State employees and teachers paid parental leave passes General Assembly

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paid parental leave

ATLANTA – Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) and State Representative Houston Gaines (R-Athens) announced that House Bill 146 received final passage in the General Assembly today. House Bill 146 provides three weeks of paid parental leave as a new benefit to full-time state employees and teachers. This is the Georgia’s first paid parental leave benefit for state employees and teachers.

“This paid parental leave benefit speaks to our hardworking state employees and teachers and tells them that we value their contributions and the sacrifices they make to serve our citizens,” said Speaker David Ralston. “I commend Representative Gaines for taking the lead on this important initiative which demonstrates our unyielding commitment to families and giving children the best possible start in Georgia.”

This new paid parental leave benefit would provide some 245,000 state employees and teachers with three weeks of paid leave upon the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child. It applies to all employees with six months of creditable service regardless of the employee’s gender. It is limited to once in any 12-month period. This benefit does not impact the employee’s accrued leave or rights under any family medical leave policy.

“I am proud that this legislation received such overwhelming bipartisan support in the General Assembly,” said Rep. Houston Gaines. “We know this benefit will make a difference in the lives of young families across our state. This is a pro-family, pro-jobs bill that will set the right example in the nation’s #1 state for business.”

Co-sponsors of House Bill 146 included Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-Marietta), Speaker Pro Tempore Jan Jones (R-Milton), Rep. Marcus Wiedower (R-Watkinsville), Rep. Bonnie Rich (R-Suwanee), and Rep. Terry England (R-Auburn). House Bill 146 was carried in the State Senate by President Pro Tempore Butch Miller (R-Gainesville).

Speaker David Ralston announced a paid parental leave benefit for employees of the Georgia House of Representatives in July 2019. That benefit went into effect in January 2020. The State Senate implemented a similar policy at that time.

House Bill 146 now goes to Governor Brian Kemp for his consideration. More information about House Bill 146 may be found here.

LIVE: watch the Georgia Governmental Affairs Hearing

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cut taxes Georgia capitol election hearing

ATLANTA, Ga – At 9 a.m., The Georgia House of Representatives Governmental Affairs Committee convened to discuss election irregularities.

The House Governmental Affairs Committee report on the June 2020 primary election may be found here:

Chairman Blackmon’s committee has established an email for Georgians to report voting irregularities at [email protected].

Kemp still refusing to call special session, commends House’s efforts toward election reform

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ATLANTA, Ga – Georgia Governor Brian Kemp maintained his hardline stance against calling a special session of the General Assembly.

In a joint statement, Kemp and Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan declared they would not bend to party pressures. They asserted that a special session to select presidential electors isn’t allowed under federal and state law.

Read the full statement from Kemp and Duncan:

“While we understand four members of the Georgia Senate are requesting the convening of a special session of the General Assembly, doing this in order to select a separate slate of presidential electors is not an option that is allowed under state or federal law.

“State law is clear: the legislature could only direct an alternative method for choosing presidential electors if the election was not able to be held on the date set by federal law. In the 1960s, the General Assembly decided that Georgia’s presidential electors will be determined by the winner of the state’s popular vote. Any attempt by the legislature to retroactively change that process for the November 3rd election would be unconstitutional and immediately enjoined by the courts, resulting in a long legal dispute and no short-term resolution.

“The judicial system remains the only viable – and quickest – option in disputing the results of the November 3rd election in Georgia.”

However, Kemp commended Georgia House of Representatives, Speaker David Ralston (R – Blue Ridge), and House Majority Leader Jon Burns (R-Newington) for proposing reforms to the election process. The governor’s also been a strong proponent for signature verification reforms.

In a letter to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) and State Elections Board, Burns and more than 100 House members suggested improvements to the absentee ballot application and envelope signature verification process.

“Many Georgians, including my colleagues who have signed this correspondence, have serious concerns about Georgia’s elections,” said Leader Burns. “As we approach a critical election on January 5, 2021, Georgia voters must have confidence in the election process going forward. To that end, my colleagues in the House and I have submitted two common-sense suggestions to help ensure secure elections on January 5. I thank Secretary Raffensperger and the State Election Board for considering these suggestions that would rebuild some of the trust that Georgians may have lost in our election process.”

The letter called for robust verification process reforms, such as allowing independent observers to witness signature reviews. They also proposed the Secretary of State’s office partner with other state agencies.

“Multiple news outlets reported significant failures in counties across our state before, during, and after Election Day,” added Leader Burns. “These counties were rural, suburban, and metro-area and represented all demographics and areas of our state. We hope these suggestions can help Georgians rest assured that each and every legal vote is counted here in Georgia.”

Last Thursday, Trump legal team presented a witness who contended Kemp could convene a special session for this purpose. However, the move would tie the state up in legal battles. Most alleged voter fraud evidence has been rebutted by the Secretary of State’s Office. Raffensperger also opened 250 voter fraud investigations last week but claimed there’s no evidence of systemic fraud. Since Georgia effectively moved to a paper ballot system, election officials can review paper records against the Dominion system.

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger likened Trump’s tactics to Stacey Abrams (D).

