Raffensperger wins nomination for Secretary of State

Election, Election 2018

Blue Ridge, Ga. – Brad Raffensperger has defeated David Belle Isle in the July Runoff Election.

Raffensperger and Belle Isle vied for the Republican nomination to seek the seat of Georgia Secretary of State. The Secretary of State seat is open with no incumbent as current Secretary of State Brian Kemp moves forward in the gubernatorial race.

With all 159 counties reporting, Raffensperger was able to receive 61.76 percent of the vote while Belle Isle fell short only receiving 38.24 percent.

Raffensperger will move forward to the November General Election where he will face Democratic nominee John Barrow.

 

 

 

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Duncan wins tightest race in July Runoff

Election, Election 2018

Blue Ridge, Ga. – Geoff Duncan narrowly beats out David Shafer in the July Runoff Election.

In what was by far the closest race to take place during the runoff, Duncan beat out Shaffer by a mere 1672 votes. In some precincts across the state this race showed wins by a margin of only 2 votes.

Duncan and Shafer vied for the Republican nomination to seek the seat of Georgia Lt. Governor. The Lt. Governor seat is open with no incumbent as current Lt. Governor Casey Cagle chose to throw his name in the hat for the Republican nomination in the gubernatorial race.

With all 159 counties reporting, Duncan was able to receive 50.15 percent of the vote while Shafer fell short receiving 49.85 percent.

Duncan will move forward to the November General Election where he will face Democratic nominee Sarah Riggs Amico.

Interview with Candidate for GA Secretary of State, Josh McKoon

Politics, State & National

GA State Senator, (R) Josh McKoon, has announced he will be running for Secretary of State in the upcoming election. In his interview this morning McKoon states that one of his primary focuses will be to safeguard the state’s future elections. He believes that because the voting machines are due to be replaced soon that if up to him he would consider going back to the optical scan type of voting machines rather than the electronic ones used now. This would lessen the chances of malfunctions, data issues and hacking abilities. Senator McKoon, if elected would like to work more with small business owners and individuals with aspirations of starting their own company. Lastly McKoon states if elected, he would like to implement an open online database where the tax payers can go to this site and see exactly how their tax money is being spent.

Josh McKoon 5/31/16

GMFTO

BKP talks with Senator Josh McKoon about Atlanta’s Super Bowl and the NFL.

Author

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal to Veto HB 757 “Religious Liberty Bill”

News

Transcript: Deal HB 757 remarks

March 28, 2016

The following is a complete transcript of Gov. Nathan Deal’s remarks regarding HB 757, delievered at a news conference on March 28, 2016.

The decision surrounding HB 757 has generated more intense feelings that most legislation, perhaps because it has highlighted the concerns of many in our religious communities regarding the actions of federal courts, especially the United States Supreme Court in its 5-4 opinion last summer which legalized same sex marriage. (Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. ____(2015)).

HB 757 enumerates certain actions that religious leaders, faith-based organizations and people of faith shall not be required to take or perform. These include solemnizing a marriage, attending such marriages, hiring church personnel or renting church property when such acts would be contrary to their sincerely held religious beliefs. While most people would agree that government should not force such actions, there has not been a single instance of such taking place in Georgia. If there has been any case of this type in our state it has not been called to my attention. The examples being cited by the proponents of this bill have occurred in other states that have very different laws than Georgia.

One example that is used is the photographer in New Mexico who refused to photograph a same sex marriage (Elane Photography, LLC v. Willock, 309 P. 3d53 (2013)).  That state has a Religious Freedom Restoration Act, but it was not applicable. It was the New Mexico Human Rights Act that determined the results in that case. Georgia does not have a Human Rights Act.

The second case that is cited is that of the bakery in Colorado that refused to bake a wedding cake for a same sex couple. There the court ruling was based on Colorado’s Public Accommodation Act which prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation (Craig v. Masterpiece Cakeshop, Inc. ____ P 3d_(2015)). Georgia does not have a Public Accommodation Act.

Therefore, as I have examined the protections this bill seeks to provide to religious organizations and people of faith I can find no examples that any of the things this bill seeks to protect us against have ever occurred in Georgia. It is also apparent that the cases being cited from other states occurred because those state had passed statutes that specifically protected their citizens from adverse actions based on their sexual orientation. Georgia has no such statutes.

HB 757 appeared in several forms during the recent session of the Georgia General Assembly. I had no objection to the “Pastor Protection Act” that was passed by the House of Representatives. The other versions of the bill, however, contained language that could give rise to state-sanctioned discrimination. I did have problems with that and made my concerns known as did many other individuals and organizations, including some within the faith based community.

