Author: Todd Rehm

Morning Reads for Wednesday, February 22, 2012 the “Save a Yellow Dog” edition

I like writing “Morning Reads” so much that even when someone else handles them over here, I publish my own version at and will begin emailing them out every morning around 7 AM. If you want to receive the emails and help save adoptable dogs, head on over and sign up. Everything below is in today’s edition, plus a little lagniappe.

Rhoda is a one-year old yellow dog who weighs 40 pounds. Unfortunately, she is heartworm positive, so there will be an added expense for prospective adopters for the meds required to de-worm her. She is available now from Walton County Animal Control.

Speaking of yellow dogs, Daniel Fullerton still needs a kidney and it’s still incredibly expensive to pay for the transplant surgery and the ensuing lifetime supply of immune-suppressive drugs. You can make a tax-deductible donation here.

Governor Nathan Deal is considering exercising his power to suspend an automatic gas tax increase, which kicks in when the price of gas increases by 25 cents or more. Deal has previously exercised this power last summer. Read more

Three-way campaign for Gwinnett County Commission District Three

Former Snellville Mayor Jerry Oberholtzer has announced that he will run for the District 3 seat on the Gwinnett County Commission currently held by Republican Mike Beaudreau, who has announced his reelection campaign. Mike Korom of Dacula announced for the seat in December. This has  great potential to become a contentious spirited race with lots of discussion of why that other guy sucks the issues.

[UPDATED] I asked Commissioner Beaudreau if he cared to respond, and when he sent me something, I added it below.

District 3 covers the eastern portion of Gwinnett County, from the southern tip of the County, through Snellville, Loganville, Centerville, Duluth, Dacula and Grayson up to the northeastern tip of the County in Braselton.

Oberholtzer’s announcement contains the following quotes:

“Dishonest land deals, unbid sweetheart contracts, airport proposals that ruin neighborhoods and grand jury investigations have resulted in a disconnect and a loss of faith in government,” continued Oberholtzer, “These are tough economic times and just saying NO to everything, like Mike Beaudreau has done for eight years, isn’t working. Being negative drives away business and pours a cold bucket of water on progress and job growth. I’ll work to make Gwinnett the most business friendly county in Georgia.”

Read more

Gov. Deal announces new Caterpillar plant, 1400 jobs in Oconee and Clarke counties

Governor Deal’s announcement that Caterpillar will locate a new manufacturing plant in Oconee County underscores the importance of improvements in Savannah River access to the Port of Savannah.

“The Athens site was selected from among dozens of locations considered due to its proximity to major ports, a strong regional base of potential suppliers, a positive and pro-active business climate and a good pool of potential employees with manufacturing experience,” [Caterpillar’s Building Construction Products Division (BCP) President] Bell added.

From the press release:

Global manufacturer announces it will locate U.S. factory in Clarke and Oconee counties

Gov. Nathan Deal and Doug Oberhelman, Chairman and CEO of Caterpillar Inc., announced today at the Capitol that Caterpillar will locate a new manufacturing facility in Clarke and Oconee counties. The new facility will be part of Caterpillar’s Building Construction Products Division (BCP), and when fully operational will have about 1,400 employees and a total investment in Georgia of $200 million.

“This is an extraordinary day for our entire state, and a game-changer for Clarke, Oconee and surrounding counties throughout northeast Georgia,” said Deal. “The excitement and promise of today’s announcement are why we’re fighting so hard to make Georgia the No. 1 place in the nation to do business. Caterpillar will find a happy home here, and our state’s logistics, workforce, speed and efficiency will give the company an edge in the global marketplace. We appreciate Caterpillar’s confidence in Georgia’s workforce and continued investment in our state through this new BCP operation.”

Caterpillar will locate its new one-million-square-foot facility on more than 250 acres of a prominent industrial site, commonly known as the “Orkin Site,” that spans Clarke and Oconee counties.

