Capitol Corner

“Constitutional Carry”: An Alarming Step Towards Increasing Gun Violence

This past March marked one year since the shooting of three Atlanta-based spas, which led to the deaths of eight individuals, of whom six were women of Asian descent. [1] That same year, 2021, the state of Georgia was ranked 9th in the nation for its high rate of gun violence.[2] Despite the continued increase […]

The U.S.’s Response to Ukraine

In just a month, the entire state of the world has changed. Russia has invaded and started a gruesome war with Ukraine. Many countries worldwide have been responding with caution to avoid another world war with the fear of mutually assured destruction. Being one of the Western countries on which Ukraine relies, the US’s response […]

Obstacles to Obtaining Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants

A privilege that many Americans often take for granted is the ability to obtain a driver’s license. In fact, most of the U.S.’s infrastructure is so dependent on a car-based transportation economy, that obtaining a driver’s license has become a near-mandatory rite of passage for teenagers. However, the right to a driver’s license is not […]

Equalization Across Georgia Districts

Georgia’s schools are unfairly funded throughout the state. Public education is funded predominantly by local tax revenue, which includes money derived from property taxes within districts. Oftentimes, districts with greater property wealth raise significantly more than districts with less, leading to districts with a great population of lower-income residents having fewer resources for their schools. […]

Giving Credit Where It Is Due: How Carbon Cap-And-Trade Could Help Georgians

Janisse Ray, in her autobiography “Ecology of a Cracker Childhood,” discusses her childhood growing up in south Georgia, surrounded by the towering longleaf pines of the South. Through stories of her family and of Georgia’s natural history, she describes the significance of the Georgia landscape to her. Though many of Ray’s cherished longleaf pine forests […]

Georgia Aims to Criminalize Teaching American History

On March 8th, 2021, Senator Carden Summers of the 13th District introduced Senate Bill 613, also known as the “Common Humanity in Private Education Act.”[1] The bill claims that an increasing number of private and nonpublic schools in Georgia have “embraced curricula and programs based in critical race theory,” which has caused these schools to […]

New Report Discusses the Rise of Electric Vehicles in 2022

A new report from Bankrate discusses the rise of electric vehicles in the past several years, while addressing common concerns about electric vehicles. As the article explains, electric vehicles sales have increased by 40% annually in the past several years. Currently, there are 59 electric vehicle models available for Americans to purchase. This falls behind […]

Getting Georgia Online: The Importance of Broadband Expansion

Broadband has become an essential infrastructure for Americans, which means accessibility and affordability is a critical issue facing politicians. The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) defines broadband internet as a minimum of 25 megabits per second (Mbps) download speed, the time it takes to receive data such as loading a web page, and 3 Mbps upload […]

Georgia Assembly Aims to Silence Georgia Schools

The Georgia Assembly is aiming to silence schools that acknowledge and discuss the ongoing presence of racism and oppression present in the United States. In the 2021-2022 Georgia Legislative Session, House Bill 888 was introduced and assigned to the Education House Committee. This bill is sponsored by Powell (32nd), Leverett (33rd), Jasperse (11th), Washburn (141st), […]

Safe Schools For All: How Georgia Fails to Protect LGBTQ+ Students

On January 21, 2022, a student at Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary School in Athens had their artwork, which featured a pride flag, removed after a parent complained and compared the artwork to hanging a Nazi flag.[1] This local incident is reflective of the issues LGBTQ+ students face across the state and the nation. LGBTQ+ students in […]

Fellowship Spotlight: Keegan Cardman

Keegan Cardman is a third-year political science major with a minor in international affairs. She was first motivated to enter politics after meeting her Representative on a school trip to D.C. in 8th grade. Through the Fellowship, she aims to gain a robust understanding of the political sphere, from the policy-making process to communications. By […]

A Systemic Failure: The Child Care Crisis

In March 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic began to ravage the United States and schools moved online, parents were left with an immediate crisis and an important decision to make: how to care for their children while providing economic stability for their families. While exacerbated by the sudden changes caused by the pandemic, this impossible […]

