. Stephens believes could garner it more statewide support.

“We’ve eliminated the opportunity for certain places around the state to even be part of the game, if you will.  No pun intended,” said Rep. Stephens.

“Casinos are a net loss for the state,” said Dave Baker, executive director of the Faith and Freedom Coalition of Georgia.  “They bring addiction, bankruptcy and crime– that includes human trafficking.  And we work to fight so many of these things in so many other bills to bring casinos to the state is just moving completely in the wrong direction.”

But that meeting may have been a distraction from the Fantasy Sports betting legislation, which was tacked onto other legislation by Sen. Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody). From a Facebook post by Senator Millar,

My SB 156 that limits how the DeKalb Splost can be spent (no government complex, etc) has been “improved” in the House. Fantasy Sports bill and Yacht Repair bills have been added. I previously indicated I would be voting no on the Fantasy Sports bill but will have to vote Yes on SB 156 because I want to make sure DeKalb spends $300 million on the right projects over the next five years.

Senate Bill 156 is “must have” legislation for DeKalb County homeowners.

Senate Bill 8 by Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford) is on the House floor today in the form of a dramatically reworked version by House Insurance Committee Chairman Richard Smith (R-Columbus).

The House Insurance Committee on Monday passed revamped legislation to reduce “surprise billing,’’ in which patients using hospitals in their insurance network may still get unexpected bills from doctors who are not in the network.

The new version of Senate Bill 8 is vastly different from the original proposal that passed the state Senate unanimously.

The previous version relied on a percentage of charges from a national database as the tool to resolve billing situations disputed by patients. The substitute legislation sets up a new formula for out-of-network reimbursement for emergency services, but does not have a similar setup for scheduled patient care by other hospital-based physicians, such as anesthesiologists.

The revamped legislation drew praise from the health insurance industry, with the Georgia Association of Health Plans saying the proposal mirrors a federal formula for out-of-network ER reimbursement.

But physician groups favored the previous Senate Bill 8, which called for the medical provider to be paid at a rate that’s 80 percent of benchmark charges for a particular procedure in the ZIP code where the service was delivered. And on Monday, doctors’ organizations said they oppose the new version, calling it “one-sided.”

Smith, a Republican from Columbus, said he has told MAG that “you’ve got some rogue doctors out there’’ responsible for much of the surprise bill problem. “It’s that small group out there that’s generating this conversation.”

If Senate Bill 8 passes the House, the two chambers must settle the differences between the original and revised versions in a conference committee.

Senate Resolution 258 by Sen. Burt Jones (R-Jackson) would, among other property conveyances, renew the lease of the Western & Atlantic Railroad to the CSX Railway. It has been amended in the House, purportedly to allow its use for public transit in conjunction with CSX’s operations.

The Western & Atlantic Railroad has been running since 1851. It passes through four of Cobb’s six cities and behind Cumberland Mall, which could make it a perfect path for business commuters or travelers seeking to come to and from SunTrust Park.

Some rail advocates worried about Senate Resolution 228, which would extend rail company CSX’s lease on the 137 miles of rail until 2070.

CSX or its predecessors have been subject to multiple lease agreements for the rails for about the past 100 years, but there were fears that the new lease would grant exclusive rights to CSX trains on the railroad line. That would put the kibosh on passenger rail service in Cobb County for over 50 years.

“The (House Rules) committee initially decided not to add any language to SR 228, but since then, evidently our testimony had more weight than we thought,” [Sierra Club lobbyist Neil] Herring said. “They have added language into SR 228, the Rules Committee added language to it that says in a general way that nothing in the new lease will impede the right of the state, the county or any other legitimate public agency from providing public transportation.”

State Senator Lindsey Tippins (R-Cobb) writes about the rail transit issue in The Marietta Daily Journal.

The Seventh District Georgia Republican Party is hosting the Zellner-Jennings Dinner on Friday, April 21, 2017.

2GAGOP7-INV

23
Mar

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for March 23, 2017

Rudolph

Rudolph (top, chocolate nose) is an 11-week old male Terrier mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Henry County Humane Society in McDonough, GA.

Jaden

Jaden is a young male Husky mix puppy who is available for adoption from Praying For Paws Inc in McDonough, GA. He gets along well with other dogs and is playful.

Coraline

Coraline is a young female Husky mix puppy who is available for adoption from Praying For Paws Inc in McDonough, GA. She is very sweet and playful.

23
Mar

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 23, 2017

Patrick Henry addressed the Virginia Convention in Richmond on March 23, 1775, stating,  “I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

On March 23, 1861, the Georgia Secession Convention adopted a new state Constitution to be submitted to a referendum of the voters on the first Tuesday in July and then adjourned.

