The blog.

17
Nov

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for November 17, 2017

Scooby

Scooby is a young male Shepherd dog mix who is available for adoption from Animal Rescue Foundation Inc Milledgeville, GA.

Scooby is a sweet shepherd mix who loves everyone!

Jack Arf

Jack is a year-old male Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Animal Rescue Foundation Inc Milledgeville, GA.

Jack loves everyone and would be an excellent companion.

Rizzo

Rizzo is a young male Rat Terrier and German Shorthaired Pointer mix who is available for adoption from The Pixel Fund in Macon, GA.

Rizzo had a rough start to life, but would love to become a part of your family where he could show you all the love he has to give! He has co-existed happily with other small animals and has lovely leash manners. If your home could use a pint-sized dose of love, Rizzo might just be your man!

17
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 17, 2017

On November 17, 1732, the first English headed to colonize Georgia set off from Gravesend, England, down the Thames. Their supplies included ten tons of beer.

On November 17, 1777, Congress submitted the Articles of Confederation to the states for ratification.

Abraham Lincoln began the first draft of the Gettysburg Address on November 17, 1863.

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Abraham Lincoln traveled to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on November 18, 1863; he delivered an 87-word speech at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on November 19, 1863.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

On November 19, 1864, as Sherman marched toward Savannah, the Georgia delegation to the Confederate Congress in Richmond, Virginia, sent a message to the state,

“Let every man fly to arms! Remove your negroes, horses, cattle, and provisions from Sherman’s army, and burn what you cannot carry. Burn all bridges and block up the roads in his route. Assail the invader in front, flank, and rear, by night and by day. Let him have no rest.”

Carl Vinson was born on November 18, 1883 in Baldwin County, Georgia. At noon on that day, U.S. and Canadian railroads implemented four time zones for the first time.

Efficient rail transportation demanded a more uniform time-keeping system. Rather than turning to the federal governments of the United States and Canada to create a North American system of time zones, the powerful railroad companies took it upon themselves to create a new time code system. The companies agreed to divide the continent into four time zones; the dividing lines adopted were very close to the ones we still use today.

Most Americans and Canadians quickly embraced their new time zones, since railroads were often their lifeblood and main link with the rest of the world. However, it was not until 1918 that Congress officially adopted the railroad time zones and put them under the supervision of the Interstate Commerce Commission.

Mickey Mouse debuted in a black-and-white film called “Steamboat Willie” on November 18, 1928.

On November 18, 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt traveled from Washington, DC to Savannah, Georgia by train for Georgia’s Bicentennial and delivered a speech at Municipal Stadium.

Herman Talmadge was sworn in as Governor of Georgia on November 17, 1948, ending the “Three Governors” controversy. Click here for a review of the “Three Governors” episode by Ron Daniels.

The first issue of National Review magazine was published on November 19, 1955.

Carl Vinson was honored on his 81st birthday in Milledgeville, Georgia on November 18, 1964; Vinson did not run for reelection in 1964 and retired after 50 years in office.

Richard Nixon declared before a television audience, “I’m not a crook,” on November 17, 1973.

President Richard M. Nixon flew into Robins Air Force Base for Carl Vinson’s 90th birthday on November 18, 1973; on the trip he announced the next American nuclear supercarrier would be named USS Carl Vinson.

President Ronald Reagan met for the first time with Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev on November 19, 1985.

On November 18, 1989, Pennsylvania Governor Bob Casey signed the Abortion Control Act, the first abortion restrictions enacted after Roe v. Wade.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Democratic state legislators prefiled legislation to allow local governments to remove confederate monuments.

State Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver, D-Decatur, pre-filed house Bill 650 while state Sen. Elena Parent, D-Atlanta, pre-filed Senate Bill 302. State law prohibits the defacing, removal or concealing of monuments to the Confederate States of America, including the carving on Stone Mountain.

If either bill passes, local governments or the “public entity” that owns monuments at Stone Mountain and other places around the state would have the authority to remove those monuments.

“Citizens in the city of Decatur and DeKalb County have voiced their opinions and asked me to introduce legislation to allow local governments to decide to remove or modify monuments that are located in public spaces,” Oliver said in a statement. “This legislation would simply return this decision making authority to Georgia’s cities and counties and provide more local control.”

State Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur) also introduced her annual anti-gun bill, this year targeting bump stocks.

State Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver, D-Decatur, filed the bill Wednesday, the first day lawmakers could present legislation to be considered when the Legislature returns in January.

“There is no justification for this kind of device being easily sold and easily implemented to make a weapon more dangerous,” she said.

Passing such legislation will be a tall order. At least one state senator and the lieutenant governor [Casey Cagle] said they oppose state-level restrictions on the devices.

A State House Study Committee heard testimony that the incidence of Hepatitis C is rising amid the opioid epidemic.

For the first time in history, Georgia’s level of hepatitis C infection has surpassed 14,000 victims in one year, the state epidemiologist on Thursday told a study committee in the Georgia House of Representatives. And the likely main culprit, she said, was heroin needles.

Health officials can’t interview every patient whose case is reported. But among those who are, the most common risk factor is the hepatitis C victim also reporting intravenous drug use: More than 70 percent report having done it at some time in the past, and more than 60 percent report having done it within the past six months.

“It leads us to believe that the ongoing heroin and opioid epidemics are related to hepatitis C as well,” said the epidemiologist, Dr. Cherie Drenzek.

State Rep. Sharon Cooper, the committee’s chairwoman, pressed on the issue of treatment, which she noted was wildly expensive compared with most Georgians’ household incomes, at a cost approaching $20,000 or more.

“When we say ‘referring to treatment,’ ” Cooper said, “it would seem that for many people and drug users that would be a big huge barrier.”

The House Study Committee on Georgians’ Barriers to Access to Adequate Health Care has now finished meeting and is tasked by law with considering whether to recommend legislation. Over the course of its meetings it has discussed infectious diseases such as the flu, asthma and HIV, as well as the opioid epidemic and mental health services. Any recommendations are to be issued by Dec. 1.

Former Congressman Phil Gingrey (R-Marietta) writes about the federal response to the opioid crisis.

Following months of uncertainty, President Trump late last month made good on his promise to declare the opioid epidemic a national emergency. After much talk about fighting the devastating and deadly impact of these highly addictive drugs, the administration is now taking action.

The president is asking the Department of Health and Human Services for a declaration of a public health emergency under the Public Health Service Act. This action allows medical personnel to be deployed to the hardest hit areas, and empowers HHS to ease any regulations that could get in the way.

But such declarations were designed to deal with infectious diseases, not addiction and substance abuse disorders. There is also no clear way for paying for it. At present, the .

That realization begs the question of how this emergency declaration will address the years of treatment and recovery support that many with opioid addiction will need. One thing remains certain — this epidemic will not follow the dictates of government declarations.

This country cannot afford to let Congress’s failure to pass health care reform derail the fight against opioid addiction. Nor can it afford to pat itself on the back by making dramatic, but ultimately toothless, declarations that opioid addiction is a serious problem and one that needs more resources but they are not forthcoming.

Congressman Doug Collins (R-Gainesville) wielded the gavel on the Speaker’s rostrum upon passage of the House Tax Reform plan.

The Gainesville Republican has not only been a supporter of his party’s tax reform proposal — which has attracted mixed reviews as experts debate whether the complicated proposal cuts or raises taxes and spending in the long term — Collins gaveled in the vote that passed the bill Thursday. The bill now goes to the Senate, where it faces an uncertain future.

Collins praised the bill in an announcement Thursday, saying that “middle-class Americans and job creators deserve relief from burdensome taxes and the opportunity to pursue more of their ambitions on their terms.”

The tax reform bill, called the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, delivers those changes to voters, Collins argues.

But while the GOP and Democrats continue to debate tax reform in the Senate, Collins told The Times this week that he hopes another of his bills will get some more attention in the House.

The Redemption Act is Collins’ attempt to get Georgia-style criminal justice reform on the federal books. The bill focuses on evaluation, training and education of nonviolent offenders, including dealing with drug addiction, to make adjusting to society easier when sentences are concluded.

Among other things, it allows offenders to finish their sentences in lower-security prisons and halfway houses if they complete their program.

But on Tuesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions expressed some skepticism about pre-release programs like the Redemption Act.

During a hearing largely focused on investigations of Russia, Sessions and Collins discussed the Georgia Republican’s bill.

Attorney General Chris Carr‘s office will hear public comment on the sale of Savannah’s Memorial University Medical Center to for-profit Hospital Corporation of America.