CVS v. Doe: Ensuring Access to Life-Saving Medication for All

Equitable access to healthcare, especially medication, is a right all Americans should enjoy. Those living with diseases such as HIV, in particular, deserve the same protection afforded to those unafflicted. The United States Supreme Court is currently preparing to hear a case regarding this kind of protection in CVS Pharmacy Inc. v. Doe. The respondents, […]

The Disproportionate Impact of COVID-19 on Communities of Color

As of early October, over 700,000 Americans have died as a result of the coronavirus.[1] While the average number of COVID-19 related deaths in the state has decreased since the introduction of vaccines, Georgia was home to five out of ten counties in the nation with the highest numbers of COVID-19 related mortalities just last […]

Revisiting Georgia’s Three Strikes Laws

The three-strikes law is a law for habitual offenders that imposes mandatory sentences for people convicted of their third felony.  In 1993, the state of Washington passed the first three-strikes law in the United States, followed by California in 1994.1  That same year, Congress passed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, […]

A New Encampment to Provide New Hope for Athens’ Unhoused Community Members

Growing up in Athens, it was not unusual to pass tents when driving near the 10 Loop and Highway 78. We always called it “Tent City.” It has been years since I have seen tents pitched on that hill. Recently, I heard this name again as it was mentioned by a friend. I was unaware […]

Food Deserts Starve the State and Its Residents

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disproportionately affect low-income communities, the lack of proper access to food only serves to worsen this disparity. Food deserts occur where there is little access to healthy food, typically due to limited public transportation. These deserts are prevalent in low-income and rural communities. Since there is a lack of […]

Fellowship Spotlight: Gitzel Anguiano

Gitzel Anguiano is a third-year at the University of Georgia studying international affairs and public relations with a minor in French. She is also pursuing a public affairs communication certificate. Gitzel is involved in a number of organizations on campus including Speak Out for Species, Hispanic Student Association, Young Democrats, Student Government Association and the […]

Fellowship Spotlight: Catie Gelting

Catie Gelting is a fourth-year at the University of Georgia studying international affairs and philosophy with a minor in political science. She is a member of the philosophy club and a non-religious member of the Bahai’i Student Association. Catie is also the Historian for UGA’s Demosthenian Literary Society, where she keeps records of meetings, historic […]

The Toll of COVID-19 on Women in the Workplace

“We can do it!”––the iconic poster of Rosie the Riveter looms over girls and women in schools and workplaces alike. But can they really do it? Even as higher education and male-dominated industries have become more accessible for women, the pillars of the patriarchy stand tall with the wage gap and the glass ceiling. This […]

The Student Loan Crisis Plaguing America

The Student Loan Crisis The student loan crisis is a predicament millions of Americans face daily. In the wake of the Russians’ launch of Sputnik, the American government introduced student loans with the aim of increasing enrollment in institutions of higher education and retaining American competitiveness in the space race. Today, however, America has failed […]

Gun Reform: A Sensible Response to Growing Tragedy

Following recent tragedies such as the Atlanta spa shootings and the Boulder shooting, gun control advocates are once again calling for new federal and state legislation on guns. The Atlanta spa shootings were a series of attacks on three spas in metro Atlanta that resulted in the deaths of eight people, including six Asian women. […]

Private Influence in the University System of Georgia

In 2014, the University System of Georgia became the laboratory for what one Savannah newspaper called “one of the nation’s largest experiments in privatized college dorms.”[1] The “experiment” in question is what is known as a public-private partnership, or P3, between the University System of Georgia and a company called Corvias Property Management. Under this […]

Mobile Health Clinics: Georgia’s Next Big Advancement in Healthcare

As Georgia has faced unprecedented challenges over the past year managing the COVID-19 pandemic, all eyes are on healthcare institutions and the efforts they are making to ensure the health and wellbeing of Georgians. One relatively new concept is the idea of mobile health clinics. These new mobile health clinics have been assisting in not […]

