Tag Archives: Georgia

Historic mistake: TN website claims part of Georgia

A listing of Tennessee historic sites on the new state government website includes the Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park’s headquarters at “Fort Oglethorpe, Tenn.” Actually, as the Times-Free Press observes, Fort Oglethorpe is in Georgia.

The park includes parts of Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge in Tennessee where historic Civil War battles between the North and South were fought.

In and around Fort Oglethorpe, Ga., there was a horrific fight known as the Battle of Chickamauga.

Maybe the move to annex Fort Oglethorpe represents a tit-for-tat effort on Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam’s part, an effort to punish uppity Georgia officials who have long disputed the two states’ border, especially as thirsty Atlanta and parts of North Georgia seek access to the Tennessee River.

In 2013, Georgia legislators voted to authorize a lawsuit against Tennessee over the territory. Tennessee lawmakers and Haslam thumbed their noses at them.

Georgia getting presidential candidates’ attention as ‘SEC primary’ state (along with TN, TX and VA)

By Bill Barrow, Associated Press
ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia Republicans found themselves face-to-face with three presidential hopefuls on Friday — and more are on the way, giving the state GOP hope that a new standard in presidential politics awaits as Southern states build a regional primary for 2016.

“It’s putting us on the map,” said Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, architect of what’s being dubbed the “SEC primary,” a reference to college athletics’ Southeastern Conference.

The Republican National Committee allows states to vote in caucuses or primaries as early as March 1, after the first four: Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. So far, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia have plans for that date. Alabama appears poised to join, and some Arkansas Republicans also support a March 1 date. North Carolina could end up close behind on March 8.

With a GOP field replete with established, well-financed politicians — to say nothing of super PACs that ensure tens of millions of dollars more — the second wave of primary states appears to have a genuine say in selecting a nominee and not merely follow the trend set by the early voting states.

Georgia has long been a source for presidential campaign money, mostly because of tremendous corporate and personal wealth in metro Atlanta. In 2012, the state generated $33 million in direct contributions to candidates, according to the Federal Elections Commission. But now, said Leo Smith, the state GOP’s minority engagement director, “we can actually influence national policy because these guys are coming to talk to us, to hear what we have to say.”
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Jimmy Carter: TN has been ‘dragged down’ with GA by Republicans

Former President Jimmy Carter was the speaker at a Hamilton County Democratic gathering Saturday, reports the Chattanooga Times-Free Press. His speech focused on grandson Jason Carter, who is running for governor in nearby Georgia.

Carter sported his trademark toothy grin as he talked about his grandson’s accomplishment graduating second in his law school class from the University of Georgia. Jason Carter now serves in the Georgia senate.

The elder Carter also told the crowd about how politics in Georgia affect those in Tennessee.

“Tennessee has been dragged down with Georgia,” he said, to light applause from the crowd.

The former president said that, 10 to 12 years ago Georgia was a different state under Democratic leadership. He urged those in the room to “get rid of the burden we have been carrying under Republican leadership.”

He cited the high unemployment rate, a failing educational system, and falling family incomes as major problems in the state, which he said a Democratic candidate — his grandson — could fix.

TN legislators not concerned about looming Georgia deadline for granting access to TN River water

Many Tennessee legislators are apparently unaware that they’ve been given a deadline for action on a proposal from Georgia intended to settle a boundary dispute between the two states, according to the Chattanooga Times-Free Press. And, upon learning about it, the attitude is, it seems, so what?

Georgia lawmakers say Tennessee can have the strip of land — and its 30,817 residents — provided the Volunteer State gives up an unpopulated 1.5 square miles near Dade County so a pipeline could be built to pump up to 1 billion gallons a day from Nickajack Lake to water-thirsty Atlanta.

If Tennessee doesn’t agree by the time the Georgia Assembly ends it 40-day session, then Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens is instructed to file suit in the U.S. Supreme Court, according to a resolution that Georgia lawmakers passed overwhelmingly last year.

As of Monday, the Georgia General Assembly was more than halfway through its session, and lawmakers plan to finish by March 20.

