On February 20, 1792, President George Washington signed the Postal Service Act, creating the United States Postal Service.
The act allowed for newspapers to be included in mail deliveries and made it illegal for postal officials to open anyone’s mail.
On February 20, 1970, Georgia ratified the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, guaranteeing women the right to vote.The Amendment states:
Section 1. The right of the citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Seriously. 1970. Luckily ratification occurred when Tennessee approved adoption of the Amendment on April 18, 1920.
Interestingly, the only case in which the United States Supreme Court has addressed the Nineteenth Amendment arose in Georgia. Breedlove v. Suttles was a suit brought in Fulton County Superior Court concerning the poll tax. Here’s an excerpt:
The tax being upon persons, women may be exempted on the basis of special considerations to which they are naturally entitled. In view of burdens necessarily borne by them for the preservation of the race, the state reasonably may exempt them from poll taxes.
The laws of Georgia declare the husband to be the head of the family and the wife to be subject to him. To subject her to the levy would be to add to his burden. Moreover, Georgia poll taxes are laid to raise money for educational purposes, and it is the father’s duty to provide for education of the children. Discrimination in favor of all women being permissible, appellant may not complain because the tax is laid only upon some or object to registration of women without payment of taxes for previous years.
Privilege of voting is not derived from the United States, but is conferred by the state and, save as restrained by the Fifteenth and Nineteenth Amendments and other provisions of the Federal Constitution, the state may condition suffrage as it deems appropriate.
It is fanciful to suggest that the Georgia law is a mere disguise under which to deny or abridge the right of men to vote on account of their sex. The challenged enactment is not repugnant to the Nineteenth Amendment.
Bless their hearts.
On February 20, 1974, Reg Murphy, an editor for The Atlanta Constitution was kidnapped and held until managing editor G. James Minter delivered $700,000 in ransom. I’m not sure if they’d pay 700 cents to get any employee back nowadays.
Governor Nathan Deal, Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, Speaker Ralston and others will hold a press conference today in the North Wing of the State Capitol at Noon to discuss changes to tax code legislation.Continue Reading..
On February 19, 1807, Aaron Burr was arrested in the Mississippi Territory, in what is now Alabama. Burr had served as Vice President during the first term of President Thomas Jefferson, leaving the administration after the 1804 election; later Jefferson issued a warrant accusing Burr of treason.
On Febrary 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, authorizing the military to remove from military areas any people whose exclusion was “necessary or desirable.” By June 1942, more than 110,000 Japanese Americans had been interned in concentration camps in the western United States.
Union College in New York may have discovered a sample of hair from George Washington. From the Augusta Chronicle:
While college officials can’t say for sure it’s the real deal, the historical evidence is there. The hair was discovered in a pocket-sized almanac for the year 1793 that belonged to Philip J. Schuyler, son of General Philip Schuyler, who served under Washington during the Revolutionary War and founded Union College in 1795.
Susan Holloway Scott, an independent scholar and author, said locks of hair were frequently given as gifts during Washington’s day and it’s likely Martha Washington gave the snip of her husband’s hair to Eliza Schuyler, daughter of the general and wife of Alexander Hamilton.
Eliza passed it on to her son, James A. Hamilton, as noted by the handwriting on the envelope: “from James A. Hamilton given him by his mother, Aug. 10, 1871.”
Georgia flu deaths are now up to 79 this season, according to Georgia Health News.
That total easily surpasses the 58 deaths the state reported in 2009, the first year that all flu deaths were required to be reported to Georgia Public Health.
The Department of Public Health on Friday also reported 165 hospitalizations in the eight-county metro Atlanta area during the week of Feb. 4 through Feb. 10. That’s the highest number of flu hospitalizations reported this season.
Three of four children who died had not received the flu shot, the CDC’s acting director said.
About half of the children who died had underlying medical conditions that made them more vulnerable to severe complications from the flu, and 60 percent had been admitted to the hospital before they died, WebMD reported Thursday.
CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund said Friday that flu activity is still high, but it did not increase significantly over the past week.
