Want to sue the state over a bad law? This would give you permission

As it now stands, no one can ask a state court judge to overturn a law that is blatantly illegal or clearly unconstitutional, such as a law that bars gun ownership or bans interracial marriage. But state lawmakers are now moving to permit lawsuits that challenge whether a statute is unconstitutional. It would allow limited waivers to the legal doctrine of sovereign immunity, rooted in the centuries-old...
As it now stands, no one can ask a state court judge to overturn a law that is blatantly illegal or clearly unconstitutional, such as a law that bars gun ownership or bans interracial marriage. But state...

Like predecessors, Deal lets Georgia’s scorned school formula persist

When Georgia leaders wrote a groundbreaking formula in 1985 to change the way the state subsidizes public schools, most students were writing term papers on typewriters and only dreamed of using a “videophone,” like the one in the futuristic cartoon show called “The Jetsons.” More than three decades later, tablets and cellphones are commonplace in schools. Yet Georgia still...
When Georgia leaders wrote a groundbreaking formula in 1985 to change the way the state subsidizes public schools, most students were writing term papers on typewriters and only dreamed of using a &ldquo...


Georgia considering penalizing people with ‘fake service dogs’

Georgia considering penalizing people with ‘fake service dogs’

State Sen. Renee Unterman is concerned about what she calls “fake service animals.” The Buford Republican told a Senate committee Thursday that a woman who contacted her said she took her trained service dog to the doctor. There, they met up with someone with another dog wearing a vest identifying it as a service dog. But, Unterman said, that dog had not been properly trained and attacked...
Georgia Legislature Today: What’s next for the adoption bill?

Georgia Legislature Today: What’s next for the adoption bill?

The Georgia General Assembly at a glance for Friday, Day 6 of the 2018 legislative session: Adoption bill: The Senate on Thursday afternoon passed an amended version of a bill designed to make adoption easier in Georgia with a 40-12 vote. House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, said he was concerned with the amended language, which insert a provision that grants temporary powers of attorney...
Capitol Recap: Some in GOP see Handel’s campaign as the winning formula

Capitol Recap: Some in GOP see Handel’s campaign as the winning formula

Some top Republicans believe Karen Handel set the course GOP candidates should take in this year’s congressional midterm elections in a political climate dominated by President Donald Trump and his low approval ratings. Handel, according to Politico.com, attended a closed-door meeting this past week in Washington that was apparently organized by the National Republican Congressional Committee...
Georgia Legislature Today: Senate tackles adoption bill

Georgia Legislature Today: Senate tackles adoption bill

The Georgia General Assembly at a glance for Thursday, Day 5 of the 2018 legislative session: Canceled committees: Winter weather threw the week’s agenda off a bit, causing lawmakers to cancel budget presentations scheduled for Wednesday. Presentations from the Georgia departments of community supervision, human services, transportation and planning and budget have yet to be rescheduled. Session...
Price joins board of medical company with political ambitions

Price joins board of medical company with political ambitions

Tom Price, the recently resigned U.S. secretary of health and human services and former congressman and Georgia legislator, has joined the advisory board of a company with ambitions. Jackson Healthcare, a medical staffing and technology company based in Alpharetta, announced the addition in a news release Tuesday. The company also boasts former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush as a member of its board. Price...
Georgia’s recent trims to state workforce spared University System

Georgia’s recent trims to state workforce spared University System

Gov. Nathan Deal calls it an example of state government doing more with less. Deal told House and Senate budget writers this week that the number of state employees dropped from 70,716 in fiscal 2008, just as the Great Recession began hammering government finances, to 58,642 in 2017. But those figures don’t include the state’s biggest employer — the University System of...
State political reports from across Georgia

State political reports from across Georgia

Augusta: Deal “changed us” Some of the state’s editorial writers have been heaping praise on Gov. Nathan Deal as he begins his final year in office. One of the most gushing editorials came from The Augusta Chronicle, which declared Deal “one of the most impactful governors in this region in memory.” The paper wrote: “In believing in us and investing in us, he has...
Elderly kept in ‘dungeons’ in alleged Georgia Medicaid fraud scheme

