State Representative Roger Bruce

 Georgia House of  Representatives
District 61
                                                     March 6, 2017
This Issue - Newsletter #7

Letter From Representative Bruce

Legislative News (Crossover Day)

City of South Election News

Douglasville KKK Visit

Under The Gold Dome Episode #6

A Moment in Women's History

Douglas County KKK (Non)Visit

 On Sunday, The Imperial Wizard and members of the North Mississippi White Knights Ku Klux Klan were expected to visit the Douglas County Courthouse in protest of a recent court decision to sentence a couple related to a 2015 terrorism incident. The Imperial Wizard, and the group did not actually show up. However, a group of Confederate Flag wavers faced off with counter-protesters who had come to face off with the Klan. The groups chanted with each other for about 30-minutes and then peacefully went their separate ways. 


City of South Fulton Election News

Last Monday, the City of South Fulton began its Early Voting Process for its inaugural election. 

Early Voting is slated for  February 27 - March 17, 2017 at Wolf Creek Library 3100 Elon  Road Atlanta, GA 30331 and for the South Fulton Service Center, February 27 - March 17, 2017 with one day for Saturday voting, March 11, 2017



A Moment In Women's History
The first African American woman elected to the  Georgia General Assembly , Grace Towns Hamilton was also the first female of her race in the Deep South to hold a public office of such consequence. She was among eight African Americans sent to the state legislature in a special election in June 1965; they were the first to enter the lower house since the end of  Reconstruction . Hamilton represented her district in mid- Atlanta  continuously for the next eighteen years, becoming known to her peers as "the most effective woman legislator the state has ever had."

Returning to Atlanta, she taught psychology at Clark College and the Atlanta School of Social Work. In 1930 she married Atlanta native Henry Cooke Hamilton, the son of prominent builder  Alexander D. Hamilton . The couple spent the next decade in Memphis, Tennessee, where Hamilton gave birth in 1931 to their first and only child, Eleanor. In Memphis Hamilton taught psychology at LeMoyne College, where her husband also taught; surveyed black workers for the Works Progress Administration; and developed interracial programs on numerous college campuses for the YWCA. In 1941 her husband became head of Atlanta University's high school program, and she returned with him to Atlanta, where the couple spent the rest of their lives.

In 1943 Hamilton was appointed executive director of the Atlanta Urban League (AUL), becoming one of the earliest women to hold such a post.  Under her leadership the AUL chose not to follow the National Urban League's emphasis on employment but instead waged intensive campaigns within the confines of  segregation  for advances in schooling, health care, housing, and voting rights for African Americans. Sidestepping the issue of segregation eventually brought her into conflict with the NUL, which established tighter controls over its locals. In 1961 she lost her AUL post.

An interim of private consulting preceded her subsequent-and best-known-career in the Georgia legislature, where Hamilton worked tirelessly between 1965 and 1985 to expand political representation for blacks in city, county, and state governments. She was a principal architect of the 1973 Atlanta City Charter, which replaced a century-old predecessor and brought African Americans onto the Atlanta City Council for the first time in a number commensurate with their proportion of the population. 
She was a leader in congressional and  legislative  reapportionment battles. In 1972  Andrew Young  became the first black to represent Atlanta's Fifth District in Congress after white legislators had repeatedly manipulated district lines to thwart him at the polls, and he credited Hamilton with making his election possible. Following the 1980 census the Fifth District figured in another reapportionment battle, this one more brutal than the last. Hamilton took the side of the white leadership against militant young African Americans who wanted Atlanta redistricted to the advantage of blacks. Her opposition to a seat made to order for an African American exacerbated her conflicts with her opponents. Hamilton was defeated in her bid for reelection to her legislative post in September 1984 by Mable Thomas, a woman one-third her age.

Hamilton held only one other public post, as advisor to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission from January 1985 to January 1987. She died June 17, 1992.

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As we move closer to the end of the 2017 session we have to pay close attention to the many bills that have crossed over from the senate. Senate Bill 134, also known as "Save, Earn, Win Act Authorizes banks and credit unions to offer cash prizes to winners of drawings held for people that set up and contribute to savings accounts. SB1 will require close attention in that it creates a State Board of Homeland Security and redefines "Terrorism" in a way that appears to leave it up to a Judge to determine if an act of violence against citizens rises to the level of terrorism or not. SB5 increases the amount that the Lottery would contribute to the HOPE scholarship and to pre-K. 