“While this may mean that we’ve peaked, we won’t know until know more until we see the data for the coming weeks,” Nordlund said.
Former First Lady Rosalyn Carter is recovering from surgery at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.
The Georgia General Assembly will convene for Legislative Day 23 at 10 AM on Tuesday, February 20, 2018. The House Public Safety Committee will meet at 1 PM today in Room 606 of the Coverdell Legislative Office Building.Continue Reading..
My name is Lou, and I was once surrendered to PAWS when my previous owner could no longer care for me, but since then I’ve bounced around a few homes and have landed back here at PAWS. I love a good walk and affection from my humans. I have been through some obedience training classes and I know sit, down, and stay. I get along with adults and some male dogs. I would rather not live in a home with young children; for some reason, they really frighten me and I don’t always have the best response. I also don’t life to share my food, so please give me my own space so I can enjoy my dinner alone.
On February 17, 1739, Thomas Jones wrote to the Georgia Trustees in London of the appalling conditions in Savannah.
“The profanation of the Lord’s Day. When at church in the time of divine service, can hear continual firing of guns by people that are shooting at some game, others carrying burdens on wheelbarrows by the church door.
“The uncommon lewdness practiced by many and gloried in.
“The negligence of officers in permitting several in this town to retail rum and strong liquors, unlicensed, who have no other visible way of livelihood, where servants resort and are encouraged to rob their masters… .
“I need not mention profane swearing and drunkenness, which are not so common here as in some other places, and few are notorious therein, besides Mr. Baliff Parker, who I have seen wallow in the mire….
The Georgia legislature, on February 17, 1783, passed legislation granting land to veterans of Georgia militia who served during the Revolutionary War.
On February 17, 1784, the Georgia legislature passed a bill to increase an earlier formula for settling the state, allotting 200 acres to each head of a family, plus 50 acres for each family member (including up to 10 slaves) up to a maximum of 1000 acres.
Thomas Jefferson was elected Third President of the United States on February 17, 1801. The election was deadlocked for three months between Jefferson and his running-mate Aaron Burr.
On November 4 , the national election was held. When the electoral votes were counted, the Democratic-Federalists emerged with a decisive victory, with Jefferson and Burr each earning 73 votes to Adams’ 65 votes and Pinckney’s 64 votes. John Jay, the governor of New York, received 1 vote.
Because Jefferson and Burr had tied, the election went to the House of Representatives, which began voting on the issue on February 11, 1801. What at first seemed but an electoral technicality–handing Jefferson victory over his running mate–developed into a major constitutional crisis when Federalists in the lame-duck Congress threw their support behind Burr. Jefferson needed a majority of nine states to win, but in the first ballot had only eight states, with Burr winning six states and Maryland and Virginia. Finally, on February 17, a small group of Federalists reasoned that the peaceful transfer of power required that the majority party have its choice as president and voted in Jefferson’s favor. The 35th ballot gave Jefferson victory with 10 votes. Burr received four votes and two states voted blank.
On February 17, 1820, the United States Senate passed the Missouri Compromise to govern the admission of new states as either slave-holding or not.
On February 17, 1854, Georgia Governor Herschel Johnson signed legislation by the Georgia General Assembly placing on the ballot for the next generation the question of whether to move the state capital from Milledgeville to Atlanta.
Alexander Stephens, who was born in Crawfordville, Taliaferro County, Georgia, was inaugurated as Vice President of the Confederate States of America on February 18, 1861. Stephens graduated from Franklin College, later known as the University of Georgia, and served in the Georgia legislature. Stephens opposed Georgia’s secession. One year later, Georgia’s delegation to the Confederate Congress, numbering ten members, was sworn in.
Ina Dillard was born on February 18, 1868 in Oglethorpe County Georgia. She married Richard Russell, who served on the Georgia Court of Appeals and as Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court. Their son, Richard B. Russell, Jr., would be elected to the Georgia House of Representatives, where he served as Speaker and became the youngest Governor of Georgia in the 20th Century. In 1932 he ran for United States Senate and was elected.