Elderly kept in ‘dungeons’ in alleged Georgia Medicaid fraud scheme

Three people have been arrested on allegations that they confined 14 elderly or disabled adults in middle Georgia residences, denying them food and stealing their government benefit payments, law enforcement officials said Tuesday. Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr said the defendants participated in “an organized web of abuse” by targeting the elderly in Albany and Macon...
4 candidates join race for south Georgia House seat

4 candidates join race for south Georgia House seat

Three Republicans and a Democrat are running in a Feb. 13 special election for a state House seat representing a district on the Georgia-Florida border. The candidates are competing to replace former Rep. Amy Carter, R-Valdosta, who resigned from House District 175 in November to take a position with the Technical College System of Georgia. Candidate qualifying for the race...
AJC poll: Georgians have positive outlook on Deal, state’s direction

AJC poll: Georgians have positive outlook on Deal, state’s direction

Georgians have a dim view on the broader direction of the nation and President Donald Trump’s first year in the White House. But when it comes to state politics, voters have a much rosier outlook.  An Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll shows a majority of registered voters – 53 percent – give Republican Gov. Nathan Deal favorable reviews in his final year in office...
Medicaid work requirement stirs interest in Ga., but impact is iffy

Medicaid work requirement stirs interest in Ga., but impact is iffy

The administration of President Donald Trump has opened the door to imposing work requirements on Medicaid recipients. And some Georgia leaders are interested. Each state sets its own specifics, but the broad principles for Medicaid eligibility have long been the same. For a half-century, Medicaid has guaranteed health coverage to poor Americans if they make little enough money and meet the right...
Capitol Recap: So what does ‘clean’ mean?

Capitol Recap: So what does ‘clean’ mean?

House Bill 159, legislation that would make Georgia’s adoption process faster and easier, was seen as an early indicator about how smoothly General Assembly’s 2018 session might progress. It could still be a bumpy ride. Before the session, Gov. Nathan Deal and House Speaker David Ralston made it clear what their hopes were for HB 159, that it would be a “clean” bill without...
Auditors task state with determining future of Georgia farmers markets

Auditors task state with determining future of Georgia farmers markets

An audit of the state’s farmers markets found that, other than the Atlanta Market, many are underused and more than half are losing money. Georgia Department of Agriculture officials, however, say auditors may be viewing the markets through a different lens than the one they use. “I think it depends on what your vision of a farmers market is,” Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black...
Deal, coastal Georgia officials raise concerns about offshore drilling

Deal, coastal Georgia officials raise concerns about offshore drilling

Gov. Nathan Deal raised concerns about the Trump administration’s decision to allow new offshore oil and gas drilling in coastal Georgia and much of the rest of the nation’s coastal waters, but it’s unclear whether the state will seek an exemption from the expanded federal program. The governor’s office said in a statement Wednesday that Deal has “some concerns with opening...
Georgia governor’s final State of the State looks back — and forward

Georgia governor’s final State of the State looks back — and forward

Deep into Gov. Nathan Deal’s final State of the State speech, he broke up a wistful address with a joke about the I-85 bridge collapsing in flames the last time he addressed lawmakers. His plea to the hundreds of lawmakers arrayed before him: “Please don’t start any fires.” It was a lighthearted moment in a valedictory address that focused more on the governor’s past...
Georgia Legislature settles disagreement over short-term schedule

Georgia Legislature settles disagreement over short-term schedule

The state Senate resolved an impasse Thursday over when the Georgia General Assembly will hold legislative sessions, agreeing on a short-term schedule after meeting four days this week. The General Assembly set a calendar for the first 11 business days of its 40-day legislative session, avoiding the possibility of a legislative session on Friday. Some lawmakers in the Senate have been trying to burn...
Capitol scorecard: Ga. ethics reform five years later

Capitol scorecard: Ga. ethics reform five years later

Five years ago, state lawmakers convened in Atlanta and set about the task of ethics reform with the enthusiasm of teenagers told to clean their rooms. For years, lobbyists were allowed to give unlimited gifts of any value to public officials as long as they reported them. But a prolonged pressure campaign by “good government” groups and embarrassing media exposure pushed lawmakers...
Religious language dropped from Georgia adoption bill

