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Eric Risberg, File / AP

A five-day course of the antiviral drug remdesivir will cost private health insurers in the United States more than $3,000, Gilead Chairman & CEO Daniel O'Day said Monday

The Department of Health and Human Services already obtained more than 500,000 treatment courses to ensure "any American patient who needs remdesivir gets it" through September, HHS Secretary Alex Azar said.

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

Elections officials in Fulton County Monday tested a method of auditing the tabulated results of Georgia’s presidential primary.

The county, secretary of state’s office and VotingWorks, a nonpartisan nonprofit elections group, performed a pilot of a “risk-limiting audit” to check the accuracy of the reported victories for Democrat Joe Biden and Republican Donald Trump.

Pexels

With the state of Georgia seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases, a global company with ties to Alpharetta is helping blood centers collect and distribute donated blood of coronavirus survivors to try to save as many lives as possible.

Ron Harris / AP Photo

Monday on Political Rewind, Confederate monuments across America have become a flash point during ongoing protests over police brutality and systemic racism.

Central to the issue is a disagreement about what monuments to the Confederacy represent: history or mythology?


Grant Blankenship/GPB

Georgia reported more than 2,200 additional COVID-19 cases Sunday, a new high of daily reported cases as confirmed infections continue to rise.

The number of reported cases on Sunday eclipsed the previous highest daily total of 1,990 reported on Saturday. 

Backlight image of a man holding a child against the sunset affected by a Saharan dust cloud.
Charlie Riedel / AP

The Georgia Department of Public Health is urging people to use caution outdoors as the densest Saharan dust in the last 50 to 60 years moves across the state.

If it appears hazy or dusty outside, limit outdoor activities such as yard work and exercise, the agency said in a statement. The health department also recommended wearing a face mask outside "to keep dust particles out of the nose and mouth, and to help prevent the spread of COVID-19."

Maxwell Posner/NPR / YouTube

I like to run. And bike. And go for walks.

Especially during the pandemic. It's a time I can almost forget about the novel coronavirus.

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

When Georgia’s fiscal year budget begins Wednesday, it will be 10% lighter because of the coronavirus pandemic – though many of the worst-case cuts have been softened.

The House approved the state’s $25.9 billion spending plan 104-62 late Friday evening, sending more than $2 billion in spending reductions to the governor’s desk.

Courtesy of the Savannah Police Department, Love Beyond Walls, Jerald Nuness, and Dr. Andre Brock

For generations, “The Talk” has been a mainstay in African American families. At some point, Black children all get warnings from elders about how to avoid – and survive – police encounters.

It’s a rite that cuts across region, socioeconomic status and profession – even for members of law enforcement.

 


Emily Jones / GPB News

America’s mayors have taken center stage in 2020. Big city mayors feuded with state and federal officials over COVID-19 protections and resources, and have been praised — and condemned — for their handling of protests sparked by the death of George Floyd.

These crises may be unfolding on a national and international scale, but affect lives in every American city and town. Outside of Atlanta’s national spotlight, Savannah Mayor Van Johnson is working to address these issues head-on.


Linda Wilder-Bryan

When COVID-19 hit Savannah, city leaders were particularly concerned about the homeless population — or “roofless people,” as 3rd District Alderwoman Linda Wilder-Bryan prefers. Her drive to help people who couldn’t get into shelters led to a proposal for “Dundee Village.”

Now, plans are underway for a safe and sanitary complex of tents – which will later be converted to livable shipping containers – to house people displaced by the pandemic and at risk of contracting COVID-19 on the streets.


America’s mayors have taken center stage in 2020. Big city mayors feuded with state and federal officials over COVID-19 protections and resources, and have been praised — and condemned — for their handling of protests sparked by the death of George Floyd.

These crises may be unfolding on a national scale, but affect lives in every American city and town. With Atlanta officials already in the national spotlight, On Second Thought turned to local leaders in Savannah — Georgia’s first city and the state’s largest coastal municipality — to see how they are responding. We begin with Savannah Mayor Van Johnson, who took office in January of this tumultuous year. He shed light on his decision-making processes and vision for the city’s future.


The Associated Press

The long fight to remove a Confederate monument in Decatur, Georgia, came to an end this month. The 30-foot-tall structure that stood in the city's square since 1908 was taken down. Meanwhile, there is a push to put up a marker near where the Confederate monument once stood. This marker would honor a long, overlooked piece of Civil Rights history

Smallwood

The Macon City Auditorium will get a major facelift before its 100th birthday that coincides with the 2023 bicentennial of the city’s founding.

Macon-Bibb County SPLOST project manager Clay Murphey told commissioners Tuesday that about $10 million dollars remains for the renovation that was included in the tax referendum sanctioned by voters in 2016.

Plans include improving handicapped access and fire safety, building two new octagonal restroom wings, enlarging the lobby, enhancing guests’ experience and creating a modern venue for performers.

Pexels.com

Lawmakers on the last day of the legislative session passed a bill taxing vaping products for the first time and raising the age to purchase tobacco products to 21.

The move, when signed by Gov. Brian Kemp, means an estimated $9.6 million and $14.5 million in extra revenue for the state. However, that is far less than the $600 million that was left on the table by not increasing the sales tax on cigarettes, according to the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, or GBPI.

Georgia ranks 48th out of 50 for the lowest cigarette tax in the nation.