On March 23, 1972, in the case of Gooding v. Wilson, the United States Supreme Court held that a Georgia statute, OCGA § 26-6303, which provided: “Any person who shall, without provocation, use to or of another, and in his presence . . . opprobrious words or abusive language, tending to cause a breach of the peace . . . shall be guilty of a misdemeanor,” was unconstitutionally vague and violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

On March 23, 1983, President Ronald Reagan called for the development of an anti-missile system that would come to be known as the Strategic Defense Initiative.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE MEETING SCHEDULE

9:00 AM HOUSE NAT’L RES & ENV’T 403 CAP

10:00 AM HOUSE GAME, FISH & PARKS 403 CAP

11:00 AM HOUSE REGULATED INDUSTRIES 506 CLOB

12:00 PM House Energy Sub Energy, Util & Telecom 403 CAP

1:00 PM SENATE REGULATED IND & UTIL – CANCELED 310 CLOB

1:00 PM SENATE PUBLIC SAFETY – CANCELED 307 CLOB

1:00 PM WAYS & MEANS 406 CLOB

1:00 PM HOUSE HEALTH & HUMAN SVCS Time & Room Change – 515 CLOB

1:00 PM HOUSE BANKS & BANKING 341 CAP

1:00 PM HOUSE ENERGY, UTILITIES & TELECOM 403 CAP

2:00 PM SENATE RULES 450 CAP

2:00 PM SENATE SCIENCE & TECH 310 CLOB

2:00 PM SENATE HEALTH & HUMAN SVCS – CANCELED

2:00 PM House Transportation Sub Resolutions 506 CLOB

2:15 PM HOUSE TRANSPORTATION 506 CLOB

3:00 PM SENATE TRANSPORTATION – CANCELED 310 CLOB

3:00 PM HOUSE RULES 341 CAP

4:00 PM SENATE REAPPORTIONMENT AND REDISTRICTING 450 CAP

4:00 PM SENATE JUD’Y 307 CLOB

 

 

 

 

22
Mar

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 22, 2017

King George III approved of the passage of the Stamp Act legislation on March 22, 1765 designed to pay for some of the costs the UK incurred in protecting the colonies, but it would lead to the movement that culminated in the American Revolution. No word on where the Myrmidons were on this.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Beer and Wine Revenue Act on March 22, 1933, allowing the sale of alcoholic beverages, and later that year, the federal Prohibition was ended.

The first Masters golf tournament began on March 22, 1934 in Augusta, Georgia.

The state prohibition on all alcoholic beverages ended on March 22, 1935 with Governor Eugene Talmadge’s signature of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act.

The United States Congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment on March 22, 1972; it would fail to garner enough state ratifications.

Pixies released Surfer Rosa on March 21, 1988.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

COMMITTEE MEETINGS – LEGISLATIVE DAY 37

8:00 AM SENATE SLGO – CANCELED MEZZ 1

8:00 AM HOUSE AGRICULTURE 403 CAP

9:00 AM HOUSE RULES 341 CAP

10:00 AM HOUSE SESSION (LD 37) HOUSE CHAMBER

12:30 PM SENATE RULES – UPON ADJ’T 450 CAP

1:00 PM SENATE INSURANCE & LABOR – CANCELED 310 CLOB

1:00 PM SENATE NAT’L RESOURCES & ENV’T 450 CAP

1:00 PM HOUSE GOV’TAL AFFAIRS 406 CLOB

1:00 PM HOUSE NAT’L RESOURCES & ENV’T 403 CAP

1:30 PM HOUSE JUD’Y NON-CIVIL 132 CAP

1:30 PM HOUSE GAME, FISH AND PARKS 403 CAP

2:00 PM SENATE FINANCE 450 CAP

2:00 PM SENATE EDUCATION & YOUTH 307 CLOB

2:00 PM HOUSE SMALL BUSINESS DEV 606 CLOB

3:00 PM SENATE AGRICULTURE MEZZ 1 CAP

3:00 PM SENATE BANKING 310 CLOB

3:00 PM SENATE SLGO – CANCELED MEZZ 1

3:00 PM House Regulations Sub Regulated Ind 406 CLOB

3:00 PM HOUSE SPECIAL RULES 515 CLOB

4:00 PM SENATE VETS, MILITARY & HOMELAND SECURITY MEZZ 1

4:00 PM SENATE JUD’Y 307 CLOB


CLICK HERE FOR THE SENATE RULES CALENDAR

CLICK HERE FOR THE HOUSE RULES CALENDAR


Former Trump Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski will stump for Bruce LeVell in the Sixth District Special Election. Click here for free tickets.