The hearing will provide a detailed look at the proposed sale of all assets of Memorial Health Inc. to Hospital Corporation of America Healthcare Inc. through Savannah Health Services, its wholly owned subsidiary, and the continuation of its core services for area residents.

If approved, the deal would mean the sale of nonprofit Memorial to HCA’s subsidiary possibly as soon as year’s end.

The public hearing is part of the state attorney general’s office review of the Sept. 22 filing and the required 90-day review period before that office can either approve or reject the proposal.

The transaction would need to meet certain regulatory requirements and receive a favorable approval from the Attorney General’s office before it can be completed. Once completed, the hospital and its outpatient clinics and facilities will become full members of HCA’s South Atlantic Division.

A key piece of the proposal will be whether charitable assets are placed at unreasonable risk if the transaction is financed in part by the seller and whether any disposition proceeds will be used for appropriate charitable health care purposes.

Memorial’s 2016 financial report showed a loss of almost $44 million, with total revenues of $581 million – a significant increase from the previous year’s $22.5 million loss, but one that officials had warned of for several years. Memorial, the region’s safety net hospital, is a two-state health care organization serving a 35-county area in Georgia and South Carolina. It includes a 612-bed academic medical center, Memorial primary and specialty care physician networks, a medical education program, business and industry services and NurseOne, a 24-hour call center.

Navicent Health and Houston Medical Center are in discussions that could lead to a partnership.

Navicent Health and Houston Healthcare officials are exploring a potential partnership that could be groundbreaking for the region.

Details of how the two medical care companies join forces will be worked out over the next few months, but officials say it will be a “strategic combination” and not a merger.

Based in Macon-Bibb County, Navicent Health is the region’s largest operator of medical facilities. The company has expanded its scope over the last year with the acquisition of the hospital in Baldwin County and taking over management of the Monroe County hospital.

Houston Healthcare includes two acute care medical facilities with a total of 282 beds in Perry and Warner Robins.

The goal is to create a new health system that improves the level of services and keeps “health care being local without our patients having to go somewhere else for care,” Navicent President and CEO Ninfa Saunders said Thursday. “Having a high performance organization that is supported by a group of employees that are vibrant and energized because we are doing exactly what we started out to do. … The synergy between the two organization will get us to a better place.”

“We do feel pursuing this agreement … will allow us to improve the access of quality of care and value for our communities, for our employees, for our patients and physicians,” said Charles Briscoe, the chief operating officer and vice president of Houston Healthcare.

The Macon-Bibb Industrial Authority moved forward toward issuance of $556 million in bonds.

University Hospital in Augusta approved the purchase of automated pharmacy systems.

The board of University, which traces its history to City Hospital founded in 1818, approved $4.4. million on Thursday to purchase three automated pharmacy systems that employ robot arm technology developed for automotive company Tesla to pick up and compile drugs. The hospital will recover the purchase price within four years through savings on drugs and personnel, said Teresa Buschbacher, vice president of University Heart & Vascular Institute.

A new automated IV Station, for instance, will allow University to create its own IV solutions and pre-filled syringes it was buying from a vendor for about $1.2 million a year, and “will be a solution we control on-site,” she said. Another for cancer drugs will be more efficient, cost effective and help shield clinicians from potentially harmful exposures, Buschbacher said. The systems will free up nurses from having to get the drugs together from machines themselves, which can take up about a quarter of their shifts, she said.

“They’ll be able to spend more time at the bedside with their patients,” Bushbacher said. It will also cut down on the personnel needed in the pharmacy, who were doing many of these things by hand, and remove the possibility of human error, said Marie Jackson, director of the pharmacy.

The Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center in Augusta reached a construction milestone with placement of the highest steel beams in the new structure.

For weeks before the topping-out, project partners and the local community were invited to sign the final beam for posterity. The beam features more than 150 signatures. A crane raised an American flag and a Georgia state flag at the building site Thursday, both of which were flown over the State Capitol on Oct. 1, the first day of National Cyber Security Awareness Month.

“With the signing and the placement of this beam, Augusta takes a step forward as the potential cybersecurity capital of the nation and soon to be the world,” Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis said. “Our skyline and our community have forever changed by the addition of this state-of-the-art facility.”

The education and training center will prepare professionals to protect the nation from cybersecurity threats. The center is aligned with Augusta University’s Cyber Institute and AU’s recently launched School of Computer and Cyber Sciences. The center will anchor AU’s Riverfront Campus.

The center also will house an incubator for start-up cybersecurity companies and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s new cybercrime unit.

The center also is partnered with Augusta Technical College.

“You’re not just building a building here in Augusta,” AU President Dr. Brooks Keel said. “You’re building the future. You’re building the future of how this region of the country prepares itself for the cyber tsunami that’s coming.”

ISO Georgia Peanut Commission candidates: I won’t feel like I’ve experienced the full-spectrum of the political profession in Georgia until I manage a campaign for Georgia Peanut Commission. From the Albany Herald,

Nomination meetings to fill two positions on the five-member Georgia Peanut Commission will be conducted during simultaneous grower meetings at 10 a.m. Dec. 14.

The commission’s Board of Directors consists of five Georgia peanut farmers who are elected from single-member districts. Representatives for Districts 1 and 3 will be determined at the meetings, which will be conducted by the Georgia Farm Bureau Federation.

Any producer living in the district may be nominated or make nominations at the meeting. Incumbents are eligible for renomination. If more than one person is nominated, an election will be conducted by mail ballot. Commission by-laws state that a person must receive a majority of the votes cast for a position in order to be elected to the commission board.

Seven candidates have applied with the Judicial Nominating Commission for a new Superior Court judgeship for the Northeastern Judicial Circuit, which comprises Hall and Dawson counties.

Gov. Nathan Deal signed House Bill 138 this year, creating the fifth seat. State Rep. Lee Hawkins, R-Gainesville, said the circuit qualified for a fifth judge due to the caseloads.

The commission will next submit a short list to Deal of up to five people deemed qualified for the position.

The governor’s appointment will have a term running from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2020. After that, a nonpartisan election is held in 2020 for a four-year term.

An Atlanta City Council election might be headed for extra innings, at least in court if not at the ballot box.

At first, the Atlanta City Council race between Courtney English and incumbent Michael Julian Bond was headed to a recount.

But late Thursday, the outcome was still unclear: Bond claimed victory while English dropped his recount request and contended instead that a runoff election is required.

An incredibly close race is to blame for the confusion.

Results indicate Bond received 49.97 percent of the vote and English 49.52 percent. There were 422 write-in votes, or 0.51 percent.

Bond said the Atlanta election superintendent told him he had won. He said write-in votes don’t count if they aren’t cast for an eligible write-in candidate and there are no certified write-in candidates seeking the at-large council post 1.

“I believe this all stems from Fulton County. When they published the certified results they mistakenly included the write-in calculation and that should not have happened,” Bond said.

Richard Barron, the director of registration and elections in Fulton County, said when he first certified Fulton’s results, he did not realize that neither of the two candidates had reached the 50 percent mark.

He certified the results with write-ins. But with only two people in the race, he said perhaps he should have left them out.

“My guess is, it’s going to end up in court,” Barron said. “I’ve never had to worry about write-ins in a two-person race skewing results.”

16
Nov

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for November 16, 2017

Dellis

Dellis is a male Coonhound mix who is available for adoption from Little Nuggets Rescue in Snellville, GA.

Hello – my name is Dellis. Would you like to have a happy go lucky kinda guy added to your family? Well, that’s me! I’m the sweetest baby. My foster mom taught me to sit. I’m very well mannered. If you have a lake, can I come swim? I love to run and jump in the water. My foster mom thinks I’m part duck! I’ve been with my foster mom since I was a puppy (rescued from a high kill shelter). Please give me a forever home. I’ll give you lots of kisses!

Lady Bird

Lady Bird is a female Jack Russell Terrier & Beagle mix who is available for adoption from Little Nuggets Rescue in Snellville, GA.

Lady Bird is such a sweet baby. Full of energy. Loves to give kisses. She gets along great with MALE dogs only. Pulled from the shelter pregnant. She had 3 very large puppies which almost killed her giving birth. Only two survived. She has that JRT attitude, but the Beagle bark. She is crate trained. Lady bird will NOT do well with children. She is independent and relishes being left alone until she wants a hug. She is food agressive. If you have the time to work with her, she will make a great companion.

Mickey Nugget

Mickey is a small male Dachshund mix who is available for adoption from Little Nuggets Rescue in Snellville, GA.

