Category Archives: Georgia Politics

Brewers ‘settle’ beer issue in GA

southeast-beer-laws

Notice anything odd about Georgia’s beer laws compared to its neighbors? 

Settling is in quotes for a reason. After getting royally screwed by a confusing and rather silly piece of legislation last year, craft brewers in Georgia were screwed far worse when the state Department of Revenue issued new guidelines late last year that effectively rendered the new law moot.

The issue at hand? Whether breweries can directly sell beer to customers, eschewing the ironclad three-tier system that’s run Georgia since the repeal of prohibition in the 1930s. Rather than direct sales to customers, allowed in 46 other states, the legislation passed last year required brewers to sell tours at varying prices. “Tours” would include a small amount of beer to drink on premises and up to 72 ounces to take home. However, the Dept. of Revenue put the kibosh on that when they issued new rules last year, telling brewers they couldn’t have variable prices for tours. One set price. Anything else was against the law.

Brewers were rightfully outraged and this year, the Georgia Craft Brewers Guild threatened to file new legislation that could upend Georgia’s three-tier system and possibly allow direct sales to customers. Distributors were furious, legislators were likely nervous they would lose hefty campaign contributions from distributors if they supported such legislation, and therefore a compromise was worked out. Brewers could once again go back to the strange tour system set up in last year’s SB 63.

Hardly a victory.

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Filed under Georgia News, Georgia Politics, News, Policy, Politics, State Policy, Uncategorized

Proposed fireworks regs in GA a bit much

fireworks-file1

During the 2015 session of the Georgia General Assembly, lawmakers finally legalized fireworks. Not sparklers, which had long been allowed in Georgia, but legitimate fireworks. Bottle rockets, mortars, and other fun explosives would finally be sold and taxed in Georgia, ending necessary pilgrimages into neighboring states to buy fireworks. What thrilled many Georgians who enjoy risking their fingers, faces, and other body parts to lit fireworks on Independence Day and New Years upset Georgians across the state, who didn’t welcome the new law with open ears or eyes.

Since every single Georgian obeyed the previous ban on fireworks and never once launched a bottle rocket, lit a firecracker, or watched a mortar light up the night sky, many were shocked, outraged, and very upset by the noise caused by fireworks on July 4th–along with the days immediately before and after America’s birthday. Calls were launched to strongly regulate–or ban–fireworks, because dogs, children, and the sensitive ears of adults were hurt by this new, foreign sound.

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Michelle Nunn, Jason Carter hope to rechart the course of Georgia politics. – The Washington Post

Michelle Nunn, Jason Carter hope to rechart the course of Georgia politics. – The Washington Post.

Awesome piece in today’s Washington Post focusing on Michelle Nunn,  Jason Carter, and the future of Democratic politics in Georgia. A must-read this morning.

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Filed under Elections, Georgia Politics, Politics, State Elections

Is Georgia soon-to-be blue? | MSNBC

Is Georgia soon-to-be blue? | MSNBC.

Great clip from last night’s “All In with Chris Hayes”.

Georgia’s turning blue faster than anyone thinks, despite rhetoric to the contrary. Georgians of all stripes are sick and tired of getting left behind. If you’re interested in learning about Georgia’s new Moral Monday, feel free to check out their Facebook page for more info.

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Filed under Elections, Georgia News, Georgia Politics, News, Policy, Politics, State Elections, State Policy

Stop worrying and love the stadium: Braves to Cobb a done deal

Look, I’m not a huge fan of the idea that the Atlanta Braves are going to call the suburbs home starting in 2017. While stadiums are notoriously bad at spurring economic growth in surrounding areas, several cities have had great luck developing the area around ballparks and making it a great place to hang out. Colorado and Cincinnati are just two examples to cities and teams making a commitment to downtown areas and bringing growth along with them.

The Braves just couldn’t get it in Atlanta, so they’re moving. The debate has moved away from Cobb vs. Atlanta and turned into a battle between the pro-business Chamber of Commerce types against the anti-tax, cleaner government types (another strange alliance between the Tea Party and Sierra Club). They have a legitimate beef with the county over with how quickly Cobb moved to sign, seal, and deliver the land to the Braves, and made their views known at a series of quickly organized town hall events held last night. (If you’re looking for a great analysis of the Mountain View town hall, check out Blog For Democracy’s play-by-play)

While I admire the efforts of anti-stadium groups, they’re coming up short and they know it. Much like Common Cause Georgia’s attempts to derail the new Georgia Dome, efforts by groups in Cobb are coming too little too late, and that’s exactly how Cobb Commission Chairman Tim Lee and the Braves wanted it.

They kept the stadium deal a secret, dropped a bombshell on metro-Atlanta and Lee scheduled a vote on the issue just two weeks after the Braves’ announcement that they were moving to Cobb.

Wham, bam, thank you ma’am.

It’s a done deal and everyone knows it. Lee’s going to get his votes tonight and the memorandum of understanding will be signed, and an RFP for the development will be submitted thereafter. It’s happening; the Braves are moving to Cobb County in 2017. We better get used to the idea.

Sure, we could argue that Cobb tax dollars should be used for schools, infrastructure improvements, and other needs, but this is a county who’s eschewed from spending money in those areas in recent years. I guess from a glass half-full perspective, at least they’re going to spend money on something major.

Pro-Braves groups argue that millions of dollars in SPLOST revenues will benefit Cobb schools following the stadium’s construction, which is all well and good, but what does the school system do in the intervening years?

There are boundless questions that require answers and sadly, we’re going to get most of them after it’s guaranteed that the Braves are moving to Cobb County. No one needs to go quietly into the night and accept defeat, but Tim Lee, his business cronies, and the Braves developed on hell of a deal, behind closed doors, and for good reason. They knew the anti-tax, anti-growth tea party types in Cobb County would balk at the deal.

Cobb didn’t exactly let the anti-Braves groups have their day in court (they took public comment on the stadium out of the equation) but press conferences, and solitary town hall meetings are about all those groups are ultimately going to get.

Opposition will still be there, long after tonight’s vote is recorded and well into the construction phase of this project. However, the hyperbole and “I hate the Braves” mentality will fade. We’ll all funnel into the new park in 2017, throw money at the Braves, and hopefully celebrate something more than a division title.

 

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Filed under Braves, Georgia News, Georgia Politics, News, Opinion, Politics, Sports

Phil Gingrey’s top staffers resign campaign | Political Insider | www.ajc.com

Via Jim Galloway from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, it appears that Congressman Phil Gingrey (R-GA)’s U.S. Senate campaign might in some hat water.

The link below has the details, but the gist of it is this: top staffers are resigning and we’re still 6+ months from the primary. Ouch.

Phil Gingrey’s top staffers resign campaign | Political Insider | www.ajc.com.

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Filed under Elections, Georgia News, Georgia Politics, National Elections, News, Politics, State Elections

AJC: Funding plan for stadium revealed

Courtesy of the AJC, here are all the fun and exciting funding details for the Braves’ new Cobb County ballpark.

Cobb Commission Chair Tim Lee expects a unanimous vote on Nov. 26, when the issue is presented to the entire Cobb County Commission. We shall see…

Funding plan for stadium revealed.

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