Protecting Georgia’s Workers Must Be Our Top Priority

The past year has been tough on all Americans. There have been lockdowns after lockdowns, quarantines and separations from loved ones and many have been left in complete isolation. However, many Americans have stepped up and taken action to continue to provide for and support our communities. These essential workers have endured constant COVID-19 exposures […]

Georgia’s Assault on Reproductive Justice

Introduction On May 7, 2019, Governor Brian Kemp signed HB 481, also known as the “heartbeat bill”, into law. The bill prohibited physicians from offering abortion services to pregnant women if a fetal heartbeat is present, which typically occurs at the six-week mark. Although many women do not even know that they are pregnant at […]

Georgians Sue the Georgia Department of Labor Over Unemployment Benefits

As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Georgians are still out of work with no end in sight. As of December 2020, the U.S. unemployment rate is 6.7% and Georgia’s is 5.6%, down from 5.7% in November and a high of 12.6% in April. The initial economic shutdown […]

Painful Lessons: Corporal Punishment in Schools

Young people spend most of their time in school. As a result, it is essential to ensure that schools are a nurturing environment that cultivates informed and active citizens. However, this vision of a safe, productive environment does not always match up with reality. Many students have fallen victim to the school-to-prison pipeline which disproportionately […]

Health Care Access in Georgia

Georgia currently holds the sixth-highest percentage of uninsured residents in the country, with almost one out of five Georgians lacking health insurance.[1] Even Georgians who currently have health insurance are affected by the state’s infamous ranking. When insured Georgians go to the hospital and are unable to pay, the cost of their visit is largely […]

Emergency Response Hindered in the Wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic

In early March of 2020, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was already striking large cities, namely New York. The effect of the strained American health care system on people’s access to medical care during the worst health crisis in modern history was evident. Legislative aid packages in the first few months of lockdown narrowed […]

Can Blockchain Voting Restore Trust in Our Democracy?

From 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Tuesday, November 7, 2018, Ontaria Woods waited in line at the polls in Snellville, Georgia. The governor’s race between Brian Kemp and Stacey Abrams was neck-and-neck, but statewide there had been voting machine malfunctions, shortages of batteries and power cords, and problems reading and processing ballots. Staggeringly long […]

What a Second Impeachment Means for Former President Trump

On Jan. 9, 2021, the House of Representatives made history when they impeached former President Trump for a second time, making him the first president impeached twice in U.S. history. This unprecedented decision was made after President Trump’s involvement in the US Capitol riot, which took place on Jan. 6, 2021. On Jan. 6, Congress […]

Georgia Owes Its Youth More

“Despite hundreds of student requests for science-based programs and several parent-led initiatives for curriculum change, abstinence-based programs still dominate Georgia schools.”[1] The state of Georgia has a responsibility to inform and protect its young adults- a responsibility that is not being upheld to the highest degree. Instead, the controversy surrounding the implementation of sex education […]

The Truth Behind Dairy: How the Georgia’s Agriculture Needs to Grow

Georgia’s dairy industry has been a key area of development in the last few decades and embodies the issues facing Georgia’s broader agricultural sector. Large supply chains, technological advancements and market volatility all loom over the sector, forcing change upon traditional methods of farming. Large Supply Chains Over the past few decades, the dairy industry […]

Veterans’ Silent Battle with Mental Health

Veteran health care has long been an issue in Georgia. The Atlanta Veteran Affairs Medical Center in Decatur has struggled with unstable leadership and faltering quality, with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs giving it a 1-star rating. The Atlanta VA Medical Center is part of a larger network that receives the lowest patient satisfaction […]

Georgia is Failing its Non-Citizen Students

Introduced on February 5th, 2020, Georgia House Bill 896 could have changed the lives of Dreamers in Georgia in the near future. This legislation allowed non-citizen immigrants to pay in-state tuition at any of Georgia’s public colleges and universities.[1] Many public universities that allow undocumented students on their campus mandate that they pay out-of-state student […]

The Policy of Black Lives Matter

This past summer, legions of people took to the streets of their cities, tense, masked, and six feet apart. They gathered to protest the recent deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, as well as the other unarmed Black people who have died at the hands of law enforcement. Gathering under the general […]