Mickey is a little nut. Gets along with other dogs. Loves to be hugged. Paper trained and crate trained. Will need an apartment or a home with a privacy fence as he can climb a chain link fence. Estimated age 7 years.

We’d offer treats and belly rubs to three Georgia Court of Appeals judges, but that might be beneath the dignity of their office. From the Fulton Daily Report:

The fact that a dog bites someone doesn’t necessarily prove the owner is to blame, the Georgia Court of Appeals has ruled.

A panel of three—at least two of whom admitted to being dog owners during oral arguments and one of whom has a dog with a Twitter following—reversed a trial court judge and said the case should go to a jury.

“After he was bitten on the hand by a dog, John Ogden filed suit against the dog’s owner, Katie Myers. Ogden filed a motion for partial summary judgment on the issue of negligence per se, which the trial court granted,” Judge Tripp Self wrote in a Nov. 3 opinion. “Finding that an issue of fact exists as to whether the dog was carelessly managed under OCGA § 51-2-7 at the time of the incident, we reverse the order of the trial court.” Presiding Judge Billy Ray and Chief Judge Stephen Dillard (known dog owners) concurred. They reversed Fulton County State Court Judge John Mather.

Merritt recalled that Dillard and Ray mentioned their own pets and asked him in oral arguments, “How could a dog owner ever win?”

To be clear, the appellate judges are not saying the dog was not at fault for the bite. They’re just saying the dog deserves a day in court. The case is Myers v. Ogden, No. A17A1779.

16
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 16, 2017

The Georgia Trustees visited the first group of settlers on November 16, 1732, the day before they were scheduled to depart England for the New World.

On November 16, 1737, the Georgia Trustees learned that England’s King George II would send 300 soldiers, along with 150 wives and 130 children to the settlement in Georgia.

On November 16, 1864, Sherman left Atlanta in smoking ruins.

A 2010 Wired article argues that Sherman’s rampage through Georgia and the Carolinas changed modern warfare.

Vengeance aside, the real objective of Sherman’s march was to cut the Confederacy in two, cripple Southern industrial capacity, destroy the railroad system and compel an early Confederate surrender. It was also intended to break Southern morale — in Sherman’s words, to “make Georgia howl.”

Sherman was vilified for his barbarism, but the Union commander was a realist, not a romantic. He understood — as few of his contemporaries seemed to — that technology and industrialization were radically changing the nature of warfare.

It was no longer a question of independent armies meeting on remote battlefields to settle the issue. Civilians, who helped produce the means for waging modern war, would no longer be considered innocent noncombatants. Hitting the enemy where he ate and breaking him psychologically were just as important to victory as vanquishing his armies in the field.

Sherman grasped this and, though he wasn’t the first military proponent of total war, he was the first modern commander to deliberately strike at the enemy’s infrastructure. The scorched-earth tactics were effective. The fragile Southern economy collapsed, and a once-stout rebel army was irretrievably broken.

Meanwhile, the marshals of Europe watched Sherman’s progress with fascination. And they learned.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Former State Representative Melvin Everson (R-Snellville) announced he will run for Republican National Committeeman from Georgia, assuming Randy Evans vacates the seat upon his confirmation as Ambassador to Luxembourg. From the press release:

In a letter to members of the Republican State Committee former State Representative Melvin Everson announced that he will run for Republican National Committeeman.

Fellow Republicans serving on the State Committee, after prayerful consideration, I have decided to announce my candidacy to become Georgia’s next Republican National Committeeman.

It is a great, and well-deserved honor, President Trump has bestowed upon Randy Evans in nominating him to become the next U.S Ambassador to Luxembourg. Randy has earned the respect of Republicans nationwide for his wisdom, his capabilities as a fair arbiter, and trusted leader within the Georgia Republican Party.

When Chairman John Watson sets in motion a called election to fill Randy’s position, I will enter the race and formally begin my campaign. At that time, there will be ample time for you to consider all the candidates’ qualifications, so that you can make an informed decision as to whom you will support and choose to serve our great state.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…”

Humbly, I ask for your consideration to become the next Georgia Republican National Committeeman, while looking forward to the opportunity to personally speak with you about the future of the Georgia Republican Party.

Melvin Everson

State Rep. Amy Carter (R-Valdosta) announced her resignation from the State House, effective December 31, 2017. From the Press Release:

Rep. Carter will assume her new role as Executive Director of Advancement at the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG).

Currently, she represents House District 175, which includes Brooks County as well as portions of Lowndes and Thomas counties. As a member of the House leadership team, Rep. Carter chairs the Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government.

“It has been an absolute honor to serve my district as a state legislator for the past 11 years, and I am forever grateful to my constituents for entrusting me to represent them,” said Rep. Carter. “I’ve had the opportunity to work alongside what I consider the greatest delegation in the state, and I am proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish as a team.”

As a classroom teacher for more than 20 years, Rep. Carter has devoted herself to educating and empowering students.

“Representative Carter has been an invaluable asset to the House of Representatives, and we will certainly miss her insight and leadership,” said Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge). “Without a doubt, her work in the classroom brought a fresh perspective to the House of Representatives, and I know her students will equally miss her leadership. She is truly a champion for education, and the role she is assuming will allow her to continue touching the lives of students at an even greater level, which will ultimately build a better Georgia for us all.”

Rep. Carter added, “Impacting the lives of students on the classroom level has been an incredible experience. While leaving the classroom and my legislative position was an extremely difficult decision to make, I will now have the opportunity to extend that impact to more than 130,000 TCSG students across our state.”

Throughout her service in the state legislature, Carter has made several notable accomplishments, which have made monumental impacts on both the community and state.  For example, she played a crucial role in securing funding for Valdosta State University’s construction of the Health Sciences and Business Administration building. In addition, she was the lead sponsor of the Music Investment Act of 2017, as well as the chair of the Governor’s Teacher Advisory Commission of 2016 and a working member of the Georgia HOPE scholarship and grant revision. She also served as Governor Nathan Deal’s House Floor Leader.

In recognition of her positive impact on education in Georgia, Rep. Carter has received numerous awards including Lowndes County Schools’ Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award, the Georgia Association for Career and Technical Educators Legislator of the Year Award, and Georgia School Counselors Association Legislator of the Year Award.

Representative Carter also participates in multiple community service organizations and has been recognized for her service through several civic awards.  In 2012, she received the Loyce W. Turner Public Service Award and an Above and Beyond Award from 4-H in honor of her support of youth development education.   In addition, she was named Valdosta’s Woman of the Year in 2002 and Brooks County’s Woman of the Year in 2014. She also received the Liberty Bell Award from the Valdosta Bar Association, the Mac McLane Award from Leadership Lowndes, and holds an honorary state FFA degree. In 2013, Rep. Carter received the high honor of being named one of only four “Power Women” in the state by Georgia Trend Magazine.

Rep. Carter is an alumni of Leadership Lowndes, Leadership Georgia, Valdosta Junior Service League, First Lady’s Children’s Cabinet, and the Valdosta-North Rotary Club. Upon resignation, she noted she looks forward to continuing participation in her community.  “Even though my work will be statewide, I will continue to reside in South Georgia,” she stated. “This is where my home and my heart are located.”

Bobby Christine has been confirmed by the United States Senate as the new United States Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today applauded the Senate’s unanimous confirmation of Christine.

“Bobby Christine has served our state and nation in countless ways, including in the U.S. military as Judge Advocate General in Iraq, and I look forward to his continued service as U.S. attorney,” Isakson said in a news release from his office. “I applaud the Senate for its bipartisan unanimous confirmation of Bobby, and I am proud that he will be serving in this important role.”

Christine replaced Augusta attorney Ed Tarver, who was appointed by President Obama to the job in 2009. Tarver was one of the 46 U.S. attorneys asked to resign by President Trump when he took office.

The Southern District of Georgia includes 43 of Georgia’s 159 counties in the southeastern region of the state.

Former First Daughters Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush will be in Metro Atlanta this weekend on a book tour.

[Their book] “Sisters First” may help put an end to that. Less celebrity tell-all than a raising of the blinds on two simultaneously intertwined and independent lives, the book largely comprises alternating chapters written by Hager Bush and her sister, Barbara Pierce Bush.

The fraternal twin daughters of former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, will headline a sold-out event at the Book Festival of the MJCCA on Saturday night. They’ll be “in conversation” with best-selling novelist and Atlantan Emily Giffin.

