Georgia Moves Forward with Plan to Implement Work Requirements for Medicaid Coverage

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) announced that the state will begin a work-for-Medicaid program, called Georgia Pathways, in July 2023. The program will require low-income individuals to complete 80 hours of work or volunteering in order to qualify for Medicaid coverage. 

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Georgia, Other States Settle Smartphone Ad Case with Google, iHeartMedia

Georgia is set to receive nearly $1.2 million following a settlement with Google and iHeartMedia over a series of ads with “allegedly false endorsements” of the Google Pixel 4 smartphone.

According to a news release, in 2019, Google contracted iHeartMedia to record pro-Pixel 4 ads. However, the purported testimonials in the ads were from people who had not previously owned or used the Pixel 4 phone.

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Report: Georgia Could Generate Millions Through Sports Betting

Georgia is one of the largest markets without legalized sports betting, and the state could rival others that have already legalized such wagering.

While the state does not have sports wagering, it does have a lottery. Last week, the Georgia Lottery Corp. reported its most profitable first quarter since its start in 1993.

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Aerospace Company Plans to Build Electric Aircraft in Georgia, but Taxpayer Subsidies Are Unknown

An aerospace company offering “sustainable urban air mobility” plans to spend $118 million on electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft manufacturing facility in Newton County.

Unsurprisingly, state officials would not say whether Georgia taxpayers will cover the cost of any incentives for the company.

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Georgia Set to Receive Part of a Nearly $400 Million Settlement from Google over Location-Tracking Probe

Google agreed to a $391.5 million settlement with 40 states after an investigation found that the tech giant participated in questionable location-tracking practices, state attorneys general announced Monday.

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong called it a “historic win for consumers.”

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Georgia Awards $39.4 Million in Grants to Courts to Clear Up COVID-Related Case Backlogs

The state has awarded $39.4 million in grants aimed at helping more than three dozen judicial circuits to clear case backlogs.

The Judicial Council of Georgia Ad Hoc Committee announced the grants, funded by federal American Rescue Plan money, to circuits that applied. These awards for the 2023 calendar year are part of the Judicial Council’s ARPA grant program’s second year.

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Auto Parts Manufacturer Planning $317 Million Investment in Georgia to Supply Hyundai Electric Vehicle Plant

An automotive parts manufacturer is planning to spend $317 million on a new manufacturing facility near Statesboro, but state officials won’t say how much of the bill taxpayers will have to cover.

Joon Georgia Inc. plans to create 630 new jobs at Bulloch County’s Bruce Yawn Commerce Park, previously named the Southern Gateway Commerce Park. State officials touted the news as “the first confirmed supplier” for Hyundai Motor Group’s new Bryan County facility.

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Republican Gov. Brian Kemp Defeats Dem Challenger Stacey Abrams in Georgia

In the 2022 Georgia gubernatorial election, Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp defeated Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams for the second consecutive time.

Kemp won 54% of the vote, with 86% reporting, according to NBC News. Abrams received 45.3% of the vote.

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Georgia’s Kemp Leads Abrams in Rematch of 2018 Gubernatorial Race

Georgia’s gubernatorial race is in the home stretch, as Democrat Stacey Abrams and Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, face off in a rematch of the 2018 race.

Democrats have blamed Kemp for the closure of Atlanta Medical Center, accused the governor of trying to buy votes using federal COVID-19 relief money and criticized his stance on abortion and guns.

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Despite Legal Battle, $5 Billion Rivian Electric Vehicle Plant Still in Progress for Georgia

 Work on electric vehicle manufacturer Rivian Automotive’s $5 billion plant will progress as planned despite an ongoing legal fight, officials confirmed to The Center Square.

Site grading began in the early fall, and the judge’s ruling does not affect progress on development, Marie Gordon, a spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Economic Development, told The Center Square. However, Gordon deferred to a representative of a public affairs agency to answer more substantive questions about the project.

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Georgia Unemployment Rates Drop in September

Georgia’s Regional Commissions saw a drop in their unemployment rates in September, officials said.

Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in September stood at 2.8% for the third consecutive month. The rate is down slightly from 3.2% in January and from 3.5% in September 2021. 

Meanwhile, the Atlanta Regional Commission’s preliminary non-seasonally adjusted unemployment was 2.6%. That is down from 3% a month ago and 3.5% a year ago.

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Report: Georgia Has One of the Nation’s Best Improvements in Its Unemployment Rate

Georgia reported one of the best changes in its unemployment rate of any state in the union, a new analysis found.

According to the report from WalletHub, Georgia has the 15th best change in unemployment. That trailed neighboring Florida (No. 6) and Alabama (12) but was better than South Carolina (28), Tennessee (32) and North Carolina (35).

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Georgia’s Kemp Receives B Grade for Fiscal and Tax Policies

The Cato Institute gave Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp a B on its 2022 Fiscal Policy Report Card of governors, citing his tax cuts as a reason for the grade.

The libertarian think tank also gave Kemp, a Republican, a B on its 2020 report card. The analysis grades governors on their fiscal policies from a limited-government viewpoint; the higher the grade, the more a governor has cut taxes and spending.

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Georgia Attorney General Candidates Offer Differing Solutions for Increasing Crime

A new report from WalletHub found that Atlanta experienced the 38th highest increase in the homicide rate of the 50 largest cities in the country.

The topic of crime in the state was a hot topic during this week’s Atlanta Press Club debate of the attorney general candidates: incumbent Republican Attorney General Chris Carr, Libertarian Martin Cowan and Sen. Jen Jordan, D-Atlanta.

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Midterm Election in Georgia Sees Record Numbers as Early Voting Commences

Georgia saw a record number of voters turn out for a midterm election, state officials said.

As of Tuesday, 143,077 voters have cast ballots in Georgia — 131,318 voted early in person, while 11,759 voted via an absentee ballot. The number of in-person voters is an 85% increase from the 70,849 voters who cast ballots in person on the first day of early voting in the 2018 midterm election.

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Warnock, Walker Square Off in Georgia Senate Debate

Incumbent Georgia Republican Sen. Raphael Warnock squared off against his Republican challenger, former football star Herschel Walker in a Friday debate.

Inflation opened the debate. Walker attributed the rise in consumer prices to the Biden administration’s spending plans. He further proposed pursuing energy independence as a solution to both the nation’s economic and national security woes. He declined to back cuts to military spending when asked. “We have to be ready for war. This is not a playground,” he said.

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Poll Has Georgia’s Kemp Out to a Big Lead in Gubernatorial Race

A new poll shows Gov. Brian Kemp widening his lead over challenger Stacey Abrams with less than a month until election day and just days before early voting starts.

The new Georgia News Collaborative poll found Kemp, a Republican, leading Abrams, a Democrat, by a margin of 51% to 40.7%. Libertarian Shane Hazel drew 2.3% of the vote, while 6% were undecided.

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Georgia Says It Awarded $104.7 Million in Road Projects, but $93 Million Deferred

The Georgia Department of Transportation said it awarded seven projects valued at more than $104.7 million in August.

However, the awards list the agency provided indicates that the state only awarded about $12.1 million in projects. A GDOT spokesman said officials deferred a pair of widening and reconstruction projects worth roughly $93 million and expect to award them later.

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Herschel Walker Down 12 Points in Latest Georgia Senate Poll

Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker trails incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia by double digits amidst a scandal over him allegedly paying for an ex-girlfriend’s abortion, per a new poll released on Wednesday.

Walker polled 38% support compared to 50% for Warnock, according to SurveyUSA, which conducted the poll for 11Alive News in Atlanta. Should Warnock gain even one vote more than 50% in November’s election, it would be enough to beat Walker outright and avoid a runoff election against him later in the year.

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Georgia Law Enforcement Officers Ask Legislature for Wage Increases Due to Retention Issues

Law enforcement officers from across Georgia want state lawmakers to help increase wages for officers.