How Standardized Testing Fails Georgia Students and Teachers

The Georgia education system faces a real threat as teachers are flocking away from the profession and students battle test anxiety and learning loss. These problems stem from one issue: standardized testing. The System Georgia’s standardized test is the Georgia Milestones Assessment System, which tests students in elementary, middle and high school over the core […]

Voting Rights Aren’t Always Guaranteed in Georgia

Georgia garnered national attention this recent election cycle for its newfound status as a battleground state, but the state also cycled through election headlines for another reason— problematic voting practices. During the June 2020 primaries, long lines and faulty machines plagued Georgia’s voting landscape. Many voters waited for hours to cast their vote and the […]

Modern American Eugenics: The Fight for Reproductive Justice Continues

Compulsory Sterilization in ICE Detention Centers The United States has a treacherous history with eugenics that continues to specifically endanger Black, Hispanic, and Native American women. Last month, an ICE whistleblower brought forth allegations of forced mass hysterectomies performed on detainees, unearthing America’s ongoing perpetuation of the abuse of immigrants’ rights. On Sept. 14, Project […]

Child Mental Health Interventions in Georgia Schools

During the 2018-2019 school year, nearly 80,000 Georgia students in sixth through 12th grade considered attempting suicide, according to the School-Based Mental Health report.[1] The report also finds that nearly 40% of children have trouble accessing the mental health treatment they need. Undoubtedly, greater access to mental health resources at schools would be beneficial for […]

When You Lose Your Right to Vote

Fifteen Percent Fifteen percent of the population of Georgia faces sanctions on their right to vote. While the right to vote constitutes an essential part of a functioning democracy, the promise of “liberty and justice” is, unfortunately, not “for all.” Human rights should not be subject to terms and conditions, yet certain felons in the […]

How Georgia Fails to Protect Transgender Youth

Georgia lawmakers are creating legislation that targets, dehumanizes and terrorizes its transgender community. On June 26, 2020, the Governor signed into law HB 426, more colloquially known as the Hate Crimes Bill.[1] Georgia was one of the last states to adopt a hate crimes bill. While this bill was a step in the right direction […]

A Dirty Taste of “Clean” Energy

Two biomass power plants in northeast Georgia have led to enormous fish kills, environmental investigations, legal battles, and adverse health effects for residents of Franklin and Madison counties, just northeast of Athens [1]. These wood-fired plants burn creosote-treated railroad ties to produce what is supposed to be clean energy [2]. The plants, owned by Alabama-based […]

A Better Reality for Dreamers

Georgia’s sizable immigrant population greatly contributes to the state’s social and economic prosperity. Ten percent of the state’s population was born in another country, and 1 in 13 Georgians is a native-born U.S. citizen with at least one immigrant parent. Foreign-born residents comprise 40% of such agricultural occupations as foresters, fishers, and farmers in Georgia […]

How a Virus Could Threaten Your Right to Vote

As the novel coronavirus continues to take its toll on America, the debate surrounding mail-in voting has grown increasingly prevalent. Though the option protects the health and safety of Americans, it presents a long-standing issue in American history: voter suppression.  Mail-in, or absentee, voting can protect both voters and poll workers alike come November. For […]

What Governor Kemp’s Executive Order Means for You

The Georgia Department of Public Health has determined that implementing restrictions is necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19 [1]. Starting at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 3, 2020, all residents and visitors to the State of Georgia will be required to shelter-in-place while practicing social distancing and sanitation in accordance with the guidelines published […]

Unpacking the COVID-19 Relief Package

WHAT IS IT?  The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, was signed into law on Friday, March 27, 2020 by President Donald Trump. The bipartisan bill is meant to provide emergency aid to individuals, families, businesses of all sizes, as well as hospitals and state governments [1].  The […]

Athens Transit – A Model for Mid-Sized Municipalities

Athens has been ranked the 4th most used transit system in the nation that follows only the New York City, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. areas [1]. Athens-Clarke County is a leader in transportation services by efficiently serving all members of the Athens community including, but not limited to, those who are disabled or mobility-impaired, […]