In 1936, Russell was elected to his first full term in the Senate over former Governor Eugene Talmadge. In 1952, Russell ran for the Democratic nomination for President and he was an early mentor for Lyndon B. Johnson, who later served as President. Russell served on the Warren Commission that investigated the assassination of President Kennedy.
Russell served as Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee for many years. Russell was an acknowledged leader within the Senate, and especially among Southern members, and he led much of the opposition to civil rights legislation and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
On February 16, 1923, Howard Carter and his archaeology party entered the burial chamber of King Tutankhamen.
The steps led to an ancient sealed doorway bearing the name Tutankhamen. When Carter and Lord Carnarvon entered the tomb’s interior chambers on November 26, they were thrilled to find it virtually intact, with its treasures untouched after more than 3,000 years. The men began exploring the four rooms of the tomb, and on February 16, 1923, under the watchful eyes of a number of important officials, Carter opened the door to the last chamber.
Inside lay a sarcophagus with three coffins nested inside one another. The last coffin, made of solid gold, contained the mummified body of King Tut. Among the riches found in the tomb–golden shrines, jewelry, statues, a chariot, weapons, clothing–the perfectly preserved mummy was the most valuable, as it was the first one ever to be discovered. Despite rumors that a curse would befall anyone who disturbed the tomb, its treasures were carefully catalogued, removed and included in a famous traveling exhibition called the “Treasures of Tutankhamen.”
On February 16, 1948, the United States Air Force renamed Robins Air Field to Robins Air Force Base. Robins AFB and the City of Warner Robins are named for Air Force General Augustine Warner Robins.
On February 19, 1953, Governor Herman Talmadge signed legislation creating the Georgia State Literature Commission to investigate and refer for prosecution anyone selling obscene materials. In 2014, the Washington Post wrote about the State Literature Commission.
Georgia created the nation’s first censorship board.
The vote was unanimous. The Georgia State Assembly approved House Bill 247 on Feb. 19, 1953, with no dissent, establishing the Georgia Literature Commission. Despite being born into controversy, it lived on for 20 years surviving legal and legislative challenges until the administration of then-Gov. Jimmy Carter defanged it, setting off its slow death.
After years of support, then-Gov. Jimmy Carter cut the commission’s annual appropriation by about 20 percent in 1971, while simultaneously fighting a public battle against pornography. His administration then implemented zero-based budgeting, in which each governmental organization had to justify itself, which had become increasingly hard to do for the commission.
Fidel Castro was sworn-in as Prime Minister of Cuba on February 16, 1959.
On February 16, 1968, Speaker of the Alabama House of Representative Rankin Fite placed the first 911 call from Haleyville City Hall to Congressman Tom Bevill at the Haleyville police station.
The first portrait of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to hang in the state capitol was unveiled on March 17, 1974 and was replaced in 2006 by the current portrait.
Buttons is an adorable girl who is super playful! She loves running with her friends in the fenced yard, chasing after toys and hanging out after a hard day’s play. She has a gorgeous black coat with a unique white pattern that extends down her chest to her belly and even onto her front leg. At 17 weeks old (DOB: 9/21/17), she is 28 pounds. Buttons is perfectly crate trained – does not potty in her crate at all, does not whine and does not tear up her big fluffy bed and toys in there. She is super friendly, learns quickly and just a great dog. Buttons learned “sit” and “down” with 5 minutes of training! She is healthy and is ready for her forever home now.
Godiva is out of a litter of 4 puppies who were saved from a kill shelter. They were originally found by animal control on the side of the road in a box labeled with their breed and age. They had ringworm and some other issues but we got them healthy and they are all doing great now. At 3.5 months old (DOB: 10/16/17), Godiva is 19 pounds. She is a gorgeous pup with a beautiful chocolate coat and a great personality. Godiva is friendly, adores people and seeks out attention. She learns quickly and currently does her business in a potty box but prefers to go outside.