At Georgetown University, Congressman John Lewis (D-Atlanta) called the Trump Administration “hell on wheels.”

Republican Businessman Clay Tippins has kicked off his campaign for Governor.

Clay Tippins, 44, formally entered the race Wednesday to succeed a term-limited Gov. Nathan Deal. He enters the race as a virtual blank slate, with no public profile or voting record, little name recognition and without the huge trove of cash needed to finance his campaign on his own.

A graduate of Shiloh High School, Tippins was captain of Stanford University’s swim team and joined the elite Navy SEALs shortly after graduating. In the mid-2000s, he re-enlisted in the Navy Reserves and was recently dispatched to Iraq for a counter-terrorism tour of duty.

He’s now an executive vice president of Capgemini, the global consulting firm, and lives with his wife and two kids in Buckhead.

Tippins kicked off his campaign at his Buckhead headquarters and dozens of supporters, including his uncle, state Sen. Lindsey Tippins. He compared the campaign to a “mission” that he’s determined to successfully carry out.

Tippins’s entry to the election probably most affects Senator Hunter Hill, whose campaigns have always highlighted his military service and who also shares a geographic base in Buckhead and Vinings.

“A Voice for all of Georgia” is a group attempting to recall Secretary of State Brian Kemp.

The group needs to collect nearly 800,000 signatures of registered voters by December 27 to put the recall on the ballot.

The number of signatures needed, as well as the fact that historically, roughly half of election petition signatures are invalidated, make this more of a negative public relations campaign than an actual recall.

The Liberal Athens tabloid Flagpole has an interesting story on the Democratic victories in this month’s special legislative elections.

[Republican Houston] Gaines made some strategic choices that, in retrospect, obviously didn’t work. He labeled himself “the voice of a new generation,” but surrounded himself with old-school Athens figures like Denson and Vince and Barbara Dooley. It seemed like he was the only person in his campaign photos under 70. Past ACCDC chairman Russell Edwards hounded him about Trump, and he never could figure out a good answer. Then he stumbled again when Flagpole lobbed him a softball about his “unique perspective,” and he responded that, “It’s obvious just by looking at us that we have a different perspective.” He might have meant their age, but he was running against a Latina woman, so not everyone took it that way.

In the end, Gaines couldn’t justify why he was running as a 22-year-old, other than that a lot of powerful people liked him. Gonzalez has a lifetime of experience as a working-class mom and as a media and entertainment lawyer, and voters grew more comfortable with her as they got to know her.

“I think it was a lack of motivation” among Republicans, said Watkinsville City Councilman Dan Matthews. “[Gaines] didn’t have an issue that fired people up, and the lack of experience led people to not want to vote for him.”

Meanwhile, Wallace’s Republican opponents—Tom Lord, Steven Strickland and Marcus Wiedower—all wholeheartedly embraced Trump. That didn’t work, either.

While Gonzalez emphasized progressive, populist positions like Medicaid expansion, a $15 minimum wage and net neutrality, Wallace ran a more centrist campaign focused on pocketbook issues like lowering Georgia’s car insurance rates, which are among the highest in the nation. “My goal in entering this race was to push the conversation back to the middle, where I think most of this district, this state, this country lives,” Wallace said.

Bob Trammell must have known something we didn’t. House Democrats recently elected the Luthersville representative their leader—replacing Stacey Abrams, who resigned to run for governor—and he trekked all the way to Athens to drop in on Gonzalez and Wallace. After years of leaving deep-red districts uncontested, Democrats ran for all eight open seats and flipped three of them.

“I think the takeaway is we should always strive to have competition,” Trammell said. “We should contest districts like this [119] where we haven’t had candidates, because voters are craving choice.”

If there’s one lesson for Democrats and Republicans to take from the Athens elections in HD 117 and HD 119, it’s that step one to an election victory is a name on the ballot.

Absentee votes appear to have swung the Hampton City Council elections.

Just over 13 percent, or approximately 135, of the 1,035 votes cast in the city of Hampton’s election this year were submitted by mail. That’s more than the average 3 percent of absentee voters in the cities of McDonough, Stockbridge and Locust Grove.

Winners Mayor Steve Hutchison and council members-elect Errol Mitchell, Willie Turner and Elton Brown each received 100 or more absentee votes in the election.

The defeated candidates received eight votes or fewer from absentee voters.

“We win the best way we know how. We do know a lot of our people, if they can do absentee, they prefer not to go to the polls,” said Turner. “It was up for us to get on the ground and rattle the ones we can in the neighborhoods. We needed to get as many absentee votes as we could on the ground. If we could be competitive out there, then we knew the absentee could be the key to pull us over the top. We knew the community and from the last election a lot didn’t want to go to the polls. So we talked to them and told them they need to do absentee ballots.”

The Republican Governors Association is meeting in Austin, Texas this week ahead of the 2018 elections.

Vice President Mike Pence will be the keynote speaker during the two-day gathering of the Republican Governors Association, which kicks off Wednesday in Austin, Texas.

Earlier this year, Democrats lost special congressional elections in Kansas, Montana, Georgia, and South Carolina, but last week won the governorships in Virginia and New Jersey. The party also erased a previously dominant Republican majority in the Virginia House and gained control of Washington state’s Senate.

Republicans will still hold a 33 to 16 advantage in governorships nationwide after January. Alaska Gov. Bill Walker is an independent up for re-election next year.

The Democratic successes revealed some potentially troublesome trends for Republicans. In Virginia, suburban women failed to turn out strongly for GOP candidates. In 2016, that demographic helped put Mr. Trump in the White House. By comparison, minority turnout for Democrats was strong.

Republican Governors Association spokesman Jon Thompson called the results a “voice of displeasure with some things that are happening in Washington.”

Even so, Mr. Thompson said Republicans should not panic.

“You already have Republican governors in some blue states that have their own brand separate from Washington,” said Thompson, pointing to Charlie Baker of Massachusetts and Larry Hogan of Maryland.

Georgia’s own Paul Bennecke serves as Executive Director of the Republican Governors Association.

National GOP Strategists are also accelerating their plans for 2018 ahead of midterm elections, where the party holding the White House usually loses seats.

Republican strategists are warning that some of the party’s veteran House incumbents aren’t adequately preparing for the 2018 election, putting the GOP majority at risk by their failure to recognize the dangerous conditions facing them.

Nearly three dozen Republicans were outraised by their Democratic challengers in the most recent fundraising quarter. Others, the strategists say, are failing to maintain high profiles in their districts or modernize their campaigns by using data analytics in what is shaping up as a stormy election cycle.

“There are certainly incumbent members out there who need to work harder and raise more money if they want to win,” said Corry Bliss, executive director of the Congressional Leadership Fund, the House GOP’s top super PAC. “They’re fundamentally not prepared for how they’re about to be attacked.”

After Democrats’ sweeping victories last week, Public Opinion Strategies, a Republican polling firm, wrote a pointed memo — titled “Surviving the 2018 Election” — addressing Republican incumbents. The firm counseled incumbents to start their reelection campaigns earlier than planned, to do early message testing and to begin planning their voter turnout operation now, as opposed to next fall.

“Some [members] get it and some don’t,” said Glen Bolger, a Republican pollster with POS. “First thing we’re saying to them is, ‘Don’t be in denial, this can happen to you.’”

The [Congressional Leadership Fund]  test-ran the on-the-ground strategy this spring in Georgia’s special House election, where more than one-third of its spending to help Republican Karen Handel went into its field program and other non-TV work. The super PAC will likely need to do the same next November for GOP voters, who have grown frustrated with Congress’ failure to repeal Obamacare.

Stockbridge city government could lose between $4.2 million and $6.1 million in annual funding if a new city of Eagles Landing is incorporated.

City spokeswoman Charisma Webster said Mayor Judy Neal and the city council heard the results Nov. 8 from the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government in a hearing before the state Senate committee on state and local governmental operations.

Henry delegation members District 17 State Sen. Rick Jeffares, R-McDonough, and state representatives Dale Rutledge, Andy Welch and Brian Strickland submitted bills supporting the city of Eagle’s Landing in the 2017 session, which can be carried over in 2018.

If enacted into law and approved by voters, the legislation can be “damaging,” Neal said.

“To remove between 44 percent and 64 percent of the city’s revenues is wrong and will tear this community apart,” she said in a statement.

Webster said the property proposed to be de-annexed will, if approved, put about 33 percent of the existing city’s population into the new one.

It will also relocate 48 percent of the assessed value of the city’s residential properties and 54 percent of commercial properties’ assessed value, she said.

