February 20, 2017 Newsletter

Casino Embedded in “Immediate Action Needed!

Threat Percolating under the Gold Dome; Will Georgia get two casinos or six?
S.B. 79 and H.B. 158, as introduced, authorize two casinos.
S.R. 249 proposed constitutional amendment authorizes SIX!

S.R. 249, a proposed constitutional amendment dropped in the House hopper February 17th to be officially introduced February 20th, authorizes the General Assembly to license “no more than six” destination resorts (with embedded casinos) “at any given time.” Six casinos are three times the number of casinos authorized in the original versions of S.B. 79 and H.B. 158.

S.R. 249 prohibits all other forms of casino gaming, stating that the prohibition will be enforced by law. Proceeds from licensing, regulation, and taxing of casinos will be used for education after pay-outs, operating expenses, and addictive gambling prevention programs are funded.

Legalizing Casino Gambling could authorize Indian¹ Casinos in Georgia
The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act is a 1988 U.S. federal law that establishes the jurisdictional framework governing Indian gaming. There was no federal gaming structure before this Act (Pub. L. 100-497, 25 U.S.C. 2701 et seq.), that established the following three gaming classes:
Class I gaming is defined as (1) traditional Indian gaming, that may be part of tribal ceremonies, and celebrations, and (2) social gaming for minimal prizes. Class 1 gaming regulatory authority is vested exclusively in tribal governments.
Class II gaming is a game of chance commonly known as bingo and, if played in the same location, includes card games that are played exclusively against other players rather than against the house or a player acting as a bank. The Act specifically excludes from the definition of class II games slot machines or electronic facsimiles of any game of chance.
Class III gaming is broad. It includes all forms of gaming that are neither class I nor II. Games commonly played at casinos, such as slot machines, blackjack, craps, and roulette, clearly fall in the class III category, as well as wagering games and electronic facsimiles of any game of chance. Generally, class III is often referred to as casino-style gaming. For Indian tribes to establish and operate casinos, the following conditions must be in place:
(a) Class III gaming must be permitted in the state.
(b) The tribe and state must have negotiated a compact with approved regulatory procedures.
(c) The Tribe must have a tribal gaming ordinance approved by the commission chairman.
A 1976 U.S. Supreme Court decision was interpreted to allow states to address only “crimes and civil disputes” in tribal issues. That ruling opened the gates for the Indian gaming industry to become the most widely successful economic initiative on reservations across the country.

ACTION – OPPOSE S.B. 79 and S.R. 249. Vote expected by Thursday, February 23rd. Call Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee Senators Jeffares, Ch., 463-1376; Ginn, V-Ch., 404 656-4700; McKoon, Sec., 463-3931; Cowsert, 463-1366; Gooch, 656-9221; Harbison, 656-0074; Henson, 656-0085; Hill, 656-5038; Kennedy, 656-0045; Lucas, 656-5035; Miller, 656-7454; Mullis, 656-0057; Shafer, 656-0048; Unterman, 463-1368.

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November 25, 2016 Radio Commentary

Thanks Be to God!

Radio Commentary, 90.7, 91.7 New Life FM, November 25, 2016 – By Sue Ella Deadwyler

Whether your Thanksgiving dinner was turkey and all the trimmings or a bologna sandwich, you should thank God you ate it in the United States of America, because this is a special country, which has been, especially, blessed.

Most of those blessings can be traced back to the beginning of this great country when the Founding Fathers honored God in the document that has become the world’s oldest written constitution. Of the original 13 colonies, only Rhode Island refused to participate in the 1787 Constitutional Convention, when 55 delegates from the other twelve colonies hammered out the governmental structure that formed the 13 colonies into one union.

Among the delegates were 31 lawyers, 19 military veterans, 28 former congressmen, two college presidents, three college professors, several doctors and scientists, and a surprising nine from foreign countries. The Bible was the chief source of their education; all but four belonged to mainstream religious congregations; and in their personal writings, 34 percent of their quotations were from the Bible.

A major part of their work was the Declaration of Independence, which sets forth the basic ideals of the United States and is the true preamble to the Constitution. The Declaration refers to God five times: God as Creator of all men, God as supreme Lawmaker, God as the Source of all rights, God as the world’s supreme Judge, and God as our Patron and Protector. Continue reading

November 18, 2016 Radio Commentary

Where Did Religious Freedom Go?

Radio Commentary, 90.7, 91.7 New Life FM, November 18, 2016 – By Sue Ella Deadwyler

For years, large sections of the United States, including the state of Georgia, were known as the Bible Belt, but things are a-changin’ and religious freedom has been targeted for extinction, even in the Bible Belt.

On Monday, October 3rd, Henry County teachers at East Lake Elementary School received this memo: “You are hereby directed to remove all items which contain religious symbols, such as crosses, printed Bibles, angels, Bible verses, printed prayers, and biblical quotations from the common areas, hallways, classrooms, and office of East Lake Elementary School.”

A Henry County Schools spokesman defending those instructions said, “That is a federal law that we’re abiding by. We just sent out these reminders and things to be aware of and we’ve been doing that for the past two decades.” Since all the prohibited symbols are Christian and the prohibited quotations are from the Bible, parents in Henry County should require the local school board to amend the memo to prohibit other religious symbols, such as hijabs, burkas, and prayer rugs and quotes from the Quran, or rescind the prohibition against Christian symbols.

On October 26th, a press conference was held at the Georgia capitol to announce that Dr. Eric Walsh would not hand over his sermons to the state that had served him with legal papers demanding that he give state officials copies of his sermon notes and transcripts. Soon after the press conference, the state rescinded the demand that should never have been issued. Continue reading

May 13, 2016 Radio Commentary

Why Deal Vetoed RFRA

Radio Commentary, 90.7, 91.7 New Life FM, May 13, 2016 – By Sue Ella Deadwyler

On March 28, 2016, Governor Nathan Deal explained his veto of H.B. 757 that was introduced as the Pastor Protection Act, and became an issue to him when it was amended into the more comprehensive religious liberty bill that passed.

In the complete transcript of his explanation about the veto, Governor Deal referred to cases in other states. Concerning the New Mexico photographer who refused to photograph a same-sex wedding, the governor explained that New Mexico’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act was NOT used in that decision, because it did not apply to the case.

However, New Mexico’s Human Rights Act was used to determine the outcome of the photographer’s case. But, Georgia has NO Human Rights Act that could require a business to compromise religious beliefs to satisfy customers.

Then he cited the bakery case in Colorado where Colorado’s Public Accommodation Act prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. Georgia has NO public accommodations act prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. We dodged THAT bullet this year, when H.B. 849 whimpered and died in committee, but the issue is far from dead. Continue reading