“I am thrilled to be in Georgia today to announce that this site near Athens will be the location of Caterpillar’s newest production facility in the United States,” said Oberhelman.

Read more

Rep. Howard Mosby says “show the people of this state that you believe in local control” then urges vote against local control

In the debate over House Bill 626, which gives voters in unicorporated DeKalb an opportunity to vote later this year to incorporate as the City of Brookhaven Ashford Brookhaven, Rep. Howard Mosby (D-Atlanta), the Chairman of the DeKalb County Delegation gave an impassioned speech about the imporance of local control:

“What has DeKalb County done to deserve this? For the last six years we’ve been down here fighting some local issue that our local delegation should be dealing with.”

“Why is DeKalb County here today? And I kinda got a theory on this. And I believe that we are down here today for one simple reason: it’s politics. It’s politics. Our county is run by Democrats. The delegation is run by Democrats. And some people don’t want to deal with Democrats.”

“I have a problem with the fact that we are debating policy that is going to affect the lives of the citizens in our county and we’re here because I’m a Democrat. This is not your issue, this is my issue. I understand your colleague has put you in this position, to allow you, or to have you vote on an issue that only affects my community. But it is my community.”

Read more

Morning Reads for Friday, February 17, 2012 “Don’t tase me, bro!” edition

Today’s adoptable dog is “Rose” at the Walton County Animal Shelter. She came into the shelter with “Ruby” and it appears they are sisters; both are 4-5 month old retriever mix puppies who weighs about 20#, and are dewormed and current on their vaccinations. Walton County’s adoption fee is $40. Peach Pundit commenters have offered to pony up either the adoption fee or a donation in that amount the the charity of choice of anyone who adopts either or both of these dogs. A rescue group has indicated a willingness to foster them, but will needs a volunteer to transport them from Walton County to Cobb County. Rose and Ruby are available for adoption beginning today.

Georgia has released a State Logistics Plan detailing its priorities for developing our state freight network. At the top of the list is the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project. Improving interstate highway exchanges at Atlanta, Macon and Savannah, and interstate bypasses at Chattanooga and between Macon and LaGrange are also listed. Upgrades to I-75 between Atlanta and Macon and relieving rail bottlenecks will also improve our freight movement and help bring jobs to Georgia.

Marilyn Watts, a member of the Fayette County Elections Board is being criticized by County Commissioner Steve Brown, who alleges that Watts is participating in the Newt Gingrich campaign more heavily than is appropriate for a board member; Watts denies that her activities cross the line. Georgia law prohibits election board members from

“engaging in any political activity,” [a spokesman for the Secretary of State’s office] said. But the ban appears to be limited to the time when the person is conducting the duties of his or her office.

Fayette has a more rigid set of guidelines that explicitly prevent elections board members from participating in political activities.

AJC’s PolitiFact Georgia rates the Romney-supporting SuperPAC ad that accuses Gingrich of supporting China’s one-child policy a “pants on fire.”

Georgia Tax Freedom Day is April 3 this year, ranking 37th in the nation.

The Technology Association of Georgia held “High Tech Day” at the Capitol yesterday as its member executives visited the legislature to advocate for legislation it says will enhance Georgia’s ability to attract jobs in that sector.

House Bill 636 by State Rep. Mike Jacobs (R-Brookhaven Ashford Brookhaven) and Rep. Tom Taylor (R-Dunwoody), the City of Brookhaven bill, moves the the House floor for a vote on passage today. At Jacobs’s Town Hall Meeting last night, Taylor pleaded with Jacobs, “Don’t tase me, bro!” This marks the first time Jacobs has ever been called “bro” by anyone.

Sen. Lester Jackson (D-Savannah) has introduced legislation to raise the age at which kids can drop out of school to 17 from the current age of 16.

Sen. William Ligon (R-Brunswick) has introduced SB 332, which would increase government reporting on the use of SPLOST funds, including projected maintenance costs, excess money and funds allocated but not yet spent.