During a House Study Committee on State and Local Law Enforcement Salaries meeting in Americus, representatives from state and local agencies detailed the difficulties they have hiring and retaining officers.

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Georgia’s $6.5 Billion in Film Subsidies Add Up to $416K per Each New Industry Job

Georgia officials pride themselves on the state’s tax credits for the movie industry, but a leading economist says the tax credits don’t benefit the state.

“There’s nothing politicians love more than jocks and movie stars,” Kennesaw State University economist J.C. Bradbury told The Center Square. “That’s why they give out a lot of subsidies for sports stadiums, and film and movie credits are also something that are often given out.

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Georgia’s $130 Million Plan for Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Receives Federal Approval

The Federal Highway Administration has signed off on Georgia’s National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Plan, opening the door to millions in federal taxpayer dollars for the state.

With this approval, the Georgia Department of Transportation can start planning how the state will spend roughly $130 million to pay for electric vehicle charging infrastructure over the next five years.

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Georgia Allocates Federal COVID Relief Money to Grady Memorial Hospital

Georgia will allocate $130 million in federal COVID-19 relief money to fund 200 additional beds at Atlanta’s Grady Memorial Hospital following the announced closure of Atlanta Medical Center.

Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, said the additional beds would be enough to cover Atlanta Medical Center’s average patient census. The state will also reallocate a temporary medical unit used during the COVID-19 pandemic to Grady, adding 24 patient rooms and 12,000 square feet to the hospital’s footprint.

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GAF Plans $146 Million Roofing Material Plant in Georgia, but Taxpayer Incentives Remain Unknown

A roofing and waterproofing manufacturer plans to invest $146 million over the next six years in a new manufacturing facility in Lowndes County.

GAF Materials intends to create 135 new jobs with the new facility, increasing the company’s thermoplastic polyolefin roofing manufacturing capacity. GAF employs more than 225 Georgians at its Savannah, Statesboro and Cumming manufacturing plants.

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Georgia Municipalities Burden Home-Based Businesses with Regulations

Georgia touts its business-friendly climate, but some home-based businesses face another layer of bureaucracy: local government licensing requirements, a Center Square analysis found.

Nearly 30 years ago, Georgia lawmakers passed legislation giving cities the power to impose business and occupation requirements, including taxes and regulatory fees. While lawmakers have revised the law, local governments may levy and collect occupation taxes on any business or practitioner with an office in the jurisdiction.

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Georgia’s General Fund Revenues Grew by 5.5 Percent in Last Quarter Despite Gas Tax Holiday

Georgia continues to see increasing revenues, new numbers show.

The state’s total general fund receipts in August exceeded $2.3 billion. That represents an increase of 8.5%, or $180.4 million, over last August when net tax collections topped $2.1 billion.

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Cost of Incentives Unknown for New Manufacturing Facility in Georgia

A Georgia sound solutions and engineering company plans to build a new manufacturing facility in Thomas County

Brunswick-based Troy Acoustics Corporation will invest almost $40 million in the new facility. The company plans to create 88 new jobs to add to the 17 positions it currently supports.

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Georgia Teacher Supply Supplement Will Cost $20 Million

Georgia plans to spend about $20 million on a program to give teachers and school employees a $125 bonus, a state official confirmed on Friday.

Georgia announced the “Back-to-School Supply Supplement” program in July. Under the plan, the state will give a $125 supplement to teachers and school staff members “who work to provide instructional and supportive services directly to students on a daily basis.”

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Georgia Launches $250 Million Neighborhood Improvement Program Using COVID-19 Relief Funds

Georgia officials plan to use federal COVID relief money to fund improvements to sidewalks, parks and “healthy food access.”

The state intends to use American Rescue Plan dollars to fund the $250 million “Improving Neighborhood Outcomes in Disproportionately Impacted Communities” grant program.

The state will award up to $2 million per qualified project. State officials say the program will lower levels of mortality and illness.

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Warnock More than Doubles Income Since Becoming Georgia Senator

Georgia Democrat Sen. Raphael Warnock more than doubled his income after joining Congress, according to his financial disclosure records.

