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Governor vetoes tax breaks for data centers, homestead exemption bump and higher ed assistance

Georgia is actively addressing its mental health care deficiencies by enacting new legislation designed to bolster provider availability across the state, particularly in underserved areas. Representative Sharon Cooper emphasized the urgency of enhancing access to mental health services, given the state’s significant provider shortages and the historical underinvestment in mental health care.

VP stops by Atlanta in latest courting of Georgia voters by Biden administration officials

Vice President Kamala Harris visited Georgia to promote the administration’s economic achievements and underscored the historic growth in Black-owned small businesses and wealth among American families. During her speech, she highlighted “The Stitch,” a project to heal the divisions caused by past urban infrastructure policies, as part of a broader commitment to reconnecting and empowering minority communities.

Disability advocates join efforts to halt Atlanta’s ‘Cop City’

When then-Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced plans for a new law enforcement training complex in Dekalb County’s Weelaunee Forest, it sparked widespread opposition under the “Stop Cop City” banner, particularly among disability justice activists who argue the project would disproportionately harm disabled individuals. Nearly three years later, despite ongoing construction of what will be the nation’s largest police training facility, community resistance continues to underscore concerns about the environmental impact, the potential for increased police militarization, and the specific vulnerabilities of the disabled community.

Bill to regulate hemp products in Georgia awaits governor’s signature while some hope for veto

A bill regulating hemp products in Georgia, which mandates testing and restricts sales to those 21 and older, awaits Governor Brian Kemp’s decision. While proponents see it as a necessary step for consumer protection, critics argue it allows the sale of potentially harmful derivatives like Delta-8, without adequately safeguarding consumers.

State utility regulators approve Georgia Power plan to use fossil fuels to power data centers

In a decisive 4-1 vote, the Georgia Public Service Commission approved Georgia Power’s controversial plans to expand energy generation through a mix of fossil fuels and renewable sources, amid criticisms for not prioritizing cleaner energy options. The plan involves constructing natural gas and oil generators and solar battery facilities to cater to rising industrial demands, despite warnings about the long-term environmental and economic impacts of relying on volatile fossil fuel prices.

Georgia child welfare agency defensive after Ossoff Senate panel reports neglect and exploitation

The Georgia Division of Family and Children Services is critiqued in a U.S. Senate report for not adequately protecting children from abuse, contributing to child deaths and injuries through mismanagement. Senator Jon Ossoff emphasizes the need to protect the most vulnerable children from abuse and human trafficking, highlighting the serious and distressing findings of the investigation.

Republican state lawmakers revise Georgia election rules in time for 2024 campaign season

Georgia’s 2024 legislative session concluded with the passing of contentious election rules that could reshape voter eligibility and ballot security, amidst debates on enhancing voter confidence versus appeasing unfounded election fraud claims. The new regulations, expected to be signed into law, introduce measures like a watermark on paper ballots and criteria for mass voter challenges, fueling concerns about their impact on voter accessibility and the integrity of the election process.

If the Okefenokee isn’t worth saving, what is?

In this opinion piece by Dink Nesmith for the Georgia Recorder, the focus is on the heated debate surrounding the proposed mining near the Okefenokee Swamp by Twin Pines Minerals, where financial interests clash with environmental preservation. Nesmith criticizes the influence of monetary interests on Georgia’s decision-makers and expresses concern over the potential ecological impact on this irreplaceable natural gem, urging for the protection of the swamp over economic gains.

School social media ban multiplies censorship

The “Protecting Georgia’s Children on Social Media Act of 2024” proposed by Georgia lawmakers seeks to ban all social media access within schools, raising significant concerns over censorship and infringement on students’ First Amendment rights. Critics argue that such a blanket restriction not only limits educational and expressive opportunities but also challenges established U.S. Supreme Court precedents protecting students’ rights to information and free speech.

School voucher bill emerges from Georgia House with more momentum than in past years

A contentious school voucher bill, endorsed by influential Republican figures, successfully cleared the House with a 91-82 vote, setting the stage for potential approval in the Senate. Spearheaded by Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones, the bill proposes allocating $6,500 to parents of students attending underperforming public schools, aiming to provide alternative educational options such as private schooling or homeschooling.