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This story was updated Wednesday, July 3 at 2:35 p.m. 

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello asked Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Wednesday to address a lawsuit filed against the state's Department of Driver Services.

The federal suit alleges Geogia is discriminating against Puerto Rican driver's license applicants by treating them differently than other citizens. 

"This is absurd," Rossello said in a statement. "Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens and cannot be treated unequally in any U.S. jurisdiction. I ask Georgia Governor Brian Kemp to address the disturbing irregularities immediately. The U.S. citizen of Puerto Rico cannot be subject to illogical and illegal requirements when procuring government services."

David Goldman / AP

The Georgia State Patrol and Motor Carrier Compliance Division expect a record number of travelers hitting the roadways for the Fourth of July holiday.

This year, the holiday travel period is 102 hours long, beginning at 6 p.m. Wednesday and ending at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, according to the GSP. Last year, the holiday period was only 30 hours long.

Sea to Shore Alliance, taken under NOAA research permit 20556

Six endangered North Atlantic right whales died in June, four of them last week alone. This brings Georgia's official state marine mammal even closer to extinction. 

Researchers estimate that just 411 North Atlantic right whales remain. Six of them dying in one month — among them, three of breeding age — is significant. 


pixabay

The Atlanta City Council has passed a ban on smoking and vaping at the world's busiest airport, as well as a number of public places.

Councilmembers Andre Dickens and Matt Westmoreland spearheaded the proposal, which passed by a majority vote on Monday.

The ordinance bans smoking at Atlanta's Hartsfield Jackson International Airport, which will shutter the smoking rooms inside the airport, as well as the indoor areas of most bars and restaurants.

 

 


Experts Say Play It Safe With Fireworks

Jul 2, 2019
Marianna Bacallao / GPB

The Macon-Bibb Fire Department set off fireworks in their own parking lot, demonstrating how to safely handle, ignite and launch fireworks. 

Macon's fire department receives over 150 calls regarding firework accidents annually. Macon-Bibb Fire Chief Marvin Riggins said a majority of those accidents are eye injuries.

Cox Media Group

When Lorenzo "Lo" Jelks joined WSB-TV in 1967 as the station's first black, on-air reporter, viewers didn't see him. Though they heard his voice and saw his name, actually getting on camera represented another challenge entirely – one that required a concerted effort, led by civil rights activist Lonnie King and Atlanta's NAACP. 

A new documentary from the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists chronicles that effort and the trailblazing men and women who became Atlanta's first broadcast journalists. Among those featured in Black & Reporting: The Struggle behind the Lens is Walt Elder, the first African American to report morning headline news at WSB.


United States' Cori "Coco" Gauff reacts after beating United States's Venus Williams in a Women's singles match during day one of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Monday, July 1, 2019.
Tim Ireland / AP Photo

Coco Gauff surprised the world of professional tennis when she became the youngest to qualify for Wimbledon. On Monday, the 15-year-old continued her stunning run when she defeated 5-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams at the All England Club. 

Gauff pulled off a two set victory over Williams winning 6-4, 6-4 during the first round of the tournament. The victory makes Gauff the youngest professional tennis player to win a match at Wimbledon since fellow American Jennifer Capriati defeated Martina Navratilova at 14. 

GPB

On this edition of Political Rewind, it is unclear whether the citizenship question will be added to the 2020 census after the U.S. Supreme Court sent the issue back to lower courts. The partisan implications of the question have been hotly debated, but what could be the economic impact of the decision in Georgia? 


Ross Terrell / GPB News

It’s been 14 months since the first dockless scooters popped up around Atlanta. Now, New York based Charge is bringing its scooter charging stations to Atlanta.

The first charging station was unveiled Monday in front of Woodruff Park in downtown Atlanta. It’s a nine-scooter stable, with a charging cord in each spot.


(L) Georgia State Senate/ (R) ShaferforGeorgia.com

The state legislature may be in its post-session off season, but the political landscape in Georgia is far from quiet.

While the 2020 elections are over a year away, political parties are hard at work on strategies to reach Georgians who did not vote last year and maintain the energy of those who did.

Democratic Party of Georgia chair Sen. Nikema Williams and Georgia Republican Party chair David Shafer sat down with GPB News to discuss their plans to emerge victorious next November.

GPB political reporter Stephen Fowler sat down with On Second Thought host Virginia Prescott to share what that means for Georgia voters in the coming months.

    

David Shafer

Newly-elected Republican Party of Georgia Chairman David Shafer has a big task ahead of him in the leadup to the 2020 election.

The governor’s mansion, every statewide elected office, state legislative leadership and both U.S. Senate seats are held by Republicans.

But last fall, Democrats gained several suburban seats in the legislature and Stacey Abrams garnered more votes than any other Democrat who ran for statewide office, narrowly losing to Gov. Brian Kemp.

David Shafer sat down in the GPB studios to share his vision for the party in the coming years.


Nikema Williams / Facebook

The past year has been a whirlwind for state Sen. Nikema Williams.

 

In November, she was re-elected to her post in Atlanta-based Senate District 39.

 

But later that month, she and 14 others were arrested during a protest in the Capitol rotunda demanding that every vote be counted in the gubernatorial race between Brian Kemp and Stacey Abrams.

 

 


(L) Georgia State Senate/ (R) ShaferforGeorgia.com

We are halfway through the year and it has been a busy one in Georgia politics. 

 

So far, many political issues have been highlighted, including a controversial abortion bill, new voting machines and multiple visits from presidential candidates.

 

GPB's Stephen Fowler sat down with Morning Edition host Leah Fleming to recap all the action as we enter the second half of 2019.

