Georgia State Rep. Bonnie Rich Benefits from Chamber of Commerce PAC Donations

Georgia’s chamber of commerce interests have donated $4,250 to Georgia State Rep. Bonnie Rich (R-Suwanee) since 2018, shortly before she took office. As reported this week, Georgia State Rep. Charlice Byrd (R-Woodstock) said she suspected members of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the Metro Atlanta Chamber are working behind the scenes to kill Byrd’s Voter ID legislation. She said Rich is working to block Byrd’s legislation in a Special Committee on Election Integrity subcommittee.

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Use of Mobile Voting Facilities Violated Intent of Georgia Law, State Senator Says

A 1998 Georgia law authorized the state to have mobile voting facilities, but voters in the Peach State’s most recent presidential election who voted at such places acted against that law’s original intent. State Sen. Mike Dugan (R-Carrollton) said this Thursday as he spoke to members of the State Senate’s Ethics Committee. Dugan said this as he discussed a new bill he’s sponsoring to reform the state’s election systems.

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Former Georgia Legislators Say Chamber of Commerce ‘No Friend’ to Average Peach State Residents

Two former state legislators said Georgia Chamber of Commerce members, not unexpectedly, have tremendous influence at the State Capitol, but those two men also said Chambers’ members sometimes work against political conservatives’ best interests.

Former State Rep. Jeff Jones, who represented District 167 from 2015 until last month, told The Georgia Star News this week that he never hesitates to speak freely, and he didn’t even when he held office. And he said he won’t hold back now.

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Georgia Senate Approves Election Reform Package, Including Absentee Ballot Signature-Match Overhaul

The Georgia Senate approved four measures Tuesday that make changes to the election process as a response to November’s presidential election.

Georgia gained national attention after a close presidential election prompted three recounts and lawsuits and threats from former President Donald Trump’s campaign and supporters. Several questions and allegations arose from Georgia’s absentee-ballot process.

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New Georgia Bill Would Limit Secretary of State’s Ability to Enter into Consent Agreements

Georgia legislators filed a bill this week that, among other things, would limit the ability of the State Election Board and the secretary of state to enter into certain consent agreements. “The State Election Board, the members thereof, the Secretary of State, and any of their attorneys or staff shall not have any authority to enter into any consent agreement with any other person that limits, alters, or interprets any provision of this chapter without obtaining the approval of the General Assembly through a joint resolution,” according to the language of the bill.

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Commentary: The Voter Manipulation Scheme That May Have Clinched the Georgia Runoffs for Democrats

For the legacy media, the story of Democrats’ recent wins in Georgia is the story of Stacey Abrams. According to this narrative, after Abrams lost the 2018 gubernatorial race, she launched Fair Fight to stop Republicans from allegedly engaging in voter suppression and to register thousands of new voters.

When Georgia turned blue in 2020, Abrams received much of the credit. The story goes Democrats are now winning because they are making democracy better.

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Georgia Business Interests Suspected of Trying to Kill Voter ID Legislation

Georgia State Rep. Charlice Byrd (R-Woodstock) said this week that she suspects certain of the state’s business interests are working behind the scenes and trying to kill her Voter ID legislation. As The Georgia Star News reported Tuesday, that legislation, if enacted into law, would require non-U.S. citizens to have “BEARER NOT A U.S. CITIZEN — NOT VOTER ID” printed on their licenses, permits and/or identification cards. Byrd said State Rep. Bonnie Rich (R-Suwanee) is working to block Byrd’s legislation in a Special Committee on Election Integrity subcommittee.

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Georgia Voter ID Bill Could Die as Republican Legislator Stalls Moving it Forward

Georgia State Rep. Charlice Byrd (R-Woodstock) said Monday that a Republican colleague is holding up Voter ID legislation that Byrd said will help prevent fraud in the state. As reported, that legislation, if enacted into law, would require non- U.S. citizens to have “BEARER NOT A U.S. CITIZEN — NOT VOTER ID” printed on their licenses, permits and/or identification cards.

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New Georgia Bill Would Demand More Detailed Vote Reporting System from Secretary of State

Georgia legislators have submitted a bill that would require the secretary of state create a far more detailed election reporting system for general primaries, general elections, and runoffs from general primaries and general elections. “Such system shall provide for the entry of the number of ballots cast by type in each precinct, the results of state and federal races by precinct, the number of absentee ballots issued and returned, the number of absentee ballots certified, the number of absentee ballots rejected, the number of provisional ballots cast, and such other information which the Secretary of State deems relevant and useful to the citizens of this state,” according to the language of the bill.