House Bill 397, sponsored by Rep. Jay Powell (R-Camilla) and supported by Attorney General Sam Olens, will strengthen and clarify state Open Meetings and Open Records laws and increase maximum fines for violations.

Sen. Fran Millar (R- Pronounced “Miller”) has introduced a resolution for a state constitutional amendment on charter schools, which is identical to the House measure that narrowly failed to attract a two-thirds majority in its first vote.

State Rep. Doug McKillip (DR-Ostensibly) was grilled by the Democratic women on the House Judiciary Committee about his fetal pain bill. Rep. Nikki Randall (D-Macon) said “You don’t have the plumbing to even feel this, I think it’s just terribly unfair to force this on someone.”

For those of you who can’t get enough of the slow-motion car wreck that is DeKalb’s school board redistricting, Martha Dalton has more at WABE.

The Judicial Qualification Commission is currently investigating six to eight state judges, according to its executive director.

Maggie Lee presents the complex issues related to moving Georgia toward greater reliance on sales taxes as increasingly, sales move to online vendors who may or may not collect and remit the tax.

The Saporta Report has two pieces on nuclear energy in Georgia. Tom Baxter opines that traditional reliance on coal for electrical generation and last week’s approval of Vogtle 3 & 4 by the NRC make Georgia “Ground Zero for energy and environmental issues.” Let’s hope that headline was an unfortunate choice and not a prediction of nuclear disaster. David Pendered sees the rise of renewable energy if Senate Bill 401 passes to allow greater flexibility in financing alternative power.

Lori Brady is the first candidate to announce for the Chatham County Commission District 6 seat being vacated by incumbent David Gellatly.

Porsche‘s next vehicle will be a compact SUV named the Macan.

Today’s Morning Reads hat tips to Bridget Cantrell and Maggie Lee.

Governor Deal signs HB 675 on Nursing Education

Updated: a couple of corrections have been brought to my attention. First, Secretary of State Brian Kemp was working on the issue of drafting legislation to allow the state nursing licensing agency to recognize military nursing schools well before the media jumped on the story. Second, the drafting error that resulted in this was not part of the

House Bill 675 was conceived after before news reports of the inability of Sergeant Beth Linderborg and other military-trained nurses to receive nursing licenses in Georgia. Sgt. Linderborg was trained as a nurse during her career in the United States Army and was licensed in three other states. A 2009 bill  aimed to prevent holders of online “diploma mill” nursing credentials from being licensed also inadvertantly prevented the state licensing agency’s recognition of military training for nurses.

From the Press Release:

Gov. Nathan Deal today signed legislation to amend a state law that inadvertently excluded some military-trained nurses from a license to practice in Georgia.

HB 675 revises the definition of “approved nursing education programs” for registered professional nurses and licensed practical nurses. Through the passage and signing of this bill, around 150 nursing professionals will now be eligible for employment in Georgia. The bill passed the General Assembly unanimously.

“With the current shortage of healthcare professionals in our state, this bill will provide more opportunity for highly qualified nurses to practice here,” said Deal. “Legislation sometimes has unintended consequences, and no one ever wanted to prevent these professionals from working in Georgia.

Read more

Everyone skipping CNN debate in Atlanta, including CNN

With Mitt Romney and Ron Paul not attending, and Santorum a possible no-show, CNN pulled the plug on the Atlanta debate.

Updated by Charlie: Georgia GOP Chairman Sue Everhart’s statement:

“On behalf ofRepublicans across Georgia and our friends in the Ohio Republican Party, I am deeply disappointed in today’s developments regarding the 2012 Super Tuesday Republican Presidential Debate. The decision of Governor Romney, Senator Santorum and Congressman Paul to forego an opportunity to address our state’s Republican primary voters, as well as voters across the nation, in a debate just days before Super Tuesday is truly disheartening. The efforts that Republican grassroots activists put in day after day should not go unrecognized, and it is my sincere hope that the candidates will reconsider this opportunity to speak directly to the driving force behind all that our Party will continue to accomplish.”