Religious language dropped from Georgia adoption bill

A bill to make adoptions in Georgia faster and easier passed a state Senate committee Wednesday, without controversial “religious liberty” provisions that stalled the legislation last year. But senators changed the adoption legislation, House Bill 159, in other ways that could hurt its chances of becoming law. The amended version of the bill includes a proposal Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed...
Bill would require hands-free phone technology for Georgia drivers

Bill would require hands-free phone technology for Georgia drivers

Hoping to stem rising traffic fatalities on Georgia highways, state lawmakers Wednesday unveiled a proposal to require drivers to use hands-free cell-phone technology. House Bill 673 also would increase the fine for distracted driving from $150 to up to $900 for repeat offenders. And it would increase the penalty from 1 point assessed against a driver’s license to up to 4 points for repeat offenders...
Georgia Legislative Black Caucus introduces its own hate crimes bills

Georgia Legislative Black Caucus introduces its own hate crimes bills

Saying a similar proposal introduced last week does not go far enough, members from the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus filed legislation that would make it illegal to commit a “violent crime” against someone based on qualities such as their race, gender or sexual orientation. State Rep. Karen Bennett, D-Stone Mountain, and state Sen. Lester Jackson, D-Savannah, filed bills in their respective...
Study: Rural hospitals’ survival linked to Medicaid

Study: Rural hospitals’ survival linked to Medicaid

Georgia is among 18 states that did not decide to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. A new study says that decision may have had a cost to communities. Hospitals, often strapped for cash in rural areas, were substantially less likely to shut down in places where Medicaid had been expanded to cover more of a community’s poor adults, the study found. In Georgia, at least seven ...
Georgia prepares for an unprecedented move to land Amazon

Georgia prepares for an unprecedented move to land Amazon

Landing Amazon’s second headquarters will take an unprecedented package of incentives, and Georgia’s leaders are prepared to do something unprecedented to secure them. Gov. Nathan Deal and leading lawmakers united behind a plan Wednesday to call a special legislative session to hash out the lucrative offerings for Amazon if the tech giant picks metro Atlanta as a top finalist for the $5...
Georgia bill would make it illegal to use a computer without permission

Georgia bill would make it illegal to use a computer without permission

It might soon be illegal in Georgia to hack or log into a computer without permission, even if no information is disrupted or stolen. Senate Bill 315, introduced this week by Sen. Bruce Thompson, R-White, would create the crime of unauthorized computer access, a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $5,000 and up to 12 months in jail. Attorney General Chris Carr said Georgia is one of only three...
Georgia Legislature Today: Killing time

Georgia Legislature Today: Killing time

The Georgia General Assembly at a glance for Wednesday, Day 3 of the 2018 legislative session: They call this a business day: Legislative sessions didn’t last long Tuesday: About 45 minutes in the House and 35 minutes in the Senate. Not much was accomplished except burning one of the 40 legislative business days before state legislators can get back to campaigning. Adoption warning: A Republican...
Republicans retain 2 seats in Georgia Legislature in special elections 

Republicans retain 2 seats in Georgia Legislature in special elections 

Republicans Brian Strickland and Geoffrey Cauble won special elections Tuesday to represent Henry County in the Georgia Senate and House. They defeated three candidates each, winning a majority of the vote and avoiding a runoff, according to unofficial election results.  Strickland, an attorney who resigned his House seat to run for Senate, was victorious in a race to replace former...
Georgia debt collector turns over $8.8 million in accounts to state

Georgia debt collector turns over $8.8 million in accounts to state

A Snellville debt collection company, Williamson and McKevie, has agreed to surrender $8.8 million in accounts to the state of Georgia to resolve allegations that it threatened customers with arrest and falsely claimed they had committed crimes. Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr said Tuesday that the settlement will resolve allegations that the company violated federal and state debt collection...
Georgia Legislature Today: Hangover Tuesday

Georgia Legislature Today: Hangover Tuesday

The Georgia General Assembly at a glance for Jan. 9, 2018: Nothing doing: Georgia lawmakers will report to the state Capitol on Tuesday, but they won’t have much to do (other than despair over Georgia’s overtime loss to Alabama in the college football championship game). One committee meeting is scheduled: the House Ways & Means Subcommittee on Public Finance & Policy at 2 p.m....
Georgia task force on health care recommends more research