Godiva gets along well with other dogs and is used to going outside in a fenced yard to play with all her litter mates. We do not have any cats but she should do fine with them if introduced as a puppy. Godiva is a typical playful puppy and enjoys running, playing with toys and quiet time with her human parents at the end of a long hard day. Fully vetted, Godiva is now looking for her perfect inside forever home. Could that be you? Her wish list includes a house of her very own, a big bed (or can she sleep with you?) and a fenced yard for interactive play time. She would also prefer a parent who is retired or works from home so that she can get the attention and training a puppy requires.
Whitney is a adorable, precious puppy! She is super sweet, friendly and loves everyone! She was rescued out of a kill shelter and soon became ill from the deadly parvovirus. She is a strong girl, survived the battle and is completely happy and healthy now. At 3.5 months old (DOB: 10/12/17), she is currently 16 pounds. She gets along well with other dogs and should be fine with cats when introduced as a puppy. She is used to going out into a fenced yard for play time and does well. She is crate trained and uses a potty box but prefers to do her business outside.
Being a typical puppy, Whitney loves playing with toys, running with her friends and snoozing by your leg when she is tired from a long day. Whitney is a “low rider” and has adorable shorter legs. We adore Whitney’s sweet but playful personality and want to find her the best home. She is healthy, fully vetted and ready for her inside forever home now. Her wish list includes a home of her very own with a fenced yard for play time, a soft bed for nite-nite and parents who will give her all the attention she deserves. Parents who are retired or work from home would be a plus as puppies require a lot of training, socialization and love to be well adjusted. Does that sound like you?
On February 15, 1796, Georgia Governor Jared Irwin and legislators gathered with a crowd for the burning of the “Yazoo Act.”
On February 15, 1898, the battleship U.S.S. Maine exploded in Havana harbor, Cuba.
On February 15, 2011, Georgia Congressman John Lewis was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work in the civil rights movement.
Governor Nathan Deal has ordered flags to half-staff on Friday, February 16, 2016 at the State Capitol and in Henry County to honor the late Locust Grove Police officer Chase Maddox. The Memorial Service will be held Saturday.
On February 14, 1956, the Georgia General Assembly passed legislation calling for the protection, cleaning and maintenance, and display of historic Confederate flags at the State Capitol.
On February 14, 1958, the Georgia General Assembly passed a resolution purporting to censure President Dwight D. Eisenhower for using National Guard troops in the integration of schools in Little Rock, Arkansas.
On February 14, 1977, the B-52s played their first gig at a Valentine’s Day party in Athens.
Later that year, the group began making regular runs in the Wilson family station wagon up to New York City for gigs at seminal New Wave clubs like Max’s Kansas City and CBGB’s. With Kate and Cindy in their mile-high beehive wigs and 60s thrift-shop best, and Fred looking like a gay, demented golf pro, the B-52s made an immediate impression on the New York scene, and their independently produced single, “Rock Lobster,” became an underground smash.
The B-52s are still in business three decades later, minus Ricky Wilson, who died of AIDS in 1985. Significantly, their success is widely credited for establishing the viability of the Athens, Georgia, music scene, which would produce many minor successes and one massive one—R.E.M.—in the years immediately following the breakthrough of the B-52′s.
On February 14, 2012, we published the first edition of the GaPundit daily political news, featuring dogs. We originally thought that the dogs would be temporary until enough people complained about them that we felt the need to go to once a week. We were surprised that the adoptable dogs have become the signature of GaPundit’s otherwise-political offerings and our greatest success.
He said his priorities will be to make sure the community and South Georgia are given the same priority as the rest of the state.
LaHood stated he would “preserve our conservative South Georgia values. As a Christian, I will not apologize for my faith, and I will never back down from protecting our values.”
He would “protect taxpayers by using my business experience to bring a results-driven approach to state government.”
“Improve rural health care and health-care outcomes by pushing Georgia-focused, conservative reforms based in the private sector and protect and support Georgia’s aging population with more choices and a stronger workforce of qualified caregivers.”
“Stand strong for our farmers.”
The bill addresses the state revenue projections resulting from the Federal Tax Act while mirroring its 10-year timeframe.
The legislation would allow Georgia taxpayers to take the increased standard deduction at the federal level while providing flexibility to take either standard or itemized deductions at the state level. Another component would enhance personal exemptions by 25 percent.