“With 76 Delegates – the fourth-largest GOP delegation in the nation – Georgia’s voice will be heard louder than ever on March 6th when Republican voters in the Peach State, Ohio and eight other states will take to the polls to place their vote for the next Republican President of the United States. I wish each of the candidates the best of luck moving forward, and trust that our Party’s eventual nominee will not overlook Georgia’s two-million plus Republican voters before the general election.”

Updated by Todd to replace some spaces that were left out.

State Rep. Sean Jerguson seeking reelection in HD 21

From the press release:

HOLLY SPRINGS — Representative Sean Jerguson, conservative member of the State House, officially announced today his campaign for re-election to State House District 21.

The new State House District 21 includes Holly Springs, Hickory Flat, Bridgemill and the Arnold Mill and Hwy 140 corridors respectfully.  The newly redrawn district is very similar to Representative Jergusons current district, HD 22, although the number has changed.

“Too much is at stake, our conservative values need a leader that will stand bold in the face of opposition.  I have a track record of standing up for small business and our family values.  As your State Representative, I have used my experience to deliver conservative reforms to cut government spending, lower taxes, and get our families back to work.  The task is not complete, there is much to be done,” stated Jerguson who has spent his childhood & adult life, raised his children, and opened up several small successful businesses in this area of Cherokee County.

Read more

Morning Reads for Thursday, February 16, 2012

[UPDATED] The adoption fee for this puppy is covered if any of our readers want to adopt her.

Today’s adoptable dog is “Ruby” at the Walton County Animal Shelter. She is a 4-5 month old retriever mix puppy who weighs about 20#, and is dewormed and current on her vaccinations. Walton County’s adoption fee is $40 and I’ll pay $10 to anyone who adopts her and then lets me know or donate it to the charity of your choice. Maybe some of our commenters will chip in too.

More than 2000 Georgians are expected to visit our State Capitol today for Disability Day, coordinated by the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities. Governor Nathan Deal will address the rally for the second year in a row. Also speaking will be Mark Perriello, president and CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and former White House Liaison at the U.S. Department of the Interior, as well as the Rev. Dr. Gerald L. Durley, Pastor of the historic Providence Missionary Baptist Church of Atlanta and a recent inductee into the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame for his contributions during the 1960s civil rights movement.

The Georgia Senate Judiciary Committee passed SB 127 by Sen. Bill Hamrick (R-Carrollton) with a do pass recommendation. The bill, which will make its next appearance in the Senate Rules Committee, is part of a comprehensive rewrite that joins House Bill 641 by Rep. Wendell Willard (R- Get Off My Lawn), Rep. Ed Lindsey (R-Simpson) and Rep. Stacey Abrams (D-Atlanta). These bills are the result of a six-year process that included stakeholders at all levels. Among the stated goals of the legislation are to

•    Enhance public safety
•    Help abused and neglected children transition from foster  care to successful adulthood
•    Prohibit using juvenile jails and prisons for children who have not committed a crime
•    Promote accountability in juvenile court proceedings
•    Protect millions  in federal funding by ensuring compliance with federal laws on abused, neglected and other at-risk children

The Newt Gingrich campaign will be putting on a substantial show in the weeks leading up to our March 6th Presidential Primary. On Saturday, Herman Cain will join Gingrich for a Cobb County Rally at 3 PM, and at precinct meetings in Gwinnett and Forsyth counties. Friday night, Gingrich will be in Peachtree City for a rally at 7:30 PM. Callista Gingrich will attend a meet and greet following the GOP precinct meeting in House District 54 at Peachtree Pres. Gingrich is also looking at a return to Carrollton to visit West Georgia College the University of West Georgia. Augusta is feeling left out.

Rick Santorum has announced he is buying ad time in Georgia in the runup to Super Tuesday and will speak at a “Faith and Family” Rally at First Redeemer Church in Cumming at 6:30 p.m. Sunday. The SuperPAC supporting Mitt Romney has bought ad time.

