July 13, 2024 7:54 am
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Though noncitizens can vote in few local elections, GOP goes big to make it illegal

Amidst ongoing debates over election integrity, Republican lawmakers are intensifying efforts to prevent non-U.S. citizens from voting, proposing state constitutional amendments and new laws for stricter citizenship verification at the polls. Critics argue these measures stoke anti-immigration sentiment and baseless fears of widespread voter fraud, merely to energize the GOP base ahead of the upcoming presidential election.

Georgia takes aim at mental health care shortages with new legislation

Georgia is intensifying efforts to tackle its mental health care challenges with new legislation designed to increase the availability of mental health professionals across the state. Representative Sharon Cooper emphasizes the state’s commitment to equalizing access to mental health services, particularly in rural areas, by offering loan repayment incentives to providers working in underserved regions.

New EPA rules target Georgia legacy coal-ash ponds

The Environmental Protection Agency has implemented a new rule tightening regulations on coal ash disposal, addressing millions of tons of toxic waste that were previously unregulated and often ended up in unlined ponds and landfills. This significant regulatory step is part of a broader initiative to curb pollutants from power plants and represents a major victory for environmental health, according to Dori Jaffe of the Sierra Club.

Kemp signs bill into law forcing sheriffs to enforce federal immigration law

Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia signed a contentious new law on May 1, 2024, mandating that law enforcement agencies notify federal authorities about the arrest of undocumented immigrants, with penalties including loss of state funding and criminal charges for non-compliance. Critics argue the law targets Georgia’s Hispanic community disproportionately and contrasts sharply with previous state efforts towards criminal justice reform.

Georgia political campaigns start to deploy AI but humans still needed to press the flesh

Glenn Cook, a Republican candidate for Georgia House District 180, utilizes AI-generated content for his campaign blog and podcast to maintain an active online presence, as detailed by his campaign advisor, Robert Lee. This approach allows more direct voter engagement, although it raises concerns about authenticity and voter alienation.

Spoiler alert: Third party candidates aim to give Georgia voters alternatives to Biden and Trump

Jill Stein from the Green Party and Karina Garcia of the Party of Socialism and Liberation, both third-party candidates, participated in a forum in Atlanta, emphasizing their policy agreements on issues like the Israel-Palestine conflict and social funding. While they both announced their respective parties would be on Georgia’s ballot in November, upcoming changes in the state’s election laws could affect their and other third-party candidates’ ability to appear on the ballot.

Georgia governor signs school voucher bill to provide $6,500 toward private tuition

Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia signed multiple education bills, including a controversial voucher program allowing parents to use $6,500 in state funds for private schooling or homeschooling of children from low-performing schools. Critics argue this diverts essential resources from public schools and lacks sufficient oversight, while proponents claim it offers necessary educational choices and opportunities.

Earth Day report card: Georgians battle threats to state’s natural wonders year round

Georgia environmentalists mark Earth Day with both celebrations and concerns, as recent policy decisions threaten to undermine the state’s ecological health. Amid ongoing debates, conservation efforts confront challenges from industrial developments and regulatory policies favoring economic interests over environmental preservation.

Rural counties rely on prisons to provide firefighters who work for free

In rural Georgia, incarcerated individuals trained as firefighters and emergency responders are frequently called upon to tackle various emergencies, a practice that began in 1963 and has expanded significantly over the decades. Despite providing crucial support in under-resourced areas, this program faces criticism for potentially exploiting the incarcerated and impacting the job market for professional firefighters.

Early education researchers give Georgia high marks for lottery-funded pre-K programs

Georgia’s pre-K program ranks ninth in the U.S. for enrollment rates but trails in state spending, reflecting a mixed record on early childhood education priorities. A pending increase in funding could enhance the state’s program, positioning it to meet all recommended quality benchmarks, according to the latest findings by the National Institute for Early Education Research.