“This legislation provides more flexibility and fairness to Georgians to decide what’s best for their families,” said Deal. “It will allow taxpayers to take full advantage of federal reforms while ensuring the fiscal health of our state long-term. This legislation will keep more hard-earned money in Georgians’ pockets and is an important step forward in modernizing state law to conform with federal reforms.”
Now, with the governor’s office estimating that Georgians will pay an additional $4.7 billion in state taxes cumulatively over the next five years, lawmakers are debating what to do with the extra funds.
Deal introduced legislation Tuesday that would allow filers who take the standard deduction at the federal level to itemize deductions at the state level, which is currently prohibited in Georgia. This would let Georgians take advantage of a major increase in the federal standard deduction without being forced to take the state standard deduction, which is relatively low. Deal’s proposal also calls for increasing the state personal exemption by 25 percent.
“It will mean the state is not collecting as much money from them as it would have been had we not made these changes,” Gov. Nathan Deal told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday.
Administration officials said their bill would cut the estimated windfall by 75 percent over five years and all but eliminate it this year.
Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who is running this year to replace the retiring Deal, said, “I look forward to reviewing Governor Deal’s proposal and working with him to give hardworking Georgia families the tax cut they deserve.
“Ultimately, I’m committed to moving forward with comprehensive tax reform that will — at a minimum — return every surplus dollar collected back to Georgia taxpayers.”
“My criteria have been, let’s make sure we don’t jeopardize state revenue by getting carried away (with tax cuts) because there is going to be a windfall,” Deal said. “Let’s do it in a very select way, let’s make sure the benefits we convey in a tax reform are benefits we can sustain over a long period of time.”
Both chambers of the General Assembly convene at 10 AM today for Legislative Day 21.
LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE MEETING SCHEDULE
8:30 AM SENATE VETERANS, MILITARY & HOMELAND SECURITY 310 CLOB
9:00 AM HOUSE RULES 341 CAP
Upon Adjournment SENATE RULES450 CAP
1:00 PM SENATE PUBLIC SAFETY MEZZ 1
1:00 PM INSURANCE AND LABOR 310 CLOB
1:00 PM House Reeves Sub Judy (Non Civil) 132 CAP
1:00 PM HOUSE Education Sub Academic Support 415 CLOB
1:00 PM HOUSE State Govt Admin Subc Govtal Affairs 406 CLOB
1:00 PM HOUSE AGRICULTURE & CONSUMER AFFAIRS 403 CAP
2:00 PM DOT ELECTIONS -DISTRICT 10 SENATE CHAMBER
2:00 PM SENATE TRANSPORTATION 310 CLOB
2:00 PM HOUSE APPROP HIGHER ED 341 CAP
2:00 PM House Ways & Means Income Tax Sub 133 CAP
2:00 PM House Kelley Sub Judy (Civil) 403 CAP
2:00 PM HOUSE BUDGET AND FISCAL AFFAIRS OVERSIGHT 506 CLOB
2:00 PM HOUSE RETIREMENT 515 CLOB
2:15 PM HOUSE GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS 406 CLOB
3:00 PM SENATE FINANCE MEZZ 1
3:00 PM SENATE EDUCATION & YOUTH 450 CAP
3:00 PM HOUSE PUBLIC SAFETY 606 CLOB
3:00 PM House Setzler Sub Judy (Non Civil) 132 CAP
3:00 PM House Ways & Means Sub Public Finance and Policy 133 CAP
4:00 PM SENATE JUDY SUB COMMITTEE B 307 CLOB
4:00 PM DOT ELECTIONS -DISTRICT 9 SENATE CHAMBER
4:00 PM DOT ELECTIONS- DISTRICT 14 SENATE CHAMBER
4:00 PM House Fleming Sub Judy (Civil) 132 CAP
4:00 PM HOUSE APPROP PUBLIC SAFETY 406 CLOB
SENATE RULES CALENDAR
SB 107 – Ethics in Government; filing campaign financial disclosure reports; additional date prior to general primary; revise the dates (Substitute) (ETHICS-40th)
SB 248 – Life Insurance; life insurers’ requirement to review the National Association of Insurance Commissioners life insurance policy locator; provide (Substitute) (I&L-16th)
SB 348 – Technical College System of Georgia; powers of arrest of campus policemen who are regular employees; revise (PUB SAF-7th)