What Athens Residents Need to Know About COVID-19

As COVID-19, commonly referred to as the Coronavirus, continues to spread, over 300,000 cases have been confirmed in the world [1]. The local, state and federal governments have announced and implemented plans to keep citizens safe. As of March 22, there were nine positive cases confirmed in Athens-Clarke County [2]. The Mayor and Commission unanimously […]

Benefitting Communities One Trail at a Time

Community trails will help create many social, economic and health benefits for Georgians throughout the state.  Socially, trails create a safe and enjoyable environment for those who reside near the trail and those who visit the area. They can provide a space for group meetings, walks, bike rides and other communal activities In some cases, […]

Dual Enrollment: A Program Worth Preserving

Slashing dual enrollment funding and opportunities will hurt Georgia’s high school students and future workforce. Dual enrollment, a program with an enrollment of 52,000 students in fiscal year 2019 [1], is essential for increasing the number of high school and college graduates in Georgia, allowing more low-income students to obtain a college degree and benefitting […]

The State of Adoption Laws in Georgia

The adoption and foster care system in Georgia is caught in a tug of war between the past and the future. While some areas of adoption and foster care laws have improved in the state, others are in danger of regressing.  Kin Based Placements  Currently, anyone over the age of 25 in the state can […]

The Democrats are Coming to Georgia

After about a year of campaigning, the Democratic presidential primaries are happening now. The Iowa caucuses, New Hampshire primary and Nevada caucuses have shown just how much of a toss-up this election could be. What once was a field of 29 candidates has now become just eight. Each candidate has increasingly stepped up their game […]

More MARTA: Closing the Coverage Loop

When MARTA hit its 40-year birthday in 2019, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance-Bottoms unveiled a new expansion plan, the “More MARTA” project. In a city that is projected to grow by millions of people over the next decade, it is vital that the city adapts its transportation network so that everyone can reap the benefits of […]

Georgia’s Path to Healthcare Coverage

Background Since its establishment in 1965, the government-funded healthcare assistance Medicaid, has been the subject of much praise and criticism. Though it has changed significantly since the 1960s, Medicaid continues to be a valuable resource for low-income citizens obtaining health services. In its current form, Medicaid is funded jointly by both the state and federal […]

Transparency through the Lens of Impeachment

In 2019, President Donald Trump withheld $250 million in aid to the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative [1]. It was later discovered that senior officials in the Trump administration requested that Ukrainian officials investigate the dealings of Joe and Hunter Biden in Ukraine. These actions, as well as increasing pressure, led House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to […]

Georgia’s Film Industry Incentives: Creating the New Hollywood

Though many will still point to Hollywood as the heart of cinema, the last decade of developments have shown an influx of production companies to Georgia. Georgia has subtly yet quickly established itself as a prime location for the film production industry. Such nicknames as “Y’allywood” demonstrate the Peach State’s rising movie production. With films […]

Proposed Budget Cuts Risk Georgia’s Future

Overview Each January, the Governor proposes two separate budgets. The first is an adjusted budget for the remainder of the current fiscal year based on tax revenue from the first six months. This is the adjusted FY 2020 budget, which will be in effect until June 30, 2020. The second proposal is the FY 2021 […]

More Than Numbers: 2020 Census

It’s that time of the decade. Every ten years, the US Census Bureau sets out to complete a seemingly impossible task – to gather basic demographic data on everyone living in the United States. During the last census, in 2010, the effort employed 635,000 people to help collect data [1]. That number is expected to […]

Mothers Matter: Maternal Mortality in Georgia

The United States is failing mothers. Over the past few decades, maternal mortality has been on the rise. Between 1987 and 2016, the number of deaths per live birth has more than doubled in the United States [1]. With an estimated 26.4 deaths per 100,000 live births, the United States now has the worst maternal mortality […]

