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Stephen Fowler/GPB

Georgia lawmakers have passed a measure that would allow the state’s Public Service Commission to regulate how much electric cooperatives charge to carry internet lines on their utility poles.

House Bill 244 passed the Senate by a 31-22 vote on Monday. It now goes to Gov. Brian Kemp for his signature or veto. 

Stephen Fowler / GPB News

UPDATE: The maternal mortality bill — HB 1114 — passed the House Wednesday evening and heads to the governor's desk for his signature.

ORIGINAL STORY: A bill aimed at curbing Georgia's exceedingly high maternal mortality rates unanimously passed the state Senate on Tuesday. The bill extends Medicaid coverage for postpartum from two to six months and allows for lactation care and services.

Education Takes Big Hit In Proposed Budget

Jun 24, 2020

"To call this an unusual or abnormal time is an understatement at best," said Sen. Blake Tillery, R-Vidalia, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

 

State revenues from income and sales taxes have taken a cornavirus-fueld nosedive brought on by record unemployment and a shutdown of businesss that are still struggling to regain financial footing.

 

Cobb District Attorney Joyette M. Holmes announced that a Glynn County grand jury has indicted Travis McMichael, Greg McMichael and William R. Bryan on malice and felony murder charges in the Feb. 23, 2020, killing of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery.

screenshot from Twitter

Atlanta rapper T.I. plans to return to the classroom this fall to teach a course at Clark Atlanta University called “The Business of Trap Music.”

The Grammy Award-winning artist will partner with the HBCU to teach undergraduates alongside hip-hop scholar Dr. Melva K. Williams.

Liz Fabian

The House Governmental Affairs Committee approved a bill Wednesday that would prevent state and county elections officials from sending vote-by-mail applications to Georgians, after a similar effort by the state led to more than 1.1 million absentee ballots in the June 9 primary.

The substitute to Senate Bill 436 would outlaw “unsolicited absentee ballot applications to electors,” like the 6.9 million applications sent out by Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger earlier this year.

Wikimedia

Wednesday on Political Rewind, rapid developments in legislation as state lawmakers work through the last week of the legislative session.

Among the stories from the state Capitol, Gov. Brian Kemp is proposing reduced budget cuts to education and hate crimes legislation is on the verge of becoming reality.

 

 


Jessica Gurell / GPB

Emergency rooms across Georgia are seeing more suspected drug overdoses, raising concerns the state is beginning to see an exacerbated epidemic emerge amid the coronavirus pandemic, officials say.

Georgia's drug surveillance team outlined the rise in suspected drug overdoses in a June 19 memo that alerted its “partners to be vigilant about any unusual drug overdose activity” and that the department “needs your help to determine if an increase in drug overdoses is truly occurring.”

Micah Johnston

The coronavirus pandemic means more people are spending time at home, and for some, more boredom. To fight that, many are picking up new hobbies, including one you might not expect: raising backyard chickens.

“We’ve been raising our own chickens for over a year now,” says Lacey Resch, a Macon resident. “One day he (my husband) came home with a little box, and said ‘Look what followed me home,’ and it was baby chicks!”

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

Georgia has received more than $4 billion from the federal government to cover coronavirus-related spending by state and local governments.  Many cities and counties have not received their share of the funding.  

It's outlined in a new report by the Georgia News Lab. Deputy editor Laura Corley joined GPB’s All Things Considered host Rickey Bevington.  

 


   

Fulton County Jail

The Fulton County Sheriff's Office Fugitive Unit arrested Wendy's arson suspect Natalie White on Tuesday. 

An arrest warrant was issued for White by Atlanta Fire Investigators after the restaurant burned down on 125 University Ave. in Atlanta on June 13.

Stephen Fowler/GPB

The Georgia legislature sent a hate crimes bill to Gov. Brian Kemp’s desk Tuesday, spurred on by the recent killing of a Black man in Glynn County that received nationwide attention and revived a bill stalled in the Senate for more than a year. 

House Bill 426 adds extra penalties for those found guilty of committing certain crimes against someone because of their race, religion, sexual orientation or disability. 

The final version also requires the creation of a database to track hate crimes across the state.

Branden Camp / AP

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard, who is in a close race for re-election, is being criticized by people accusing him of a rush to judgment in filing criminal charges against the Atlanta police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks.

Stephen Fowler / GPB News

Tuesday on Political Rewind, the latest on Georgia hate-crimes legislation. After long discussions, could the state legislature finally enact law on this issue?

We took a look at the latest debate in the state Capitol with the ACLU's Andrea Young and our panel of political insiders.

Sarah Rose / GPB News

Friends and family of Rayshard Brooks gathered to remember the man they called their “Ray of light” on Tuesday, with the pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church delivering an impassioned eulogy on race, justice and equality.

Liz Fabian

After months of wrangling, the old Kroger supermarket at 400 Pio Nono Ave. could be converted into storage units after all.