He told the WSJ that the November election was “the most secure in history” and that election problems started long-before 2020. Calling out politicians and pundits who refuse to accept election results like Stacey Abrams, who “still refuses to acknowledge she lost,” Raffensperger pointed to a loss of confidence in the system.

Many Georgia GOP senators echoed a similar sentiment last Thursday during Oversight Committee and Special Judicial Subcommittee hearings. Constituents have expressed a loss of trust in the election process and an unwillingness to return to the polls.

Georgia Senate Majority Whip Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega_

“I’m going to try to build this statement based on a consensus of what I’m hearing from the people that I represent: We have totally lost confidence in our election system this year,” Senate Republican Whip Steve Gooch of Dahlonega said.   “I’m here on behalf of those citizens. I have a duty to let you know that this issue isn’t going to go away unless we make some changes.”

Later this week, the Georgia House of Representatives will hold a Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on elections.

General Primary 2020 State Election Returns

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General Primary runoff August 11 state runoff returns

NORTH GEORGIA – Find out who won in what General Primary races in the FYN coverage area from state representatives and senators to Congressional candidates. FYN will update with the unofficial winners as soon as results come in. Please remember these election returns are unofficial until certified.



State Representative District 1


Runoff Candidate: Mike Cameron – 37.07%

Runoff Candidate: John Deffenbaugh – 41.74%

Vikki Mills – 21.19%

State Representative District 2


Presumptive Winner: Steve Tarvin (Incumbent)

State Representative District 3


Presumptive Winner: Dewayne Hill (Incumbent) – 61.78%

Jeff Holcomb – 38.22%

State Representative District 4


Presumptive Winner: Kasey Carpenter (Incumbent)

State Representative District 5


Presumptive Winner: Matt Barton (Incumbent)


Presumptive Winner: Orianna Sanders

State Representative District 6


Presumptive Winner: Jason Ridley (Incumbent)

State Representative District 7


Presumptive Winner: David Ralston (Incumbent)


Presumptive Winner: Rick Day

District 8 State Representative


Presumptive Winner: Stan Gunter – 65.24%

Steve Townsend – 34.76%


Presumptive Winner: Dave Cooper – 100%

State Representative District 9


Runoff Candidate: Steve Liebel  – 20.27%

Doug Sherrill – 17.81%

Clint Smith – 8.16%

Tyler Tolin – 7.02%

Zack Tumlin – 11.89%

Runoff Candidate: Will Wade – 34.85%


Presumptive Winner: Sharon Ravert

State Representative District 10


Victor Anderson

Robert Crumley

Jimmy Dean


Presumptive Winner: Nick Mitchell

State Representative District 11


Presumptive Winner: Rick Jasperse (Incumbent) – 82.62%

Charlotte Williamson – 17.38%


Presumptive Winner: Kayla Hollifield

State Representative District 12


Presumptive Winner: Eddie Lumsden (Incumbent)


Presumptive Winner: Johnathan Gilreath-Harvey

State Representative District 13


Brad Barnes – 22.14%

Presumptive Winner: Katie Dempsey (Incumbent) – 77.86%

State Representative District 14


Presumptive Winner: Mitchell Scoggins (Incumbent)

State Representative District 16


Jennifer Hulsey – 32.90%

Presumptive Winner: Trey Kelley (Incumbent) – 67.10%


Presumptive Winner: Lyndsay Arrendale

State Representative District 17


Presumptive Winner: Martin Momtahan (Incumbent)


Presumptive Winner: Q. Dailey

State Representative District 19 


Presumptive Winner: Joseph Gullett (Incumbent)


Presumptive Winer: Alison Feliciano

State Representative District 22


Presumptive Winner: Wes Cantrell (Incumbent)


Presumptive Winner: Charles Ravenscraft

State Representative District 24


Presumptive Winner: Sheri Gilligan (Incumbent)


Presumptive Winner: Natalie Bucsko

State Representative District 25


Presumptive Winner: Todd Jones (Incumbent)


Presumptive Winner: Christa Olenczak

State Representative District 26


Presumptive Winner: Lauren McDonald


Presumptive Winner: Jason Boskey

State Representative District 27


Presumptive Winner: Lee Hawkins (Incumbent)

State Representative District 28


Presumptive Winner: Chris Erwin (Incumbent)

State Representative District 29


Presumptive Winner: Matt Dubnik (Incumbent)


Presumptive Winner: Pat Calmes

State Representative District 30


Presumptive Winner: Emory Dunahoo Jr (Incumbent)


Presumptive Winner: Leigh Miller

State Representative District 31


Presumptive Winner: Tommy Benton (Incumbent)


Presumptive Winner: Pete Fuller

State Representative District 32


Presumptive Winner: Alan Powell (Incumbent)


Presumptive Winner: Alisha Allen

State Representative District 66


Presumptive Winner: Jason Jones


Presumptive Winner: Kimberly Alexander (Incumbent)

State Representative District 67


Presumptive Winner: Micah Gravley


Presumptive Winner: Angela Mayfield

State Representative District 98


Presumptive Winner: David Clark (Incumbent)