“If I were a legislator in Tennessee, I would say, ‘These people are giving us a gift. We should take it and run with it,” said state Rep. Harry Geisinger, R-Roswell, who wrote the resolution that would let Tennessee keep the disputed land in exchange for water.

“I’m a little bit surprised that Tennessee hasn’t taken some action,” he said recently.

Geisinger’s resolution made headlines last year, but it isn’t on the Tennessee General Assembly’s radar now.

“We’re clearly not too worried about it, because I haven’t heard about it,” said state House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga.

McCormick is unconcerned about the potential for a lawsuit in the U.S. Supreme Court, which settles interstate boundary disputes.

“That’s fine. They might as well go ahead,” he said. “More power to them. We’re not going to move the state line, and we’re not going to give them the Tennessee River.”

Georgia TV Interviews Haslam on Border Dispute

Atlanta TV station WXIA has interviewed Gov. Bill Haslam about Georgia’s push to revise its border with Tennessee. An excerpt:
Not surprisingly, Haslam says he likes the status quo – and has only a passing interest in Georgia’s claim to a piece of the Tennessee River.
“We’re very satisfied with the situation the way it is now for, good reason,” Haslam said.
Q: Do you think Georgia has any busines accessing the Tennessee river?
Halsam: “Well, that’s for somebody beyond my capacity. Ask that to an engineer or somebody who can answer that.”
Q: Well, surveyors say that they do.
A: Yeah. Again, it’s not an issue I spend a whole lot of time focused on.
Haslam says he’s aware that the Georgia legislature passed a resolution calling for the state to sue Tennessee to change the state line to the 35th parallel-if Georgia can’t access the river.
The resolution proposes, as a potential compromise, that Tennessee cede a one-square-mile piece of land that would give Georgia geographical access to the Tennessee River and Nickajack Lake.
This week, Georgia governor Nathan Deal said he would approach Haslam at a conference of Republican governors about negotiations.
“I think there is an opportunity to at least have a civil discussion about that issue,” Deal said.

Hat tip: TNReport, which has a video of the TV station making its video.

Georgia College Sues THEC in Billboard Advertising Squabble

ATLANTA (AP) — A private college in northwest Georgia is suing Tennessee’s higher education commission in a dispute over billboard advertising.
Berry College says in the federal lawsuit that the Tennessee agency has threatened to sue the school if it continues to advertise in that state without registering and paying fees of more than $20,000 a year.
The Rome, Ga.-based school says it competes with Tennessee colleges and has advertised on at least one billboard in the state. It depicts two students in front of a college building with Berry’s name, website and the phrase “26,000 acres of opportunity.”
The Tennessee Higher Education Commission has threatened other schools with such requirements in order to reduce competition from out-of-state institutions, Berry maintains in the lawsuit. Other schools have removed their ads over the issue rather than risk civil and criminal sanctions, the school’s lawyers say.
Scott Sloan, the Tennessee agency’s general counsel, said Tuesday that agency officials have yet to review the lawsuit and had no immediate comment.
A law that’s central to the dispute is Tennessee’s Postsecondary Education Authorization Act (PEAA), which Berry says is being improperly used to keep out-of-state schools from advertising. The act requires postsecondary educational institutions “desiring to operate” in Tennessee to apply for authorization from the state agency, which involves the fees, the lawsuit states.
The Tennessee agency, Berry maintains, “has pursued this unconstitutional enforcement of the PEAA so as to protect in-state colleges and universities from fair competition by out-of-state institutions.”
“The overall effect of the Act, then, is to tax and chill the free speech rights of Berry and other out-of-state schools as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, in addition to violating their rights under the dormant Commerce Clause,” Berry’s complaint states. “The effect of the PEAA is to unconstitutionally burden and tax the free exercise of truthful commercial speech by Berry and other out-of-state colleges and universities.”
The lawsuit was filed this week in U.S. District Court in northern Georgia.
Lawyers for the college, about 70 miles northwest of Atlanta, are asking the court to block Tennessee from imposing fees or fines or taking legal action against the school for advertising in the state.

