Category Archives: Politics

Judge Batten Signs Mutual Consent Order In Federal Voter Assistance Case

ATLANTA – This morning, U.S. District Judge Timothy Batten signed a voluntary Consent Order negotiated by Jin Kwon, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta, and Secretary of State Robyn A. Crittenden to enjoin enforcement of O.C.G.A. § 21-2-409(b)(2) in future elections, primaries, or run-offs in Georgia, regardless of whether a federal candidate is on the ballot. Secretary Crittenden has issued guidance and direction to all county election superintendents and published information online to inform voters about the terms of this Consent Order.

“In all future elections, primaries, and run-off elections, which includes the December 4, 2018 run-off, all voters who require assistance to vote due to blindness, disability, or inability to read or write may receive assistance by a person of the voter’s choice except for the voter’s employer, an agent of that employer, or an officer or agent of the voter’s union. This rule applies regardless of whether there is a federal candidate on the ballot in Georgia,” stated Secretary Crittenden. “Ultimately, both sides were able to reach a satisfactory conclusion in this litigation, and we have taken immediate action to comply with the negotiated terms of the Consent Order.”

All future training conducted by the Secretary of State’s office will be consistent with the Consent Order. County election superintendents have received a copy of the Consent Order and an Official Election Bulletin on complying with the order’s terms. County offices have received a notice and the instruction to post such notice at the entrance of all election day polling places. Secretary Crittenden also published notice online to inform voters who are entitled to voting assistance that they may receive assistance from any person of their choice who meets the requirements of the Voting Rights Act at 52 U.S.C. § 10508 and O.C.G.A. § 21-2-409 (b)(1). This notice will remain online until the language of O.C.G.A. § 21-2-409(b)(2) is removed from the Georgia Code.

Now enjoined by the Consent Order, O.C.G.A. § 21-2-409(b)(2) restricted who could provide voter assistance when there was no federal candidate on the ballot. A voter requiring assistance is no longer limited to assistance from a voter who is a resident of the same voting precinct or the voter’s mother, father, grandparent, aunt, uncle, sister, brother, spouse, son, daughter, niece, nephew, grandchild, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, mother-in-law, father-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, or caretaker. With the Order in effect, there is no longer a prohibition on any person assisting more than ten voters in any election, primary, or run-off.

The Consent Order states that county election superintendents may not require individuals assisting voters to check off any boxes on any forms, including those on absentee ballots and absentee ballot envelopes, indicating their relationship to the voters or how many voters that they have assisted. This Order does not prevent county election officials from requiring persons assisting voters to identify themselves, as required by O.C.G.A. § 21-2-409(a). The information is included in the Official Election Bulletin sent to county offices.

Deal: Toyo Tire North America to Create More Than 150 Jobs in Bartow County

Gov. Nathan Deal today announced that Toyo Tire North America Manufacturing Inc., a manufacturer and seller of radial tires for passenger vehicles and light trucks, will create more than 150 jobs and invest over $138 million in Cartersville. New jobs will include positions in production, support and administration.

“As the No. 1 state for business, Georgia offers the strategic resources necessary to retain dynamic companies and support industry leaders in long-term growth,” said Deal. “Toyo Tires is a valued member of Georgia’s family of innovative automotive manufacturers and suppliers, and it’s clear that the company’s leadership recognizes the benefits of operating in our competitive economic environment. By choosing Cartersville over international competition, Toyo Tires will continue to hire from Georgia’s talented workforce and utilize our highly connected transportation infrastructure to reach its growing customer base. We appreciate Toyo Tires’ commitment to creating even more quality jobs here in Georgia and look forward to further strengthening our partnership in the years to come.”

 Through a two-phase expansion, Toyo Tires will construct a new 254,000-square-foot facility with an annual production capacity of 2.4 million passenger vehicle tires. Upon completion of the expansion, Toyo Tires will employ approximately 2,100 Georgia residents.

