State Representative Roger Bruce

 Georgia House of  Representatives
District 61
                                                     March 17, 2017
This Issue - Newsletter #8

Letter From Representative Bruce

Legislative News 

City of South Election News

Under The Gold Dome Episode #7

Douglas County Democrats Visit The Capitol

A Moment in Women's History

Douglas County Democrats Visit The Capital

Last week as Chairman of the Douglas County delegation, I was able to sit with our County Democratic Party and address some of their concerns. It was a joy to see so many friends here at the their Capitol advocated for issues that concern citizens of Douglas County and the State of Georgia.   


City of South Fulton Election News

This upcoming Tuesday, the new city of South Fulton will finally choose its leaders. While it is my hope that there will be no need for run-off elections, with such a  crowded  field, that is highly  unlikely. I am excited about the enthusiasm of all the citizens who have put their names up for voters to choose. Furthermore, it is truly excited for all those who have made this city a reality.  I would implore all of you, whether you voted for or against city-hood  to cast your ballot for the most responsible men and women because this first group of citizens will ultimately set the direction in which our new city moves. As a member of the transition team, I can definitively say that there will be challenges for a new group of mostly political neophytes. However, I remain confident that we will be in the best of hands. Furthermore, I would be remiss in my duty as a public servant if I did not remind you all that the most important role is that of citizen. It will be your job to challenge and hold accountable the leaders that you ultimately choose; because as we all know there is nothing more powerful than that timeless creed, "We The People..." I am challenging you all to believe not in the ability of others but in that of yourselves to bring about change .
Election Day will be next Tuesday, March 21 and I am excited to see the first group of individuals that the citizens of South Fulton will choose to lead us.   

A Moment In Women's History

Barbara Charline Jordan was born February 21, 1936, in her parents' home in Houston. Her father, Benjamin Jordan, was a Baptist minister and warehouse clerk. Her mother Arlyne was a maid, housewife and church teacher.  Jordan attended the segregated Phyllis Wheatley High School, where a career day speech by Edith Sampson, a black lawyer, inspired her to become an attorney. Jordan was a member of the inaugural class at  Texas  Southern University, a black college hastily created by the Texas legislature to avoid having to integrate the University of Texas. There Jordan joined the debate team and helped lead it to national renown. The team famously tied Harvard's debaters when they came to Houston. Jordan graduated magna cum laude from Texas Southern University in 1956 and was accepted at Boston University's law school. Three years later, Jordan earned her law degree as one of only two African-American women in her class. She passed the Massachusetts and Texas bars and returned to Houston to open a law office in the Fifth Ward.

Jordan volunteered for John F. Kennedy's 1960 presidential campaign, heading a Harris County voter drive that yielded an 80-percent turnout. She twice ran unsuccessfully for the Texas House before winning the 1966 contest for a newly created Texas State Senate district.  In Austin she won the respect of her colleagues and worked to pass a state minimum wage law that covered farmworkers. In her final year in the state senate, Jordan's colleagues elected her president pro tem, allowing her to serve as governor for a day-June 10, 1972-in accordance with state tradition.

Five months later Jordan ran for Congress as the Democratic nominee for Houston's 18th District. She won, becoming the first African-American woman from a Southern state to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. With support from her close advisor  Lyndon B. Johnson, Jordan was appointed to key posts including on the House Judiciary Committee.  On July 25, 1974, Jordan gave the 15-minute opening statement of the Judiciary Committee's impeachment hearing for Richard Nixon. Her speech was a staunch defense of the U.S. Constitution (which, she noted, had not initially included African-Americans in its "We, the people") and its checks and balances designed to prevent abuse of power. She said, "I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction of the Constitution."  The impeachment speech helped lead to Nixon's resignation over the Watergate scandal and won Jordan national acclaim for her rhetoric, intellect and integrity. Two years later she was asked to deliver the keynote address at the 1976 Democratic National Convention-another first for an African-American woman.  While in Congress Jordan worked on legislation promoting women's rights, supported the Equal Rights Amendment and cosponsored a bill that would have granted housewives Social Security benefits based on their domestic labor.

Jordan retired from Congress in 1979 to become a professor at the Lyndon Baines Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas. She became an active public speaker and advocate, amassing 25 honorary doctorates. Her vehement opposition helped derail Ronald Reagan's nomination of Robert Bork (who had opposed many civil rights cases) to the U.S. Supreme Court.  Jordan, who had suffered from multiple sclerosis since 1973, was wheelchair-bound by the time she was invited to give her second Democratic convention keynote address in 1992. Until her death she remained private about her illnesses, which finally included diabetes and cancer.