The Gwinnett Village Community Improvement District (CID) has changed its name to Gateway 85 Gwinnett CID.

The United States House of Representatives passed a defense bill that includes money to keep A-10s flying.

The 2018 defense spending bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday includes money to keep Warthogs flying.

The bill contains $103 million for replacing aging wings for the Air Force’s A-10C “Warthog” ground attack planes, some of which are stationed at Moody AFB. Lack of money for replacing the aging parts led an Air Force general earlier this year to warn that some of the Warthogs would have to be grounded.

Boeing is under contract with the Air Force to deliver 173 wingsets through 2017. Defense News reports that Boeing is having trouble delivering wingsets on time due to a part that is being reworked. Moody’s Warthogs are newer so the base “is in better shape than a lot of units,” said Rachel Ledbetter, spokeswoman for Ga. Rep. Austin Scott (R-8th Dist.)

Tybee Island will begin a program of grants targeted to raising some homes above flood levels.

15
Nov

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for November 15, 2017

Captain Hook

Captain Hook is a young male Terrier mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia in Gainesville, GA.

Chopper

Chopper is a male Beagle mix who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia in Gainesville, GA.

Jake Dirt Road

Jake is a young male Golden Retriever & Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from Dirt Road Doggies Rescue, INC in Gillsville, GA.

Hi, I’m Jake! I’m a sweet, tender hearted boy who’s waiting for the love of my life to come along. I know I’ve got a little skin problem right now because I was starving & neglected when the wonderful humans at DRDR saved me. But, I’ve been told not to let that bother me because I’m taking medicine to fix that! Once it clears up, I’m gonna be a really good looking guy!  

I’m a little smaller than my brothers but my foster mommy thinks it’s just because I’m more submissive than they are. I’ve been learning how to walk on a leash. At first, I was like “NO WAY!” but I’ve got the hang of it now & I walk on a leash like a boss! I’ve also been crate training & I’m proud to say, I haven’t had one single accident! I got this!

With all of these exciting changes in my life, there’s just one thing missing. You. I promise, you won’t be disappointed!

Love, Jake.

15
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 15, 2017

James Oglethorpe left London on November 15, 1732 headed to a Thames River port named Gravesend, where he would board the ship Anne and lead the first colonists to Georgia.

On November 15, 1777, the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union were adopted in York, Pennsylvania.

Congress was a single house, with each state having one vote, and a president elected to chair the assembly. Although Congress did not have the right to levy taxes, it did have authority over foreign affairs and could regulate a national army and declare war and peace. Amendments to the Articles required approval from all 13 states. On March 2, 1781, following final ratification by the 13th state, the Articles of Confederation became the law of the land.

Edward Langworthy of Savannah, Edward Telfair, and John Walton signed the Articles of Confederation for Georgia.

Stephen Heard Conan OBrien

On November 15, 1815, Patriot leader Stephen Heard died in Elbert County, GA. Heard served on Georgia’s Executive Council during part of the American Revolution and as its President from 1780 to 1781. He later served in the Georgia House of Representatives, as a judge in Elbert County, and as a delegate to Georgia’s 1975 Constitutional Convention. The above portrait of Conan O’Brien Stephen Heard hangs in the basement (pied a terre) level of the Georgia Governor’s Mansion.

On November 15, 1864, General William Tecumseh Sherman’s army left Atlanta on its March to the Sea.

On November 15, the army began to move, burning the industrial section of Atlanta before leaving. One witness reported “immense and raging fires lighting up whole heavens… huge waves of fire roll up into the sky; presently the skeleton of great warehouses stand out in relief against sheets of roaring, blazing, furious flames.” Sherman’s famous destruction of Georgia had begun.

On November 15, 1977, President Jimmy Carter hosted the Shah of Iran in Washington, where they spent two days discussing U.S-Iranian relations.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal issued an Executive Order implementing the unanimous recommendation of the  Review Commission and suspending Worth County Sheriff Jeff Hobby from office. Deal later appointed Bobby G. Sapp to serve as Worth County Sheriff until the charges against Hobby are disposed of or until the end of the current term.

United States Senator Johnny Isakson told Rotarians Monday that Roy Moore should withdraw from the Alabama Senate race.

Addressing a crowd of about 150 Monday afternoon at a Rotary Club luncheon, Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Georgia, joined a growing list of Republican senators calling on Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore to step down.

“The allegations seem a lot more credible than any defense he has put up.” Isakson said. “Something like that is inexcusable and should be intolerable.”

Isakson said nothing is more important than one’s integrity, and the U.S. Senate cannot afford to house anyone with questionable moral character. But in the unlikely event Moore heeds the calls to step aside, a Democrat winning the seat in deep red Alabama could tip the scales in close votes on the Senate floor.

“As a member of the Republican Party and an elected Republican, there’s no circumstance under which having a Democrat would be better (than having a Republican),” said Isakson, “That said, anybody who violates the moral code of ethics and decency should not be serving in the United States Senate.”

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue designated 83 Georgia counties as disaster areas after Hurricane Irma.

Counties declared under the disaster designation include Glynn, Brantley, Camden, McIntosh and Ware counties, among others.

The declaration means farm operators in the designated counties are eligible to be considered for certain assistance from the Farm Service Agency, according to a news release from the office of U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, R-1. The assistance includes FSA emergency loans.

“I am very glad this declaration was made today,” Carter said in the release. “Even though time has passed, our community is still rebuilding from Hurricane Irma. One community with an especially hard road to recovery is our agricultural industry. I am glad this new assistance is available and we will be there to assist every step of the way.”

The Georgia Senate Study Committee on Special Tax Exemption, chaired by Sen. John Albers (R-Roswell) is expected to recommend changes to procedures for the adoption of targeted tax breaks.

Under the proposal, the Georgia House would file its usual plethora of tax break bills. The Senate would study the bills that pass the House over the interim between sessions, then decide on them the next year.

The General Assembly currently doesn’t given final approval to pension bills until after they’ve been studied over the interim, so the idea isn’t entirely new.

While the change on tax bills may not seem revolutionary, it would slow down the process dramatically from the way things are usually done. Typically, the House passes a slew of tax breaks on to the Senate with little time to review them before the 40th and final day of the session. They often are voted on, with limited study, on the 39th or 40th days of a session.

State Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell, the panel’s chairman, said his committee’s recommendation would give the Senate months to thoroughly vet tax breaks.

“Will it maybe slow things down a little? Yes, but I think the transparency and the good fiduciary part of me says that is the right thing to do,” he said.

Northeast Georgia Medical Center introduced a new peer-support program for patients needing addiction recovery.

Northeast Georgia Medical Center unveiled its ED-CARES Peer Support program Wednesday at its Gainesville campus. The program connects “certified addiction recovery empowerment specialists” in the emergency department.

“We’re going to match up people in recovery with those folks who experience overdose to say, ‘What do you want to do next? I’ve been right where you are. Let me help you,’” said Neil Campbell, executive director for the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse.

The Medical Center is the first hospital in Georgia helping overdose survivors work with peer recovery specialists. Northeast Georgia Health System CEO and President Carol Burrell said the program “demonstrates our willingness to continue to lead the way.”

In May, Gov. Nathan Deal signed the Jeffrey Dallas Gay Jr. Act, which made Naloxone available over the counter. Naloxone, often seen as Narcan, is an opioid antidote.

The Medical Center handled 696 overdose patients in 2016 compared to 281 cases in 2015.

“It’s so prevalent and so widespread and people don’t realize that it’s affecting every family, all families,” said state Sen. Butch Miller, R-Gainesville.

The Georgia Ports Authority approved projects to increase the rail and road throughput from the port.

The Georgia Ports Authority approved rail and gate expansion projects on Monday that will double on-dock rail capacity and open service to inland markets.

The board unanimously approved spending $42.2 million as part of GPA’s $128 million Mason Mega Rail Terminal project.

The project will reduce travel time from Savannah to an arc of inland markets from Memphis to Chicago by 24 hours, Lynch said.

The project benefits imports and exports, and it will also provide much needed relief for Garden City residents and travelers stopped at railroad crossings throughout the day.

“The focus is two-fold,” said Griff Lynch, GPA executive director. “One is to increase capacity for growth (at the port) and to alleviate impact on the community.”

There will be a significant decrease in rail traffic through neighborhoods, Lynch said.

Estimates are that instead of railroad crossings being blocked maybe 10 times a day, it will drop to once or twice a day.

The Medical Association of Georgia honored Dallas Gay for his work fighting the opioid epidemic.

