Georgia

When the Georgia General Assembly reconvenes on Monday following a three-month suspension, lawmakers will wrestle with a state reeling from massive pandemic-related revenue losses and weeks of protests over racial injustice.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms responded publicly Wednesday to national calls to "defund the police" after the death of George Floyd.

Answering a question from Councilmember Marci Collier Overstreet, Bottoms told Atlanta City Council that calls to defund the police are actually about re-thinking what gets funded.

The Georgia Budget and Policy Institute is asking the state to increase Georgia’s tobacco tax in order to avoid deep budget cuts.


It’s finally Election Day in Georgia, where voters will make their choices in the presidential and general primaries. 

More than 1.3 million voters have cast their ballot already through a record-setting mail-in absentee effort and three weeks of early voting. 

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has ordered a citywide curfew for the fifth consecutive night. The curfew continues at 9 p.m. Wednesday.

Officials also announced on Twitter curfews issued for Thursday beginning at 9 p.m. and Friday, Saturday and Sunday beginning at 8 p.m. All curfews expire at sunrise.

After more than a week of protests following the death of George Floyd, officials in the law enforcement community continue to share their thoughts, feedback, and ideas on how to move forward.

Former President Jimmy Carter on Wednesday said he feels a responsibility to bring equity to Georgia and the nation, and that people of power, privilege and moral conscience must stand up to a racially discriminatory police and justice system.

Carter said, "We are better than this."

Stephen B. Morton / Associated Press

Attorneys for the families of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd are calling for justice in the recent high-profile deaths.

The Southern Center for Human Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia filed a lawsuit against Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill Wednesday for refusing to disclose documents related to COVID-19 testing in Clayton County jails.

Gov. Brian Kemp has signed an executive order that allows bars and nightclubs to reopen June 1 and extends many coronavirus precautions for Georgians until July 12 as the state continues with “measured steps forward" against the virus.

First and foremost, the public health emergency is extended another 30 days.

When GPB talked to Marietta theater owner Carolyn Choe at the onset of the pandemic, she spoke of the uncertainties ahead. Now months later, there are still far more questions than answers.

FAA Announces New Timetable For Spaceport Camden

May 28, 2020

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has revised its review schedule for a planned commercial spaceport in southeastern Georgia that will take the process into the fall of next year.

The delayed timetable for Spaceport Camden is to allow additional time to revise an environmental impact study (EIS) to take into account a significant change in the design of the project.

Georgia's COVID-19 data dashboard is an important tool to understand how the virus has spread, but several high-profile errors and choices about how information is presented has raised questions over its usefulness.

 


Last week, in defending his decision to allow Georgia’s economy to reopen, Gov. Brian Kemp cited some milestones: Reductions in hospitalizations, ventilator use… and one other.

“And the percentage of positive cases continues to drop,” Kemp said from his now familiar press conference spot at the foot of the stairs in the Capitol rotunda.

But changes in how different types of coronavirus tests are recorded in the state have given the percentage of positive cases an unearned cushion of up to 3%.


Facing an avalanche of interest in absentee voting because of the coronavirus, county election administrators can begin processing – but not tabulating – mail-in ballots earlier under a new rule passed by the State Election Board Monday.

The emergency measure enables elections staff to get a head start on absentee ballots for the June 9 election only, allowing them to start handling the ballots June 1.

As of Monday morning, more than 1.4 million Georgians have requested an absentee ballot for the June 9 primary and over 360,000 ballots have been completed and returned.

Years before a former policeman and his son were arrested for killing Ahmaud Arbery in February in Glynn County, Ga., the county police had a tangled history of corruption and scandals.

The Glynn County Police Department's track record of protecting its own is coming under scrutiny as the Georgia Bureau of Investigation takes over the case of the shooting death of Arbery, the 25-year-old black man whose killing has drawn comparisons to a modern-day lynching.

Aerial file photo of the Okefenokee Swamp.
Ric Feld / Associated Press

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers held a virtual public hearing Wednesday afternoon on a proposal to mine for heavy minerals next to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in Southeast Georgia near the Florida border.

(Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images) (2020 Getty Images)

One of the men accused in the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery was involved in a previous prosecution of Arbery, according to a letter written by a prosecutor who has since recused himself from the case. 

In an April 7 letter, Waycross Judicial Circuit District Attorney George Barnhill wrote that his son and the suspect, Gregory McMichael, helped with an earlier prosecution of Arbery when they both worked for the Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney's Office.

SKY LEBRON / WJCT NEWS

Drive-thru coronavirus testing will be available in Woodbine, Georgia this Monday, May 11.

Gov. Brian Kemp is encouraging all Georgians to undergo screening for the coronavirus as the testing supply continues to rise and the federal government plans to send enough swabs to test 2% of the state’s population.

Speaking at the Capitol Thursday, Kemp said the change in guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention means those without symptoms can contact their doctor, local health department or use a free app from Augusta University to start the process.

An attorney based in Coastal Georgia says he leaked the violent video of two men shooting and killing an unarmed black man who was jogging through the Brunswick neighborhood of Satilla Shores.

Attorney Alan David Tucker told GPB News in an email that he didn't release the Feb. 23 cellphone video to exonerate Gregory McMichael and his son, Travis McMichael. Tucker did not say how he obtained the video.

The family of an unarmed black man who was shot and killed near Brunswick in February is calling for the resignation of the local district attorney. A rally is planned for Friday morning.


Gregory McMichael and his son, Travis McMichael, have been arrested on murder charges in connection with the fatal shooting of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation confirmed Thursday.

SHYANN SWANSON / Georgia Public Broadcasting

Protesters are demanding justice after a video was released that shows the February shooting death of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery in the Brunswick, Ga. area.

Tyler Perry Studios is set to reopen in a limited capacity. A studio spokesperson says the changes will include temporary housing on-site for production crews and staff.

Georgia's tax collections for the month of April were down more than $1 billion from last year, signaling a budgetary shortfall that could force state agencies to slash already lean budgets by more than 10% for the next fiscal year.

In February, a 25-year-old black man went for a run near his family's home outside of Brunswick, Georgia, when he was shot to death by two white men who said they thought he was a robber.

Now, the case of Ahmaud Arbery is making international news headlines after video reported to be of the shooting went viral.

Georgia could see coronavirus cases and deaths skyrocket now that restrictions have relaxed, according to new projections.

Two leading coronavirus prediction models are accounting for the re-opening of businesses and lifting of Gov. Brian Kemp's shelter-in-place order, and the outlook is dire.


A loggerhead sea turtle laid the first nest of the year on Cumberland Island over the weekend.


Steve Helber / Associated Press file photo

Glynn County, Ga., has decided to slightly relax its COVID-19 restrictions by reopening its county-maintained piers.

SAS-2018-00554 TWIN PINES MINERALS STANDARD PERMIT APPLICATION

A company that wants to mine for titanium dioxide near the Okefenokee Swamp in Southeast Georgia has submitted a new plan with a much smaller footprint than its original proposal.

Pages