Georgia Officially Launches ‘Gang Prosecution Unit’

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr on Friday officially launched the state’s ‘Gang Prosecution Unit’ to target criminals connected to gang networks throughout the state.

The new unit will work under the same devision as the Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit and the Public Integrity and White Collar Crime Unit.

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Georgia Department of Public Health Touts New Legislation That Protects Children from Lead

On Monday, the Georgia Department of Public Health touted newly passed legislation that, in the view of the agency, helps protect children from the dangers of lead.

In a statement, Kathleen E. Toomey, M.D., M.P.H., commissioner, Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) said, “DPH is extremely grateful to the members of the General Assembly and the Governor for their decisive action which allows for a more robust program for identifying and preventing cases of lead poisoning, and protecting the children of Georgia.”

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Kemp Signs Constitutional Carry Bill into Law

Georgia’s governor Tuesday signed a bill into law that will allow residents of the state to carry a concealed firearm without a permit.

“I certainly want to thank all of those legislators – many of them – that along with us have been pushing to get this bill across the finish line for a long time,” Gov. Brian Kemp (R) said in the bill signing ceremony at Gable Sporting Goods in Douglasville.

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Voter Integrity Bill Passes Georgia House on Crossover Day Deadline

A voter integrity bill meant to provide more oversight on election day passed the Georgia House of Representatives just hours before its Tuesday Crossover Day deadline. 

HB 1464 gives the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) jurisdiction to investigate election fraud without invitation from the Secretary of State, who oversees elections.

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Georgia Church Members Could Carry Guns Into Church Under New Bill

A new bill in the Georgia General Assembly would, if enacted into law, remove places of worship from a list of unauthorized locations where people in the state may carry weapons or long guns. Representative Rick Jasperse (R-Jasper) is the primary sponsor of the bill, HB 1378, according to the Georgia General Assembly’s website.

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Buckhead City Committee Members Say Georgia Legislators’ Recent Actions Will Endanger Lives

BUCKHEAD —  Georgia General Assembly members have, for this year, written off legislation that would allow Buckhead residents to vote on separating from Atlanta, but members of Buckhead’s City Committee aren’t done and announced new priorities Wednesday. Buckhead City Committee members held a press conference at Buckhead City Headquarters. There, they announced that Bill White will continue to serve as the Buckhead City Committee CEO. Committee members then called on Governor Brian Kemp, Speaker of the House David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge), and other high-ranking GOP legislators to use their clout to push for a vote.

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Georgia House Passes $2.7B Spending Increase in Its Amended Fiscal Year Budget

The Georgia House passed its version of an amended fiscal year budget Friday, agreeing to spend $2.7 billion more than the previously passed budget.

Appropriations leaders in the Georgia General Assembly must review and approve spending changes for the remainder of fiscal year 2022 and approve a budget for fiscal 2023, which begins July 1.

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Buckhead City Committee Members Say All is Not Lost, Despite Setback in Georgia General Assembly

Members of the Georgia General Assembly are unwilling to move forward with legislation that would allow Buckhead residents to vote later this year on forming an independent city. But members of the Buckhead City Committee, who have pushed for a vote, said media reports about the matter lack important context.

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Georgia Lawmakers Ban State Contracts with Business Boycotting Israel

State agencies would be barred from doing business with any company or contractor unless they vow not to boycott Israel under a bill approved by the Georgia General Assembly.

The House voted, 146-9, to approve the Senate’s changes to House Bill 383. The amended bill was approved by the Senate, 47-2, last March, but it did not make it back to the House for a final vote before the end of the 2021 legislation session.

“Trade with Israel is a compelling state interest for the state of Georgia, I would argue, and this bill preserves free speech rights for individuals and sole proprietorships,” said Rep. John Carson, R-Marietta, who presented the bill Thursday on the House floor. “But it also says we as a state are not going to contract – we’re updating our statute to say we are not going to contract with groups that embrace boycott, divestment and sanctions against the state of Israel.”

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Georgia State Senator Proposes Amending Georgia’s Constitution on School Funding in Certain Circumstances

Senator Butch Miller (R-Gainesville) has proposed amending the Georgia Constitution to give each resident of a school district the right to claim an ad valorem tax exemption for school district taxes under certain circumstances. This, assuming the State Board of Education declares that the school district in question “has substantially deviated from the board’s approved course curriculum.”