Here’s my 50-cent political analysis of the following election results, which show tax hikes passing overwhelmingly across Georgia. With polls showing the highest levels ever recorded of distrust of politicians by voters, you might expect tax hikes to fail. But historically, voters have tended to trust their own elected officials, while disdaining politicians generically. These SPLOST and other tax referendums were extremely local affairs, with elected officials you might run into at the park, the high school football game, or the grocery store.

Georgia voters appear to be following the example of state legislators, who last year voted to reform gasoline tax collections to fund infrastructure repairs. There is an understanding that deferred maintenance and expansion plans have come due, and Georgia residents are voting with their wallets (and their neighbors’ wallets) to fund infrastructure projects, and the more local and identifiable, the better.

I neither approve nor disapprove of this, but it’s worth noting that I haven’t yet seen any local tax measures that failed yesterday.

Nearly 74% of Cobb County voters yesterday approved the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for Education (E-SPLOST).

A total of 25,106 voters or 73.9 percent approved the referendum, according to unofficial numbers posted by the Cobb Board of Elections.

About 7.7 percent of eligible voters turned out for the special election.

The 1 percent special purpose local option sales tax will span from January 2019 to December 2023.

Fulton County approved a SPLOST for infrastructure by 70-30 percent margin.

Bill Edwards and Benny Crane will vie for Mayor of South Fulton in a Runoff Election and all seven City Council seats will also be decided in a runoff.

City of Marietta voters elected Kerry Minervi to the Board of Education.

Minervini received 206 votes or 52.4 percent in Tuesday’s special election, according to unofficial numbers posted by the Cobb Board of Elections.

About 8.7 percent of eligible voters turned out for the election.

Roswell voters elected to move two candidates into an April 18 runoff for City Council.

As of 11 p.m. Tuesday, unofficial results from the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office show Lori Henry leading the pack at 41.43 percent, or 2,421 votes. She holds a narrow lead over Marie Willsey, who has received 41.09 percent, or 2,401 votes.

Monroe County voters will return to the polls on April 18 in a Special Runoff Election for County Commission District 2.

Chris Ham and Eddie Rowland emerged Tuesday from the six candidate battle for the seat left vacant after the death of Commissioner Jim Ham. They’ll face each other again on April 18 after no candidates received at least 50 percent of votes during Tuesday’s election.

Chris Ham received 553 votes, 36 percent, followed by Rowland with 428 votes, or 28 percent, according to unofficial election results.

Monroe County voters also approved a property tax hike to support its local hospital.

There were 2,631 votes supporting the property tax increase compared to 1,090 against the 1-mill tax increase to fund Monroe County Hospital. County officials voted in January to begin a controlled shutdown of the hospital pending the outcome of Tuesday’s election.

Like many rural hospitals, Monroe’s has faced recent financial struggles. The medical facility is now under the management of Navicent Health. Hospital leaders have said they’re developing strategies to run a more efficient hospital.

Houston County voters overwhelmingly approved a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) by a 2,837 to 656 vote margin.

The tax is projected to collect $145 million over six years. The SPLOST will be collected from Oct. 1, 2018, until Oct. 1, 2024. That’s $10 million less than the current SPLOST, which has fallen behind projections.

It would put $38 million for transportation, $31 million for public safety, $30.6 million for recreation, $15.9 million for general capital obligations, $13.6 million for public buildings, $9.2 million for water and sewer improvements and $6.5 million for economic development.

Baldwin County extended the existing SPLOST.

The vote was 1,171 in favor, to 446 ballots cast against the measure. That’s a victory margin of just over 72 percent.

The tax is expected to raise about $40 million over six years.

Voters in Pulaski County also renewed their SPLOST.

There were 327 votes in favor of the special purpose sales tax referendum, while 75 people voted against the measure. The SPLOST is expected to bring in about $6 million of revenue over six years.

Fayette County will have a SPLOST for the first time in more than a decade after voters overwhelmingly passed the ballot measure.

Wilkinson County approved an E-SPLOST.

The vote was 721 in favor of extending the current special purpose local option sales tax earmarked for education, compared to 109 votes against it. That’s nearly 87 percent in favor of the initiative.

About $7.5 million is expected to be raised over five years.

Buford municipal voters passed a bond referendum to raise $20 million for the new high school.

Buford Commission Chairman Phillip Beard said the general obligation bonds, also known as GO Bonds, were backed by 153 of the 157 people who voted in the special election.

Read that again: 157 people decided the election that will results in issuing $20 million in GO Bends backed by local taxes.

Loganville voted to allow Sunday package sales of beer, wine, and liquor.

Butts County voted favored an E-SPLOST and expanded inventory tax exemption.

The E-SPLOST was approved by a vote of 753 to 122, or 86.06 percent in favor. The freeport exemption expansion passed 630 to 225, or 73.68 percent in favor.

