Former AG testimony could be pivotal in Nydia Tisdale’s trial in Superior Court


Tisdale struggles to escape Dawson County Sheriff’s Capt. Tony Wooten. (Photo by Brian K. Pritchard).

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Governor Nathan Deal and former Attorney General Sam Olens, two of Georgia’s most prominent political figures, are expected to testify at Nydia Tisdale’s trial in Dawson County Superior Court this week.

Tisdale is charged with felony obstruction of an officer, misdemeanor obstruction and criminal trespass stemming from her conduct at a Republican political rally at Burt’s Pumpkin Farm in August 2014. Deal, Olens, Senator David Perdue, Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, Labor Commissioner Mark Butler and School Superintendent Richard Woods were featured speakers. All have been subpoenaed.

While the event was advertised as “open to the public,” it took place on private property owned by Johnny and Kathy Burt. Johnny Burt testified Wednesday that he did not authorize the ads, and he wanted Tisdale to stop filming or leave. When she refused, he told then Dawson County Sheriff’s Captain Tony Wooten to “get her out of here.”

Witnesses said when Wooten attempted to lead Tisdale away from the crowd, she began screaming and flailing her arms and hit Wooten in the face and was subsequently placed under arrest.

The audio and pictures of the struggle were captured by Brian K. Pritchard of Fetch Your News, who was seated directly behind Tisdale. Pritchard is also expected to testify, possibly as early as today (Nov. 30).

At the time of the arrest, Olens was the top law enforcement official in Georgia. Public comments he made after Tisdale’s arrest could be pivotal in the case. Olens questioned the political wisdom of having her removed, saying: “What are we saying here that shouldn’t be on film? What message are we sending?”

But he added, “It is private property. The property owner has the right to not have the person there.”

The state could wrap up its case today. The defense will then begin calling its witnesses.


Georgia hits 4.5 million job mark in October

State & National

Georgia hits 4.5 million job mark in October

ATLANTA – State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said today that Georgia broke the 4.5- million jobs barrier in October, bouncing back from a job loss due to Hurricane Irma in September.

The state posted 4,510,100 jobs for the month. That preliminary number is higher than Georgia’s previous revised record of 4,497,700 set in August.  In September, Georgia had a temporary setback with a job loss of 3,400.

Georgia also set records in October for labor force and the number of employed residents.

“After the effects of the storm, this month’s numbers are much closer to what we are used to seeing,” Butler said. “All the indicators – job growth, unemployment claims, labor force and employed residents – are trending in the right direction.  October was a great month for a dynamic, growing state like Georgia.”

Monthly numbers can fluctuate due to short-term impacts like Irma and are subject to revisions. The story built over the year, Butler said, gives a clearer picture of the state’s economy and jobs picture because it smooths out short-term shifts seen in monthly reports.

Over the past 12 months, Georgia has added 87,800 jobs, a 2 percent growth rate. The state is outpacing the national job growth rate of 1.4 percent.

In October Georgia posted 15,800 new jobs. Growth came mostly in the private sector including, construction, 5,500 and professional and business services, 5,200. Georgia’s over-the-year job growth came mostly in the private sector. Jobs were added in professional and business services, 24,900; education and health services, 15,300; leisure and hospitality, 14,500; and trade, transportation and warehousing, 11,700.

“It’s important that Georgia is adding jobs,” Butler noted, “but it’s more important that people continue to get them. And, we continue to see both happening.”

In October, the total number of employed residents rose by 20,634 to 4,865,859. There are 173,402 more Georgians employed now than in October 2016.

At the same time, the state’s labor force, which includes the total number of Georgians with jobs and those unemployed but looking for work, rose to 5,085,519, up by 15,123 in October.  The labor force is up by 123,441 since October 2016.

Butler added that the unemployment rate also continues to fall.

The unemployment rate in October was 4.3 percent, down from September’s revised number of 4.4 percent. That compares favorably to last October when the rate was 5.4 percent. The lowest jobless rate ever recorded for the state was 3.4 percent in November 2000.