Gay received the Donna Glass Non-Physician Distinguished Service Award, which honors those who are not doctors that make “contributions to the advancement and support of medicine.”

Gay, whose grandson Jeffrey Dallas Gay Jr. died in 2012 from an overdose, has worked to increase availability of naloxone for first responders. The drug, often seen as Narcan, is the antidote in overdose cases.

In May, Gov. Nathan Deal signed the Jeffrey Dallas Gay Jr. Act, which made naloxone available over the counter. Gay and the Partnership for a Drug Free Hall have also worked on expanding access to a downloadable checklist for those responding to an overdose.

The Augusta Commission extended the contract of City Administrator for three more years.

Columbus City Council will create a Liberty District to encourage revitalization around the historic Liberty Theatre.

Simona Perry will serve as the new Executive Director of the Ogeechee Riverkeeper.

The 294-mile blackwater river flowing through portions of 22 Georgia counties is home to unique fish and wildlife as well as a beloved recreational resource for fishing, swimming and boating. The waterway has largely recovered from a 2011 fish kill, Perry said.

“It’s relatively clean and undeveloped,” she said. “There are always issues but we have the opportunity to be the model to keep your waterway what it should be.”

The Ogeechee Riverkeeper organization, which aims to protect, preserve, and improve the water quality of the basin, began in its current form in 2004 with the merger of the Canoochee Riverkeeper and the Friends of the Ogeechee group. It’s licensed by the Waterkeeper Alliance. That massive 2011 fish kill on the river prompted a Clean Water Act lawsuit settlement with King America Finishing (now Milliken), which produced a stricter discharge permit, more frequent and transparent water testing protocol, and a $2.5 million settlement, about $1.3M of which funded an endowment to continue efforts to research and protect the river.

The Georgia Water Coalition released its annual “Dirty Dozen” list of threatened water resources.

Members of the Lowndes County Board of Education disagree on whether to hold out-of-town meetings.

DeKalb Medical and Emory Healthcare have signed a letter of intent to develop a partnership.

The letter of intent means that DeKalb Medical, which has been seeking such a partnership, has ended discussions with other systems and is entering exclusive talks with Emory.

“We think there’s a great synergy between the academic health system [of Emory] and the community-based system,’’ Cheryl Iverson, a DeKalb Medical vice president, said Tuesday after the announcement. “We felt it was the best situation for us.”

“We’re engaged and hoping to get married,’’ she said.

“Both Emory and DeKalb Medical have a strong and historical commitment to providing exceptional care to the community,” Dr. Jonathan S. Lewin, Emory University executive vice president for health affairs and CEO of Emory Healthcare, said in a statement Tuesday. “We understand the importance of both community hospitals and academic medical centers in delivering optimal care to our patients. A partnership with DeKalb Medical will strategically support these efforts.”

Lewin added in an email that both Emory Healthcare and DeKalb Medical “have a strong historical commitment to DeKalb County.  Emory has had a presence in DeKalb County for over 100 years, with more than half of our employees residing in DeKalb and the surrounding vicinity.  DeKalb Medical similarly has a strong history of 56 years serving the patients and families of this region.”

DeKalb Medical has been challenged financially in recent years. The system reported a loss of $15.3 million on net revenue of $465 million in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016.

Hospital officials have linked financial difficulties in part to a high level of uninsured patients.

DeKalb County legislators predict that 2018 will see a short legislative session.

By way of background, 2018 won’t just be  an election year, it’s a year of top-level turnover in state government. The governor is term-limited, the lieutenant governor is one of several folks running for the top job, and every other office under the Gold Dome is up for election as well.

So there’s some incentive for lawmakers to pack their 40 days of work close together at the beginning of the year so they can close the session and start campaigning.

But, there’s also an incentive to push for bills that look good on campaign mailers.

I think there will be significant pressure within the legislature to get out of session early, but counterpressure will exist in the form of uncertainty over federal spending plans and their effect on the Georgia state budget, the only legislation that is required to pass in the session.

State Rep. Buzz Brockway (R-Gwinnett) proposed allowing the creation of special tax districts to fund transit expansion.

 A Georgia lawmaker has a new plan for how to raise money to expand mass transit: let property owners near existing transit stations tax themselves.

State Rep. Buzz Brockway, R-Lawrenceville, presented the idea at a meeting of the House Commission on Transit Governance and Funding this week.

“If the people in [those areas] wanted to self-tax, they could self-tax, and that [revenue] would be given to a commission who would then dedicate those funds to expanding rail,” Brockway explained.

Three-quarters of property owners located within a quarter-mile of an existing transit station — like a MARTA station — would have to agree to create the special tax district.

The revenues collected in the “transit rail improvement districts” would go to expanding rail mass transit.

State Rep. Brett Harrell (R-Snellville) responded to the idea via Facebook.

Brett Harrell Train Tax

 Georgia Senate leaders are discussing seeking Medicare waivers to allow programs tailored to Georgia’s population needs.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle formed a Health Care Reform Task Force to come up with a way to restructure how the state delivers health care services. He said the task force will bring forth its reform ideas in January.

Sen. Chuck Hufstetler, a Rome Republican, said recently that the task force is looking at different types of proposals to help uninsured Georgians keep their health problems from escalating into chronic or serious conditions, the Rome News-Tribune reported recently.

Meanwhile, state Sen. Renee Unterman, R-Buford, told media recently that Georgia should “put everything on the table” when it comes to covering more people.

“If you ask me what keeps me awake at night, it is that uncompensated care,’’ said Unterman, chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. “When you’re in the middle of the crisis, you have to look at everything, you have to be amenable, and I believe you have to compromise.”

Unterman told an Atlanta reporter that her ideas do not include a full-blown Medicaid expansion. She has narrower targets: Young people with behavioral problems, and those who are dealing with opioid addiction.

“It’s not opening up the door for a million people. It’s opening up the door for a hundred thousand [frequent patients] who you know you’re spending a lot of money on,” Unterman said. “Let’s bring the cost down. Let’s give them a better quality of life. To me, it’s just compassion.”

14
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 14, 2017

General Sherman’s army prepared for the March to the Sea on November 14, 1864. The March to the Sea began on November 15, 1964.

The planned route for the 17th Corps was to march from White Hall to Stockbridge, McDonough, Jackson, Monticello, and Gordon and encountered Confederate regiments from Kentucky at the Battle of Stockbridge. To the west, one or two Kentucky regiments engaged the 15th Corps in another skirmish.  [E]arlier that morning, Maj. Gen. Henry Slocum had led the 20th Corps eastward out of Atlanta with instructions to follow the Georgia Railroad eastward to Decatur, Lithonia, Covington, and Madison, tearing up the railroad along the way.

With three of his four columns on the road, Gen. Sherman remained in Atlanta with the 14th corps to oversee the destruction of anything with possible military value to the Confederacy. The next day, they would then proceed east on the road to Lithonia, then in a southeastern direction to Milledgeville, where the 20th and 14th corps would reunite in seven days.

On November 14, 1944, the Constitutional Convention working on a revised document for Georgia reversed its position on home rule that had been adopted the previous day on the motion of Governor Ellis Arnall.

Three astronauts with connections to Georgia – Eric Boe, Robert Kimbrough, and Sandra Magnus – were aboard the space shuttle Endeavor when it lifted off on November 14, 2008.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal issued an Executive Order implementing the unanimous recommendation of the  Review Commission and suspending Worth County Sheriff Jeff Hobby from office.

United States Senator Johnny Isakson told Rotarians yesterday that Roy Moore should withdraw from the Alabama Senate race.

Addressing a crowd of about 150 Monday afternoon at a Rotary Club luncheon, Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Georgia, joined a growing list of Republican senators calling on Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore to step down.

“The allegations seem a lot more credible than any defense he has put up.” Isakson said. “Something like that is inexcusable and should be intolerable.”

Isakson said nothing is more important than one’s integrity, and the U.S. Senate cannot afford to house anyone with questionable moral character. But in the unlikely event Moore heeds the calls to step aside, a Democrat winning the seat in deep red Alabama could tip the scales in close votes on the Senate floor.

“As a member of the Republican Party and an elected Republican, there’s no circumstance under which having a Democrat would be better (than having a Republican),” said Isakson, “That said, anybody who violates the moral code of ethics and decency should not be serving in the United States Senate.”

13
Nov

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for November 13, 2017

Timber1

Timber is a young male (3-4 months old) German Shorthair Pointer who showed up on a friend’s porch this weekend in North Georgia. He had no collar and was not chipped. He was skinny and hungry as though he’d been on his own for a while.