Georgia task force on health care recommends more research

A high-powered task force led by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle has completed nearly a year of meetings and research without producing a solution to some of the state’s biggest health care problems, such as the state’s hundreds of thousands of uninsured poor. Instead, it recommended more research. The Senate Health Care Reform Task Force’s steps may eventually lead to big solutions. It...
Georgia Rep. Rich Golick won’t seek re-election

Georgia Rep. Rich Golick won’t seek re-election

Georgia Rep. Rich Golick announced Monday he’s retiring at the end of 2018 after serving 20 years in the Georgia General Assembly. Golick, a Republican attorney representing Smyrna, said in a statement he promised himself years ago to spend more time with his two sons during their teenage years. “There’s just no way for me to keep that promise completely if I’m running...
Girl Scouts cooking up plan for lasting tribute to Low

Girl Scouts cooking up plan for lasting tribute to Low

Georgia lawmakers may be drawn into a battle over historic names by none other than the Girl Scouts. The group, which has cornered the market on Thin Mint cookies, wants the Talmadge Bridge renamed for its founder and Savannah native Juliette Gordon Low. And the Girl Scouts are promising to take their case — and likely plenty of cookies — to the General Assembly, which opened its 2018...
Don’t catfish this, it’s for the chil’rens: A legislative glossary

Don’t catfish this, it’s for the chil’rens: A legislative glossary

Here’s what Georgia lawmakers mean when they say… AAA Bond Rating: It is the best rating governments can get on money it borrows , which means low interest rates. Frequently mentioned in budget discussions, it is essentially code language for, “You’re in good hands, vote for this thing.” A dinner, a lunch: A group meal sponsored by lobbyists. A good bill: Commonly used...
Football outweighs business as Georgia opens legislative session

Football outweighs business as Georgia opens legislative session

It was more like a Georgia football pep rally than the start of this year’s legislative session Monday at the state Capitol. The state Senate adjourned for the day by “Calling the Dawgs.” House members watched a University of Georgia highlight reel from the chamber floor. House Speaker David Ralston waved a red pompom from the dais. Excitement about Monday night’s...
Georgia Legislature Today: Football and politics on first day of session

Georgia Legislature Today: Football and politics on first day of session

The Georgia General Assembly at a glance for Jan. 8, 2018:  Opening Day: The Georgia Legislature plans to kick off its yearly lawmaking session at 10 a.m. on Monday. The state House and Senate will gavel in the session, decide when they’ll meet next at the Capitol and then quickly leave before the big game. Down the street a few hours later, the sporting world will be watching...
Top issues for the Georgia General Assembly in 2018

Top issues for the Georgia General Assembly in 2018

The issue: Gov. Nathan Deal’s final state budget should top a record $26 billion, but there are plenty of questions, including the impact of federal tax changes approved by Congress and whether legislative leaders do more than talk about reducing Georgia’s income tax rate, something that has been debated for several years. With slower tax revenue and a giant payment needed ...
Georgia Democrats’ legislative priorities: health care and employee pay

Georgia Democrats’ legislative priorities: health care and employee pay

Georgia Democrats lack political power to pass their state legislative agenda this year, but incoming House Minority Leader Bob Trammell says they’ll keep talking about health care, livable wages and education funding.Trammell, D-Luthersville, says House Democrats will use their platform in elected office to try to force a conversation on their priorities when the Georgia General Assembly...
Opinion: The AJC’s legislative guide is your roadmap to state politics

Opinion: The AJC’s legislative guide is your roadmap to state politics

What can one person do? We asked that question 10 years ago in our Guide to the Georgia Legislature, focusing on individuals who learned the power of speaking up for what they believed in, whether to advocate for services for a special needs child or a cleaner, safer environment, or lower taxes. The conclusion was clear then and now. Anyone can help make our state a better place. We’ve been...
Rising tax take in Georgia a sign of a strong December economy

Rising tax take in Georgia a sign of a strong December economy

Tax collections soared in Georgia in December, marking a second strong month for the economy after a slow start to the fiscal year. Collections improved 10 percent in December over the same month in 2016. Overall for the fiscal year, which began July 1, collections are up 4.1 percent, or about the same as they were last year during the first six months. That means about a $445 million increase in...
Georgia program for injured workers regularly in the red

