Category Archives: What You Can Do

On Crossover Day… HB 287 Has Crossed Over

House Bill 287 — the bill transferring the Georgia Archives to the University System of Georgia — has been assigned to the Senate Higher Education Committee.

The bill can be found here:

This will be the last opportunity the public has for input into this legislation. If there is anything you would like to tell the Senators, these are the folks to contact:

Committee Members
Bill Cowsert, Chairman
Joshua McKoon, Vice Chairman
Burt Jones, Secretary
Buddy Carter, Member
Hardie Davis, Member
Tim Golden, Member
Lester G. Jackson, Member
Nan Orrock, Member
Cecil Staton, Member

Contact information can be found here:

Vivian Price Saffold

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At Last… HB 287 Passes The House

After being postponed for more than a week, House Bill 287 has passed the full state House of Representatives.

The bill now moves to the state Senate for consideration.

HB287 transfers the Georgia Archives from the Secretary of State to the University System of Georgia as of the beginning of the fiscal year, July 1.

The House Appropriations Committee seriously gets down to business on the budget in the final 10 legislative days, as well as on days when the full House is not in session. (There are several recess days scheduled).

Gov. Nathan Deal recommended $3,851,428 for the Archives for Fiscal Year 2014. Subtracting the “lease” (bond) payment on the Archives building, this budget leaves about $1 million to operate the Archives for an entire year. This won’t do.

USG Chancellor Hank Huckaby is asking for an additional $448,266, for a total of $4,299,694. This is a fair amount. Last fall, Gov.  Deal mandated that all state agencies cut three percent from their budgets. Secretary of State Brian Kemp cut $730,000 (intended as the total cut for all of his divisions). Adding the Chancellor’s recommendation brings the Archives back to the governor’s 3% mandated cut, the same as every other agency has had to take.

The Chancellor’s $448,266 also is a reasonable request, an amount that is neither greedy nor impossible.

It is very important that all Archives supporters immediately contact all members of the full House Appropriations Committee in support of a larger budget than the one recommended by the governor. Members of the committee can be found here:

Thanks to all of you who have worked and continued to work to support the Archives.

Vivian Price Saffold

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Archives Transfer Legislation Likely To Pass; Budget Talks Ongoing

House Bill 287,  transferring the Georgia Archives from the Secretary of State to the University System of Georgia, has passed all House committees and is expected to be approved by the full Georgia House of Representatives on Tuesday, Feb. 26.

The bill also is expected to pass the Senate.

In the meantime, the struggle for state dollars continues.

The Fiscal Year 2013 Supplemental Budget is headed to a House-Senate conference committee. It is unlikely that additional funds will be allocated to the Archives.

USG Chancellor Hank Huckaby has recommended that the legislature add $448,266 to the Archives budget for Fiscal Year 2014. Gov. Nathan Deal recommended $3,851,428. A total of $4,299,694 would:

  1. Restore fairness to the Archives budget (mitigating the Secretary of State’s $730,000 cut)
  2. Comply with the the governor’s mandated 3% cut for all state agencies
  3. Give the Archives some funds to work with — possibly allowing a few more public hours

The 2013 legislative session is more than half completed.  If you support the Georgia Archives, the time to act is now. Contact your state legislator, as well as members of the House and Senate Higher Education Appropriations subcommittees and the full House and Senate Appropriations Committee members.

Chairmen of these committees are as follows:

  • Rep. Terry England, chairman, House Appropriations Committee
  • Rep. Earl Erhart, chairman, House Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee
  • Sen. Jack Hill, chairman, Senate Appropriations Committee
  • Sen. Buddy Carter, chairman, Senate Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee

Vivian Price Saffold

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University System Wants Archives Budget Increase

University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby today recommended that the Georgia Archives receive $448,266 in additional funding in the Fiscal Year 2013 budget.

Last month Gov. Nathan Deal recommended that the Archives receive $3,851,428, a 13 percent cut from the Fiscal Year 2013 budget.

In a presentation to the Georgia House of Representatives Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee, USG Chancellor Huckaby recommended a total budget of $4,299,694, a three percent cut from 2013.

The figure would cover the cost of adding seven positions and opening to the public four days per week.

The budget request must clear several more hurdles before it becomes reality. The budget must be approved by the House Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee and the full House Appropriations Committee, as well as  the state Senate.

Archives supporters are urged to contact the following members of the House Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee:

Chairman Earl Ehrhart, Mike Cheokas, Alex Atwood, Paul Battles, Jon Burns, Rich Golick, Sheila Jones, Randy Nix, Tom Rice, Carl Rogers, Richard H. Smith, Calvin Smyre, Chuck Williams and John P. Yates.

Vivian Price Saffold

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Happy Birthday, Georgia — The Archives Remembers

“The rest, as they say, is history.”

We hear this statement regularly in every facet of life.