Presumptive Winner: Taeho Cho

State Representative  District 103


Presumptive Winner: Timothy Barr (Incumbent) – 62.89%

Derrick McCollum – 31.64%

Donald Schmidt – 5.47%


Presumptive Winner: Clifton Marshall

State Representative District 117


Presumptive Winner: Houston Gaines (Incumbent)


Presumptive Winner: Jasmine Johnson


State Senate District 24


Presumptive Winner: Lee Anderson (Incumbent)

State Senate District 27


Presumptive Winner: Greg Dolezal (Incumbent)


Presumptive Winner: Brooke Griffiths

State Senate District 47


Presumptive Winner: Frank Ginn (Incumbent)


Presumptive Winner: Dawn Johnson

State Senate District 49


Presumptive Winner: Cecil T. “Butch” Miller (Incumbent)

State Senator District 50


Andy Garrison – 14.43%

Dan Gasaway – 7.23%

Runoff Candidate: Stacy Hall – 24.41%

Runoff Candidate: Bo Hatchett – 23.45%

Tricia Hise – 18.04%

Lee Moore – 12.54%


Presumptive Winner: Dee Daley

State Senator District 51


Presumptive Winner: Steve Gooch (Incumbent)


Presumptive Winner: June Krise

State Senate District 52


Presumptive Winner: Deborah Silcox (Incumbent)


Presumptive Winner: Shea Roberts

State Senate District 53


Presumptive Winner: Sheila Jones (Incumbent)

State Senate District 54


Dan McEntire – 40.41%

Presumptive Winner: Chuck Payne (Incumbent) – 59.86%

Public Service Commission District 4


Presumptive Winner: Lauren “Bubba” McDonald, Jr. (Incumbent)


Presumptive Winner: Daniel Blackman – 71.01%

John Noel – 29.99


Presumptive Winner: Nathan Wilson


Ninth District U.S. Congress


Michael Boggus – 3.20%

Paul Broun – 13.27%

Runoff Candidate: Andrew Clyde – 18.46%

Runoff Candidate: Matt Gurtler – 20.96%

Maria Strickland – 3.47%

Kevin Tanner – 15.81%

Ethan Underwood – 8.63%

Kellie Weeks – 4.57%

John Wilkinson – 11.62%


Runoff Candidate: Devin Pandy – 33.57%

Runoff Candidate: Brooke Siskin – 41.21%

Dan Wilson – 25.23%

14th District U.S. Congress


John Barge – 8.50%

Ben Bullock – 3.80%

Kevin Cooke – 6.52%

Runoff Candidate: John Cowan – 18.65%

Clayton Fuller – 7.23%

Runoff Candidate: Marjorie Greene – 41.34%

Andy Gunther – 1.17%

Bill Hembree – 6.81%

Matt Laughridge – 5.99%


Presumptive Winner: Kevin Van Ausdal

United States Senate – Perdue Seat


Presumptive Winner: David Perdue (Incumbent)


Sarah Riggs Amico – 13.30%

Marc Keith DeJesus – 4.68%

James Knox – 5.08%

Tricia Carpenter McCracken – 3.39%

Runoff Candidate: Jon Ossoff – 48.96%

Maya Dillard Smith – 10.32%

Runoff Candidate: Teresa Pike Tomlinson – 14.76%


Shane Hazel

Presidential Primary


Donald Trump (Incumbent) – 100%


Joe Biden – 83.44%

Run-off elections will be held on August 11 if needed. The General Election is scheduled for November 3 as well as the jungle primary for Senator Kelly Loeffler’s seat.

See the entire state’s election returns on the Secretary of State’s website.

General Assembly suspends the 2020 legislative session

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ATLANTA, Ga – Shortly after Governor Brian Kemp’s announcement concerning new protocols for Coronavirus, the Georgia General Assembly moved to suspend it’s legislative session, after tomorrow.

From the press release:

The Georgia General Assembly will suspend the 2020 legislative session indefinitely after Friday, March 13, the 29th Legislative Day. The suspension is out of an abundance of caution and in the interest of health and safety of members, staff and the public given the prevalence of the coronavirus. Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan and Speaker of the House David Ralston have mutually agreed to suspend the session and resume at a future date to be determined.

“We continue to urge calm and appropriate responses to the coronavirus situation. However, the current environment demands that we take additional preventative action,” said Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan. “Speaker Ralston and I are working diligently to ensure that, at the appropriate time, the General Assembly resumes its critically important work.”

“We do not take this action lightly, but after discussions with Governor Kemp, we feel this is a prudent measure which will ensure an orderly legislative session,” said Speaker David Ralston. “I appreciate very much the cooperation of Lt. Governor Duncan, and working together, our House and Senate stand ready to support the state’s response to the coronavirus. We look forward to resuming the legislative session and returning to the people’s business.”

The House and Senate will reconvene for the 30th Legislative Day at a future date and time to be set by Lt. Governor Duncan and Speaker Ralston under the terms of the joint adjournment resolution adopted by both chambers.

Earlier today, both the House and Senate adopted the Amended Fiscal Year 2020 state budget. That budget includes $100 million in funding to address any coronavirus-related needs which may arise.

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