Most of Warnock’s income outside of his estimated $174,000 annual Senate salary comes from his book deal and the church in which has served as senior pastor for nearly two decades.

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New Economic Data Shows That Georgia Is Outperforming Many States

New economic data shows Georgia is outperforming many other states across the country.

Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate now stands at a record low of 2.8% in July. A new WalletHub analysis found that Georgia has the 15th best change in its unemployment rate

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Brian Kemp Accuses Stacey Abrams of Flip-Flopping on Key Issues

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp (R) took his opponent, Stacey Abrams(D), to task, when he called her out for her inability to stick to a stance on political issues in a statement released on Tuesday. 

“Stacey Abrams opposed suspending the gas tax and returning $1 billion to taxpayers, but now she’s on my record. She can’t have it both ways. Abrams has embraced the policies of Joe Biden that have led to disaster at the border, high gas prices, and empty grocery shelves,” Governor Kemp said. 

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Incentives Unknown as Georgia Announces Expansion at YKK AP Facility

A manufacturer of windows and doors plans to invest up to $125 million to expand its middle Georgia facility.

Atlanta-based YKK AP America, a subsidiary of Tokyo-based YKK AP, will create 100 additional jobs at its expanded Bibb County manufacturing facility. As is typical for jobs classified as in progress, state officials declined to divulge whether the state offered any incentives to entice the expansion or what it might cost Georgia taxpayers.

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Governor Kemp Appoints New Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director

Governor Brian P. Kemp (R) announced on Monday he has tapped Mike Register to replace Vic Reynolds as the newest Director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI).

“Mike [Register] has a strong track record of strengthening public safety and protecting Georgia’s communities,” Governor Kemp said.

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Port of Savannah Sees Record Start to Fiscal Year

Governor Brian P. Kemp (R) touted a record start to the fiscal year that the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) has seen, as it handled 530,800 container units in July for an increase of 18 percent.

“Again and again Georgia Ports break records while demonstrating why we’re the best place to do business. Congratulations on a great start to the fiscal year!” Governor Kemp said.

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Georgia Governor Kemp to Headline Cherokee County Breakfast on Saturday

Governor Brian Kemp (R) will be the featured speaker at Cherokee County GOP’s August breakfast on Saturday, an event which will also include State Senator Kay Kirkpatrick (R-Marietta) and Georgia State School Superintendent Richard Woods.

“I am excited to join hardworking Georgians in Cherokee County this weekend! Every day, Georgians and Americans are witnessing the failure of the Biden Administration and Democrats in Washington, but make no mistake: their failed policies are Stacey Abrams’ agenda for Georgia,” Kemp told The Georgia Star News on Tuesday.

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Congressional Hopefuls Tyler Harper and Chris West Host Agriculture Roundtable in Dawson

Republican Agricultural Commissioner Nominee Tyler Harper and GOP nominee Chris West (R-GA-02) hosted an agricultural roundtable in Dawson on Wednesday.

“Great time in Dawson today meeting with [agricultural] leaders supporting my friend Tyler Harper for Agriculture Commissioner. Southwest Georgia is ready to elect strong leaders who will fight for our state’s #1 industry!” West said on Wednesday.

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Governor Kemp Appoints Bill Hamrick to Statewide Business Court Bench

Governor Brian P. Kemp (R) tapped Bill Hamrick to serve as the Georgia State Business Court Judge on Wednesday. 

“Having served with Judge Hamrick in the State Senate when I first entered public life, I witnessed firsthand his dedication to the law, to its fair application, and to our state,” Governor Kemp said. 

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Mark Gonsalves Questions Lucy McBath on Atlanta Host City Flip-Flop

GA-07 Republican nominee Mark Gonsalves challenged his opponent, Lucy McBath, on her change in position with respect to the viability of Atlanta as a host city for large public events.

“Lucy McBath and her fellow DC Democrats don’t take the people they represent seriously. Atlanta wasn’t good enough to host the MLB All-Star game, but it’s suddenly good enough to host the DNC? Lucy advocates for her state only when it’s convenient to Democrat causes,” Gonsalves said.