In its first in-person meeting since March, the Macon-Bibb County Planning and Zoning Commission agreed to rehear the application after neighbors spoke in favor of a revised plan that carves out a portion of the 84,000 square foot-building for a potential grocery store.

Courtney Dittmar/AP

CLAIM: “Nancy Green (aka Aunt Jemima) was born into slavery. She was a magnificent cook. When she was ‘freed’ she rolled her talent into a cooking brand that General Mills bought & used her likeness. She died in 1923 as one of America’s first black millionaires.”

THE FACTS: There is no evidence that Green’s portrayal as Aunt Jemima made her into a millionaire.

Georgia Sits On Over $1 Billion In COVID Funds As Local Governments Slash Budgets

Jun 22, 2020
Stephen Fowler / GPB News

Georgia has received more than $4 billion in federal funding to help the state and local governments soften the blow of the coronavirus pandemic, but most cities and counties haven't seen a dime, an investigation by the Georgia News Lab and GPB News has found.

Bill Would Ban Georgia’s Confederate Monuments

Jun 22, 2020

If state Rep. Shelley Hutchinson had her way, the inside of Georgia's Capitol would look much different.

"If you owned slaves, if you advocated for slavery, then you shouldn't be glorified," said Hutchinson, D-Snellville.

Mayor Van Johnson on Facebook

The City of Savannah plans to make masks mandatory amid a rise in coronavirus cases, Mayor Van Johnson said during a special called meeting of the city council Monday.

 

“As these numbers continue to go up, and they are going up all over our community and they’re not slowing down, I just refuse to sit by idle and not be able to try to do something to be able to try to slow the spread,” Johnson said.

 

Poultry farmer Dempsey Miford walks through his family's chicken house in Cumming, Georgia.
John Bazemore / AP

Over the weekend Georgia saw its largest spike in coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, with experts warning about an alarming rise in the state's poultry and agricultural workers.

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

While politicians and the public are still seeking answers about what went wrong with Georgia’s June 9 primary, officials from the state’s most populous county are looking to ensure the same issues don’t plague the August runoff and November general election.

In a private meeting Monday, members of the Fulton County Board of Elections, the Secretary of State’s office and several civil rights groups including the Rainbow PUSH Coalition discussed concerns with the mail-in absentee voting process, polling place shortages and struggles with poll worker training that led to problems with a new $104-million voting system.

Joe Ravi / Wikimedia, CC-BY-SA 3.0

Monday on Political Rewind, the U.S. Supreme Court passed down a series of decisions over the past week, setting the course for policy on a range of issues across the nation.

What do those decision signal for the politics of today?

We covered the latest on the highest court in the country, with our panel of experts and political insiders.


Flickr

“Jaws,” “Black Panther” and “Back to the Future” are just a few of the modern popcorn classics coming to the drive-in this summer.

Tribeca Enterprises, IMAX and AT&T on Monday announced the initial lineup for its summer series of films, comedy and football offerings running every weekend from July 2 through Aug. 2 in cities like Los Angeles, New York, Dallas, Minneapolis, Atlanta and Seattle.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

For years, there has been on again, off again conversation in Macon about moving the Confederate statue at the foot of Cotton Avenue. Now is a definitely an on again time, as it is for monuments elsewhere.

Coinciding with the Juneteenth holiday, artists in Macon built a box around the foot of the statue to create a place for creative expression and hopefully spurring positive conversation about what to do about the statue, conversations couched in love rather than hate.

Liz Fabian

For the last 121 years, a historic brick railroad viaduct lay below the College Street bridge.

Nearby neighbor Ryan Griffin, who has a penchant for historic preservation, said he didn’t even notice it until he bought the commercial building next door a couple years ago.

“It was a very cool little brick bridge. It was very neat and most people probably didn’t realize it was there,” Griffin said Friday.

Photography by Melissa Alexander

Today, in celebration of Juneteenth, Power Haus Creative has organized what they’re calling the “Juneteenth Takeover” – in which 19 Atlanta artists will display their work on the exterior of the historic Flatiron building in downtown Atlanta.

Carlton Mackey and Melissa Alexander are two of those artists.

 


Stephen Fowler / GPB News

The Georgia Senate on Friday passed a budget that cuts $2.6 billion in spending, including more than $1 billion from the state’s education system.

On a party-line 34-15 vote, the chamber pared back some of the cuts submitted by state agencies last month.

Donna Lowry

The coronavirus trauma that devastated Georgia’s economy loomed large during Day 34 of the legislative session. Senators spent much of Friday morning contending with how the economic downturn decimated the state budget.

At the same time, the House took the time to remember those who lost their lives to the virus.

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

A DeKalb County temporary elections employee has tested positive for COVID-19, shutting down the elections office and forcing officials to seek a delay in certifying results from the June 9 primary. 

The part-time worker started on June 11 and tested positive Thursday, June 18. DeKalb's health board is recommending a two-week quarantine for all who work in the office and came into contact with the employee.

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