In 1994  Bill Clinton awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country's highest civilian honor. Jordan died of leukemia-related pneumonia on January 17, 1996. Breaking barriers even in death, she became the first African-American to be buried among the governors, senators and congressmen in the Texas State Cemetery.

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2017 is election year for many municipal contests. A special election will be held this Tuesday for the City of South Fulton.  The City of Atlanta will also hold its elections in November. The Atlanta list of mayoral candidates is continually growing. Several of the current city council members are seeking other positions which will mean 7 of the 16 council seats will have new people in them. There will also be a new Council President and Mayor. That will mean a lot of change is coming to the region.   As the drama around the bribery charges, by developers seeking city contracts, continues to unfold there will be a watchful eye on how residents of Atlanta will select their future leaders. 

We are working very hard to move HB131 and HB132 through the process. These Bills, if successful, would allow the land owners and voters in the Fulton Industrial Corridor the opportunity to have their wishes carried through to become a part of the City of South Fulton. 

The 2017 Legislative Session should end on or about March 30th. I will do a session wrap-up newsletter shortly after that. please encourage others to visit my website, to sign up to receive it and to get other information. 

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Legislative News

Senate Bill 1 
Senate Bill 1, which safely passed the Senate last week and is now in the bosom of the House, would refine the definition of "domestic terrorism." Although they have in the past resisted spotlighting crimes that are based on racial antipathy, or those that target gays and lesbians, lawmakers have added at least one new measure to "domestic terrorism": I.e., whether the criminal act "is intended to advance, further, or effectuate any ideology or belief whether committed alone or as part of a command structure involving an identifiable set of other individuals."
The Georgia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has taken issue with the legislation. A note from Andrea Young, executive director of ACLU Georgia, includes this:
"In addition to our overall concerns with the bill's expansion of the government's surveillance and security apparatus, we are especially troubled by its apparent attempt to target political expression, which is protected by the First Amendment. The ACLU of Georgia will oppose any effort to curb the First Amendment's guarantees of freedom of speech and expression."

House Bill 146

HB 146 requires legally organized fire departments to maintain insurance coverage beginning January 1, 2018 for all firefighters in the department to pay claims for cancer diagnosed after a firefighter has served at the department for 12 consecutive months. The term "cancer" means bladder, blood, brain, breast, cervical, esophageal, intestinal, kidney, lymphatic, lung, prostate, rectal, respiratory tract, skin, testicular, thyroid, and cervical cancer; leukemia; multiple myeloma; or non- Hodgkin's lymphoma.

The minimum benefit includes a lump sum benefit of $25,000 made payable to the firefighter upon submission of proof of their diagnosis to the fire department. This benefit is subordinate to any government health insurance benefit paid on behalf of, or as a reimbursement to, the member for such cancer, and shall be limited to the difference between the amount of such other paid benefit and the amount specified under this provision. If, as a result of such cancerous condition or treatment, the member is unable to perform his or her duties as a firefighter, then a monthly benefit equal to 60% of the member's monthly salary at the time of diagnosis or a monthly benefit of $5,000, whichever is less, will begin six months after submission of acceptable proof of diagnosis and will continue for a total of 36 consecutive months. If a member is a volunteer, as defined in Code Section 25-4-2, then a monthly benefit of $1,500 shall begin six months after submission of acceptable proof and continue for a total of 36 consecutive months. These benefits shall be subordinate to any other benefit actually paid to the firefighter for such disability from any other source, not including private insurance. They shall be limited to the difference between the amount of such other paid benefit and the amount specified in this bill.
Any person who was a member of more than one fire department at the same time shall not be entitled to receive benefits under this paragraph from or on behalf of more than one fire department. Any member who receives benefits may be required to have their condition reevaluated. In the event that the reevaluation reveals that the firefighter is able to perform duties as a firefighter, then his or her benefits shall cease. Benefits shall also cease upon the death of such person. A member who   departs or retires after at least one year as a firefighter shall be entitled to continue his or her coverage through a continuation or conversion to individual coverage. At that point, the departing member is responsible for paying all premiums.

County and municipal governing authorities may use proceeds from county and municipal taxes to purchase insurance for the firefighters intended to be covered by this bill. Funds received as premiums for this coverage shall not be subject to premium taxes. The computation of premium amounts by an insurer for this coverage shall be subject to generally accepted adjustments from insurance underwriting.

The Georgia Firefighter Standards and Training Council shall be authorized to adopt rules and regulations that are reasonable and necessary to implement the provisions of this Code section.

 for more information on weekly events for the 
2017 Legislative Session. 

Under The Gold Dome
Episode #7

Rep. Bruce w/ Guest Rep. Howard Mosby, Rep. Erica Thomas, Legislative and Policy Staffer A.D. Fields, and Jason Gathing


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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