 

 


Elaine Thompson / AP

The first day of July marks the beginning of the new fiscal year and when many laws take effect.

We are midway through a whirlwind 2019 that has been full of political news, ranging from the nationwide conversation on abortion and reproductive rights to electoral integrity to numerous visits from the two dozen or so candidates running for president.

July 1 is when the record-setting $27.5 billion state operating budget kicks in, complete with money for a new voting system and pay raises for teachers, school staff and state employees.

David Goldman / AP

President Donald Trump on Saturday dismissed Jimmy Carter's swipe at the legitimacy of his election and said the charge was nothing more than a "Democrat talking point," while offering his own digs at the 94-year-old former commander in chief.

Glynn County commissioner and insurance agent Bob Coleman.
Glynn County

A county commissioner in coastal Georgia says he’s innocent after a grand jury indicted him on charges that he took money from clients of his insurance business.

Courtesy of Abby Drue

It's been 50 years since the Stonewall Uprising began in New York City. In the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, police raided The Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in Greenwich Village. While accounts vary of what exactly sparked the rebellion and violent clash, what resulted was a series of protests and demonstrations — which led to the first Pride Parade in 1970.

But Stonewall, when it happened, had little effect on gay life in the South. It was another raid, a little more than a month later, that sparked outrage and galvanized Atlanta's LGBT communities. On Aug. 5, 1969, police raided a screening of Andy Warhol's Lonesome Cowboys at Ansley Mall Mini-Cinema. 


Sea to Shore Alliance, taken under NOAA research permit 20556

Six endangered North Atlantic right whales have died in June, four of them this week. This brings Georgia's state marine mammal even closer to extinction.


Public Domain

Last week, Mexico became the first country to ratify the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA. Canada is expected to follow suit in short course.

In The United States, however, not all American lawmakers are convinced the USMCA would be a better deal than the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. Democrats have threatened to block it, and a few key Republicans are withholding support unless the administration makes some concessions on tariffs.


The empty courtroom is seen at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington.
J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo

On this edition of Political Rewind, the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia has filed a lawsuit asking the federal court to block implementation of the state’s restrictive new abortion law.  ACLU Director Andrea Young joins us to discuss the basis for the suit.


John Amis / AP Photo

Jimmy Carter is taking a swipe at the legitimacy of Donald Trump’s presidency, saying Russian interference in the 2016 election was responsible for putting Trump in the White House.

The 94-year-old former U.S. president said Friday that he believes Russia’s meddling “if fully investigated would show that Trump didn’t actually win the election in 2016.” Carter said he believes Trump “lost the election” and became president “because the Russians interfered on his behalf.”

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

A new lawsuit claims Georgia's abortion law, set to take effect Jan. 1, 2020, violates the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. 

The 36-page suit, Sistersong v. Kemp, argues that the Living Infants Fairness and Equality Act "criminalizes pre-viability abortions in direct conflict with Roe v. Wade," which establishes a woman's right to an abortion until about 24 weeks into pregnancy. 


Contributed by Peter Bailey

The month of June is full of festivals, celebrating all kinds of heritage. 

 

Besides Pride, it's also Caribbean Heritage Month.

 

Atlanta has one of the largest contingents of U.S. Virgin Islanders living on the U.S. mainland.

 


Voters in Georgia
Grant Blankenship / GPB

More than 120 million Americans cast ballots in the 2018 midterm elections, with turnout surging to that of a typical presidential year in some states and the highest percentages of voters in places that have expanded access to the polls, according to an analysis of data released Thursday by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.

Tyler Perry Joins New BET Video Streaming Service

Jun 27, 2019
Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Tyler Perry Studios is partnering with Viacom and BET to launch a new streaming service.

BET+ will feature on-demand video streaming for subscribers, as well as new projects from Perry.

Forsyth Farmers' Market Facebook page

As June closes out and we enter into the second half of the year, Savannah offers plenty of events to engage with from panels on mental health to final celebrations of Pride Month. Marianne Ganem Poppell of Savannah Master Calendar and Mahogany Bowers of Blessings in a Bookbag have your guide. 


David Goldman / AP

The flu vaccine turned out to be a big disappointment again.

The vaccine didn't work against a flu bug that popped up halfway through the past flu season, dragging down overall effectiveness to 29%, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday.

Jeremy Jacobs, Curator Emeritus National Museum of Natural History

In 2008, G. Wayne Clough became the 12th secretary of the Smithsonian. The Douglas native and Georgia Tech president emeritus was the first Southerner to hold the position.

When Clough retired from his post, he decided to write about his birthplace of South Georgia. At the same time, he dove into the Smithsonian's vast collections, searching for artifacts from the region. He shares what he found in his memoir Things New and Strange: A Southerner's Journey through the Smithsonian Collections.


pxhere

There has been a huge push to end the stigma, the bigotry and intolerance surrounding the LGBT+ community.  

 

But despite that, for many people who identify as LGBT+, there are still  experiences and memories of discrimination, violence and familial rejection which are recognized as significant factors contributing to mental health concerns.

 

Rosser Shymanski / GPB

For the past three decades, Rosser Shymanski has played a critical role in almost every program you've watched on Georgia Public Broadcasting. Shymanski, GPB's television production manager, retires Friday after 31 years with the organization. He will say "Aloha" to his colleagues Friday with his final "Hawaiian Shirt Friday," a tradition that has become a mainstay of GPB, just like Shymanski himself.

But before Shymanski worked behind the scenes and won the hearts of his colleagues at GPB, viewers around Atlanta knew and loved him as DeAundra Peek – a character he created and portrayed for The American Music Show on People TV, a public access channel, from 1987 to 2004. The full collection is now archived at Emory University's Rose Library.


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