It is a popular phrase, designed to reduce, for the sake of brevity, the relatively recent past to seven words. The inference is that the story is too recent to bear reciting. Since it happened relatively recently, we, in our infinite humanity, figure we will remember without effort.

But, the recent past quickly becomes the distant past. Years flash by, and memories fade. Stories handed down through generations, like the old telephone game, are misremembered resulting in tangled distortions.

If such anomalies can occur in family histories over, say, three or four generations, just think what could happen if we had only oral history to rely on for the history of the state of Georgia.

Tuesday, Feb. 12 will mark 280 years since Gen. James Edward Oglethorpe escorted 114 men, women and children to Yamacraw Bluff, about 20 miles from the mouth of the Savannah River. The contingent had been at sea for more than two months. They had stopped in Charleston while Oglethorpe and soldiers found a place for them to settle in what would become the 13th colony.

What happened to those 114 souls? What hardships did they endure? What kind of government, industries and social structure did they develop?

The questions about Georgia’s rich history literally are endless.

Who was Button Gwinnett? What role did Georgia play in the American Revolution? What was the Yazoo Land Fraud? The convict lease system? What happened to the women who worked in the Roswell Mill?

How did Leo Frank die? What did the governor’s mansion look like in 1932? What did the legislature do in 1955? For what is Alonzo Herndon famous? What crops did your great grandpa grow on his farm in Early County?

How in the world did Georgia get 159 counties?

Of course, you could check any of several online sources, but the information generally is relatively superficial and the source documentation often non-existent. If you wanted to know the whole story, the real story, to see the actual documents, you’d go to the Georgia Archives.

Funding for the Archives has been dwindling for several years. If we don’t take the time to care today, how will future generations learn about what happened in the past?

So the next time you hear the phrase, “and the rest is history,” remember the Georgia Archives. The Archives exists for “the rest,” to be the collective memory of the state of Georgia and its people.

Take time to wish the State of Georgia a Happy Birthday and to tell your state legislature how important the Archives is to you and your fellow Georgians.

Vivian Price Saffold

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Budget Situation Actually Could Be Worse Than First Thought

On the surface, the governor’s budget recommendation for the Archives does not look that bad.

Of course, any cut is too much, given the amount of cuts the Archives already has endured.

Maybe, however, it really is that bad.

Last fall, Secretary of State Brian Kemp recommended a $730,000 cut and termination of seven of ten Archives employees. Gov. Nathan Deal later restored $125,000 to allow the Archives to stay open two days a week and two employees to be retained through the end of the fiscal year.  The fiscal year ends on June 30.

Thus, the Archives will continue into the new fiscal year with a $605,000 cut. Since that cut already is in place, the figure was not included in the report issued by the Office of Planning and Budget last week.

On top of that, the governor is recommending an additional $70,000 cut for Fiscal Year 2014.

The University System of Georgia has yet to recommend to the legislature a Fiscal Year 2014 budget for the Archives. In addition, the USG may be able to provide essential services to the Archives that would loosen the Archives budget.

Regardless of what decisions come from the University System, it is more important than ever that every Archives supporter contacts his/her state legislator.

Vivian Price Saffold

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Governor’s Recommendation Indicates Small Cut

University System of Georgia officials presented recommendations for the Georgia Archives’ at the legislative budget hearing yesterday at the state capitol.

Chancellor Hank Huckaby and Assistant Chancellor for Fiscal Affairs John Brown presented the governor’s recommendation for $3,851,428 for Fiscal Year 2014.

Gov. Nathan Deal recommended a total of $4,384,099  for both the Archives and the Georgia Records Center.

Georgia Archives director Chris Davidson said he expected Gov. Deal to recommend a budget decrease, an opinion supported by the Governor’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 Budget Report published by Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget. However, the recommended decrease falls far short of the $730,000 recommended last fall by Secretary of State Brian Kemp.

The report on the Archives – found under the Board of Regents rather than the Secretary of State – also states:

“The purpose of this appropriation is to maintain the state’s archives; document and interpret the history of the Georgia State Capitol building; and assist State Agencies with adequately documenting their activities, administering their records management programs, scheduling their records, and transferring their non-current records to the State Records Center.”

The location of the report and the statement of purpose appear to confirm that the Archives, along with the state Records Center, will move to the University System of Georgia which is administered by the Board of Regents.

The report also cites the following recommended change: “Transfer the Archives and Records program and 10 positions from the Secretary of State.” The Georgia Archives and the Records Center each currently has five employees.

Although the transfer must be approved by the state legislature,  Chancellor Huckaby already has named members of a transition team. The committee’s first meeting was held on Jan. 9.

As of that date, transfer legislation had not been written. Whether the legislation simply will authorize the transfer or will contain details of the move was not known at press time. Legislation transferring the state’s libraries to the USG in 2010 contained no details.

Vivian Price Saffold

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