The E-SPLOST continues the 1-percent sales tax in place for education and will be collected for five years beginning July 1. The referendum authorized the collection of up to $25 million but school officials estimate the tax will bring in less than that — approximately $18 million.

With the freeport exemption for e-commerce, Butts County development officials are hoping to make the county a more attractive place to locate order fulfillment centers.

The tax break applies to goods stored in Butts County destined to be shipped directly to consumers. It is an expansion of an exemption that already applied to traditional inventory of goods produced in the state of Georgia and goods used in the production process.

“Expanding freeport will allow us to be more competitive and attract clean industry and quality jobs to our community,” Butts County Development Authority Executive Director Laura Sistrunk said.

Coffee County and Colquitt County in South Georgia easily passed SPLOST measures.

Coffee County residents overwhelmingly approved a SPLOST referendum 731 to 56.

Those in Colquitt County made a similar decision.

The Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax there passed 703(y) to 121(n).

Colquitt County officials said voter turnout was low.

Thomasville passed two Sunday alcohol sales measures.

Miller County voters will have a second bite at the apple in the Sheriff’s race, as two candidates advance to a runoff.

Candidates Scott Worsley and Robert Grier will face each other in that contest.

Jason Lary will take office as the first Mayor of the new City of Stonecrest.

Lary, a 25-year health care executive, led the Stonecrest YES group that pushed for Stonecrest’s cityhood. The race featured three candidates of diverse backgrounds but was shrouded in controversy in the closing days as a flyer mailed by a mysterious group claimed that one of the candidates was mentally ill.

Also in Tuesday’s vote, two people were elected to the City Council, while the other three seats will be decided next month.

Jimmy Clanton won the council race for District 1 while Jazzmin Cobble won the District 3 post, both with 66 percent.

The elections office said 4,222 or about 13 percent of the Stonecrest voters went to the polls.

The three remaining Stonecrest City Council seats will be decided in an April 18 runoff.

Full Stonecrest municipal election results are available here.

Rubinell McDonald was elected to the Lake Park City Council in a special election.

Cheryl Walters resigned as Mayor of Meigs in Thomas County.

Blueberry crop losses in South Georgia may top $200 million after a combination of an early spring and a late hard freeze.

The City of Sandy Springs will end a controversial ban on adult toys after years of litigation.

Savannah Alderman Tony Thomas apologized for partying too hard at St. Patrick’s Day.

Photographs of Savannah District 6 Alderman Tony Thomas taken during the St. Patrick’s Day parade Friday prompted Mayor Eddie DeLoach to call a news conference Tuesday afternoon to address concerns about the alderman and let constituents know that Thomas has apologized for his behavior.

The photographs — taken Friday morning in the lobby of the Hilton Savannah DeSoto hotel on East Liberty Street — show Thomas slumped in a chair with a drink in his hand. Another photo shows a police officer helping Thomas either in or out of his chair.

Thomas apologized on his personal Facebook page earlier this week:

“This past St. Patrick’s Day, I overindulged while celebrating on Friday afternoon. Yes, I don’t deny it and I take full responsibility for my action. This may have offended some of my supporters and to them, I truly apologize for drinking too much while celebrating with friends on St. Patrick’s Day in Savannah. Many of my detractors and a couple of obsessive hate sites have worked themselves into a frenzy over this. While I cannot change the minds of those who commit to such hate and misguided energies of perpetuating it, I do hope that my supporters and well-wishers know that I take responsibility for my slip and ask for your forgiveness.”

 

22
Mar

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for March 22, 2017

Stretch

Stretch is a young male Bullmastiff mix puppy who is available for adoption from Macon Bibb County Animal Welfare in Macon, GA.

Baby Pixel

Baby is a 13-month old female Golden Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from The Pixel Fund in Macon, GA.

Looking at this little girl you would never know she’s a Golden Mix! Her stunning personality and love for life burst through and just glow. This sweet pup is on her way up in life, after some freshening up, a bit of medical treatment, she’ll have a mane and coat that will shine in the spring sunlight.

Babydoll

Babydoll is a 3-month old female Schnauzer mix puppy who is available for adoption from The Pixel Fund in Macon, GA. Her favorite activities are wrestling with her mates, pulling at your shoelaces, stealing the blankets and snuggling for a good nap after a long day of fun.

Cheyenne Alexis

Cheyenne Alexis is a 9-month old female Golden Retriever and Collie mix puppy who is available for adoption from The Pixel Fund in Macon, GA.

Full of fun, lots of kisses, Cheyenne Alexis will be the star of your neighborhood. If it’s love at first sight, don’t wait, she’s an awesome sweetheart. Apply today.