In news to no one, Georgia’s Republican Primary electorate is overwhelmingly white, conservative and evangelical. Twenty-seven percent identify with the Tea Party movement.

The AJC reports that Georgia State’s Rialto Center for the Arts is the likely venue for the March 1 Presidential debate.

The state Board of Education has released a report suggesting that charter school graduation rates are similar to those at traditional public schools. Currently, 162 charter schools serve more than 98,000 students.

Rep. Mike Jacobs (R-There’s No Such Place as Ashford) is holding a Town Hall Meeting at 7 PM tonight in the Talmage Room of Oglethorpe University’s Student Center. Among the topics will be renaming the City of Ashford Brookhaven. NOTE: IF YOU ARE NOT A RESIDENT OF DISTRICT 80 AND HAVE NOT BEEN INVITED TO SPEAK, YOU WILL NOT BE HANDED THE MICROPHONE EVEN IF YOU ARE A STATE REPRESENTATIVE!

Georgia had the fourth-highest foreclosure rate in the nation last month, while tax revenue grew slightly in January.

Gwinnett County Commission Chair Charlotte Nash delivered the State of the County speech on Wednesday and the Gwinnett Daily Post has comprehensive coverage. At the time of this writing, an online poll showed interesting results with 40% of respondents optimistic that the new chairman is making a difference, and 20% cautiously optimistic that the county is making strides but economy isn’t cooperating. Forty percent were pessimistic, seeing a new chairman but the same old problems.

State Rep. B.J. Pak (R-Lilburn) has proposed a version of “Caylee’s Law” to require parents or guardians to report a child’s disappearance or death in a timely manner. Some Georgians have questioned the wisdom of criminalizing parental behavior that falls short of abuse or neglect, while Rep. Buzz Brockway (R-Scheming to Kill Jobs and Steal Your Right to Vote in Runoff Elections) has previously noted that sensational media cases don’t always lead to great lawmaking. I consider the latter to be a corollary to the law school dictum that “hard cases make bad law.”

The Senate Redistricting Committee has passed a new plan for the State House, tweaking districts in Hall and Carroll counties.

Carroll County is considering implementing the next step in the rise of SkyNet as the Board of Education will vote today on whether to equip school buses with external video cameras.

Hall County voters will pass on two questions related to Sunday sales of packaged alcohol and of liquor by the drink in the March 6th election. Voters in the City of Atlanta will be asked to extend a SPLOST for water and sewer system upgrades that is estimated to bring in more than $400 million. Two taxes on the ballot in Atlanta may make things trickier for TSPLOST advocates unless they change the date.

U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu visited Georgia yesterday to tour the construction at Plant Vogtle‘s reactor units 3 and 4.

“The choice for our country is clear: We can make these technologies today or import them tomorrow,” the Nobel laureate physicist told work­ers and guests after a tour of the construction site of units 3 and 4.

If you click through to the full story, the place where he’s standing is where I had my picture made a couple weeks ago. It’s pretty cool.

Camden County is considering acquiring a bankrupt mill site for potential development into a third ocean port. Located only three miles upstream of a 48-foot deep shipping channel, with no bridges and with large-scale utilities and served by the CSX railroad, it’s not as crazy as it sounds at first.

Clint Eastwood will be filming in Dawsonville next month and possibly Macon also.

Several members of the Peach Pundit staff are taking up a collection in hopes of raising enough money to pay the Georgia Democratic Party to take Rep. Doug “Flip” McKillip back in trade. So far we have twenty-seven dollars, a baseball card signed by the San Diego Chicken, half a bucket of cold fried chicken and four beers that Charlie didn’t like the taste of. Make that three beers. If we can just find a working kidney that fits Daniel Fullerton, I think we can make that deal happen! Donate today!

One of four Porsche 928s used in the filming of Risky Business is being sold. JD Powers has named Porsche the “Best European Car Brand.” One of the greatest collections of Porsche race cars will be auctioned at this year’s Amelia Island Concours.

