Gold Dome Tea Newsletter #2

Your weekly source of fresh tea poured out of the Gold Dome! 

February 2, 2019 

Welcome back Tea Sippers! 

This is our second edition of the 2019 Gold Dome Tea newsletter. We brought the tea so we hope you brought your cups, as we will be giving you the inside scoop of all the most juicy things that happened in the last two weeks under the Gold Dome! 👀

In this week’s issue of Gold Dome Tea we will tackle:
🔹Piping Hot Issues – Quick rundown of the piping hot issues that will surely stir the pot.
🔹Budget Committee Hearings – Money 💰 and how it’s going to be used. 
🔹Things To Celebrate – Some of the feel good tea we all need after the messiness. 
🔹Call to Action – #2BrokeTuesdays at the Capitol: Mark your calendars and come lobby with us! 

Piping Hot Issues

▪️In the last issue we told you how the #MeToo movement came to the state Senate and that a bipartisan women coalition was formed. Well this coalition is not slowing down as State Sens. Renee Unterman (R) and Nan Orrock (D) have filed legislation in the Senate that would ratify the Equal Rights Amendment that was approved by Congress in the 1970s. You would think that having an amendment that guarantees equal rights to all Americans regardless of sex would be a pretty easy thing to pass right? Welp let me tell you that for years Democratic senators have tried and tried, but it has failed to gain any traction in Georgia. However this year it might be different because 6 Republican male Senators are actually co-sponsoring Unterman’s resolution. As Senator Chuck Hufstetler (R of Rome) mentioned “passing the amendment is the best way to ensure equal treatment,” so it seems like it would be gain more traction than ever before and Georgia can make history by being the 38th state [you need 38 states to ratify an amendment in order for it to become part of the U.S. Constitution] to ratify this constitutional amendment! 👏🏼
🔗Read more here:

▪️Things got spicy 🌶 at the the Cobb County Delegation Meeting! The meeting was bound to be quite interesting because Democrats representing Cobb have now a majority of the 21-member delegation for the first time in decades after the past November’s elections. As with any party in power, the Cobb Democrats wanted the leadership positions in the delegation to reflect the change in power and nominated State Rep. David Wilkerson for chair. However the Republicans in the delegation did not want to let go of power that easily and decided to sabotage the vote by Republican Sen. Lindsey Tippins nominating Sen. Michael Rhett, D-Marietta, for chair. Cobb Democrats then responded with walking out of the meeting to take away quorum from the voting process. 
Sen. Wilkerson said Rhett’s nomination was an effort by the Republicans to control who would lead the delegation. When Republicans were in the majority, Democrats did not interfere with their choice of delegation officers, Wilkerson said.
Senator Tippins says he will “not entertain” another vote unless there is additional business to address for the delegation. 
The pettiness was an all time high on the Republican side and the Democrats not only felt disrespected and thus walked out, but Wilkerson is even exploring the possibility of splitting the delegation in two: one would be composed of House members representing Cobb, the other made up of state senators. Whew we will just have to see how this turns out! 😳
🔗Read more here:

Budget Committee Hearings
So allocating how all the money will be spent in the state is a long process that takes about a week of the session and they normally last about an hour and a half, sometimes longer. 

The one that was the most interesting was the House Appropriations Meeting on Higher Education. The report from the Chancellor of the University System of Georgia (USG) Dr. Steve Wrigley was the most informative as it listed the statistics, the goals and the problems they are facing. 
▪️One of the general facts is that 2/3 of all jobs created over the next 10 years are projected to require a higher education degree. 

▪️Goals of the USG are to make it more affordable for students by making all textbooks free and online; by encouraging students to not borrow more than they need; by consolidating institutions to make schools more efficient; by offering more online courses and encouraging students to take more classes in order to finish.
▪️Budget problems of the USG include “Austerity cuts” which means that’s funding declines during a recession; faculty pay is down compared to other southern states and this lowers retainement of professors.

Here is a quick breakdown of the State vs. Individual Share of the Costs:

a. It was 75% State/25% Individual split around 2009.
b. Now it’s 50% State/50% Individual currently
c. 50% of the state’s $9 billion higher ed budget comes from non-state and non-individual sources (i.e.—sponsorships, feds, etc.)
🔗Watch more here:

We know it is a lot of information to take in but we want you to be in the know of all the decisions that affect your college experience and why most of us are #BrokeAF when it comes to higher education.

Things to Celebrate 🎉 

What better way to celebrate the start of Black History Month than by highlighting Senator Nikema Williams, the first black woman elected to lead the state Democratic Party!

Williams, a state senator representing district 39, will be an assertive voice for Georgia Democrats as she will refuse to shy away from confrontations with the majority party. She got a head start on that in November when she was arrested during a protest at the state Capitol over the gubernatorial election. She continues by letting us know that she is “going to make sure voters know how Governor Brian Kemp is failing us and what’s happening in Washington and our state Legislature.” 

Williams’ election shows that Democrats value black women in leadership roles. Her election sends the message that the core of the Democratic Party is an essential bloc in both voters and leadership! “Black women lift up so much in our communities,” she said. “We’re often not appreciated for the work we do, but we’re constantly called on to do the work. I’m grateful that people have seen the work I’ve done for so long and are willing to stand behind me.” ✊🏾
🔗Read more here:

Call to Action
Are you #BrokeAF and want a more accessible higher education system for all? Join us at the State Capitol next Tuesday from 9am to 1pm for an opportunity to advocate for increased higher education access for all Georgians!
RSVP and get more information on the event here:
These last two weeks were mostly mild compared to what we predict we will see after the Super Bowl attention leaves the city, so expect a good amount of mess in the coming weeks! 

If you enjoyed this tea time we shared together, then subscribe hereto get more piping hot tea poured fresh every Saturday during the legislative session! 🐸☕️
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