SB 367 – Payment of Indemnification for Death or Disability; option of payment to an estate in the case of death; law enforcement officer; firefighter; emergency medical technician, emergency management specialist, state highway employee or prison guard; provide (PUB SAF-13th)
SB 368 – Criminal Justice Coordinating Council; functions and authority; add (PUB SAF-13th)
SB 369 – Revenues Collected from Fines and Fees; payments to Peace Officers’ Annuity and Benefit Fund; fees collected in criminal and quasi-criminal cases prior to adjudication of guilt; provide (Substitute) (PUB SAF-13th)
SB 366 – Local Government; counties and municipal corporations to perform wage and compensation studies for employees of sheriff’s office; require
HOUSE RULES CALENDAR
HR 898 Joint Study Committee on the Establishment of a State Accreditation Process; create (Ed-Coleman-97th)
Modified Open Rule
HB 190 – Domestic relations; marriage articles and antenuptial agreements; change provisions (Substitute)(Judy-Hanson-80th)
HB 740 – Education; local school system to conduct certain screenings, assessments, and reviews prior to expelling a student; require (Substitute)(Ed-Nix-69th)
Modified Structured Rule
HB 767 – State government; verification of lawful presence that may be utilized in conjunction with electronic filing of an application for unemployment insurance; provide (I&L-Werkheiser-157th)
HB 789 – Labor and industrial relations; marketplace contractors to be treated as independent contractors under state and local laws; provisions (Substitute)(I&L-Fleming-121st)
HB 800 – Workers’ compensation; eligibility for appointment as director emeritus and administrative law judge emeritus; change certain provisions (I&L-Bonner-72nd)
HB 302 – Ad valorem tax; property; change certain requirements to notice pertaining to millage rate adoption (Substitute)(W&M-Nix-69th)
HB 749 – Income tax; retirement income is applicable as a retirement benefit from noncivilian service in the United States armed forces; clarify an exemption (Substitute)(W&M-Blackmon-146th)
HR 158 – General Assembly; provide for dedication of revenues derived from fees or other taxes to the public purpose for which such fees or other taxes were imposed; authorize – CA (Substitute)(W&M-Powell-171st)
Senators voted 38-18 in favor of Senate Bill 17, which would allow on-premise consumption to begin at 11 a.m. on Sundays. Off-premise sales, such as those at supermarkets, would remain illegal until 12:30 p.m. on Sundays.
The bill was revised by the Senate Committee on Regulated Industries and brought to the Senate floor on Tuesday as a substitute bill. The original legislation also included grocery stores in the establishments that would be allowed to sell alcohol beginning at 11 a.m. on Sundays.
Republican Sen. Jeff Mullis, of Chickamauga, said he is personally against expanding alcohol sales but is in favor of the bill because it gives local communities the ability to decide whether or not to allow earlier sales.
“If this ever came to Chickamauga, … I would want my constituents to have the right to vote,” Mullis said. “I support the right to the ballot.”
State Sen. Renee Unterman, R-Buford, said the legislation was a compromise made to appease opponents of the bill, including several who object to any expanded access to alcohol.
“The bill has been simplified and it’s had a lot of media attention, but I think everybody understands what they’re voting on,” Unterman said in brief remarks before the vote.
Unterman said she introduced Senate Bill 17 to let private businesses do what the state-owned Georgia World Congress Center already does, which is serve alcohol at its facilities on Sunday mornings.
State Rep. Meagan Hanson, R-Brookhaven, said while she is pleased the measure cleared the Senate, representatives still need to decide whether they’re comfortable with the time sales are permitted being later than originally proposed. Hanson will help steer the bill through the House this year.
