Audit Reveals Options for Modernizing Georgia Military College Governance

The Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts has identified five “options” to modernize the governance and oversight of the Georgia Military College.

Two of the five options included in the audit, performed at the request of the Georgia House Appropriations Committee, would expand the state’s representation on the GMC board, with either some or all voting members appointed by state leaders. Currently, Milledgeville residents elect GMC Board of Trustee members.

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Georgia House Committee to Debate Cyber Security

A Georgia House committee will soon debate cyber security enhancements for state agencies.

“Cyber security is a complex and constantly-evolving challenge, and it’s crucial that we have a strong cyber security framework in place to protect our citizens and our businesses,” Rep. Brent Cox, R-Dawsonville, said in an announcement. “Fostering an environment for Georgia to become a leader in this field has been a priority of mine since I first decided to pursue public office, and I am honored to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to study the state’s cyber security needs.”

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Kemp Says $4.3 Billion EV Battery Plant in Georgia Touted by Ossoff Was ‘Previously Announced’

LG Energy Solution and Hyundai Motor Group plan to jointly build a $4.3 billion electric vehicle battery plant in Georgia, an investment U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Georgia, said was possible because of incentives included in the Inflation Reduction Act.

However, a spokesman for Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp disputed that assertion saying it’s part of a previously announced investment that predates the federal legislation.

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DeSantis Enters Presidential Race with ‘Skewed’ Narrative He’s Better Positioned to Beat Biden than Trump

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis officially launched his presidential campaign Wednesday, ending months of speculation and ratcheting up what promises to be an intense battle for the Republican Party nomination. 

DeSantis enters the race as a top tier candidate, but still lagging far behind frontrunner Donald Trump, according to just about every poll out there. 

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Trump, DeSantis, Ramaswamy, and More: News and Notes from the Presidential Campaign Trail

A glitchy start to the Ron DeSantis campaign, Tim Scott fires back at “The View,” Vivek Ramaswamy takes on Target, and Nikki Haley gets a CNN Town Hall.

There’s no rest for the weary on the expanded presidential campaign trail.

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Georgia Proposal Will Help First Responders, Teachers to Buy First Home

U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Georgia, says proposed federal legislation will make it easier for first responders and teachers to buy houses in the communities where they work.

Ossoff is co-sponsoring the “Homes for Every Local Protector, Educator, and Responder (HELPER) Act of 2023” with U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida.

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Augusta University Announces Plans to Open a Savannah Medical Campus

Augusta University plans to establish a four-year Medical College of Georgia campus at Georgia Southern University’s Armstrong Campus in Savannah.

The school plans to use nearly $1.7 million in bond funding included in the fiscal 2024 state budget to renovate office, classroom and lab space. The campus will be established in the Armstrong Center and the Health Professions Academic Building, part of Georgia Southern’s Waters College of Health Professions.

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Oklahoma State Superintendent Cites Teachers’ Unions as ‘Marxist’ and ‘Terrorist’ Organizations

Oklahoma state superintendent of schools Ryan Walters repeated Saturday that teachers’ unions are “Marxist” and “terrorist” organizations that are not advocating for students or teachers, but seeking power and financial gain for their leaders.

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Georgia Senate Study Committee to Tackle State’s Foster Care System

A Georgia Senate study committee will explore possible solutions to improve the state’s maligned foster care system.

The move follows reports of widespread, systemic breakdowns within Georgia’s foster care system and questions about the agency’s ability to ensure the safety of the children it is tasked with protecting.

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Staffing Shortages Force GDOT to Curtail Atlanta-Area Interstate Patrols

The Georgia Department of Transportation said it doesn’t have enough personnel to maintain 24-hour Highway Emergency Response Operator patrols, a mainstay of metro Atlanta’s busy interstates.

By July 1, the HERO team will “temporarily pause” its active overnight patrols on metro Atlanta interstates, though personnel will remain available for some calls, such as “high-level incidents.” The HERO units currently maintain a 382-mile coverage area.

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Group Disappointed with Georgia Gov. Kemp’s Direct Care Worker Wage Increase Removal

A national organization of family caregivers is disappointed that Gov. Brian Kemp removed a wage increase for direct care workers supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities included in the state’s budget.

But the governor says lawmakers didn’t fund the wage increase, which would have cost $105 million.