We also saw this week that President Trump is convinced that President Obama  wiretapped his phones and Trump Tower (no evidence to back it up) and that Trump appointee  Ben Carson, thinks that Slaves were Immigrants on the bottom of slave ships dreaming about all of the opportunities waiting for them in America . See for yourself  look at this video.  

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Legislative News

Crossover Day 
The 28th day of the 40-day legislative session is the last day for bills to move from one chamber to the other - that is, to cross over - and still have a clear path to becoming law this year. It's created by a Senate rule. While parliamentary maneuvering can keep a bill alive past Crossover Day, making it from one side of the Capitol to the other by the end of Friday makes final passage in 2017 much more likely. 

There were a few bills which passed the House of Representatives of which I would like to make you all aware. 

House Bill 280: Campus Carry Bill
This measure passed the House by a vote of 108-63, after Governor Deal vetoed an almost identical piece of legislation last year. It would allow anyone with a Georgia weapons permit to carry concealed firearms on most parts of public college and university campuses. With the rise in mass shootings, it is unwise to allow young people, especially to carry weapons on college campuses. It is my hope that Governor Deal once again vetoes this legislation. 

House Bill 258: Peace Officers Bill
This measure passed the House by a vote of 120-51. We all appreciate the work of our law enforcement and believe their safety is of the highest priority, in such a dangerous profession. However, we must at all times stand up against the over-criminalization of people who seem to be targeted for assault by the police, as highlighted by the number of times young unarmed, African American males have been beaten and killed at the hands of law enforcement officers. That is exactly what the legislative intent of this bill happens to be.  During debate on the legislation, the author,  made some remarks that were quite unsettling, when he suggested that "the police are the only thing separating us from the jungle." It is comments like that, which continue to divide us as a nation. The lives of our citizens mean  just as much as those of our officers. What this bill has essentially done is target a certain portion of our population and unfairly so. 

House Bill 338: The Education Bill (OSD 2.0)

House Bill 338, would lay the groundwork for a state-run school accreditation system and create penalties for school systems with low-performing schools, including removal of school board members and school takeovers by the state Board of Education through the new Chief Turnaround Officer.

Under terms of the bill, the state can terminate the contract or charter of low-performing schools or systems that decline when the Chief Turnaround Officer "extends an opportunity" to amend the charter contract with the state to allow the state to come in. If the local school board declines, the state school board, whose members are appointed by the governor, would also be able to impose other sanctions on locally elected school boards if they won't enter into an " intervention contract for the purposes of agreeing to receive assistance."

The job of turnaround coaches is to evaluate why a school is low-performing, according to the legislation.

At the discretion of the Chief Turnaround Officer, a third party may be retained to assist in the evaluation, at the expense of the state. The outside agency or company would be picked by the local school board from a list approved by the CTO.

If there's no improvement after two years, the CTO can appoint a new management team, including removing teachers and administrators, or even reconstitute the school or force the school to become a state charter school, among other sanctions.

Parents with children at those schools would have the option to move to another public school in the system, from "available options provided by the local school system."

The local system, not the state, would have to pay for the additional transportation costs.

The sanctions on failing schools or systems also include possible changes in administration of the school to "a successful school system" or "a private nonprofit entity."

The bill would also create an "Education Turnaround Council" to advise the state Board of Education, including submitting to the board the names of potential candidates for the Chief Turnaround Officer.

The council would have five members - the president of the Georgia Parent Teacher Association and the executive directors of the Georgia School Boards Association, the Georgia School Superintendents Association, the Professional Association of Georgia Educators and the Georgia Association of Educators.

One far-ranging part of the bill would create a "Joint Study Committee on the Establishment of a State Accreditation Process," most of whose members would be appointed by the governor and state House and Senate leaders.

The committee is charged with, among other things, considering "the possible consequences of losing state accreditation that could be administered, such as removal of local board of education members" and the creation of a "school board review commission."

The law also changes some of the other rules governing charter systems and charter schools. Initial contracts for charter systems could be for six years, one more than the current five, and renewal contracts for individual charter schools and charter systems could be up to 10 years.

While the funding sources are different both proposals are about controlling public education and not helping students.  

The Georgia House passed the bill by a 138-37 vote. It now sits in the Senate.
 for more information on weekly events for the 
2017 Legislative Session. 

Under The Gold Dome
Episode #6

Rep. Bruce hosted some special young guest from the Girl Scouts and their moms.


Representative Roger Bruce's Staff

A.D. Fields - Legislative/Policy/Communications Aide
Jason Gathing - Legislative/Policy Aide.
Tiffani Palmer - Communications & Media .
Sharon Matthews - Legislative/Policy Aide 
John L. Sanders- Photographer/Aide

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