House Bill 769 would take several steps, including easing the creation of ‘’micro-hospitals,’’ with 24/7 care and a small number of beds, to replace full-scale hospitals that close.
It also would allow grants to help rural physicians afford medical malpractice insurance, as an incentive to practice in rural areas; permit remote pharmacy prescription orders from outside of Georgia; and require training of rural hospital board and authority members.
The legislation, sponsored by state Rep. Rick Jasperse, a Jasper Republican, would also raise the rural tax credit for donations to rural hospitals from 90 percent to 100 percent.
The rural health bill is not a silver bullet, Jasperse said after the approval by the committee. “It’s a piece of a puzzle that would help stabilize rural hospitals.”
State Rep. Kevin Tanner (R-Dawsonville), who Chairs the House Transportation Committee, introduced House Bill 930, which would coordinate transit development and funding across the Metro Atlanta region.
With the introduction of HB 930, there are now two bills that seek to revamp transit oversight and funding in metro Atlanta. The Senate is considering similar legislation.
Both bills would create a new regional board to oversee transit planning in 13 metro Atlanta counties: Cherokee, Clayton, Coweta, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Paulding and Rockdale.
The bills would allow the counties to impose sales taxes for transit projects, if their voters approve them. The regional board would have to approve the project lists for any county transit referendum. But the taxes raised in any county would be spent only in that county.
State funds for a region-wide public transit system would come from two sources. One being a new, 1 percent sales tax on goods and services at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and Savannah’s International Airport and a 50-cent fee on each ride in a taxi, Uber or Lyft.
Rep. Kevin Tanner, R-Dawnsonville, helped write the bill. He said it would let the 13 counties in the metro Atlanta region create their own 30-year special purpose sales taxes for transit.
The bill would also create a single governing body to handle planning. It would work with counties to decide how the state and local funding is spent.
The bill would create a new board — dubbed Atlanta-region Transit Link, or “ATL” — to oversee transit planning in the 13-county metro Atlanta area. The transit-related sales taxes raised in any county would only be spent in that community, but the board would have to sign off on local project lists.
“This is not about forcing counties to take MARTA,” Tanner, a Republican from Dawsonville, said.
Maggie Lee of the Macon Telegraph writes about legislative attempts to curb opioid abuse:
In a rough 48 hours last June, Macon emergency rooms admitted more than a dozen people who had swallowed apparently fake Percocets.
“It’s not just an Atlanta problem, it’s a problem in middle Georgia,” said state Sen. Larry Walker III, R-Perry. “It’s ruining lives and killing people and probably driving up our crime.”
Renee Unterman has met countless people with stories of addiction. The state Senator’s name has been on many of the bricks in the legal wall that’s supposed to protect Georgians from the flood of strong opioids.
She looked up to the second floor of the Senate chamber, where the guests sit, as she presented Senate Bill 352 earlier this month. “I dedicate this bill to two mothers,” she said, looking toward Kathi Abraham and Lisa Manning, mothers whose sons Joseph and Dustin died of suspected opioid overdoses on the same day last year. The families lived in the same subdivision, just four streets apart.
“We have people peddling lethal substances,” said Unterman, R-Buford.
[Senator Larry] Walker is carrying another incremental bill, another one of the bricks in the wall Georgia is trying to put up between opioids and addiction. Georgia health care providers are supposed to log opioid prescriptions in a database, so that they can see if patients are getting a lot of prescriptions. His bill would allow law enforcement from other states look in the database, if they have a search warrant. It’s meant to remove state borders in investigation of possible criminal cases.
Former State Rep. Valerie Clark (R-Gwinnett) announced she will make a comeback bid after losing her 2016 reelection, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.
Clark, a Republican, held the House District 101 seat for three terms but was defeated by Rep. Sam Park, D-Lawrenceville, in 2016. The election is expected to pit Clark and Park against each other in a rematch of the 2016 election, which Park won by 460 votes.
“I authored legislation to protect patients in hospitals and to make it easier for seniors to age in place,” Clark said in a statement. “I also fought tirelessly to pass legislation to reduce the production of methamphetamine from prescription drugs.”