Capitol Corner

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 […]

Campus Sexual Assault Bill

Session has started, and there are a multitude of bills that have become the focus of attention for Georgians. One piece of legislation that has been in the public eye centers upon campus sexual assault and rape. This has continued to be a controversial topic for some time. Last year’s House Bill 51, written by […]

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Week 1

This week, the Georgia State House of Representatives began its 155th session. After a year full of special elections, the structure of the House has shifted since its past meeting. In 2017, Georgia voters successfully flipped two House districts, neighboring Athens districts 117 and 119. Representative Frye represents the 118th district of Georgia, and he […]

Food Insecurity

Every holiday season, I have dreams about all the delectable foods that I plan to gorge on with my family; from the turkey and dressing, to my grandmother’s peach cobbler, I absolutely love holiday food. With football playing on the television and the multitude of options that my family is fortunate enough to put on […]

Campus Carry

On July 1, 2017, House Bill 280, nicknamed the campus carry bill, was put into effect. This law will allow individuals to conceal carry a gun on the campuses of public Georgia colleges and universities. Those eligible to carry a gun are people who own a firearm license and are 21 and over. Under this […]

Biomass Energy in Georgia

Blanketed in over 24 million acres of forest, Georgia is an ideal source for harvesting a renewable energy source called biomass1. Biomass energy is derived from wood pellets made from low-grade wood waste. The pellets are burned to generate electricity and steam. As the largest source of commercial timberland in the United States, Georgia produces […]

Foster Care in Georgia

As we follow our nation’s debate regarding our “Dreamers” and recipients of DACA, it makes me think of where our friends, family, and community members could end up in the very near future.  A bit closer to home, however, it makes me think of children who might not know where they’ll end up tonight or […]

This Week Under the Gold Dome

With session being almost half-way complete, bills are making their way to the House floor to be voted on. New legislation is introduced every day, and as we will see, it can make direct impacts on the lives of Georgians. Continue reading below to learn about some of the important topics that have been coming […]

Issues in Focus: Opportunity School District

This election season in Georgia there are four amendments for the voters to decide upon.  Amendment One, also known as Opportunity School District (OSD) garnered much controversy and debate throughout the state.  OSD was created by Senate Bill 133 and would allow the government to take over “chronically failing” schools and inject various policy changes […]

Issues in Focus: Public Transportation

Georgia, known for its great weather, good food, and recent economic boom, is also known for its terrible traffic problems. The most recent survey by INRIX, a traffic information leader, ranks Atlanta as the 9th worst U.S city for traffic, with 59 hours per commuter wasted annually. This is due, in part, to the neglect […]

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Sine Die

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Sine Die Time during the final day of the 2016 legislative session of the Georgia General Assembly expired on Sine Die. While lawmaking is technically supposed to end at the stroke of midnight on the 40th day, legislators found themselves voting into the early morning of March 25, what […]

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Week Ten

With only two legislative days remaining, Rep. Frye is still working hard in the General Assembly to have a strong finish.  Keep reading to see what happened this week under the Gold Dome. Religious Liberty Bill Passes On Wednesday night, the religious freedom bill passed the Georgia state legislature. In order for the bill to […]

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Week 9

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Week Nine The Georgia General Assembly had another busy week as the 2016 session quickly approaches an end.  With only a few legislative days left in the session, the House and the Senate both passed several bills, and a number of other bills are working their way through the […]

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Week 8

With Crossover Day in the rearview mirror, work in the Georgia General Assembly is now overflowing across the halls. Bills passed in the House of Representatives will now need to be approved in the Senate, and the same goes for bills that received the Senate’s approval that await a decision in the House. There are […]

State Route 316

Learn more about how Rep. Frye is supporting Georgia State Route 316 improvements here:

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Week 7

Today marks day 30 under the Gold Dome! On day 30, also known as Crossover Day, any bill that has not passed its original chamber will not continue in the legislative process. However, there are creative ways to amend bills that have survived by inserting the legislation that did not pass, thus keeping the idea […]

House Bill 1032

House Bill 1032 could be a step towards positive change regarding public transportation. Rep. Frye is proud to co-sponsor a bill that would provide more public transportation and help relieve some of the frustrating Atlanta traffic. Learn more about HB 1032 and some of the potential beneficial outcomes here.

Save Yourself Some Green…We Mean Money and the Environment

Save Yourself Some Green…We Mean Money and the Environment What is House Bill 877? House Bill 877 clarifies what it means for a vehicle to use alternative fuel, clean fuel or electricity by plugging-in. This bill also proposes income tax credits for the next three years for vehicles that uses alternative energy. “I thought we […]

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Week 6

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Week Six This week was a busy one for the Georgia General Assembly.  With just a few legislative days remaining, every single day brings us closer to reaching decisions that impact the community. Continue reading below to see what Rep. Frye accomplished during week six. Cutting the Cost HB […]

House Bill 877

Legislation from the 2015 session removed some of the benefits of purchasing environmentally friendly vehicles. Rep. Frye is working with other representatives this session to win those incentives back. HB 877 will bring back the income tax credits for low-emission and plug-in vehicles that were lost. Learn more about the legislation here.  