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Despite University System of Georgia Opposition, Rep. Josh Bonner Says He Expects Legislators to Pass Bill Granting Free Speech Rights to College Students

Georgia State Representative Josh Bonner (R-Fayetteville) said this week that University System of Georgia officials oppose a bill he’s submitted that would, if enacted into law, bestow students with greater First Amendment rights. “The [University System of Georgia] officials are very opposed to it,” Bonner told The Georgia Star News.

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Georgia Department of Education Announces Priorities for the 2022 General Assembly

Georgia State Capitol, Atlanta

Members of the Georgia Department of Education (GDOE) have announced their priorities for the 2022 session of the Georgia General Assembly. The GDOE, among other things, wants Georgia students to focus more on civics and to give parents more power to decide what’s best for their children’s health.

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Unelected Judges in Fulton County, Georgia Too Lenient on Criminals, New Report Reveals

Fulton County Response

A panel of experts plan to release data Wednesday proving that unelected judges in Fulton County are dramatically more likely to release criminal defendants in unsecured judicial release. Elected judges, meanwhile, are far less likely to release criminal defendants, according to the statistics.

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Buckhead City’s Fundraising Surpasses $1 Million in Georgia

Buckhead, Georgia residents and businesses have contributed $1 million to support the initiative to create Buckhead City, members of the Buckhead City Committee said in an emailed press release Thursday.“The Buckhead City Committee expects to raise another million dollars before the end of this upcoming legislative session (April) to further advance Buckhead’s path to cityhood,” according to the press release.

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Georgia House Majority Whip Matt Hatchett Announces Whip Team for the Remainder of the 2021-2022 Legislative Term

Georgia House Majority Caucus Whip Matt Hatchett (R-Dublin) on Thursday announced he has appointed his Majority Caucus Whip Team for the remainder of the 2021-2022 legislative term. This, according to a press release that Hatchett published on the Georgia General Assembly’s website.

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Georgia General Assembly Democrats Say New State Program Could Make Them Liable for Criminal Activity

Five Democrats in the Georgia General Assembly said that the Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) has created a program that could put them and other state legislators in legal jeopardy. GDOL spokeswoman Kersha Cartwright said Friday that this Legislative Portal Access pilot program gives legislators and members of their respective staffs access to certain unemployment information. Legislators may use this information to act on behalf of their constituents. But each constituent must grant his or her consent first, Cartwright said.

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Georgia General Assembly Special Session to Feature Hearings on Buckhead’s Proposed Separation from Atlanta

Members of the Georgia General Assembly are scheduled to convene a three-week long special session starting November 3 where they will hold hearings and discuss whether Buckhead should incorporate as a municipality separate from Atlanta. This, according to a press release that members of the Buckhead City Committee emailed this week.

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Brad Raffensperger Wants Georgia Constitution to Make Plain That Only American Citizens Can Vote

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger wants members of the Georgia General Assembly to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot to clarify that the state constitution permits only American citizens to vote. Raffensperger, at a press conference Wednesday, said seeing this through was one of his top priorities when he ran for his seat in 2018.

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Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan Proposes Alternate Way to Lower State’s Crime Rate

Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan (R-Cumming) on Thursday proposed a $250 million state tax credit that he said will lower crime statewide. Duncan, in a press release, said he plans to work with members of the Georgia General Assembly on this Law Enforcement Strategic Support (LESS) Crime Act during next year’s legislative session.

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Georgia Senate to Hold Hearing on Buckhead ‘Divorce’ from Atlanta

Atlanta skyline at night

The Buckhead neighborhood’s efforts to secede from Atlanta have cleared another hurdle, as the state Senate will convene to debate a pair of bills aimed at separating the suburb from the city during its upcoming special session. 

“Bill sponsor Sen. Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta), who has served in the state legislature’s upper chamber for ten years, told Breitbart News he has ‘never seen’ Buckhead cityhood gain so much traction before,” Breitbart reported. 