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Georgia Democrats Push for Law to Bypass Nation’s Electoral College

Sixteen Democrats in the Georgia State Senate have filed a bill calling on Georgia to enact the Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote. According to the language of the bill, this agreement calls on states “to join together to establish an interstate compact to elect the president by national popular vote.”

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Georgia Bill Would Provide Hearings for People Denied Right to Vote

Five state senators in the Georgia General Assembly filed legislation late last week that would, if enacted into law, provide people the right to a hearing when government officials challenge whether they may legally vote. The Georgia General Assembly identified State Sen. Jason Anavitarte (R-Dallas) as the bill’s primary sponsor.

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New Bill Would Mandate That Absentee Ballots Go Only to Registered Georgia Voters

Georgia legislators have filed a bill that would require that government officials mail absentee ballot applications only to registered voters. The Georgia General Assembly’s website identified State Sen. Max Burns (R-Sylvania) as the bill’s primary sponsor.

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Georgia Bill Would Honor Certain Out-of-State Professional and Occupational Licenses

A new bill in the Georgia General Assembly would, if enacted into law, help individuals who relocated from out-of-state obtain a license to practice certain professions and occupations. State officials could grant expedited licenses to those people — other than dentists, physicians, and osteopaths. This, according to a bill that 12 Georgia legislators filed late last month.

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New Georgia Legislation Would Let Churches and Businesses Stay Open During Health Emergency

Georgia State Sen. Jason Anavitarte (R – Dallas) this week introduced legislation that he said supports a church and a business owner’s rights to keep their establishments open during a pandemic like COVID-19 or other health emergency. This, only if the business can abide by all of the mandated safety precautions that local and state governments issue, Anavitarte said.

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Georgia Bill Would Restrict Local Government’s Power to Defund the Police

Six members of the Georgia House of Representatives have responded to the “Defund the Police” movement and filed a bill that would prohibit local governments in the state from cutting more than 5 percent of their police budgets. State Rep. Houston Gaines (R-Athens), the bill’s primary sponsor, said Tuesday that his legislation would, if enacted into law, exempt local governments that lose more than 5 percent of their budget revenues.

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Georgia Driver’s Ed Students Would Learn Proper Ways to Interact with Law Enforcement, Under New Bill

Georgia State Sen. Randy Robertson (R-Cataula) has filed legislation that would provide an instructional course and educate drivers on how best to interact with law enforcement officers, especially during traffic stops. According to the language of the bill, members of the Georgia Department of Public Safety would offer the lesson.

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Georgia State Senators Want to Make it a Crime for Someone Under 17 to Access Firearms

Georgia State Sen. Elena Parent (D-Atlanta) has filed legislation that would, if enacted into law, make it a crime for an adult to knowingly have unsecured or unsafely stored firearms around minors. Six other state senators are co-sponsoring Parent’s bill, according to the Georgia General Assembly’s website.

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Georgia State Senators Push for Council to ‘Reform’ the Way State Collects Taxes

Nearly 40 Georgia state senators from both political parties might change certain aspects of the state’s tax system, and whatever they agree to may force you to pay higher taxes on certain commodities. Those state senators filed a bill late last week to create a Special Council on Tax Reform and to also create a Special Joint Committee on Georgia Revenue Structure.

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Georgia Legislators Propose Increasing Penalties for Voter Fraud

Eight members of the Georgia General Assembly have filed legislation that would, if enacted into law, increase penalties for election fraud within the state. Specifically, the bill would make it illegal to “tamper with, alter, destroy, modify, or falsify the electronic data constituting the official returns or votes cast in a primary, election, or runoff.”

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New Bill Proposes Georgia Grand Jurors Investigate Election Fraud

  Exactly 25 Georgia legislators have proposed adding an amendment to the state constitution that would create a state-wide panel of grand jurors to investigate or indict people for alleged election law violations. This, according to a bill that primary sponsor State Sen. Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega) introduced Thursday. Under the…

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New COVID-19 Bill Waives Legal Liabilities, Angers Georgia Democrats

Members of the Georgia House Democratic Caucus are displeased that their colleagues in the state house passed a bill that waives liability for employers if and when an employee contracts COVID-19. State house members passed the bill, HB 112, this week by a vote of 99 to 69.

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New Bill in Georgia Legislature Imposes Restrictions on Ballot Counting

Fifteen members of the Georgia General Assembly have filed a bill that, if enacted into law, would require that election officials immediately count and tabulate ballots when the polls close. “After the close of the polls on the day of a primary, election, or runoff, the board of registrars shall notify the election superintendent of the total number of absentee ballots received by the close of the polls that were certified by the board of registrars, and the election superintendent shall post such information publicly,” according to the language of the bill.

