February 17, 2017 Radio Commentary

The Protect Act

Radio Commentary, 90.7, 91.7 New Life FM, February 17, 2017 – By Sue Ella Deadwyler

You’ll be glad to know that Georgia legislators are keenly aware that terrorism is a threat, so much so that on January 10th, Senator Cowsert introduced The Protect Act, to create real time communication and cooperation with agencies “up and down the chain of command” when terrorism is suspected.

The Protect Act is S.B. 1 that defines domestic terrorism as the (a) violation or attempted violation of laws for the advancement of an ideology or belief, the (b) terrorizing of Georgia’s civilian population, (c) even if only one person is affected. A suspected terrorist is a person reasonably suspected to be, or has been, involved in global or domestic terroristic conduct.

Georgia has four major state agencies dedicated to keeping us safe from terrorism. They are the Georgia Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Georgia Ministry of Defense, the Intelligence Service of Georgia, and the Special State Protection service of Georgia.

The state’s primary agency focusing on terrorism is the Georgia Ministry of Internal Affairsthat heads operations in case there’s a state emergency. Meanwhile, it implements special measures to gather and analyze data on activities of foreign and international terrorist organizations. It makes sure counter-terrorist tactics are implemented and uses its Counter-terrorist Centre to coordinate plans of other terrorism-combating agencies. Continue reading

February 10, 2017 Radio Commentary

Do you want a casino in your back yard?

Radio Commentary, 90.7, 91.7 New Life FM, February 10, 2017 – By Sue Ella Deadwyler

If the 2015 casino bills had passed, six casinos would be sprinkled around the state, already, and the State Constitution would be listing all 159 counties, divided into six districts, to indicate where each of the six casinos would be built. Thankfully, those bills died and the state has no casinos, but here we go, again.

This year’s bills are less up-front than the others. The current ones refer to “destination resorts,” and describe them as developments for shopping and entertainment, convention halls and hotels that just happen to have space for a business called “gaming.” So, Georgians are supposed to swallow the notion that this is nothing new, all is well, and nothing will change … although there will be an around-the-clock every-day-of-the-year gambling area, to accommodate folks who want in-state casinos!

Representative Ron Stephens introduced H.B. 158 and Senator Brandon Beach introduced S.B. 79. They are identical bills; both are called the “Destination Resort Act;” both create casino gambling; and both create a five-member Georgia Gaming Commission. The governor appoints three members, the lieutenant governor appoints one and the House Speaker appoints one. That means, the sitting governor will control the commission. Continue reading

February 2017 Newsletter

Casino Embedded in “Destination Resort” Center

Q. Does Georgia have a “destination resort” (as defined in H.B. 158 and S.B. 79)
within its borders?

A. Not yet, but Georgia will have two destination resorts with casinos,
if H.B. 158 or S.B. 79 passes.

Q. What does a destination resort have besides a casino?
A. Its freestanding, land based development has hotels, restaurants, villas, “limited gaming” (casino) facilities, convention and meeting sites, shopping centers, attractions, entertainment facilities, and service centers.
Q. Will destination resorts interfere with existing gambling available on maritime vessels?
A. Maritime gambling in Georgia’s jurisdiction before January 1, 2016 will not be affected.

H.B. 158 Destination Resort Act or Resort Act by Representative Ron Stephens is identical to S.B. 79 Destination Resort Act or Resort Act by Senator Brandon Beach, and both introduced their bills on January 30th. Both bills create a five-member Georgia Gaming Commission (GGC) comprised of Georgia residents who are U.S. citizens. The five would be appointed as follows: The Governor appoints three members, the Lieutenant Governor appoints one, and the Speaker of the House appoints one. Meaning, it would be controlled by the Governor.

The commission will establish the Destination Resort Trust Fund into which the commission will deposit all excise taxes, fees, and other revenue received by the commission. The fund will finance the operation of the commission, its investigations¹, the regulation of casinos, and enforcement of the law governing casinos, but salaries for commissioners is not mentioned.

Absolute power of GGC: (a) Select the county in which a destination resort license is awarded; (b) issue state licenses for casinos, manufacturers, sellers and distributors of gambling devices, supplies and equipment; (c) inspect equipment and supplies in, upon, or about the premises; (d) remove, seize, and impound such, along with documents or records; (e) demand access to records of applicants, licensees, and other entities; (f) investigate suspected violators who may be prosecuted; (g) issue subpoenas; and (h) appoint hearing examiners to interrogate under oath.

Destination Resorts may operate 24 hours, 365 days of the year. No one company may hold two destination resort licenses concurrently and applicants must demonstrate a plan for the project to derive over 60 percent of its revenue from nongaming.

  • A county with a population over 900,000, based on the most recent census, would be selected for the larger investment. As of July 1, 2016, Georgia’s most densely populated counties were Fulton², 1,010,562; Gwinnett, 895,832; Cobb, 741,334; and DeKalb, 734,871.

The licensee for the first locale must be able to invest $2 billion into the project, include a hotel with 1,000 guest rooms, and be near a convention center district within the same county.

  • The second county selected for a resort must be populated with at least 250,000 residents, but no more than 900,000. Populations of Chatham, Clayton and Cherokee currently qualify. Licensees must invest at least $450 million, and a convention center must be nearby.
  • To read the rest of this newsletter in PDF format, please click here.

¹ The commission may investigate, for the purpose of prosecution, any suspected criminal violation.
² Public Library Serv. projects increase for 2018: Fulton, 1,070,062; Gwinnett, 948,365; Cobb, 763,778; DeKalb, 745,417.

February 3, 2017 Radio Commentary

3 New Marijuana Bills

Radio Commentary, 90.7, 91.7 New Life FM, February 3, 2017 – By Sue Ella Deadwyler

Last year, Representative Allen Peake promised he’d be back this year to expand the marijuana law, and that’s what he’s doing. His H.B. 65 deletes restrictions lawmakers put on marijuana when his first bill passed. For example: H.B. 65 removes the one-year Georgia residency requirement for a THC patient to register for treatment with marijuana. Without that restriction, Georgia could be flooded with out-of-state drop-in buyers of medical marijuana.

In addition to that, Mr. Peake’s bill deletes several important reports – the required quarterly physicians’ report on dosages recommended for certain conditions, clinical responses from the treatment, as well as reports on compliance, side effects and drug interactions. Then, H.B. 65 adds seven more to the list of conditions qualifying for THC treatment – Tourette’s syndrome, autism, intractable pain, Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, HIV and AIDS. But I want to focus on HIV/AIDS because of a law that passed last year, allowing minors, of any age, to be treated for HIV and AIDS without parental knowledge or consent.

Making HIV and AIDS eligible for treatment with cannabis (marijuana) oil reminded me that minor children, who already receive confidential treatment for conditions related to sexual activity, including abortion, could be treated with marijuana oil for HIV and AIDS, without parental notification. Until the law was changed last year, the law mandated that parents be notified if their minor child was diagnosed with HIV or AIDS! Continue reading