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Two Georgia Legislators Will Influence How Reapportionment Affects Peach State Residents

Members of the Georgia General Assembly are preparing to discuss reapportionment, which involves redrawing district lines for the U.S. House of Representatives following the 2020 Census. Members of the Georgia House Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Committee as well as members of the Georgia Senate Reapportionment and Redistricting Committee will hold a joint virtual town hall hearing next week. The hearing will take place from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 15 on the Georgia General Assembly’s website.

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Georgia House Committee Schedules Thursday Hearing on Internet Platforms and Constitutionally-Protected Speech

State Rep. Ed Setzler

Members of the Georgia General Assembly’s House Science and Technology Committee are scheduled to meet this week to hold a hearing on internet platforms and Constitutionally-protected speech. This, according to an emailed press release that Georgia House Media Services emailed Monday.

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First Battlefront Drawn in Georgia in Epic Fight over Future of American Elections

Over just a few hours Thursday, Georgia’s Legislature and Gov. Brian Kemp drew the first battle line in the high-stakes struggle to decide how American voters will cast ballots in the future after the pandemic-ridden election of 2020.

The Republican-controlled state put itself firmly in the camp of voter ID requirements, limited drop boxes and expanded weekend voting. And depending on the eye of the beholder, it was either a win for election integrity or a return to the era of Jim Crow voter suppression.

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Georgia State Rep. Barry Fleming Loses Hancock County Attorney Gig Because of Stance on Voter Integrity

Georgia State Rep. Barry Fleming (R-Harlem) is reportedly no longer the designated attorney for Hancock County because of voter integrity legislation he’s filed with the Georgia General Assembly. This, according to the Atlanta-based Georgia Public Broadcasting.

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Georgia House Democrats Want to Expand TANF Benefits, Repeal Drug Felony Ban for Recipients

Six Democrats in the Georgia General Assembly filed a bill this week that calls on state officials to expand access to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. According to that bill, HB 741, those Democrats also want to make eligible people convicted of felony drug charges. The bill also would, if enacted into law, increase the lifetime maximum for TANF benefits and stipulate that the government could disregard a person’s assets when determining eligibility.

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Georgia Republicans File Bill to Expand Number of People Accountable for Supervising Elections

Six Georgia House Republicans filed legislation that would provide for a probate court judge to cease acting as a superintendent of elections and then create a board of elections to assume that judge’s prior responsibilities. This, according to a bill that State Rep. Mitchell Scroggins (R-Cartersville) filed this week.

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Georgia Bill Would Give State Election Board Greater Powers to Replace Election Superintendents

A new bill in the Georgia General Assembly would provide the State Election Board with greater powers to suspend, appoint, and replace superintendents who oversee elections at the city or county level. The Georgia General Assembly’s website identifies State Rep. Barry Fleming (R-Harlem) as the sole sponsor.

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Georgia Lawmakers This Week Propose Additional Ways to Reform State Elections

Woman voting at booth

Officials at the Georgia General Assembly this week proposed what they said were new methods to reform Georgia’s elections. House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) proposed that the Georgia Department of Driver Services offer state ID cards, free, to all eligible Georgians.

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Georgia Chamber of Commerce Influences David Ralston in Ways Average Georgians Won’t Like, Former Legislator Says

A former state representative said the Georgia Chamber of Commerce influences the agenda of House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge), even though that agenda favors large corporate entities and  sometimes frustrates average Georgians’ best interests. As The Georgia Star News reported last week, former State Rep. Jeff Jones said “the Georgia Chamber of Commerce is not the friend of the average Georgia citizen.”

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Georgia Bill Would Regulate People Who Pass out Absentee Ballot Applications

Six members of the Georgia House of Representatives filed a bill last week that would regulate third party entities who distribute absentee ballots applications. The Georgia General Assembly’s website identifies State Rep. Rick Williams (R-Milledgeville) as the primary sponsor.

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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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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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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 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 General Assembly Will Soon Examine Civil Asset Forfeiture Laws

Members of the Georgia General Assembly will soon consider two separate bills that pertain to civil asset forfeiture, one which would make it harder for government officials to seize private property. This bill, the Due Process in Civil Forfeiture Act, would increase the burden of proof for the government in civil forfeiture proceedings. The bill would alsoprovide people with public defenders during civil forfeiture proceedings in certain criminal cases.