Georgia program for injured workers regularly in the red

The Georgia workers’ compensation program that covers about 122,000 state workers and University System employees has run a deficit in seven of the past 10 years, a new audit says. Reserves of $31 million in 2008 were depleted, and now the program will have to ask the General Assembly to come up with extra money during the 2018 legislative session to cover the deficit. The program pays medical...
Georgians have 26 billion reasons to watch budget this year

Georgians have 26 billion reasons to watch budget this year

At the top of lawmakers’ to-do list every General Assembly session — like the one starting Monday — is deciding how they will spend the billions of dollars Georgians have paid into the state treasury each year. In other words, it’s time to start paying attention. Why? Because the state budget — which will be about $26 billion in state revenue and around $50 billion with...
The Week: Cleanup may be in order after 2017 tussle over adoption bill

The Week: Cleanup may be in order after 2017 tussle over adoption bill

The Legislature rolls into town Monday, and some state officials are hoping it gets off to a “clean” start. Specifically, Gov. Nathan Deal and House Speaker David Ralston want quick action on an adoption bill that hit the skids last year. The bill was designed to make the state’s adoption process more efficient, in part by reducing wait times. But then a fight erupted between...
A Georgia Republican’s case for RFRA in the Amazon era

A Georgia Republican’s case for RFRA in the Amazon era

Gov. Nathan Deal and other critics of “religious liberty” legislation hope that the state’s quest for Amazon’s second headquarters puts the kibash on another round of debate over the contentious topic. A Senate Republican made clear that won’t happen.  State Sen. Marty Harbin, a sponsor of the legislation, has vowed to revive it ahead of this year’s session...
DeKalb commissioners add moratorium on municipalities to session goals

DeKalb commissioners add moratorium on municipalities to session goals

DeKalb commissioners will ask members of their legislative delegation to support a bill that creates a three-year moratorium on new municipalities and annexations in the county. Commissioners are also asking legislators to require that future cityhood referendums include all voters in unincorporated DeKalb, not just those living within the proposed borders of a new city. Additionally, they say, the...
Look who’s talking about Georgia lawmakers

Look who’s talking about Georgia lawmakers

A new blog post from Mark Martin, a reporter and anchor at CBN News, is headlined: “Georgia GOP Siding With the Secular Left in the Culture War.” In the blog, Martin declares that the Peach State is “turning sour on religious liberty,” and the effects of that “could be felt by some of Georgia’s most needy citizens: orphans.” He’s referring to action...
Religious groups renew effort for greater protections in Georgia

Religious groups renew effort for greater protections in Georgia

Pastors and faith-based groups are pushing for a “religious liberty” bill to be approved this year, arguing it wouldn’t result in discrimination or hurt the economy of Georgia, which is bidding to become Amazon’s second headquarters. They said during a press conference in the state Capitol on Tuesday that Georgia should join the 21 other states that have passed legislation...
Deal, fiscal analyst see strong Georgia economy ahead

Deal, fiscal analyst see strong Georgia economy ahead

Gov. Nathan Deal and the state’s chief fiscal analyst painted an optimistic picture of Georgia’s economy for legislative leaders Tuesday, although the impact of new federal tax changes remain unclear. Ken Heaghney, Georgia’s fiscal economist, told members of the House and Senate budget committees that the state is projecting a 3.7 percent increase in revenue in fiscal 2019, which...
Georgia governor’s budget proposal offers some higher education increases

Georgia governor’s budget proposal offers some higher education increases

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal on Thursday released his final proposed budget as the state’s chief executive. Here’s how it could impact public higher education in Georgia: a 3 percent increase in HOPE scholarships and grants, totaling about $68.1 million. $65 million in additional capital funds for major repairs and rehabilitation of some University System of Georgia facilities. The system...
VIDEO: Watch the Georgia Senate ‘Call the Dawgs’ ahead of championship game

