Call your Senator/Representative—NOW

Submitted by Tammy Herron (sgapresident@thesga.org)

The time is NOW for you to act…. Dial NOW. Details below….

Dear SGA Members,

As you may have read in my President’s Message, the SGA has joined The Coalition to Preserve the Georgia Archives and will be listed as a supporting organization in the Georgia Archives advocacy document. Catherine Long, the immediate Past-President of our organization, sent letters last September in support of the Georgia Archives to the Governor, Lt. Governor, and Secretary of State. “In order to continue the preservation, study and education of all Georgia’s rich history,” Mrs. Long urged these officials to reconsider their decision to close the Archives.

Like-minded organizations around the state are currently working to ensure that legislators are aware that additional funding is needed “in the next state budget to restore the Georgia Archives to its ability to be open to the public for regular business hours and to have sufficient staff to provide the basic full range of services that a state archival institution should provide.” As such, the officers and board members felt that it was our duty to join with other supporting organizations throughout the state as a Coalition Partner.

As Supporters of the Georgia Archives, we have received our first call to action from the leadership of the Coalition to Preserve the Georgia Archives! Please take a few moments to read the information provided below and consider calling your own State Senator and State Representative to urge them to take a tour of the Georgia Archives. Time is of the essence (please see the dates listed regarding the invitation for guided tours of the Georgia Archives for State Legislators). We were not able to get this message out sooner due to technical logistics, but we do still have time to act.

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. You may also visit the SGA’s website (www.thesga.org) for more information regarding the plight to save the Georgia Archives.

Sincerely, Tammy F. Herron, President

Please call, don’t email or fax. Atlanta office telephone numbers for current Senators are here, and Representatives are here.
Tour of Archives, Wednesday, February 13th

All State Legislators received an invitation to take a guided tour of the Georgia Archives (copy of invitation attached), between 1:00 and 3:15 PM, on Wednesday, February 13th. Transportation will be provided for Legislators both from and back to the State Capitol.

PLEASE CALL YOUR OWN STATE SENATOR AND STATE REPRESENTATIVE: (a) Encourage them to take the tour; and, (b) Encourage them to RSVP promptly, as requested on the invitation, to either kaye@trouparchives.org, or steveallen@joetanner.com. If the Legislator is not available when you call, leave a message asking for him/her to return a call to you. Tell his/her staff member that you are calling on behalf of the Coalition to Preserve the Georgia Archives. If you speak with a Legislator, try to limit your call to 3–5 minutes. Things are hectic; they are busy.

Call Subcommittee Members listed below

These subcommittees will receive and review, and make recommendations on, the expected request from the Chancellor of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, for additional restored funding for the Georgia Archives. Please contact any members of these Subcommittees who are from your geographic area of the state, and encourage friends and colleagues to do likewise.

Identify yourself as calling on behalf of the Coalition to Preserve the Georgia Archives, and as a member or officer of any of the organizations which are supporting Coalition Partners. The Society for Georgia Archaeology is one of these. Thank him/her for service in the General Assembly and on this important Subcommittee.

Remind him/her that the Coalition appreciates and supports the Governor’s proposal to transfer the Georgia Archives to the University System of Georgia, as well as the efforts of the Transition Team which the Chancellor has appointed, which has already begun its work. The Chancellor and the University System are committed to significant improvements for the Georgia Archives, and we support that commitment to secure a brighter future for this state institution.

Remind him/her that we are very optimistic, but that we are, and will be continuing to watch the transition progress very carefully.

Ask him/her to RSVP to take a guided tour of the Georgia Archives (the only date left is Wednesday, February 13th).

Advise him/her that recent newspaper articles and news broadcasts about the Governor’s budget proposal for the Georgia Archives are mostly accurate, but also mostly misleading. The $4.3 million amount is basically the same as last year’s budget and will not enable the Georgia Archives to be open to the public any more than its current 2 days per week. Nor will this amount enable the restoration of any professional staff positions which are needed not only to restore critical statewide archival functions, but also to qualify for federal and private grants which have been awarded to, but are currently being withheld from the Georgia Archives. The 10 staff positions which last year’s budget amount will fund are not new ones for the Georgia Archives. They are the same 5 with which the Georgia Archives ended year 2012, as well as the same 5 positions which staff the State Records Center within the Division of Archives & History. [The State Records Center is an entirely separate facility which administers short-term-retention records from state departments and agencies, which are destroyed when their legal retention periods expire.]

Advise him/her that we expect the Chancellor to submit a request to the General Assembly for additional restored funds for the Georgia Archives, and we would appreciate his/her serious consideration and support of this request. We do not know the amount the Chancellor will propose, but the Coalition’s estimate last fall to return the institution to full public days and hours and to adequately staff comprehensive, critical, statewide archival functions would be about $1.15 million. We are confident the Transition Team is working to identify and propose the most cost efficient ways to realize these goals.

Give him/her a “heads up” that the Coalition plans to host a Legislative Breakfast in coming weeks, and that we hope he/she will be able to attend.

Thank him/her again for service to Georgia and for taking time to talk with you and to consider the future of the Georgia Archives.

House Appropriations Higher Education Subcommittee

    Earl Ehrhart (R-36), Subcommittee Chairman, Powder Springs, 404-463-2247

    Mike Cheokas (R-138), Vice-Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Americus, GA, 404-656-0298

    Alex Atwood (R-179), Brunswick, 404-656-0152

    Paul Battles (R-15), Cartersville, 404-463-3793

    Jon G. Burns (R-159), Newington, 404-656-5099

    Rich Golick (R-40), Smyrna, 404-656-5943

    Sheila Jones (D-53), Atlanta, 404-656-0126

    Randy Nix (R-69), LaGrange, 404-656-5087

    Tom Rice (R-95), Norcross, 404-656-5912

    Carl Rogers (R-29), Higher Education Committee Chairman, Gainesville, 404-656-7855

    Richard H. Smith (R-134), Columbus, 404-656-6831

    Calvin Smyre (D-135), Columbus, 404-656-0116

    Chuck Williams (R-119), Watkinsville, 404-656-0254

Senate Appropriations Higher Education Subcommittee

    Buddy Carter (R-1), Subcommittee Chairman, Pooler, 404-656-5109

    Ronnie Chance (R-16), Senate Majority Leader, Tyrone, 404-463-1366

    Bill Cowsert (R-46), Higher Education Committee Chairman, Athens, 404-463-1383

    Gail Davenport (D-44), Jonesboro, 404-463-5260

    Cecil Staten (R-18), Senate Majority Whip, Macon, 404-656-5039

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