TN Legislators Cheer Georgia Senator’s Border Stance

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee lawmakers gave rousing applause to welcome a Georgia senator who opposed a resolution calling for redrawing the border between the two states.
Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris of Collierville introduced Republican Sen. Jeff Mullis of Chickamauga, Ga., during a floor session on Wednesday.
Norris joked that Mullis was not in exile because of his position on the Georgia-Tennessee border dispute.
Republican Sen. Todd Gardenhire of Chattanooga gave Mullis a signed coffee cup of water to take back to Atlanta.
Georgia lawmakers argue that an 1818 survey misplaced what should have been the state line at 35th parallel. If Tennessee’s southern border stretched along the parallel, Georgia could take water from the Tennessee River.
The resolution calls for Georgia’s attorney general to sue if negotiations with Tennessee fail.

Georgia Can ‘Keep Its Greedy Hands’ Out of TN River Water

Tennessee House members cheered, whistled and noisily clapped Thursday as a Nashville colleague launched a verbal barrage at Georgia’s demands for access to Tennessee River water, observes Andy Sher.
“I believe that we might be the Volunteer State, but I believe in no way should we surrender any part of our state, particularly land and water we’ve possessed for nearly 200 years,” Rep. Jason Powell, D-Nashville, said in his floor speech.
“Just because another state and a specific large city in that state has not done a better job for planning and development” doesn’t mean they can poach something that belongs to Tennessee, Powell said. “As far as I’m concerned, Georgia can keep its greedy hands and its thirsty mouths away from our water.”
Replied House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga: “I believe the representative can rest easy.”
Georgia state Rep. Tom Weldon, R-Ringgold, said later Thursday that Powell was “grandstanding.”
“He probably is looking for something to prop up his notoriety,” he said.
The Georgia Legislature recently passed a resolution that seeks to negotiate with Tennessee over a small portion of land in Marion County that would let it tap the river.

Haslam, TVA Chief Shrug Off Georgia’s Bid for TN River Water

Gov. Bill Haslam and TVA’s new CEO, Bill Johnson, are indicating that Georgia’s legislative effort to move the state border and divert Tennessee River water to Atlanta is little more than time-consuming fighting words,according to the Chattanooga TFP.
Haslam, through a spokesman, said he has no interest in going along with Georgia’s latest attempt to get access to the mighty river to help slake the Peach State’s thirst for water. Georgia lawmakers are threatening to march into the U.S. Supreme Court to decide the nearly 200-year disputed state boundary issue if Tennessee won’t grant access to the river in Marion County.
“The governor will continue to protect the interests and resources of Tennessee,” Haslam spokesman David Smith said via email.
One Tennessee lawmaker, House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, was more strident.
“Well, they’ve threatened to take us to court, so I guess we’ll let the AG’s [attorney general] office take care of it and go to court with them,” said the Chattanooga Republican. “We’re not going to pass a law to give them water.”

Georgia Senator: ‘This Time We’re Serious’ About TN River Fight

From the Chattanooga TFP:
Despite nine previous resolutions that have left a 200-year-old border dispute unresolved, Georgia lawmakers want Tennessee to know this time they mean business.
In a vote Monday, Georgia senators approved House Resolution 4 with one key change: If Tennessee declines to settle, the dispute will be handed over to the attorney general, who will take Tennessee before the Supreme Court to settle the issue once and for all.
“I would hope that the Tennessee House and Senate would realize that one, we’re serious,” said Georgia state Rep. Harry Geisinger, R-Roswell, “and two, there’s no reason we shouldn’t resolve it and move on.”
Geisinger’s resolution in the House offers to relinquish 66.5 square miles of land that Georgia lawmakers claim is rightfully theirs in return for a 1.5-mile strip that would give them access to the Tennessee River at Nickajack Lake. The Peach State could build a pipeline to deliver up to 1 billion gallons of water a day to thirsty Atlanta and other parts of Georgia, Alabama and Florida.
“This resolution is a good-faith offer to settle the long-standing dispute,” said Brad Carver, an attorney for the Atlanta firm Hall Booth Smith.
Tennessee lawmakers have said Georgia has no right to Tennessee water and that they will not agree to such a resolution.