Voter Purging in Georgia

Since the 1965 Voting Rights Act, various states have instituted policies and systems such as voter ID laws, poll closures, voter intimidation and gerrymandering that have limited the voting ability of many U.S. citizens [1]. Currently, one of the most significant threats to voting rights in Georgia is the ongoing efforts of public officials to […]

Sustaining Georgia’s Growth

Georgia is a highly competitive business environment. CNBC ranks Georgia as the 6th best place to do business in 2019,[1] and Site Selections has ranked Georgia as the top business climate for seven years in a row.[2] The drivers of this success include an attractive cost of living, a strong logistics infrastructure and steady growth in metro […]

Georgia’s Difficult Fight Against Human Trafficking

Human trafficking can be defined as an exploitation of human rights by way of “compelling or coercing a person’s labor, service, or commercial sex acts. [1]“ It is a broad term that describes two different types of trafficking: sex trafficking and labor trafficking. This covert crime happens all over the globe and in each state in […]

Repealing the Tampon Tax: The Monetization of Periods

As of November 2019, 33 states tax menstrual hygiene products as “non-essential goods,” whereas other hygiene products are generally granted tax exemptions due to their necessity. The sales tax imposed on period products is commonly referred to as the “tampon tax,” and it applies to all menstrual hygiene products, such as pads, tampons and other […]

Education & Poverty: A Joint Issue

WHAT’S THE ISSUE?  The link between poverty and education has consistently proven to be a deeply intertwined relationship. Studies show that high levels of poverty and lack of access to education can prohibit proper social, physical, and intellectual growth in the youth.[1] In Athens-Clarke County, the poverty rate is currently 28.3%, which translates to approximately 11,000 […]

Crime and Consequences: Felon Voting Rights in Georgia

On April 2, 2019, the Georgia Senate passed SR 153, designated as a Senate Study Committee on Revising Voting Rights for Nonviolent Felony Offenders.1 The committee will spend the rest of the year considering Georgia’s policies on felon voting and present their conclusions in December 2019. This is a step towards a less stringent approach […]

Casino Gambling: The Downside to Positive Revenue

States around America are growing increasingly lenient on gambling. Along with online gambling, casino gambling has become more popular. The National Academics of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released a report discussing the social and economic effects of gambling in the United States. While casinos and other forms of gambling can bring in revenue and create […]

The Case of Aimee Stephens and Georgia LGBTQ+ Discrimination

Note: The following article contains language that some readers may find transphobic, homophobic, sexist, or otherwise offensive. Arguments and facts presented in this document intend to provide a complete account of the Stephens case and Georgia law and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author nor Spencer Frye. Discretion is advised.   R.G. […]

Better Education for A Better Future

Every year, taxpayers’ dollars invest in the future by funding public education. The educational system, particularly high school, is intended to help students enter college or begin their choice career. However, a 2018 report from the Georgia Department of Education’s College and Career Ready Performance Index gave the Clarke County school district a D grade […]

The Georgia Heartbeat Bill’s Battle to the Supreme Court

The fetal heartbeat bill signed into law in early May has shaken up Georgians and the rest of the nation. Now, a new chapter to the saga takes place, as federal Judge Steve Jones blocked the law on Oct. 1. What It Is  Georgia was the fourth state to enact a fetal heartbeat bill law […]

CBD’s Flawed Victory: The Georgia Hemp Farming Act

The Georgia General Assembly passed House Bill 213, also known as the Georgia Hemp Farming Act, last April. The bill legalizes the cultivation and processing of industrial hemp which creates products such as CBD oil, but only those licensed by the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) can do so. These licenses will be distributed when […]

Athens’ New Mayor: Kelly Girtz

National and state politics are at the forefront of media coverage. News feeds are flooded with the daily chaos of congressional and executive affairs. While federal policy dictates a large facet of our lives, local officials focus on the details. In government, there are no small parts. The Rep. Spencer Frye fellows were given an […]

Senate Bill 77: What does it stand for?