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

After nearly 16 years, Georgia once again has a hate crimes law on the books.

Flanked by Democrats and Republicans from both chambers, Kemp signed HB 426 into law Friday afternoon at the Capitol.

The law imposes tougher penalties for those who are found guilty of  committing certain crimes against someone because of their race, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation or national origin.

Emilio Morenatti / AP

LaGrange, Georgia, ranks third in the nation as a COVID-19 hot spot for deaths relative to its population and fourth in the nation for cases relative to its population, according to The New York Times.

Data analysis from the newspaper showed 17 people in the last two weeks had died of coronavirus in LaGrange, a town of about 30,000 people in Troup County located about 70 miles southwest of Atlanta.

Emily Jones / GPB News

The summer of 2020 looks like it will be a season of protest, as many across Georgia and the country call for an end to police brutality and structural racism. It’s far from the first season of protest and turmoil here. GPB’s Emily Jones produced this audio postcard for GPB's On Second Thought.


Stephen Folwer / GPB News

GPB News asked all 44 state lawmakers who voted against the historic hate crimes bill for an explanation on their votes. Only two responded with an on-the-record comment.

Sam Bermas-Dawes

Today on Political Rewind, host Bill Nigut spoke with GPB News' Stephen Fowler, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Tia Mitchell and Adam Van Brimmer of the Savannah Morning News.

The phrase ‘Sine Die’ will echo through the halls of the state Capitol soon as the legislature ends the 2020 session. It is the last chance for action on several pieces of legislation, including bills governing tax breaks and elections. 

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

With the historic 2020 legislative session drawing to a close, GPB News is live blogging the frenzied final day. Follow for all the latest.

10:15 p.m. - Sine Die!

That's it! The session is done.

9:45 p.m. - It will not look liked a blizzard of papers in the House.

Another casualty of the coronavirus at the Capitol will be a less-messy Sine Die.  House Speaker David Ralston told lawmakers not to throw papers into the air, despite the "time-honored tradition," because will be no one to pick them up.

There have been fewer people working under the Gold Dome during this shortened legislative session. Ralston suggested lawmakers begin cleaning out their desks.
 

8:38 p.m. - House passes budget 104 to 52.

The budget has passed and heads to the governor. 

8:20 p.m. - The House takes up the budget.

 The House is finally looking at 2021 budget, House BIll 793.

Appropriations Chair Terry England introduced the legislation.

"We have managed to do some truly remarkable work for our state," said England. "You have a conservative budget… while confronting the challenges in front of us."

The $25.9 billion spending plan was crafted with more than $2 billion in spending cuts, primarily in education.

Stephen Fowler / GPB News

The Georgia Senate approved a budget for the next fiscal year that would no longer require furloughs for many state employees and restores some funding to many programs that were initially on the chopping block.  

The fiscal year 2021 spending plan, which takes effect next week, passed 40-13 after a joint conference committee signed off on the measure Thursday afternoon.  

Donna Lowry

Lawmakers have little time, but big goals to get bills they've sponsored passed before the legislative session ends on Friday.

They will vote on the $26 billion budget for the fiscal year 2021 agreed upon by a bipartisan conference committee over the past week.

Georgians want to know how many people are getting infected with coronavirus, how many are on ventilators in intensive care units and how many are dying. But experts say the state health department is not presenting its data in a way people can easily understand.

Liz Fabian

The Macon-Bibb County Board of Elections will be appealing to the county for more money as they head into an August runoff and what could be a very challenging presidential election.

Not only is the board trying to resolve issues that led to delays in some precincts opening June 9 and in tabulating results, but now they are struggling to pay bills.

“We requested over a million dollars and we got $950,000,” board chairman Mike Kaplan said during Tuesday evening’s board meeting.

Grant Blankenship / GPB News

As demonstrations continue nationwide over police brutality and systemic racism, many are calling for monuments honoring the Confederacy to come down. The monuments have become flashpoints for protesters and targets for vandals. 

 

But current Georgia law prohibits moving the monuments in most cases. That creates a challenge for cities across the state. 

 

In Athens, the county commission was set to vote Thursday on whether to move a Confederate monument away from downtown.


Stephen Fowler / GPB News

Thursday on Political Rewind, the big headline out of the legislative session's final days is the passage of a hates crime bill in Georgia, but negotiations over the budget remain a crucial and consequential issue this week.

Gov. Brian Kemp has said he will reduce cuts to areas of the budget, including education.

How are the other parts of the budget shaping up in these last days of the session?


April Bonaccorsi, Judy Hammett, Katie Mckoy, Wendy Beasley, Sandra Agazie

Come July 1, families in Georgia already struggling to provide quality care for their children with disabilities will brace for the elimination of programs and services they need most, provided by the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, due to state budget cuts related to coronavirus.

Adriana Iris Boatwright

Several months ago, Marco Vasquez began his gender transition while caring for his young child at home. In addition, his mother was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer. Then, the coronavirus pandemic struck, grinding the state's economy to a halt.

Twitter.com/@ARxCAdvocates

After fighting for years to pass a bill addressing Georgia's terribly high rates of maternal mortality, House Bill 1114 passed Wednesday night.

The bill extends Medicaid coverage for women from two to six months after giving birth. Now, all eyes are on whether the budget will provide funding.

Rep. Sharon Cooper, who sponsored the bill, told GPB News she's hopeful.

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