Political Notes — Deal schedules a budget fly-around

[private]As he did last year, Gov. Nathan Deal will hold signing ceremonies Monday for the state budget at several locations around the state.

There were no major budget controversies this year, so Deal is expected to sign the $23.7 billion spending plan with few, if any, line-item vetoes.

Last year, the governor vetoed just one budget item, $809,000 for the construction of a seawall on Hutchinson Island in Savannah.

The locales for the media fly-around are the future site of Lanier Technical College in Hall County (8:15 a.m.), the Lanier High School media center in Buford (9 a.m.), the Altama Plantation in Brunswick (1:30 p.m.), and the DOT district area office in Dalton (3:45 p.m.).

The last day for Deal to sign or veto bills is Tuesday, and the governor typically waits until that deadline before issuing the list of bills that he’s vetoed.

Peake on voting in Democratic primary

Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon) has always been a staunch Republican — he was even an officer for several years in the House Republican Caucus.

Come May 24, however, Peake says he will ask for a Democratic ballot when he votes in the primary. He explains why in an email:

On May 24, every citizen that casts a vote in Macon-Bibb will be faced with not only a choice of who do they vote for, but also, WHAT PRIMARY are they going to vote in. If you choose the Republican primary, you will NOT have a chance to vote for Sheriff or for the Tax Commissioner or for the Georgia House District seat formerly held by Nikki Randall. There are NO Republicans running in those races. In fact, there is not a single LOCAL contested election on the Republican ballot this spring. There is a race for the US Congress and Senate, but no local elections.

If you choose the Democratic primary, you will have the option to vote for Sheriff (and I’m supporting David Davis, who has done an outstanding job!), and for Tax Commissioner, an election between Wade McCord (who has been in the tax office for 20 years and done a great job as interim commissioner for the last year) and former Macon Mayor C Jack Ellis.

I can tell you that this election is crucial to the future of our community. I for one shudder at the thought of Jack Ellis in charge of $150 million dollars of our tax money!

You will also be able to choose to vote (if you live in the district) for GA House District 142 between Miriam Paris and Gerald Harvey. Miriam was instrumental in the successful consolidation of Macon-Bibb, and in my mind is the right candidate. And if you vote in the Democratic primary, you will still have the chance to vote in the Macon-Bibb non partisan races, which include Mayor, all Commissioners, the Board of Education (which has quite a few races), local Judges, and the Macon Water Authority.

Yes, it is insane that the Sheriff and Tax Commissioner are partisan elections (as well as County Clerk, District Attorney, and Solicitor General). I introduced legislation several years ago to try and change this law state wide, but was unsuccessful. Maybe it’s time to tee it up again next Session? Because why should the good folks of Macon-Bibb, and others around the state, be forced to make a choice like I’m making in order to have a say in local elections like Sheriff and Tax Commissioner. Crazy, but that’s why I’m voting in the Democratic Primary.

Another immigrants lawsuit

It’s been a busy week at the courthouse for Georgia’s immigrant communities.

First, a group of undocumented college students filed suit in Fulton County Superior Court with the intention of forcing the University System to charge them in-state tuition rates when they attend Georgia’s public colleges.

Now, another group of immigrants from Canada, India, Mexico, and Somalia has filed a federal lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Atlanta against the state’s Department of Driver Services (DDS).

This lawsuit, filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center and Atlanta attorney Justin W. Chaney, alleges that DDS is discriminating against the immigrants by refusing to issue them Georgia driver’s licenses.

Some of the plaintiffs formerly held state driver’s licenses but were denied renewals under a new policy implemented by DDS in 2015, according to the lawsuit.

“Georgia is blatantly discriminating against immigrants and violating federal law,” said Kristi Graunke of SPLC, who contended that DDS “is needlessly creating hardship for people patiently waiting for our federal immigration system to process their applications for permanent residency.”

DDS did not comment on the litigation.

© 2016 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Allen Peake , budget signing , federal lawsuit , immigrants driver's licenses , Nathan Deal , primary voting