Timber2

Timber is great with people, including kids, and hasn’t used the bathroom inside. He needs a home – either foster or permanent ASAP. Email me directly if you’re interested in adopting or hosting him.

Timber3

Ella Best Friends

Ella is a small female Terrier mix who is available for adoption from Best Friends–Atlanta in Atlanta, GA.

Ella is a spunky girl who would love to go on adventures with you! She enjoys playing with her doggie roommates, her toys and afternoon naps. If you think Ella would be the perfect addition to your family come by and meet her today!

Ella is 1 year old and weighs 27 pounds.

Lemonade

Lemonade is a female Hound mix who is available for adoption from Best Friends–Atlanta in Atlanta, GA. Lemonade is 1 year old and weighs 23 lbs. With that size, I kind of suspect she might be a “Lemon” Beagle mix.

Goldie DanasDogHouse

Goldie is a young female Labrador Retriever & Golden Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from DanasDogHouse in Smyrna, GA.

14 wks/14 lb
Super sweet friendly little girl.
Loves to play with other dogs.
Fine with kids!!

13
Nov

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 13, 2017

President George Washington returned to the City of Washington on November 13, 1789, ending the first Presidential tour.

On the same day, Benjamin Franklin wrote a letter to his friend Jean-Baptiste LeRoy, in which he said,

“Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

On November 13, 1865, the United States government issued the first Gold Certificates.

The Georgia General Assembly adopted a resolution against ratifying the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution on November 13, 1866.

In deciding not to ratify the 14th Amendment, the General Assembly adopted a committee report explaining that: “1. If Georgia is not a State composing part of the Federal Government known as the Government of the United States, amendments to the Constitution of the United States are not properly before this body. 2. If Georgia is a State composing part of the Federal Government … , these these amendments are not proposed according to the requirements of the Federal Constitution, and are proposed in such a manner as to forbid the legislature from discussing the merits of the amendments without an implied surrender of the rights of the State.”

Excavation began for a new Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta on the site of the former City Hall/Fulton County Courthouse on November 13, 1884.

Walt Disney released “Fantasia” on November 13, 1940.

Georgia Governor and Constitutional Commission Chair Ellis Arnall moved that a home rule provision be included in the new draft of the state Constitution and his motion passed 8-7 on November 13, 1944.

On November 13, 1956, the United States Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that struck down a law requiring segregation on buses in Montgomery, Alabama.

Ronald Reagan announced his campaign for the Republican nomination for President of the United States on November 13, 1979.

“The people have not created this disaster in our economy; the federal government has. It has overspent, overestimated, and over regulated. It has failed to deliver services within the revenues it should be allowed to raise from taxes. In the thirty-four years since the end of World War II, it has spent 448 billion dollars more than it has collection in taxes – 448 billion dollars of printing press money, which has made every dollar you earn worth less and less. At the same time, the federal government has cynically told us that high taxes on business will in some way “solve” the problem and allow the average taxpayer to pay less. Well, business is not a taxpayer it is a tax collector. Business has to pass its tax burden on to the customer as part of the cost of doing business. You and I pay the taxes imposed on business every time we go to the store. Only people pay taxes and it is political demagoguery or economic illiteracy to try and tell us otherwise.”

“The key to restoring the health of the economy lies in cutting taxes. At the same time, we need to get the waste out of federal spending. This does not mean sacrificing essential services, nor do we need to destroy the system of benefits which flow to the poor, the elderly, the sick and the handicapped. We have long since committed ourselves, as a people, to help those among us who cannot take care of themselves. But the federal government has proven to be the costliest and most inefficient provider of such help we could possibly have.”

“I believe this nation hungers for a spiritual revival; hungers to once again see honor placed above political expediency; to see government once again the protector of our liberties, not the distributor of gifts and privilege. Government should uphold and not undermine those institutions which are custodians of the very values upon which civilization is founded—religion, education and, above all, family. Government cannot be clergyman, teacher and parent. It is our servant, beholden to us.”

“We who are privileged to be Americans have had a rendezvous with destiny since the moment in 1630 when John Winthrop, standing on the deck of the tiny Arbella off the coast of Massachusetts, told the little band of pilgrims, “We shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword throughout the world.”

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated on November 13, 1982 in Washington, DC.

On November 13, 2006, groundbreaking began for a memorial to Martin Luther King, Jr. on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

President Hillary Clinton brings her blamestorming tour to Atlanta today.

Hillary Clinton is headed to Atlanta on Monday for an hourlong conversation as part of her book tour.

Her visit to the Fox Theatre is part of a 16-city nationwide tour where she’s mixed self-deprecating humor with analysis of her 2016 defeat to Republican Donald Trump.

The tour is part of ongoing Democratic hand-wringing about last year’s vote, marked by new questions about whether the Democratic National Committee favored her campaign over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ insurgent bid.

Stephe Koontz became the only openly-transgender person currently elected to local office in Georgia.

When Stephe Koontz knocked on doors ahead of the Doraville City Council election, she was pleased to find people who wanted to talk about potholes and code enforcement, not her gender identity.

Koontz likes to stick to the issues of local government — she lists ensuring the city’s growth while maintaining the hometown feel as what spurred her to run — but she is proud of the bit of ground she’s breaking.

“One of the reasons I ran is, I feel transgender youths need a role model and to be able to see that they do have a future,” she said Thursday. “I’ve been getting dozens of messages since the election from parents of trans youth who are in tears. I tear up every time I read one.”

Koontz is believed to be the second trans person elected to office in Georiga.

Michelle Bruce was sued over her candidacy for the Riverdale City Council in 2007. The trans woman had first been elected unopposed in 2003, but an opponent to her re-election filed the suit, claiming she had misled voters about her identity, though other officials said it was well-known around town that she was transgender.

The Georgia Supreme Court eventually sided with Bruce, but she had already lost the election.

Voter turnout surged in Loganville over past years.

More than 1,100 voters cast ballots in Loganville’s city elections Tuesday, surpassing the number of ballots cast when the mayor’s seat was contested in both 2010 and 2013, according to city officials.

City spokesman Robbie Schwartz said 1,148 of the city’s 7,876 registered voters cast ballots in this year’s election. By comparison, 1,011 ballots were cast in the 2010 election and 780 ballots were cast in the 2013 election.

Niko’s Wine Corner in Snellville is urging a referendum to allow package liquor sales in the Gwinnett County municipality.

The shop’s Scott Danos said the store wants to expand into packaged liquor sales. He also said state law requires a referendum be held in the city on whether Snellville officials can issue permits for those sales to take place.

And the referendum has to be requested via a petition signed by a certain number of registered voters — the number being equal to 35 percent of number of people registered to vote in the city’s last election.

Hence the reason why residents will begin seeing people asking for their signatures.

“We work at a high-end wine and beer store in Snellville and want to expand the liquor side of it, so to do that, we have to jump through these hoops,” Danos said. “So we’re beginning. We’re paying people. We’re hiring people to go door-to-door. We’ve already begun this.”

If the referendum passes, the City Council will have the authority to determine how many packaged liquor sales licenses will be handed out each year. Officials at Niko’s Wine Corner are optimistic about their chances of eventually getting a license though.

“We wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t think we’ve have a good chance,” Danos said.

U.S. Representative Karen Handel (R-Roswell) did a Q&A with Georgia Trend.

GT: What would you like to see in a tax reform bill?

Handel: Making sure corporate relief is coupled with individual relief, because I believe firmly that middle-class Americans and middle-class Georgians need relief. Individual relief is how we ensure that smaller companies and companies organized as S corps and LLCs also are able to benefit from lower rates.

GT: What else?

Handel: Permanent repeal of the death tax. Relief for companies to be able to repatriate dollars that are sitting overseas, to get those dollars back here on the ground in the U.S. That’s investment, and investment means jobs.

GT: It sounds as though you are comfortable with the work of the House.

Handel: Making legislation is not so different than at the statehouse. The real work is not all that sexy and interesting – it’s just hard. When we take up the appropriations bills, instead of all 12 individually, we’re taking them as a package, which I think is going to help the process. There are going to be a lot of amendments. Several human trafficking bills will go to the floor.

GT: You are co-sponsoring one of those human trafficking bills, aren’t you?