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Georgia Legislators Want to Grant Broad Powers to Law Enforcement Review Council

Georgia legislators have put forward a bill to create a nine-member citizen-review panel to investigate law enforcement after officer-involved shootings and also after someone complains about an officer’s alleged inappropriate use of force. State Sen. Nikki Merritt (D-Grayson), the lead sponsor, refers to this as the Georgia Law Enforcement Citizen Review Council.

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After COVID-19, New Bill Pushes for Georgia to Produce Medical Devices

One year into COVID-19, Georgia State Rep. Jodi Lott (R-Evans) has introduced a bill that she says will incentivize people to manufacture medical devices within state lines. Sponsors say that this legislation, if enacted into law, would limit Georgia’s need to compete with other states or foreign nations for critical supplies.

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Georgia Legislator Pushes Bill to Remove Large Confederate Memorial at Stone Mountain Park

Georgia State Rep. Billy Mitchell (D-Stone Mountain) is sponsoring legislation that seeks to remove Stone Mountain Park’s 90-foot tall Confederate memorial. This memorial, carved into the mountain, depicts Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, according to the park’s website. Members of the Stone Mountain Memorial Association manage the park, which is state-owned, according to their website.

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Report: Atlanta’s Debt Burden at $1,900 Per Resident

A recent report found Atlanta’s budget deficit would cost each of the city’s 500,000 residents $1,900 to balance, representing the 26th-lowest tax burden among the 75 most-populous cities in the U.S.

Truth in Accounting (TIA) released its fifth annual Financial State of the Cities analysis last week, examining the financial health of 75 of America’s most-populous cities and calculating how much each resident would have to pay to cover all of their city’s bills.

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Georgia Legislator Pushes Bill to Preserve Female-Only Sports

Georgia State Rep. Phillip Singleton (R-Sharpsburg) has submitted legislation that he said will preserve female-only sports in Georgia. Specifically, Singleton’s bill would outlaw schools from allowing students whose gender is male from participating in an athletic program designed for females.

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Georgia Representative Introduces Voter ID Legislation She Says Will Help Secure Georgia Elections

Georgia State Rep. Charlice Byrd (R-Woodstock) this week introduced Voter ID legislation that she said would prohibit people from using certain types of identification for in-person voting. That bill, HB 228, would, if enacted into law, require Georgia residents who are not U.S. citizens to have “BEARER NOT A U.S. CITIZEN — NOT VOTER ID” printed on their licenses, permits and/or identification cards. People who present a license, permit, and ID with this information on it could not present them to a poll worker to vote, according to Byrd’s legislation.

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Georgia Bill Proposes New Position to Oversee State’s Election Practices

Seven members of the Georgia General Assembly have filed a bill that would call on members of the State Election Board to appoint a chief elections assistance officer. According to the language of the bill, this person would work for the secretary of state to help manage and oversee elections.

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Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp Unveils New Plan He Says Will Upgrade Public Schools

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Tuesday proposed a plan that he said will “recruit, prepare, mentor, and retain the best educators” and give teachers more power to influence the state board of education. Kemp unveiled his proposal at the Georgia State Capitol. Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan (R-Cumming) and Speaker Pro-Tempore Jan Jones (R-Milton) stood alongside Kemp to show their support.

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Georgia Film Industry Faring Better than California’s Due to State’s COVID-19 Policies, Deputy Commissioner Says

The people who work for Georgia’s film and television studios are not only working again but working more frequently than their counterparts at competing studios in California and the United Kingdom. That’s because officials in Georgia’s state government have a more lenient COVID-19 policy. Those studios opened back up not long after the start of the pandemic.

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Georgia Democrats Want Family Medical Leave in the State Constitution

Sixteen Democrats in the Georgia General Assembly want to add an amendment to the state constitution that would mandate workers have a Family Medical Leave Fund. The Georgia General Assembly’s website identifies State Sen. Gloria Butler (D-Stone Mountain) as the primary sponsor.

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Georgia Legislators Push to Audit Tax Credit Programs

Members of the Georgia General Assembly this week proposed a bill that would, if enacted into law, give certain legislators enough power to audit up to five of the state’s tax credit programs. State Sen. John Albers (R-Roswell) is sponsoring the bill, along with 16 other state legislators.