VIDEO: Watch the Georgia Senate ‘Call the Dawgs’ ahead of championship game

The state of Georgia and city of Atlanta are ready its moment in college football limelight. On Monday morning, members of the Georgia state Senate “Called the Dawgs” during the session ahead of tonight’s College Football Playoff Championship in Atlanta. Watch the video below: Georgia and Alabama kick off at 8 p.m. at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Georgia group makes recommendations to improve HOPE scholarship 

Georgia group makes recommendations to improve HOPE scholarship 

Just days before Georgia lawmakers return Monday for this year’s legislative session, an education group released a report Friday outlining six ways to leverage Georgia’s HOPE college scholarship program to help more students. The Georgia Budget & Policy Institute’s recommendations are: create need-based aid. Georgia, the report said, is one of only two states that...
Democrat plans another run in ‘gerrymandered’ Gwinnett House district

Democrat plans another run in ‘gerrymandered’ Gwinnett House district

The Democratic candidate who lost her previous bid for a highly competitive — and controversial — Gwinnett-based state House district plans to run again this fall.  And Donna McLeod isn’t shying away from the gerrymandering allegations that continue to loom over House District 105, either. “I don’t run just to run, I run because I believe in what I'm ...
Georgia lawmakers weigh another sales tax for schools

Georgia lawmakers weigh another sales tax for schools

Georgia legislators on Thursday heard testimony about a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow another penny on the dollar sales tax for schools. Unlike the current tax that communities can approve to pay the financing cost for new buildings, this sales tax would pay for ongoing maintenance and operations for up to five years. House Resolution 319 was introduced last year by Rep. Bubber...
Georgia Rep. Howard Maxwell leaving office this year

Georgia Rep. Howard Maxwell leaving office this year

State Rep. Howard Maxwell announced Thursday he’s retiring from his Paulding County district in the Georgia General Assembly after 14 years. Maxwell, a 68-year-old Republican, said he’ll step down at the end of 2018 when his current two-year term ends. He’s the chairman of the House Regulated Industries Committee, which oversees licensing of alcohol, tobacco, construction...
Georgia’s new cybersecurity campus is about to get much bigger

Georgia’s new cybersecurity campus is about to get much bigger

The budding cybersecurity center on the outskirts of downtown Augusta is set to dramatically expand before the first phase is even completed. Gov. Nathan Deal and state officials on Wednesday broke ground on a $35 million addition to the cybersecurity campus, which is to be built a few steps from the $60 million centerpiece that is still under construction. Together, the Cyber Innovation and Training...
Georgia lawmakers to tackle transit funding in metro Atlanta

Georgia lawmakers to tackle transit funding in metro Atlanta

After decades as the poor stepchild of transportation, mass transit could get plenty of love at the Gold Dome in 2018. Atlanta’s traffic mess and economic development concerns — including Amazon’s search for a second corporate headquarters — have made public transportation an urgent priority at the Capitol and at county courthouses. A House of Representatives...
Rural Georgia finally gets the Legislature’s attention

Rural Georgia finally gets the Legislature’s attention

Devastated by job losses, plant closings and population declines, rural Georgia communities are struggling to survive. Those left behind face few job prospects in half-empty towns. After decades of neglect, Georgia’s legislators say this is the year they’ll wield the government’s power to revitalize large swaths of the state that haven’t benefited from metro Atlanta’s...
Georgia lost some notable politicians in 2017

Georgia lost some notable politicians in 2017

Georgia lost some of its long-time politicians on the state and local level in 2017. They ranged from local commissioners, such as Fulton County’s Joan Garner who spent decades championing LGBT rights before it became a widespread cause, to Agricultural Commissioner Tommy Irvin, who with 42 years in office was the longest-serving head of a department in Georgia history. Irvin came by his knowledge...
How did your Cobb neighbors vote in the 6th District runoff election?

How did your Cobb neighbors vote in the 6th District runoff election?

Republican Karen Handel beat Democrat Jon Ossoff in the 6th Congressional District race Tuesday night, becoming Georgia’s first female Republican member of the U.S. House. What would usually be a tame special election in an historically red section of the Atlanta suburbs brought obscene amounts of national attention and dollars. You can see how voters at each precinct, ...
Hey, 6th District voters: Did the rain stop you from voting today? 

Hey, 6th District voters: Did the rain stop you from voting today? 