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Georgia Freedom Caucus Asks State Treasurer to Oppose Biden Administration’s ‘Unfair’ Mortgage Policy

The Georgia Freedom Caucus blasted the Biden administration’s unfair new mortgage policy in a May 9 letter to State Treasurer Steve McCoy, whom they urged to publicly oppose the change that penalizes Georgians with good credit.

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Georgia Libertarian and Presidential Hopeful Calls for Elimination of the U.S. Department of Education

Georgian Chase Oliver, a Libertarian who unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Senate in 2022 and has launched a 2024 presidential bid, wants to end the U.S. Department of Education and return the money to the states.

Oliver said schools have turned into a political hot potato, and conversations have turned to whether school libraries should allow certain books.

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Incentives Unclear for Premium Synthetic Graphite Anode Materials Supplier for Decatur County Battery Plant

A supplier of synthetic graphite anode materials for lithium-ion batteries plans to construct a manufacturing facility in Decatur County.

According to state officials, Anovion Technologies will create more than 400 jobs as part of the more than $800 million Bainbridge project.

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Georgia Court Revives 2020 Ballot Inspection Case

The Georgia Court of Appeals has revived a lawsuit from a group seeking to conduct an external review of Fulton County’s absentee ballots from the 2020 election.

A superior court judge had previously dismissed the case on grounds of standing, but a recent state Supreme Court decision widened the definition, enabling several of the plaintiffs to pursue the case.

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Georgia’s Certificate of Need Reform Conversation Only Heating Up

How to proceed with a possible repeal or amendment to Georgia’s certificate of need requirement will likely be a hot-button topic for the foreseeable future.

Leading up to this year’s session, Americans for Prosperity-Georgia launched a six-figure campaign to encourage lawmakers to rescind the CON requirement. Now, a Georgia Senate committee will explore whether the state should amend the CON mandate.

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DOJ’s Shadowy ‘Community Relations Service’ May Be Behind Covenant Killer Manifesto Coverup, Sources Say

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Metropolitan Nashville Police Department have refused to release the manifesto and related documents of the Covenant School killer, citing spurious reasons for their denials. 

But is a shadowy Department of Justice unit billing itself as “America’s peacemaker” behind the information freeze? Some say the disclosure dance has all the markings of the Community Relations Service. 

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Georgia Again Reports Decreased Tax Collections

Georgia officials reported net tax collections for April decreased by 16.5% over a year ago.

The Peach State’s April net tax collections approached $4.2 billion, a decrease of $829.5 million compared to April 2022, when net tax collections surpassed $5 billion. Despite the drop, year-to-date net tax collections of nearly $27.8 billion are up 0.9%, or $256.9 million, compared to last fiscal year.

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Georgia Gov. Kemp Bashes Washington Spending but Touts Federally Funded Grants

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp regularly blames Washington policies for causing inflation and hurting Georgians, but he doesn’t hesitate to announce grants — such as those for rural broadband projects — that rely on federal tax dollars.

“While failed policies coming out of Washington, D.C. are pushing us closer to a recession and forcing hardworking Georgians to endure sky-high inflation, we on the state level are doing what we can to return money back where it belongs – in taxpayers’ hands,” Kemp said in a statement earlier this month in announcing officials had issued the first round of “surplus tax refund checks” to Georgia taxpayers.

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Kemp Signs Bill to Create Commission to Investigate, Potentially Remove District Attorneys

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed a measure to establish a commission with the power to investigate and potentially remove district attorneys from office.

But critics argue the measure attacks progressive prosecutors, saying it’s a “national right-wing coordinated effort to undo the will of voters,” particularly minority voters.

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Kemp Signs Georgia’s Fiscal 2024 Budget

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed the state’s fiscal 2024 budget on Friday, saying it will help Georgia maintain its standing as “the best state for opportunity.”

“House Bill 19 funds our priorities and places our state on strong financial footing, keeping us on the road to economic growth even while policies coming out of Washington, DC, push the country closer to a recession,” Kemp, a Republican, said in remarks before the signing.

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Georgia Transportation Officials Award $65.2 Million for Projects

The Georgia Department of Transportation said it awarded 18 projects valued at more than $65.2 million in March.

The largest spend, $15 million awarded to E. R. Snell Contractor, goes toward a bridge construction project on State Route 212 over Lake Jackson in Jasper and Newton counties. Bridge construction contracts represented 31% of the allocated money.