I appreciate the efforts of the General Assembly to address these concerns and my actions today in no way disparage their motivations on those who support this bill, Their efforts to purge this bill of any possibility that it will allow or encourage discrimination illustrates how difficult it is to legislate on something that is best left to the broad protections of the First Amendment of the United State Constitution. That may be why our Founding Fathers did not attempt to list in detail the circumstances that religious liberty embraced. Instead, they adopted what the late Supreme Court Justice Scalia referred to as “negative protection.” That is, rather than telling government what it can do regarding religion, they told government what it could not do, namely, “establish a religion or interfere with the free exercise thereof.” They had previously proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence that Man’s Creator had endowed all men “with certain unalienable rights,” including “Liberty” which embraces religious liberty. They made it clear that those liberties were given by God and not by man’s government. Therefore, it was unnecessary to enumerate in statute or constitution what those liberties included.

In light of our history, I find it ironic that today some in the religious community feel it necessary to ask government to confer upon them certain rights and protections. If indeed our religious liberty is conferred by God and not by man-made government, we should need the “hands-off” admonition of the First Amendment to our Constitution. When legislative bodies attempt to do otherwise, the inclusions and omissions in their statutes can lead to discrimination, even though it may be unintentional. That is too great a risk to take.

Some of those in the religious community who support this bill have resorted to insults that question my moral convictions and my character. Some within the business community who oppose this bill have resorted to threats of withdrawing jobs from our state. I do not respond well to insults or threats. The people of Georgia deserve a leader who will made sound judgments based on solid reasons that are not inflamed by emotion. That is what I intend to do.

As I’ve said before, I do not think we have to discriminate against anyone to protect the faith-based community in Georgia of which my family and I are a part of for all of our lives. Our actions on HB 757 are not just about protecting the faith-based community or providing a business-friendly climate for job growth in Georgia. This is about the character of our State and the character of its people. Georgia is a welcoming state filled with warm, friendly and loving people. Our cities and countryside are populated with people who worship God in a myriad of ways and in very diverse settings. Our people work side-by-side without regard to the color of our skin, or the religion we adhere to. We are working to make life better for our families and our communities. That is the character of Georgia. I intend to do my part to keep it that way.

For that reason, I will veto HB 757.

 

 

Will Governor Nathan Deal Sign HB 757 “Free Exercise Protection” Religious Freedom / Pastor Protection?

News

Senator Steve Henson Democratic Leader District 41. Henson said the bill allows for discrimination and it’s the wrong message for Georgia to send the world.

(Scroll to the bottom to read the entire amended Bill)

On the afternoon of March 16th, Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives David Ralston (R – Blue Ridge, District 7) did what many of his critics said he would never do, allow a religious freedom bill to come to the floor for a vote.

 

The original sponsor of HB 757 “The Pastor Protection Act’ now known as the “Free Exercise Protection Act” Kevin Tanner (R – Dawsonville District 9) presented the amended version of the bill to the House for a vote.

 

Randy Nix (R – LaGrange District 69) and Allen Peake (R – Macon District 141) spoke in support of the bill as they shared with the House they have gay family members.

 

The original version of HB 757 passed the House with unanimous support from both parties but the Democrats did not show the same support for the amended version.

 

Karla Drenner (D – Avondale Estates District 85) said that if she would have known she was going to vote on this bill when she left the house this morning she would have worn a black suit, “The Bill is a license to discriminate.”

Taylor Bennett (D – Brookhaven District 80) shared that his mom is gay and has been married to her partner since 2014.

Stacy Abrams (D – Atlanta District 89) “Bill makes it lawful to discriminate.”

After House debate closed, the bill passed 104-65 and was sent to the Senate.

When Senate Democrats unsuccessfully attempted three amendments to the bill, Kirk gave a brief description of the bill before the vote.

The Senate passed the bill 37-18.

Senator Josh McKoon (R – District 29) released the following statement “After three years of speeches, meetings, town halls, debates, amendments and forums — many miles on the highways and byways of this state — final passage at last of a REAL religious freedom bill. Thank you to all who have been on this journey with us.”

 

The bill now ends up on Governor Nathan Deal’s desk. Will the governor accept the bill as a good compromise or feel it discriminates and will cause economic backlash against the state?

house

Free Exercise Protection Act Adopted in the house 3/16/2016 Ayes 104 Nays 65

Senator Vincent Fort Democratic Whip District 39. We will be endorsing a boycott of the state.

Senator Harold V. Jones II District 22 Democrat. What day and time did you become a heterosexual person? God made you that way. God made someone gay there is no difference. What difference does any of it make. There is nothing wrong with liking someone the same sex. This is not a proud day in the state of Georgia.

Senator Greg Kirk District 13 Republican. Sponsor of the First Amendment Defense Act. Kirk said this is a great compromise and encouraged the Senate to pass the House amended version of HB 757.

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