Georgia Trend Daily – March 22, 2023

March 22, 2023 Capitol Beat News

State bank regulators: Georgia’s banks in very strong position, not at risk

Rebecca Grapevine reports that Georgia’s banks are in a strong position in the wake of the failure of two large American banks this month, the deputy commissioner of the state agency that oversees banks said Tuesday. “The state of banking overall in this country is very strong, and that’s especially the case in the state of Georgia,” Bo Fears of the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance told the state Senate’s banking committee.

Georgia Trend March 2023 Our State Macon Bibb

Visitor Growth: Gary Wheat, president and CEO of Visit Macon


March 22, 2023 Georgia Trend – Exclusive!

Macon-Bibb County: Building on Success

K.K. Snyder reports that two hundred years is time enough to create a lot of stories, and Macon and Bibb County are ready to tell them. Celebrating a bicentennial in 2023, Macon-Bibb leaders are working together more than ever to promote the area’s strengths and its propensity for attracting new business and industry.

March 22, 2023 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia banks safe, regulator tells Senate hearing

Michael E. Kanell and J. Scott Trubey report that Georgia banking sector shares few of the flaws that have rattled the nation’s financial sector, one of the state’s top regulators told state senators Tuesday. Despite high-profile concerns and urgent federal action, the crisis has been limited to a handful of institutions, said Oscar “Bo” Fears III, deputy commissioner of consumer and legal affairs at the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance.

March 22, 2023 Gwinnett Daily Post

Warnock, Ossoff announce federal grant to help fund safety improvements along Singleton Road

Curt Yeomans reports that Gwinnett County will get federal funding to install new safety measures along Singleton Road, U.S. Sens. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff announced on Tuesday. It is one of two Georgia projects that will get SMART Grant funding, according to the senators. The other project is in Chatham County.

March 22, 2023 Rough Draft

C. Scott Votaw named executive director of Georgia Film Academy

Sammie Purcell reports that the Georgia Film Academy (GFA) has a new executive director. The University System of Georgia has named C. Scott Votaw the new executive director of the academy, which is a statewide initiative operated with the support of the university system in the state.

March 22, 2023 Athens Banner-Herald

St. Mary’s teams with nonprofit to abolish $14 million in medical debt for patients

Staff reports that an Athens hospital and a national nonprofit recently partnered to relieve patients from medical debt. St. Mary’s Health Care System and RIP Medical Debt have reached an agreement that will result in the erasure of $14.03 million worth of non-Medicare/Medicaid medical debt belonging to 12,000 individuals previously served by St. Mary’s.

March 22, 2023 Augusta Chronicle

Georgia voting chief Brad Raffensperger talks elections at Augusta Kiwanis

Abraham Kenmore reports, with the 2022 election behind him, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is moving on to new policy goals when it comes to voting — and still defending the integrity of the 2020 presidential election. Recently, Raffensperger sent a letter to Congress asking for federal action on several changes to voting, including allowing states to update voter rolls within 90 days of an election, which is currently illegal.

March 22, 2023 Macon Telegraph, Propublica

Houston County spent $1 million to avoid paying for one employee’s gender-affirming care

Aliyya Swaby and Lucas Waldron report, when a sheriff’s deputy in Houston County sought surgery as part of her gender transition, local officials refused to change the department’s health insurance plan to cover it, citing cost as the primary reason. In the years that followed, the Middle Georgia county paid a private law firm nearly $1.2 million to fight Sgt. Anna Lange in federal court — far more than it would have cost the county to offer such coverage to all of its 1,500 health plan members, according to expert analyses.

March 22, 2023 Marietta Daily Journal

Carman, Owens headed to runoff in Mableton mayor’s race

Jake Busch reports, voters sent Aaron Carman and Michael Owens to a runoff in the race for mayor of Mableton on Tuesday, according to unofficial results reported by Cobb County elections. As neither candidate received more than 50% of the vote, the race heads to an April 18 runoff. With 100% of precincts reporting, Carman, a sales manager who was endorsed by the group behind the movement to de-annex areas from the new city, finished with 2,162 votes, or 35.8%.

March 23, 2023 Dalton Daily Citizen, CNHI

Law targeting cellphones at jails, prisons nears passage amid contraband debate

Asia Ashley reports that cellphone contraband is a growing problem in prisons around the county and Georgia officials are looking for ways to crack down on the pipeline of phones ending up in the hands of inmates. On Feb. 27, Georgia senators advanced Senate Bill 159 in a 34-20 vote that would make it a felony for any person to enter guard lines at any place of incarceration with a wireless telecommunication device or standalone electronic device, which stores audio or video data files.

March 22, 2023 The Center Square, Gwinnett Daily Post

ACLU promises to sue if Kemp signs bill banning gender surgeries on children

Steve Wilson reports that Georgia Senate passed a modified version of a bill that would restrict certain surgical procedures on minors for gender dysphoria on Tuesday. The American Civil Liberties Union is promising to sue if Gov. Brian Kemp signs it into law.

March 22, 2023 Georgia Recorder

Proposed bill to shield government worker information from public records narrowed to law enforcement

Jill Nolin reports that a Senate measure that would have limited the public’s access to personal information of politicians and government employees – like their home address – has been narrowed down to only apply to law enforcement officers. The original bill had alarmed First Amendment advocates who argued lawmakers were creating a broad public records exemption that would limit the public’s ability to hold government officials accountable.

March 22, 2023 Capitol Beat News

State senators restore full funding of HOPE program

Dave Williams reports that Georgia Senate budget writers approved a $32.4 billion fiscal 2024 state budget late Tuesday that restores the full funding of HOPE scholarships Gov. Brian Kemp recommended in January. The state House of Representatives reduced HOPE funding in the version of the budget it adopted two weeks ago from 100% of tuition coverage to 95% for all but the highest achieving HOPE scholars, those with high school grade-point averages of 3.5 or better.

March 22, 2023 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Split over Georgia hospital rules could halt other bills in Legislature

Greg Bluestein reports that the General Assembly is primed for a new battle over hospital regulations that has divided some of Georgia’s most powerful politicians and could shake up the final days of the state’s legislative session. Powerful forces are rallying for and against Senate Bill 99, which would allow the construction of new hospitals in counties with fewer than 50,000 people without a “certificate of need” from state regulators.

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