Handel: My friend [Missouri Republican Rep.] Amy Wagner’s bill. It will give local law enforcement a little more latitude in how they can investigate and try to make the arrest case for predators on social media. You can imagine some of the First Amendment challenges and privacy challenges. It’s a really, really solid piece of legislation. I’d like to think it would have some fairly significant number of Democrats supporting it, so it’s a bipartisan bill.

State Senator Josh McKoon will introduce legislation to change Special Election “jungle” rules.

State Sen. Josh McKoon, a Republican candidate for secretary of state, said he’ll file legislation next week that would require both parties to nominate their own candidates in a special election.

It was spurred by the results in Tuesday’s vote to replace Republican Hunter Hill, who vacated the Atlanta-based seat to run for governor. The district was becoming increasingly competitive — Hill only narrowly carried it last year — but few predicted the two top finishers would be Democrats.

That’s exactly what happened with a field of five Republicans splitting the GOP vote, while the two leading Democrats — Jaha Howard and Jen Jordan — carved up the Democratic support. That helped them finish atop the field, even though Republicans narrowly outvoted Democrats overall.

McKoon’s measure would establish party primaries in special elections rather than employing the wide-open races that state law now requires. He called Tuesday’s results “an injustice to the citizens of this state to be denied fair representation.”

The State Committee on Compensation has recommended pay raises for state legislators.

State lawmakers would receive $12,000 raises in 2019 under a proposal by a compensation committee that is also recommending that statewide elected officials and the House speaker see their pay bumped up by $20,000 to $43,000.

The latest compensation committee recommended that legislative pay rise to $29,908. The lieutenant governor, who serves as president of the Senate, would be paid $135,000, rather than the current $91,000.

Ralston is not running for higher office. He, or whoever is speaker in 2019, would see the pay jump from $99,000 to $135,000. Probably just as importantly, the panel recommended the person holding the post be allowed to receive a pension from the State Retirement System.

Other statewide elected officials would receive raises of between about $20,000 and $26,000. The state attorney general’s salary, for instance, would rise from $139,000 to $165,611. The secretary of state’s pay would go to $147,128 from $123,637.

State Rep. Emory Dunahoo (R-Gainesville) writes in favor of religious liberty legislation.

We are being sold a bill of goods that says we must go along in order to compete; we have to be friendly to draw these corporations to provide jobs, we must grow as a state economically and can’t commit economic suicide. Many people in Georgia like our values the way they are and wish them to stay this way.

We are allowing small groups of people in our society to overrule the majority. Why is it that if a conservative statement is made that it is intolerant and if an opposing statement is made it is called the right to free speech? Why are there so many double standards? Where has common sense gone? People find offense in every form, where will it end?

Our founding fathers limited religion in government not because they were opposed to religion but because they didn’t want any one religion to come into power over another religion. After all, that was why they left the Church of England, not because they were agnostics. I truly believe they never thought we would not be a Christian nation and could have never envisioned the path we are currently traveling down.

Judas sold his soul for 30 pieces of silver for what he thought was right. God help us if we make the same mistake.

 The Hall County Board of Tax Assessors is suing the County Board of Equalization over 16 assessments made this year.

The Savannah Morning News reports that this year’s baby snakes are now out in the area.

For those passionate about snakes, discovering a brood of newborn pit vipers is the Holy Grail. A few years ago, while conducting a gopher tortoise survey on a remote part of Fort Stewart, I noticed some colorful, rubbery-appearing objects coiled on saw palmetto fronds 2 to 4 feet off the ground. I had stumbled into a litter of timber rattlesnakes.

I hollered to my tortoise survey colleagues, “Watch your step, these are brand-new; Mom has to be close.”

Sure enough, as the little vipers began dropping from their palmetto perches like so many fanged grenades (upon hitting the ground they slithered, all eight of them, into an old armadillo burrow) one of my colleagues spotted her. She was on the ground, one big step to my right, well-hidden under hanging fronds, curled tight as rattlers are wont to do.

I’m so glad I didn’t read that until after returning from a short trip to Coastal Georgia.

Brunswick officials considering creation of a Tax Allocation District are up against an approaching deadline.

The tax allocation district proposed for the city’s historic core, its waterfront and Gloucester Street and U.S Highway 17 corridors must be approved by the county commission and school board by the end of the year, if they choose to participate.

City commissioners approved the plan Oct. 4. The county commission and school board will vote on the matter Nov. 21 and Dec. 12, respectively.

At stake is whether or not the school board and county commission will contribute future incremental tax growth from properties within the district.

The school board heard about the proposal in October and is still considering the issue, said board spokesman Jim Weidhaas last week.

County commissioners will hear about the proposal at a work session later this month, County Manager Alan Ours said.

Cobb County Commissioners will consider fee increases at their Tuesday meeting.

Smyrna voters will choose between city council candidates Travis Lindley and Maryline Blackburn in a December 5 runoff.

Lindley picked up nearly 32.2 percent of the vote, but below the 50 percent threshold needed to avoid the runoff. Blackburn garnered nearly 28.8 percent of the vote in the five-person race.

Albany Commission Ward 2 incumbent Bobby Coleman meets challenger Matt Fuller in a runoff election.

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 10, 2017

Georgia and American History

Today we celebrate the birth of the United States Marine Corps, which traces its lineage to the Continental Marines, formed by a resolution adopted by the Second Continental Congress on November 10, 1775. Here, former Georgia Governor and United States Senator Zell Miller tells of his decision to join the Marine Corps and the change it made in his life.

The first twenty-three cadets at Virginia Military Institute began their service on November 11, 1839.

On November 12, 1889, the University of Georgia was opened to white female students.

On November 11, 1918, word reached Georgia that an armistice was signed between the Allies and Germany, ending World War One. Georgia Governor Hugh Dorsery declared a state holiday. Armistice Day, marking the end of World War I, was first celebrated on November 11, 1919 and is celebrated on November 11th every year. In 1945, the idea was put forth to expand Armistice Day to honor all veterans and in 1954, Congress made the change to “Veterans Day” official.

The Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery was dedicated on November 11, 1921.

On Armistice Day, in the presence of President Harding and other government, military, and international dignitaries, the unknown soldier was buried with highest honors beside the Memorial Amphitheater. As the soldier was lowered to his final resting place, a two-inch layer of soil brought from France was placed below his coffin so that he might rest forever atop the earth on which he died.

The Tomb of the Unknowns is considered the most hallowed grave at Arlington Cemetery, America’s most sacred military cemetery. The tombstone itself, designed by sculptor Thomas Hudson Jones, was not completed until 1932, when it was unveiled bearing the description “Here Rests in Honored Glory an American Soldier Known but to God.” The World War I unknown was later joined by the unidentified remains of soldiers from America’s other major 20th century wars and the tomb was put under permanent guard by special military sentinels.

A monument to Nancy Hart was dedicated in Hartwell, in Hart County, Georgia, on November 10, 1931. Hart was an active Patriot in the American Revolution.

On November 10, 1934, two years after his election as President, FDR made his 28th trip to Georgia.

In 1938, Congress recognized November 11th as Armistice Day, making it a legal holiday, and in 1954, at the urging of veterans, Congress renamed the holiday “Veterans Day.”

On November 11, 1942, the draft age was lowered to 18 and raised to 37. At the time, African-Americans were excluded from the draft over concerns about a racially-diverse military.

United States Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-Moultrie) was born on November 10, 1943. Chambliss was elected to Congress in 1994 as part of the “Republican Revolution” led by Newt Gingrich.

The iron ore freighter SS Edmund Fitzgerald sunk in a winter storm on Lake Superior on November 10, 1975.

The “General Lee” first left the ground, using a ramp to clear a police car, during filming of “The Dukes of Hazzard” on November 11, 1978.

Ronald Reagan became the first President of the United States to address the Japanese Diet in Tokyo on November 11, 1983.

On November 11, 1988, the Georgia Vietnam Memorial was dedicated in front of the Sloppy Floyd state government building across the street from the Georgia State Capitol.

On November 11, 1997, a monument to Georgia’s World War I veterans was dedicated, also in front of the Sloppy Floyd building.

On November 11, 2013, the Atlanta Braves announced they would move from downtown Atlanta to Cobb County.

Former State School Superintendent Linda Schrenko was indicted by federal prosecutors on November 10, 2004 on eighteen counts.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal signed an Executive Order authorizing the demolition of the Georgia Dome.

We’ll be back Monday morning with the latest Georgia Political news, but are truncating our coverage today for reasons I’ll explain on Monday. I hope you all have a great weekend and take a moment to be thankful for our veterans, find a celebration to attend in their honor, or just tell a veteran in your life that you love them.