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Gov. Kemp Signs Bill to Allow Georgia Hospitals to Form Police Departments

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed a measure to allow Peach State hospitals to form campus police departments.

Lawmakers overwhelmingly voted in favor of House Bill 383, the Safer Hospitals Act, a measure that enhances criminal penalties for anyone who assaults a healthcare worker on a hospital campus, similar to the protections afforded to paramedics, transit drivers and law enforcement personnel.

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Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Foils Democrats’ ‘Diverse’ Primary Plans

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has set the Peach State’s 2024 party primary elections for March 12, foiling the Democratic National Committee’s plans to move Georgia’s vote toward the front of the presidential nominating line.

Raffensperger says the DNC acted “unilaterally” in its bid to make their nominating process more “diverse” by bumping predominantly white states like Iowa and New Hampshire back and pushing more “racially inclusive” states like Georgia and Michigan to the front of the primary line. 

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Former Georgia U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler Joins Governor Kemp as He Signs ‘Zuckerbucks’ Ban into Law

Chairwoman of the nonprofit group Greater Georgia and former Georgia U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler recently joined Governor Brian Kemp as he signed Senate Bill 222, also known as the “Zuckerbucks” ban, into law.

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IRS Data Shows More Taxpayers Moving to Georgia

Georgia had more taxpayers move to the state than out between 2020 and 2021, new IRS data shows.

Federal tax forms filed in 2021 show Georgia welcomed 282,626 taxpayers and dependents, including 278,474 from other states. Conversely, 227,888 Georgians went elsewhere, including 224,629 to other states.

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More Questions Surround POS Poll Showing DeSantis Faring Better than Trump in Georgia

The latest Public Opinion Strategies (POS) poll shows Florida Governor Ron DeSantis outpacing former President Donald Trump in battleground Florida — at least in a head-to-head matchup with President Joe Biden. 

But the POS poll once again underrepresents traditional Trump voters in its latest quest to spin DeSantis as more electable than the Republican Party presidential nomination frontrunner, a top pollster tells The Georgia Star News. 

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Georgia’s Spelman College to Award ‘1619 Project’ Author Nikole Hannah-Jones Honorary Doctorate

by Alexa Schwerha   Nikole Hannah-Jones, 1619 Project creator, will receive an honorary degree from Spelman College during its commencement ceremony later this month, the college announced. Hannah-Jones will receive a Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, during the 136th commencement ceremony on May 21 and deliver the keynote speech, the announcement reads.…

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Georgia Officials Expect to Complete Taxpayer ‘Refunds’ in Eight Weeks

Georgia officials have dispatched the first “surplus tax refund checks” to Georgia taxpayers who properly paid and filed their taxes over the past two years.

State lawmakers approved the roughly $1 billion in “refunds” as part of House Bill 162, which Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law. Citing “the state’s revenue surplus,” Georgia leaders agreed to refund the money to taxpayers.

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Georgia’s Kemp Signs Cold Case Review Bill

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed a bill into law on Friday that would allow families of murder victims to request a review of a cold case by law enforcement agencies.

House Bill 88, known as the Coleman-Baker Act, was passed unanimously by both chambers of the General Assembly on March 29. The bill is named after two murder victims — Rhonda Sue Coleman and Tara Louise Baker — whose unsolved cases galvanized support for the bill. Coleman was murdered in 1990 in Hazlehurst while Baker was killed in 2001 in Athens.

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Minneapolis Star Tribune CEO Apologizes for ‘Pain’ Caused by Cartoon Poking Fun at Muslim Call to Prayer

Star Tribune CEO and publisher Steve Grove has apologized for the “pain” caused by a cartoon that made some readers feel “targeted and mischaracterized.”

Mike Thompson’s debut cartoon for the paper featured a man telling his wife: “Broadcasting the Muslim call to prayer at all hours will make Minneapolis too noisy.”

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Georgia Governor Signs Series of Public Safety Bills

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed a series of public safety bills, including a measure increasing penalties for anyone who recruits children into gangs.

Senate Bill 44 also requires judges to “consider the accused person’s criminal history record information that is available at such time” before releasing defendants on their own recognizance.

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Hundreds of Methodist Churches in Tennessee, Virginia, and Georgia Depart the Denomination Over ‘Human Sexuality’ and Other Matters

On Saturday, 264 congregations part of the United Methodists of the Holston Conference had their requests processed to leave the denomination, citing “issues around human sexuality and other matters.”