Monthly unemployment claims were up by 9.6 percent to 27,040. Most of the increase came due to temporary claims filed in manufacturing. However, from October a year ago, unemployment claims were down by 7.9 percent from 29,355.

Employ Georgia, the GDOL’s online job listing service at, showed 59,231 new job postings statewide for October.

Visit to learn more about career opportunities, Employ Georgia and other GDOL services for job seekers and employers and to connect with us on social media.



Hurricane Irma Impacts State Rate

State & National

Jobs decrease slightly in state, as Hurricane Irma impacts Coastal Georgia

ATLANTA – State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said today that Hurricane Irma caused Georgia’s job numbers to fall and unemployment claims to rise in September.

Butler noted that the state lost about 500 jobs for the month.  Similarly, Georgia also saw nearly 25,000 unemployment claims filed in September. That was a modest increase from the prior month and from September 2016. A 240 percent jump for the month in the coastal region drove the statewide numbers up slightly, the commissioner said.

“Even though the hurricane did have a negative effect on Georgia’s job and unemployment claims numbers, we still had a record month for employment and persons entering the workforce,” Butler said. “This shows the strength of Georgia’s economy and job market.”

Butler noted that even though September’s numbers were impacted by Hurricane Irma those changes were not enough to significantly affect the state’s strong performance over the past 12 months. Georgia added more than 84,000 new jobs during that time, Butler said.

Further, Butler said in September the state jobless rate continued to decline. He reported the September unemployment rate was 4.5 percent, down from 4.7 percent in August. It was last that low in June 2007. The monthly rate compares favorably to last September when the rate was 5.4 percent.

Butler added that employment among the state’s residents was up by 35,649 from August. That’s the largest single-month gain in at least 40 years.  The labor force, which is the number of residents employed and those unemployed but actively looking for work, rose by 25,761, as the number of unemployed declined by 9,888.

“It continues to be a very good year for Georgia’s economy when you look at the whole picture,” Butler said.

With the monthly job loss, Georgia ended September with 4,497,200 total jobs.  Jobs were up 1.9 percent from September 2016.

Most of the over-the-year job growth came in professional and business services, 28,200; leisure and hospitality, 19,200; education and health services, 14,600; and trade, transportation and warehousing, 10,400.

Statewide, unemployment claims were up by 3.6 percent to 24,666, due largely to temporary claims filed in manufacturing and accommodations and food services. Compared to September 2016, claims were up a modest 1.1 percent from 24,403.

Employ Georgia, the GDOL’s online job listing service at showed 56,210 new active job postings in Georgia for September.

Visit to learn more about career opportunities, Employ Georgia and other GDOL services for job seekers and employers and to connect with us on social media.



Labor Summits Scheduled for North Georgia


GAINESVILLE, Ga. – The Georgia Department of Labor will host a series of summits across north Georgia aimed at helping businesses make better use of social media to enhance their businesses.

On Oct. 5, the summit will be held in Gainesville at The Oaks at Lanier Charter Career Academy, 2719 Tumbling Creek Road starting at 9:30 a.m.

Labor Secretary Mark Butler will host the summits which will be conducted by a variety of presenters.

Butler said they will talk about how businesses can use social media to enhance businesses and provide tips on how to leverage it in the right way but will also caution of the pitfalls of how social media can adversely affect businesses and give suggestions of how to use it and leverage it in the right way.

He also said his office has identified an increased number of requests from the business community for more information.  The summits will also give his department a chance to hear directly from business leaders, in order to improve service.

Experts at the summit are also expected to discuss a range of employment and legal issues. Employers will also hear about labor laws and unemployment insurance.

“Not only do we talk about changes and things that the Georgia Department of Labor is doing, but we typically have somebody, a labor attorney, who we also have there at these who gives a talk about changes in federal law.”




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