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New Bill in Georgia Legislature Has Photo ID Requirements for Absentee Voters

Georgia residents who vote absentee in future elections would have to produce photocopies of their identification before they could vote, according to a bill that state legislators will soon consider. State Sen. Jason Anavitarte (R-Dallas), the sponsor, did not return The Georgia Star News’ request for comment Friday.

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Medical Center Suspended Six Months from Administering Vaccines After Vaccinating Teachers Without State Permission

The Medical Center of Elberton has been barred temporarily from administering COVID-19 vaccines after mistakenly vaccinating teachers and other school staff without state permission. The medical center reportedly vaccinated around 40 percent of the Elbert County School District employees.

For that, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) suspended the medical center from receiving vaccine supplies for 6 months.

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Georgia Attorney General’s Office Recommended Compromise Settlement Agreement with Stacey Abrams

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said he entered into the controversial Compromise Settlement Agreement and Release with Stacey Abrams because members of the Georgia Attorney General’s Office Chris Carr recommended he do so. In a letter dated January 6, Raffensperger told former U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) that the agreement strengthened Georgia’s signature verification system.

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EPA Approves Georgia’s Use of Technology That Kills Over 98 Percent of Airborne COVID-19 Particles

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will allow Georgia to use technology that reportedly kills over 98 percent of airborne COVID-19 particles. The emergency exemption request was approved under Section 18 of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

The antiviral air treatment, Grignard Pure, is composed of Triethylene Glycol (TEG) vapor and nanoparticles that permeate and kill the COVID-19 virus particles by disrupting the protein and membrane structures. The EPA confirmed prior independent lab reports that the treatment kills over 98 percent of COVID-19 particles.

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Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan Suggests Statewide Grand Jury Look Out for Election Fraud

Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan (R-Cumming) said this week he wants legislators to discuss “serious, meaningful election reform” during the current legislative session, and he suggested state officials require a photo ID if people vote absentee. Duncan, during a press conference at the Georgia State Capital in Atlanta, also pitched the idea of a statewide grand jury to monitor possible election fraud.

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Second Big Change Coming to Who Influences Georgia’s Future Transportation Plans

A high-ranking member of the Georgia State Senate will vice chair the state’s Senate Transportation Committee, which recently lost State Sen. Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta) as chairman after he questioned alleged irregularities in the state’s November 2020 elections. State Senate Majority Whip Steve Gooch will vice chair the State Senate Transportation Committee. This, according to a press release that members of the Georgia General Assembly published Tuesday. The press release went on to say that Gooch will expand beyond his usual duties as majority whip to serve on other State Senate committees.

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Georgia Democrats to Push for More Funding for County Jails

A group of Democratic lawmakers in Georgia wants more state funding for local jails to improve mental health services and accountability.

Reps. Sandra Scott, D-Rex; Kim Schofield, D-Atlanta; and David Wilkerson, D-Powder Springs, held Monday the first of a series of town hall meetings focused on jail reform.

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Georgia Health Officials Won’t Check Residency for COVID-19 Vaccines as ‘Vaccine Tourism’ Occurs

Despite reports of individuals engaging in “vaccine tourism,” state officials said they won’t be checking residency before administering COVID-19 vaccines. In a press conference on Tuesday, Dr. Kathleen Toomey responded to a reporter’s inquiry about individuals admitting they were traveling from out of state to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Georgia. 

“I think it’s important that everybody know: we’re not going to be checking driver’s licenses, we’re not going to police this process. Does that mean somebody may slip in from out of state? Possibly,” stated Toomey. “I think it’s important that we don’t want to be policemen. We want to encourage as much vaccination as we can.”

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Georgia State Legislators Who Fought for Election Integrity Can’t Promise that Colleagues will Reform System

Two Georgia state legislators who lost their chairmanships after they questioned the results of the last presidential election can’t say if their colleagues have enough willpower to fix the state’s alleged election integrity problems. State Sen. Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta) and State Sen. Burt Jones (R-Jackson) talked to The Georgia Star News Monday. Both men said they’ve noticed that some of the same state leaders who stifled their efforts to have a special session to address voter irregularities late last year have now proposed their own reforms.

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Senator Rand Paul, Likely Citing Georgia, Says Secretaries of State Violated Constitution in 2020 Election

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) didn’t cite Georgia by name, but he said Sunday that officials in different states may have enabled voting irregularities to occur last year. And if that did happen then Paul said he wants to help repair the damage.

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Georgia Department of Economic Development Seeks State Funding to Restore Tourism Industry

The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) is asking for an additional $1 million to stimulate the state’s hard-hit tourism industry.

GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson told lawmakers Friday the state has lost billions of tourism dollars and has seen massive industry job loss because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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