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Democrats in Georgia General Assembly Say Felons Should Vote

Various left-leaning groups, including the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Southern Center for Human Rights, have endorsed a new initiative in Georgia to restore felons’ voting rights. Six Georgia state representatives filed legislation to allow felons the right to vote in Georgia. This, according to a press release that the Georgia House of Representatives emailed Monday.

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Georgia General Assembly Resolution Asks Congress Not to Increase Number of U.S. Supreme Court Justices

Members of the Georgia House of Representatives have submitted a resolution that asks the U.S. Congress “to reject any and all actions to increase the number of justices on the United States Supreme Court.” Staff for U.S. Sen.-elect Jon Ossoff and U.S. Sen.-elect Raphael Warnock, both Democrats scheduled to soon represent Georgia in the U.S. Senate, did not return The Georgia Star News’ requests for comment on the matter.

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Higher Ed Students in Georgia Would Have Greater First Amendment Rights under New Bill in General Assembly

Georgia State Rep. Josh Bonner (R-Fayetteville) has put forward a bill in the Georgia General Assembly that, if enacted into law, would grant greater free speech rights to students at the state’s institutions of higher learning. Bonner named the bill the Forming Open and Robust University Minds (FORUM) Act.

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Georgia Legislature Opens 2021 Session With COVID-19 Mitigation Measures, National Anthem Rendition

The Georgia General Assembly returned to session Monday for the first time since June 2020 with coronavirus measures in place.

Legislators were required to observe COVID-19 restrictions including wearing masks and social distancing, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Legislators will be tested twice a week for COVID-19, said State Senator Mike Dugan (R-Carrollton), the Republican Senate leader.

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Georgia House Democratic Caucus COVID-19 Subcommittee Petitions Governor for Mandatory Shelter-in-Place, Mask Mandates, and Social Gathering Restrictions

The Georgia House Democratic Caucus Subcommittee on COVID-19 requested that Governor Brian Kemp implement more emergency regulations to address the new COVID-19 strain. Subcommittee members are State Representatives Rhonda Burnough (D-Riverdale), Viola Davis, (D-Stone Mountain), Shelly Hutchinson (D-Snellville), Donna McLeod (D-Lawrenceville), Sandra Scott (D-Rex), and Kim Schofieeld (D-Atlanta). 

The letter requested that Kemp expand the emergency orders to require everyone to either shelter-in-place, or do a combination of the following: cease all in-person schooling; further limit gatherings in bars, clubs, and restaurants; impose a statewide mask mandate; and establish moratoriums on evictions and utility cutoffs for all of this upcoming year.

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Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston Joins BKP Politics to Discuss His Call with President Trump and a Legal Path Forward

Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston Joins BKP Politics to Discuss His Call with President Trump and a Legal Path Forward

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Georgia State Legislators Reportedly Fearful of Backlash and Destruction in Atlanta If They Vote for a Special Session

The Georgia legislature may not call a special session – but the decision wouldn’t be for a lack of doubt in election integrity.

In an interview with The Georgia Star News, State Representative Colton Moore (R-Trenton) shared that legislators are gun-shy about calling a special session to address the general and runoff elections.

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Pollster: Fraud Prone Drop Boxes Cost Trump and GOP the Election if Biden Wins GA; State Legislature Must Fix This Before Senate Runoffs

Drop-boxes will have cost President Donald Trump the election if Biden wins Georgia, and this points to the state’s most important concern for the upcoming Senate runoffs, Pollster John McLaughlin said in an exclusive statement to The Georgia Star News.

McLaughlin is CEO and partner of national survey research and strategic services company McLaughlin & Associates.

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During Georgia Senate Hearing, Giuliani Team Shows Video of Suitcases Filled With Ballots Processed After Counting Supposedly Ended

The election was a sham, and there is “overwhelming proof of fraud,” Rudy Giuliani said Thursday in the second of two hearings at the Georgia Senate, and his team showed a damning video of suitcases stuffed with ballots processed once counting was supposedly finished.

The Senate Government Oversight Committee held the first hearing of the day to “evaluate the election process to ensure the integrity of Georgia’s voting process,” 11 Alive reported.

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