 The protection and acknowledgement of Confederate monuments has long been a divisive issue both in Georgia and throughout the country. Georgia Senate Bill 77 amends the Official Code of Georgia annotated to actively protect all government statues and monuments, meaning that it prohibits the removal of monuments of Confederate War leaders or figures. The bill […]

A Firm Response to HB 481

On March 11, Rep. Dar’shun Kendrick announced her “testicular bill of rights” in response to Georgia’s “heartbeat bill,” HB 481. The legislation has five points:  1. Require men to get permission from their sex partner before getting prescription for Viagra or any erectile dysfunction medication  2. Ban all vasectomy procedures and punish those who perform […]

A Better Alternative: Self-Grown Plants

In wake of current controversy, the topic of medical marijuana has made its way to the state of Georgia. We have already seen some previous legislation begin to take effect in Georgia. The city of Atlanta has decriminalized possession of marijuana under a certain amount. Moreover, the state of Georgia has legalized medical marijuana or […]

Analyzing House Bill 340

Last year, the state legislature made great strides in bail reform in our state by passing a bipartisan bill requiring judges to consider an individual’s ability to pay when setting bail. This happened around the same time as Atlanta’s city council restricted cash bail on low level offenses. However, all of this progress is under […]

Election Security in Georgia

Following an election that was shadowed with allegations of voter suppression, upholding the integrity of the Georgia’s elections and ensuring that all voters’ voices are heard was of utmost importance at the start of a new legislative session. Georgia gained nationwide attention after hour long lines were seen at some of the most populous polling […]

Hate Crime Legislation

On March 7, a potentially historic bipartisan bill passed the Georgia House of Representatives, bringing it one step closer to possibly becoming law. This legislation, HB 426, would allow Georgia to finally join the ranks of 45 other states that have officially codified laws banning hate crimes.  ​Although the Georgia General Assembly passed a bill outlawing hate crimes in 2000, the law was […]

Vouchers

House Bill 301 would give state money to cover the tuition and associated fees of some students whose guardians want to send them to private school. In short, it’s a voucher bill. It’s legislation that will take public tax dollars and divert them to private institutions. Any student that has been in one of Georgia’s […]

Upcoming Legislation on Domestic Violence

Representative Spencer Frye has decided to revive House Bill 786 from the 2017-2018 legislative session. This bill will expand discrimination protections in the insurance realm to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. Under current Georgia law, insurance companies are able to raise rates on these victims by classifying them as more risk-averse because of […]

Citizens United

For years now corporations have been deciding who is going to be in office and who is going to hold the power. In 2010, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission was taken to the Supreme Court. The now-landmark ruling declared that under the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment, the government cannot limit corporations […]

The Evolution of Georgia Adoption Laws

According to Georgia’s Division of Family and Children services, adoption is “social and legal process whereby an individual joins a family, earning the same rights and status as those born into that family.” It’s realistic to think that as long as the prospective adoptive parents are eligible and responsible, it should be a fairly easy […]

How Investing in Teachers Today Makes for a Better Georgia Tomorrow

An excellent teacher can alter the course of any child’s life.  The wisdom teachers give to their students stays with them over the course of their lives, and helps them solve problems in their community. Therefore, it is vital for states like Georgia to equip teachers with everything they need to succeed. When a teacher […]

Upcoming Gun Legislation

In the state of Georgia there have been 10,146 acts of gun violence since 2014, over 650 of these involved minors.1 The Democratic Caucus in the Georgia House of Representatives is dedicated to stopping this epidemic by promoting common sense gun legislation. For this reason they’ve formed the Democratic Caucus Public Safety Committee. This Committee, chaired […]

Affordable Housing Crisis

Last week, the Athens Area Habitat for Humanity Gala took place at the Foundry in downtown Athens. For several years, Habitat for Humanity has helped build and renovate homes for residents of Athens for less than $300 a month. In 2018, the average cost of rent per month for a three-bedroom apartment in Athens was $613. […]

Food Insecurity in Athens

Merriam Webster defines hunger as “a craving or urgent need for food or a specific nutrient”, but the causes and effects of hunger goes much further than a feeling. Lasting hunger and food insecurity is a problem that has plagued Athens-Clarke County for years; 21.6% of our community members classifies as food insecure. That’s 26,340 […]

