Tag Archives: Constitutional Amendment

Victory on Georgia Constitutional Amendment 1, and more voting for clean water

Voters in every county in Georgia approved Amendment 1, to dedicate state fees and taxes to their stated purposes. The statewide victory was 81.6%.

There is more work to do, to get the legislature to use this new law to stop taxes from being diverted to the general fund, so for example counties and cities can get more grants for tire amnesties. But now the mechanism is available.

That wasn’t the only good referendum news, and there is more voting for clean water to do.

[Victory: 82%]
Victory: 82%
Special thanks to the Suwannee River Basin cities of Adel, Hahira, and Valdosta, Atkinson, Lanier, and Lowndes Counties, for passing resolutions in support.
See also previous blog post.

The other good clean water news is that Amendment 2 passed with 74.5% Yes, also passing in every county. That’s HR 1023: people may petition for declaratory relief from certain acts of this state or certain local governments or officers or employees.

Dave Williams, Capitol Beat News Service, 4 November 2020, Georgia voters pass three ballot questions by wide margins,

The sovereign immunity amendment stems from a 2014 Georgia Supreme Court decision that essentially granted the state blanket immunity from citizen lawsuits in a case brought by the Center for a Sustainable Coast. The group had filed suit alleging the state Department of Natural Resources was illegally allowing alterations to private property in fragile coastal wetland areas protected by state law.

So that’s two victories for clean water by the people of the state of Georgia.

As everyone probably knows, there are Georgia runoff elections on January 5, 2021, with the usual early voting and absentee ballots. Both Georgia U.S. Senate seats are in the runoff.

A Public Service Commission runoff that was scheduled earlier will also be on January 5, 2021. WWALS has long advocated for GA-PSC to make responsible decisions on power plants and pipelines that affect all our waters, from water levels to coal ash to mercury.

Once again, we urge you to vote for clean water.

As an IRS 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity, WWALS cannot Continue reading

Please vote Yes on Georgia Constitutional Amendment 1: dedicate fees to their stated purpose

Update 2020-10-07: On Steve Nichols radio show, with video.

Don’t you think taxes and fees charged by a state should go to the purposes the state said they would? Well, in Georgia, many such funds have been mostly diverted to the general fund, and then who knows where. You can vote in this election to stop that: vote Yes on Amendment 1.

[Six cities and counties for Amendment 1]
Six cities and counties for Amendment 1: Adel, Hahira, and Valdosta, Atkinson, Lanier, and Lowndes Counties.

For example, the state of Georgia charges a fee on every tire sold, with funds supposed to go to cleaning up old tires and other waste management. Yet more than $50 million of those funds have been diverted to other purposes. It’s not just tires. Other examples of diverted funds include ones for indigent defense and judicial programs, peace officer training, and teen driver training.

There is no organized opposition to Amendment 1. Pretty much the only opposition stated during passage of the authorizing bill was about being able to use funds during an emergency. The bill explicitly allows that. The bill passed the Georgia Senate unanimously and the House with only one vote against.

Organized support for Amendment 1 includes six cities and counties in the Suwannee River Basin: the cities of Hahira, Valdosta, Adel, and Atkinson, Lanier, and Lowndes Counties, each of which passed a resolution in January 2019 in support of the bill that authorized putting Amendment 1 on the ballot for 2020. Also, the Valdosta Daily Times supported it in an editorial. WWALS supports Amendment 1, as do, so far as we know, all the Riverkeepers of Georgia.

Amendment 1 on the ballot

This is how Amendment 1 appears on the ballot:

Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to authorize the General Assembly to dedicate revenues derived from fees or taxes to the public purpose for which such fees or taxes were intended?

( ) YES

( ) NO

Please vote YES.

Addition to Georgia law

Below is the text that Amendment 1, when approved, will add to subparagraph (r)(1) to paragraph VI in section 9 of Article III of the Georgia state constitution: Continue reading

Stop Georgia from mis-using tax funds: HR 164 for vote Thursday 2020-03-05

This would be fraud if a business did it.

Much of Georgia taxes on new tires or trash dumping are supposed to be dedicated to collecting tires, handling hazardous waste, and the like. Unfortunately, about 40% of such tax collections get diverted to the Georgia General Fund, and from there to who knows where, while tires and trash collect in our rivers. That’s over $200 million dollars of your tax money misused to date.

stop the lies: pass HR 164

This year we can get this passed, even though original sponsor Jay Powell is deceased. HR 164: dedication of revenues derived from fees or taxes to the public purpose for which such fees or taxes were imposed; authorize. This resolution would authorize a constitutional amendment referendum to give the General Assembly the authority to dedicate fees while providing flexibility to the budget in the event of a downturn or recession.

To send email to your Georgia State Senator and the Lt. Governor of Georgia asking them to support HR 164, here’s Continue reading

HR 158 against state fee diversions passed 166:1 in GA House 2018-02-14

Yesterday’s Valentine’s Day present from the Georgia House was passing HR 158 with 166 yea and only 1 nay (6 not voting, and 7 excused). Except for district 175, which just finished a Special Election, every Georgia House member from the Suwannee River Basin voted yea. Thank you, Patty Bentley, John Corbett, Buddy Harden, Penny Houston, Dominic LaRiccia, Clay Pirkle, Jay Powell, Ed Rynders, Dexter Sharper, Jason Shaw, Jason Spencer, and Sam Watson!

Yea 166 Nay 1, Tally

Onwards to the Georgia Senate. We look forward to every Georgia State Senator from the Suwannee River Basin voting yea. WWALS members and others may want to give them a ring to remind them to do so. Senators Ellis Black (District 8) and Tyler Harper (District 7) please note that local governments in your districts have passed resolutions supporting HR 158.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!

Hahira is sixth resolution supporting GA HR 158, now in statehouse 2018-02-01

HR 158 may be scheduled for a vote in the Georgia House as soon as tomorrow. Help dedicate state fees to their intended purposes: please contact your Georgia House Representative or Georgia State Senator (follow the links for contact information) and ask them to pass HR 158. If you don’t know who your Georgia Representative or Senator are, see Georgia My Voter Page.

Hahira is the most recent of six local governments representing the majority of the population in the Suwannee River Basin in Georgia, in five Georgia House districts and two Senate districts, that have passed a resolution supporting Georgia HR 158 against state fee diversions, with five stories and an editorial in the biggest circulation newspaper in the Basin. More local resolutions passed elsewhere in the state, but that ain’t bad for the Suwannee River Basin.

Camera, City Council

  1. 2018-01-08 Lanier County, House District 176 (Jason Shaw), Senate District 8 (Ellis Black) Continue reading

Hahira: against GA state fee diversions and for WLRWT 2018-01-30

Tonight, a resolution supporting the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail, and a resolution for Georgia HR 158 against state fee diversions, (the one already passed by three counties and two cities in the Suwannee River Basin), on the agenda at the Hahira City Council Work Session (and Thursday at the Regular Session). Both will be introduced by Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman.

When: 6:00 PM, Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Where: Hahira Courthouse, 301 W Main Street, Hahira, GA 31632

What: Work Session, Hahira City Council

Continue reading