Now that most of the polls have closed in the hotly contested 6th Congressional District runoff, election officials will play the waiting game to see if heavy metro-wide showers and flooding hampered voter turnout.  Voters seeking to elect either Democrat Jon Ossoff or Republican Karen Handel in this special election to replace Republican Tom Price, now U.S. Secretary of Health...
Early voting for Senate District 32 race begins May 6 in Sandy Springs

Early voting for Senate District 32 race begins May 6 in Sandy Springs

Voters in north Fulton County will be able to cast ballots as early as May 6 for the runoff election to fill Judson Hill’s state Senate seat. The North Fulton Service Center at 7741 Roswell Road in Sandy Springs will be home to the lone early voting polling place for the District 32 election. Early voting will be available Saturday, May 6 through Friday, May 12 from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Hill...
A closer look at individual donors to Georgia District 6 campaigns

A closer look at individual donors to Georgia District 6 campaigns

With less than a week remaining for the special elections for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, the AJC decided to look at where donations are coming from.  To answer this question, we combed through Federal Election Commission campaign filings for five candidates -- Democrat Jon Ossoff, and Republicans Dan Moody, Bob Gray, Judson Hill and Karen Handel -- to produce...
House OKs Cobb rep’s bill to try minors as adults if they shoot a cop 

House OKs Cobb rep’s bill to try minors as adults if they shoot a cop 

The Georgia Senate will be next to consider a bill proposed by a Marietta legislator that would uncomplicate the process to try minors as adults if they’re accused of shooting police officers. The state House passed House Bill 166 on Monday with a 130- 36 vote. Rep. Bert Reeves sponsored the bill after Marietta police officer Scott Davis was responding to a report...
Cobb rep’s bill would let minors who shoot cops be tried as adults

Cobb rep’s bill would let minors who shoot cops be tried as adults

A Cobb legislator’s bill making it easier for minors accused of shooting police officers to be tried as adults will be up for a vote on the House floor Monday. State Rep. Bert Reeves, R-Marietta sponsored the bill after Marietta police officer Scott Davis was shot on duty early Aug. 11 by an unidentified 15-year-old member of the Bloods gang. That teen’s case started in...
Georgia settles federal lawsuit alleging it blocked thousands of minority voters

Georgia settles federal lawsuit alleging it blocked thousands of minority voters

Georgia has settled a federal lawsuit that accused Secretary of State Brian Kemp of disenfranchising minority voters because of a requirement on registration forms that critics said blocked thousands of them from voter rolls. The state will no longer reject applications that don’t exactly match identification information in state and federal databases as part of the agreement...
Bill would impose greater transparency on state parole board

Bill would impose greater transparency on state parole board

The State Board of Pardons and Paroles would be required to hold public hearings before granting pardons or commuting a death sentence under legislation introduced in the state House.  House Bill 34, from Rep. Jesse Petrea, R-Savannah, would impose even greater transparency on the board by declaring all reports, files, records and other information related to the supervision of probationers and...
Bill would close school sex loophole

Bill would close school sex loophole

Legislation to be introduced in the state House on Wednesday would close a loophole in Georgia law that weakened efforts to punish school officials that have sexual relations with students.  Rep. Joyce Chandler, R-Grayson, will introduce House Bill 32, which would make state law clear that any “employee or agent of a school” is barred from having sexual contact with...
Winter weather postpones Wild Hog Supper 

Winter weather postpones Wild Hog Supper 

The winter storm bearing down on Georgia has claimed another victim: the Wild Hog Supper.  The event typically occurs the Sunday before every new session of the Georgia Legislature, a welcome-back-to-Atlanta event for lawmakers, elected officials and voters. The 2017 legislative session begins Monday.  Sarah Jackson, corporate partnership manager at Georgia Food Bank Association, ...
AJC January 2017 poll methodology statement

AJC January 2017 poll methodology statement

Abt SRBI conducted the survey of Georgia residents, 18 years and older, on behalf of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. The survey included telephone interviews with a representative sample of 1,092 Georgia residents (including 919 registered voters). Telephone interviews were conducted by landline (n=396) and cell phone (n=696). Interviewing was conducted from January 2nd to January 5th, 2017. ...
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