It's about eight months until November elections to the state Legislature, but the result is already in for much of the midstate: Wins for most incumbents because they have no challengers.
State Rep. Rusty Kidd, I-Milledgeville, attracted five challengers, and state Rep. Bubber Epps, R-Dry Branch, drew one. Incumbent state Rep. Nikki Randall was one of about a dozen lawmakers statewide who announced that they would not seek re-election.
But besides those lawmakers, incumbents from Macon-Bibb and surrounding counties celebrated a happy Friday after qualifying closed at noon and no other names showed up in their district races.
All 236 state lawmakers come up for election in all even-numbered years.
ROBERTA-CRAWFORD TAX CUT PROMISED
Merging Roberta and Crawford into one Roberta-Crawford government should save money, according to state Rep. Robert Dickey, R-Musella.
He's so sure of it that he's written lower taxes into a merger deal he wants to put in front of voters in November.
A just-updated version of his House Bill 1110 says that starting from fiscal year 2021, a merged city-county would roll back property taxes by a half-mill a year for three years.
Dickey has said he thinks a merger could actually result in property taxes falling even lower than that.
The tax rollback could be suspended in case of an emergency.
But first, the state Legislature needs to formally approve putting the merger question on Roberta and Crawford ballots, a move that should be finalized in the next two weeks.
WHITHER MEDICAL MARIJUANA?
The idea of growing medical cannabis in Georgia, led by Macon Republican state Rep. Allen Peake, started the legislative year with the signatures of more than half the state House's members.
But House Bill 722 has withered under the bright lights of the Legislature.
The House removed the idea of in-state cultivation before it passed the bill.
The shortened bill would still expand access to the state's medical cannabis registry to more Georgians.
But the time for Senate action is getting short if the bill is to be sent to Gov. Nathan Deal's desk before the state Legislature closes for the year on March 24.
If it does not get a committee hearing and passage on Monday, there is virtually no chance of it becoming law this year.
Telegraph writer Maggie Lee complied this report.