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Army Combat Veteran Brian Mast Endorses Herschel Walker

Army combat veteran Brian Mast (R-FL-18) endorsed GOP Senate nominee Herschel Walker in a statement released on Wednesday.

“For many years, Herschel Walker has worked to support men and women in the military, and I have confidence he will continue to do so in the U.S. Senate. He has my full endorsement, “Army combat veteran Brian Mast (R-FL-18) said. 

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Kemp Leads GOP Gubernatorial Group in Response Against Tax Proposals

Georgia Governor Brian P. Kemp and South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster led Republican governors in a response today in opposition to the $740 billion spending proposal to fix inflation.

“The Democrats’ solution to a 40-year high inflation is passing another reckless tax and spending spree to the tune of $74 billion, affecting Americans in every tax bracket,” the Republican gubernatorial coalition said in a statement Thursday.

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Governor Kemp Extends Gas Tax Suspension, Supply Chain State of Emergency

Governor Brian Kemp (R) signed two executive orders on Wednesday that extended the gas tax suspension and renewed the state of emergency for supply chain disruptions. These executive orders will be effective through September 12th.

“I have extended the temporary suspension of the state’s motor fuel tax to alleviate the financial burden placed on Georgians due to the federal government’s gross mishandling of inflation,” Gov. Kemp said. 

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Atlanta Mayor Courts Democrats for 2024 DNC Convention

City of Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens and other Georgia Democrats welcomed DNC Chairman Jaime Harrison in a tour of State Farm Arena on Friday as part of their attempt to win the bid for Georgia’s capital to host the 2024 DNC National Convention.

“This week, Atlanta welcomed Democratic National Convention officials to promote its bid to host the 2024 convention. Our city is clearly the place to be!” The City of Atlanta Government said in a Facebook post on Friday.

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Bipartisan Senate Bill Passes to Rename Georgia VA Office in Honor of Late Senator Johnny Isakson

The U.S. Senate passed Georgia Senator Jon Ossoff’s bipartisan bill to rename the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Atlanta Regional Office in honor of the late Georgia U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson on Thursday.

“The bill designates the Department of Veterans Affairs Atlanta Regional Office in Georgia as the Senator Johnny Isakson Department of Veterans Affairs Atlanta Regional Office, or the Isakson VA Atlanta Regional Office,” the Senate Periodicals account said in a Tuesday tweet.

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GA-7 Candidate Mark Gonsalves Discusses Growing Hispanic Influence on GOP

Republican GA-07 nominee Mark Gonsalves spoke with The Georgia Star News at length on Thursday about the ever-increasing influence the Spanish-speaking populace has on the Republican Party.

“What the Hispanic communities have come to realize is that what they work so hard for here is really being squandered in Washington D.C., that their hard work is not being treated with a level of respect,” Gonsalves said.

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Herschel Walker Goes After Warnock Before Law Enforcement Press Conference with Newt Gingrich

Georgia Senate Nominee for the Republican Party, Herschel Walker, released several statements on Thursday where he criticized his opponent, incumbent Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock (D), on law enforcement support, crime rates, and his history of support for Joe Biden in the days that lead up to Friday’s press conference with U.S. Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich.

“Raphael Warnock has consistently worked to support criminals instead of keeping our communities safe,” spokeswoman Mallory Blount said. “Crime is rising across the country and Georgia is no exception Atlanta has one of the highest crime rates in the country and Georgians are sick and tired of it. Warnock has done more for Joe Biden than law-abiding Georgians and it is time Georgia had a Senator who takes public safety seriously.”

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Congressman Jody Hice Joins Hartzler in Call for Granting of VHA Vaccine Exemption Requests

Representative Jody Hice (R-GA-10) joined forces with Representative Vicky Hartzler (R-MO-04) in a new effort to get Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Denis Richard McDonough to grant vaccination exemption requests to Veterans Health Administration (VHA) employees in a statement on Monday.

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