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Georgia Democrat is Critical of New School Safety Law

A Georgia state lawmaker has expressed reservations about a measure Gov. Brian Kemp recently signed that proponents say will help keep teachers and students safe in the classroom.

In a news release, the governor’s office described House Bill 147, the Safe Schools Act, as a “key part of the governor’s legislative agenda this year” that “builds on his commitment to keeping Georgia’s students, teachers, and school personnel safe.”

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Georgia Businessman Pleads Guilty to Bribing Officials

A 72-year-old Alpharetta businessman pleaded guilty in federal court to bribing two Atlanta city officials in exchange for steering millions of dollars of city business to his company.

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Georgia Southern University Student Paper Erects Planned Parenthood Advertisements on Campus

The George-Anne Media Group, a student-led newspaper at Georgia Southern University (GSU), is advertising Planned Parenthood across campus and on its website.

Campus Reform has obtained pictures of two separate advertisements on GSU’s Statesboro campus that read  “Planned Parenthood believes your body is your own.”

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Georgia’s Roads Rank Among the Best in the Country

Georgia’s highway system is the fourth best nationwide, based on its condition and its cost-effectiveness, according to a new analysis.

The Reason Foundation’s 27th Annual Highway Report revealed the state’s ranking jumped 10 spots from its 14th place in the last report. It’s also up from 26th place in 2018.

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MARTA Advances Capital Program with ‘Unprecedented’ State Funding

As the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority advances its More MARTA Atlanta Program, the agency’s position is bolstered by what an executive called “unprecedented” state funding.

MARTA officials said the agency is advancing a program estimated to cost $2.7 billion over 40 years. It is partially funded by a half-penny sales tax Atlanta voters passed in 2016.

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Georgia Measure Would Eliminate College Degree Requirement for Some State Jobs

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp could soon decide whether to sign legislation eliminating a college degree requirement for some state government jobs.

The state House and the state Senate overwhelmingly voted in favor of Senate Bill 3, the “Reducing Barriers to State Employment Act of 2023.”

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Home Fashion Company Announces Georgia County Distribution Facility

A design house concentrated on home fashion plans to open a new Liberty County distribution and light manufacturing facility.

New Jersey-based Creative Home Ideas, a YMF company, plans to spend more than $15 million on the facility, which state officials said will create 70 jobs. Operations at the new facility at 1962 Sunbury Road in Midway should start in 2024.

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Trump Dominates Latest Georgia Poll of Republican Presidential Candidates

Former President Donald Trump only seems to be getting politically stronger since his arrest in Manhattan earlier this month — at least in the Republican Party presidential nomination chase. 

The opening poll of the 2024 campaign season by the University of Georgia School of Public & International Affairs (SPIA) shows Trump with a huge double-digit lead over his nearest rival, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (50.7% to 29.8%).

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Minneapolis First Big City to Broadcast Muslim Call to Prayer Five Times Daily Year-Round

Minneapolis has become the first major city in the United States to allow the Muslim call to prayer to be broadcast over speakers five times per day, year-round, including in the early mornings and late evenings. The Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously Thursday – during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan – to approve an amendment to the city’s noise ordinance that would allow the “adhan” – “Allahu akbar,” or “God is great,” call to prayer to be sounded every day, year-round, five times daily.

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Georgia Senate Committee to Explore Certificate of Need Reform

A Georgia Senate committee will explore whether the state should amend its certificate of need requirement.

Leading up to this year’s session, Americans for Prosperity-Georgia launched a six-figure campaign to encourage lawmakers to repeal the CON requirement.

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Trump Far Ahead of GOP Rivals in Georgia: Poll

Former President Donald Trump appears well positioned to claim a primary victory in Georgia over his declared and potential rivals for the Republican nomination.

Trump took 50.7% support among likely Republican voters in a recent University of Georgia survey. Coming in second was Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who took 29.8% support despite not having announced his candidacy.

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Incentives Unknown for Auto Parts Manufacturer’s Liberty County Project

An automobile parts developer and manufacturer plans to spend more than $72 million on a new manufacturing facility in Liberty County.

However, it is unclear what incentives economic development officials provided to Seohan Auto Georgia and the cost to Georgia taxpayers.

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