“The level of cooperation from the State of Georgia and Bartow County over the years continues to exceed our expectations,” said Don Bunn, president of Toyo Tire North America Manufacturing Inc. “Toyo Tires is proud to be a member of the Georgia business community and strives to show its appreciation by being a great place to work and by supporting community organizations throughout the state.”

In 2016, Toyo Tire North America Manufacturing Inc. became the Toyo Tires Group’s largest manufacturing operation with an annual production capacity of 11.5 million tires.

“Bartow County was fortunate to be selected as Toyo Tires’ home years ago, and we are honored each time they choose to invest again,” said Bartow County Sole Commissioner Steve Taylor. “We strive for long-term partnerships with our industries and this partnership has been incredibly successful. Toyo Tires certainly has had a significant impact on Georgia’s automotive sector and Bartow’s economy, with many accolades to show for it. I especially appreciate their corporate citizenship. For example, they have offered donations and volunteer hours to our schools, environmental causes, and our citizens in need. A significant example is the company’s annual commitment to provide food for the community during the holiday season. All in all, they’re just great neighbors, and it’s a pleasure to support the company’s growth again.”

The state-of-the-art Toyo Tires manufacturing facility began operations in 2006 and features a proprietary Advanced Tire Operation Module production system. The location of the facility was chosen to enhance distribution and inventory availability to meet the increasing demands for Toyo and Nitto tires sold through Toyo Tires’ expanding network of retailers.

Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) Director of Existing Industry & Regional Recruitment Lindsay Martin represented the Global Commerce Division in partnership with the Cartersville-Bartow County Department of Economic Development and Georgia Power.

“Toyo Tires is an outstanding example of an international manufacturer that has found rapid success in Georgia,” said GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson. “Once again, Toyo Tires and Bartow County have proven to be a winning team, and I look forward to their continued success in Georgia.”

About Toyo Tire North America Manufacturing Inc.

Toyo Tire North America Manufacturing Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Toyo Tire Holdings of Americas Inc. It is responsible for the production of both the Toyo Tires and Nitto tire brands. Toyo Tires maintains its commitment to innovation, quality, performance and excellent customer service. In recent years, significant and continuous investments have been made in its facility in White, Georgia, to produce high-quality tires. The company’s tire portfolio covers a broad range of applications, including high-performance racing-inspired tires, rugged off-road tires for light trucks and SUVs, luxury touring tires, and tires for truck and bus applications. Toyo Tires was named the 2016 Georgia Automotive Supplier of the Year by GDEcD.

Deal Signs Hurricane Relief Package

Gov. Nathan Deal today signed legislation following the special session of the Georgia General Assembly that began on Nov. 13. HB 1EX amends the Fiscal Year 2019 Appropriations Act to provide roughly $270 million in emergency funding for state agencies and local governments in areas most heavily impacted by Hurricane Michael. Deal also signed HB 4EX, which creates a tax credit for certain taxpayers within Southwest Georgia’s timber industry who incurred significant expenses due to Hurricane Michael. Finally, Deal signed HB 5EX, which ratifies Deal’s executive order from July 30, 2018, and suspends collection of the state’s 4 percent sales and use tax on jet fuel through the end of FY 2019.

HB 1EX passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 162-1 and passed the Senate by a vote of 52-0. HB 4EX passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 157-2 and passed the Senate by a vote of 52-0.

“The work of the General Assembly this week will help the families, businesses, farmers and communities that were most severely impacted by Hurricane Michael,” said Deal. “By providing roughly $270 million to help our neighbors in Southwest Georgia, the appropriations in this amended budget will provide critical support for devastated communities, including those most heavily dependent on agriculture and the timber industry. I appreciate the General Assembly working together diligently and quickly to see that this relief funding will be delivered to those in need as rapidly as possible, as the rebuilding process is just beginning for some of Georgia’s citizens. I thank the leadership of both chambers and legislators from all over the state for coming together this week to support those most heavily impacted by this natural disaster.”

 As a result of Hurricane Michael, Southwest Georgia experienced approximately $2.5 billion in losses within the agriculture and timber industries. More information about projected losses from Hurricane Michael is available here.

Signed legislation from the 2018 special session is available here.