Savannah Harbor Expansion Project

By: Mathilde Carpet In early 2015, construction was started to expand the Savannah Harbor. Currently, the harbor has a depth of 42 feet below mean low low-water. This means that at low tide, the Savannah River has an average depth of 42 feet. The Savannah Harbor Expansion Project, or SHEP, would deepen the harbor and […]

Athens Inaugurates a New Mayor

On January the 8th, the city of Athens inaugurated Kelly Girtz as its new mayor. Girtz won the mayoral election this past May with a majority 60.5 % of the vote, beating his opponents former commissioner Harry Sims and businessman Bobby Knight by an outstanding margin (Aued 2018). This is not his first position in […]

The Case for Medicaid Expansion

“Medicaid expansion” has become a buzzword throughout Georgia and around the country as people are demanding more options for affordable health care services. But what exactly would “Medicaid expansion” entail? Medicaid is a federal-state program, meaning it gives individual states the jurisdiction over how to structure their designated Medicaid funding, and in 2012 the Supreme […]

K-12 Education

One policy issue that Georgia is consistently concerned with is quality education in the K-12 education system. The Georgia Department of Education is focused on the curriculum in state schools. Legislation has sought a mandate that state schools provide a comprehensive K-12 curriculum, which is tailored to all students. This mandate also aims to implement […]

Fall 2018 Special Session

This last week, the current Georgia state representatives and senators got together for one last time before the end of the year to review the annual fiscal spending plan. The primary focus of this special session was to help Georgia after the loss many suffered due to Hurricane Michael this past October. The hurricane made […]

Analyzing the 2018 Midterms

Although not a presidential election year, 2018 has been a big year for politics. Earlier this month, voters across America went to the polls and participated in the 2018 Midterm Elections. Citizens of Athens voted in twenty different categories, ranging from governor to state superintendent to four amendments and two statewide questions. Now, a few […]

The Epidemic of Homelessness in Athens

As a University of Georgia student, whenever I think of “Athens,” the first word that pops into my head is “college town.” To be able to harbor this notion of Athens has made me exceedingly privileged. The unfortunate fact of the matter is that even though we may believe that Athens is a college town […]

Racial Disparities in Education in Athens-Clarke County

Often times when we speak at the University of Georgia about disparities in education, we don’t always think of Athens, Georgia. Many of us are privileged enough to attend the flagship institution and receive an education from the 13th top public national university according to U.S. News & World Report 2019. As I spent more time in Athens […]

Plant Voglte: Worth It To The Ratepayer?

The construction process for the nuclear power reactor, Plant Vogtle, has been anything but simple. One of the utility partners of the project, Oglethorpe Power, had until September 26that 5:00pm to decide whether or not they would continue to support the plant’s construction.[i]The building of Plant Vogtle has become controversial between the businesses involved and […]

This Week Under the Gold Dome

Many interesting things have been happening during this phenomenal, productive Capitol Session! To begin, there was an electric car conference to ensure that environmental sustainability was prioritized throughout the state with many representatives including Representative Spencer Frye. This conference was about electric car sales plummeting in the state of Georgia. During the conference, it was […]

Just say NO to ICE

In Athens-Clarke County there’s currently a very public controversy over whether to comply with requests for detention from ICE (the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency) and if so, to what extent? A couple of weeks ago I released a blog post noting that only notification of ICE appears to be mandated by the Georgia […]

Racial and Socioeconomic Disparities in School Discipline in Georgia

Racial and socioeconomic disparities in school suspension among school-age children in Georgia and in the United States generally adversely influence the outcomes of individual students and contribute to the persistence of the achievement gap. According to the Department of Education, African-American students are suspended at more than three times the rate of their white classmates. […]

Voting Inaccessibility in Georgia

In today’s increasingly dynamic, modern, and progressive era, one might be surprised to learn that accessibility to the voting booth is still not a reality for some. Unfortunately, the state of Georgia is not immune to this situation. Georgia’s experience with limiting accessibility to the polls dates back to when the state passed one of […]