And finally, here’s your gratuitous internet meme for the day. And just a note: if you describe what you do as “Political Operative,” the word you’re looking for is “tool.”

Snellville City Council fights because it’s Tuesday…or any other day

The Snellville City Council has a long history of the most contentious politics in metro Atlanta. Now they’ve found a new thing to fight about: the city attorney.

Four members of the City Council have expressed a lack of faith in the experience of current City Attorney Stuart Oberman, who was appointed by Mayor Kelly Kautz.

“(City) council feels that they need representation … we feel it’s necessary at this point to protect our rights and the rights of those who elected us,” said Mayor Pro Tem Tom Witts.

Councilmen Dave Emanuel and Bobby Howard and Councilwoman Diane Krause echoed Witts’ opinion.

“I’m not comfortable with some decisions that have been made (by Oberman). What’s lacking is clarity,” Howard said.

Read more

Roy Barnes knows “petty politics” when he sees it

Former Governor Roy Barnes is an expert on redistricting, having unveiled an unprecedently partisan redistricting plan more than ten years ago which divided Georgia voters, diluted their votes through the use of multi-member districts for the State House, paired GOP incumbents simply because he could, and ultimately was held unconstitutional as violating the one person, one vote principle .

In addition to these travesties, Barnes’s Senate map created a district 51 that looped across North Georgia with a thin land bridge connecting two very different populations, and which took a newspaper reporter eight hours to travel.

Why bother revisiting this history, since the GOP took over the state legislature and passed the first redistricting maps to gain Justice Department preclearance during my 20-year+ career in politics? Because the same Roy Barnes is now complaining that politics has divided his hometown of Mableton as the Cobb County delegation redistricts county commissions seats.

At issue is the Mableton area in south Cobb that would be split into two commission districts under a proposed map drawn by Reps. Rich Golick and Ed Setzler. All of Mableton is currently in the southwest district represented by Commissioner Woody Thompson. The proposed map carves the Mable House complex, including the Mable House Barnes Amphitheatre, out of Thompson’s district and places it in that of southeast Cobb Commissioner Bob Ott.

The lawmakers said they had to even out the size of the four districts after west Cobb commission districts grew faster than the east ones, and they argue that it gives Mableton more representation.

…Barnes, a Mableton native, who called the decision to divide Mableton “petty politics.”

“I think it’s a shame and disgrace that Mableton, which is the only community other than Smyrna, which has pulled itself up by its own bootstraps and is trying to redevelop and has aggressive plans to do so, now is being slapped in the face by the legislative delegation and by the commission in failing to keep Mableton together in one district,” he said.

Roy Barnes knows about petty politics and slapping voters in the face, so it must be true, right? Or perhaps its just proof that Barnes has no shame and that there is no limit to his hypocrisy.

BrookhavenYES to hold reception with Congressman Tom Price

Congressman Tom Price will be the guest at a reception for BrookhavenYES on Tuesday, February 21, 2012 from 4-6 PM at Pub 71, located at 4058 Peachtree Road in the area formerly known as Brookhaven.

Joining Congressman Price will be State Rep. Mike Jacobs (R-Ashford), Rep. Tom Taylor (R-It’s still called Dunwoody, I think), Senator Fran Millar, 6th District GDOT Board Member Brandon Beach, Mayor Mike Davis of Dunwoody, Mayor Joe Lockwood of Milton and Evan Galambos, Mayor of Sandy Springs and the Mayors of Chamblee and Johns Creek.

Morning Reads for Friday, February 10, 2012

Georgia Military College color guard

Before you do anything else today, go sign this petition or Peach Pundit may not be able to continue providing you a different perspective on Georgia politics.

Jay Bookman feels threatened by the proposed Charter School Amendment, writing that “at stake are local tax dollars generated by local taxpayers for local schools, under the supervision of locally elected school board officials. The notion that unelected state officials should be able to intercede and overrule local officials in how that money is spent is unacceptable.”

Here’s the item from Atlanta Unfiltered that we tried to link to yesterday. Writer Jim Walls matched up reimbursement records by Senator Don Balfour with lobbyist-reported expenditures and raises the question whether Balfour received mileage reimbursement on days he was out of the state. This may be a clerical mistake as reimbursement checks were once, and may still be, automatically sent to legislators along with their per diem checks for days claimed as work days outside the session.

Apparently, Marco Rubio’s speech yesterday to CPAC was a stemwinder. Here’s a link.

The State Senate passed a resolution urging the expansion of federal guest work programs to increase the supply of documented migrant labor.

State Rep. Doug McKillip had his road to Damascus moment in 2009, becoming a Christian. That’s why he now opposes abortion and has filed a bill to further restrict its availability. So it’s not political opportunism mixed with a touch of trying too hard. Good to know. I’m pretty sure this will make Amy Morton feel better.

“Rep. McKillip is a political opportunist who seems willing to say or do whatever pleases his party leadership,” Morton said. “Rep. McKillip was a liberal pro-choice Democrat, and now he seems to have not only changed his party, but his core beliefs. I don’t know how voters of either party can trust him.”

Rep. Dusty Hightower, (R-Carrollton) elected on January 3, 2012 to succeed former Rep. Tim Bearden, can relax a little bit as House Bill 829 passed the House yesterday. The bill makes some redistricting tweaks, including moving the new Rep. out of a district in which he would have been forced to run against fellow incumbent Kevin Cooke (R-Villa Rica). Hightower will run for re-election this year.

Planning a sneak attack against Tennessee, the Rep. Jay Neal (R-Upper Left Hand Corner) has introduced House Bill 400, which would exempt water drawn from the Georgia Tennessee River from the state’s prohibition on inter-basin transfers. If you’re worried that I just alerted Tennessee to our plans, calm down and remember they can’t read.

The Marietta Daily Journal notes that there has been no word on whether the Governor or Speaker support the effort to revise the TSPLOST legislation.

The Augusta Chronicle opines strongly against the Obama administration’s position on contraception and religious organizations. Georgia Liberal Politico notes that the state appears to have the same policy. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, twenty states not including Georgia exempt from similar requirements employers who object for religious reasons. I suspect a bill will be filed shortly to mirror those exemptions.

Natural gas cars may receive a boost from the legislature in the form of income tax credits for buyers and for builders of natural gas refueling stations.

An independent candidate, Roger Fitzpatrick, has announced he will seek to represent Georgia’s new Ninth Congressional District as an Independent.

Kent Kingsley has announced he will run against Congressman Lynn Westmoreland as a Republican.

Attorney General Sam Olens announced that Georgia will participate in a settlement of a lawsuit against the country’s five largest lenders over allegations of fraudulent foreclosure practices. Georgia’s share will total about $814 million.

Olens says portions of the settlement will benefit loan term modifications and allow some homeowners who are underwater to refinance. He also says it will allow a number who unfairly lost their homes to foreclosure to each receive between $1800 to $2000 dollars.

Another $104 million dollars will go to the state. Olens hopes it will be used to prevent foreclosures and prosecute financial fraud, but the ultimate decision will be up to the legislature.

The only proposal to privatize Gwinnett County’s Briscoe Field is conditioned upon adding commercial service to the airport.

Gov. Deal has appointed Timothy Walmsley to fill a vacancy on Chatham County Superior Court and Philip Raymond to Superior Court for the Macon Circuit.

Congratulations to Layla Shipman, whom the Gingrich campaign has named Northwest Georgia Field Representative.

A blue water race for tall ships means that Savannah will host at least eleven of the vessels in May.

The Georgia Prostate Cancer Coalition has announced it will ask for a commemorative car tag to raise awareness. Somebody else will have to write the punchline here.

Here’s a video giving a driver’s eye view of the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona from inside the Brumos Porsche #59 GT3 Cup car.