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Week 5

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Week Five Another week has passed, and the Georgia General Assembly has officially reached the halfway point in the session.  With 20 days left to create new legislation this session, continue reading here to see what Rep. Frye has accomplished so far under the Gold Dome. At the Crosswalk […]

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Week 4

As the Georgia General Assembly presses onward towards March 24 and Sine Die, here’s a look at the issues Rep. Frye discussed this week under the Gold Dome. Early Voting Starts Monday Advance voting for the 2016 presidential preference primary started Monday, Feb. 8, 2016, at the Athens-Clarke County Board of Elections located at 155 […]

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Week Three

Another week under the Gold Dome has passed, and the Georgia General Assembly is beginning the 13th day of the legislative session this morning. During week three in Atlanta, Rep. Frye fought for many issues that will have direct and significant effects back home in the 118th district. Carry On Campus Debate Reappears A session […]

Issues in Focus: “Marijuana: The Overlooked Outcomes”

According to the Sentencing Project, a research and advocacy group for criminal justice reform, the United States currently holds the largest incarceration rate of any country in the world with 2.2 million people in prison. Of those 2.2 million people, 55 percent of those federal prisoners are placed in prison for non-violent drug offenses. This […]

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Week 2

During the second week of the legislative session, Rep. Frye continued to build positive proposals to address issues affecting the district and the state. While he worked, several controversial issues were discussed. Let’s Talk About Taxes Senate Bill 280 is a proposal to lower the state income tax. Dubbed the “Tax Relief Act of 2016,” […]

This Week Under the Gold Dome

The 2016 presidential election is the most explosive campaign in recent memory. Everyone seems to have an opinion about whom should win the primaries or ultimately be president. But while this talk consumes the media, lawmaking with direct results is actually taking place. The 2016 Georgia General Assembly convened for its first day of business […]

Efforts to End Domestic Violence and Help Victims of Sexual Assault

The Spencer Frye Fellowship team recently had the opportunity to visit The Cottage, an Athens-based non-profit devoted to child advocacy and combating sexual assault.  While there, we had the opportunity to hear about the organization’s work, recent changes in the services it provides, and possible challenges it may face in the future. Through our visit, […]

November Policy Snapshot

As Thanksgiving draws near, and as one lucky bird eagerly awaits a presidential pardon, the Spencer Frye team is here to highlight three political stories that are sure to “gobble up” any awkward pauses in your Turkey Day family arguments discussions. Forget Bay of Pigs – what about “Bay of Chickens”? While we’re on the […]

The Earned Income Tax Credit: A Bipartisan Tool to Fight Poverty

Over the last several years, Americans have been paying more attention to the growing problems of poverty and income inequality. However, there is broad disagreement across the political spectrum about how to address them. Among Democrats, popular positions include expanding social programs (funded by raising taxes on wealth or capital gains) and raising the minimum […]

Community Connections: Ensuring No Need Goes Unmet

Founded in 1978, Community Connection serves 13 counties in Northeast Georgia, and its mission is to “strengthen the individuals and organizations of our region to ensure that no need goes unmet”. This last week, the Spencer Frye Legislative Fellows had the opportunity to meet with Julie Farmer, the Referral Manager for Community Connection. During our […]

On the Docket: Fundamental Tax Reform in Georgia?

Months in advance of the next legislative session, attention is already turning to tax reform. Legislators typically pass a few tax bills every year, but substantial overhaul hasn’t happened since 2012. This year might be different though; a new tax overhaul bill was introduced last session that appears to have the support of many lawmakers. […]

October Policy Snapshot

October Policy Snapshot As lawmakers continue to gear up for the spring session, and as policy wonks wait for the political fireworks to start at the Golden Dome, the Spencer Frye team is here to bring you up to speed on 5 important policy developments from the past month.    1. Craft Beer Blues During […]

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Sine Die Edition

The legislative session for 2015 came to an end late in the evening on Thursday. Here is a recap on what made it through the legislative gauntlet this year including Spencer’s crosswalk bill, new transportation funding, and a plan to take over schools perceived to be failing. Spencer’s Legislation: Although Rep. Frye was actively involved […]

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Sine Die Draws Near

The pace at the Gold Dome picked up last week as the end of the 2015 Session nears. Dozens of bills worked their way towards the end of the legislative process including legislation impacting our schools, the civil rights of Georgians, our environment, and our beer. House Approves Opportunity School District, Decision Will Go To […]

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Crossover Day Edition

Athens was a little quieter this week as students were away for spring break, but debate under the Gold Dome was loud as members of the General Assembly made their final push to get bills to the opposite chamber before Crossover day. Crossover day, the 30th day of session, is the final day for bills […]

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Roads, Rails, and Crosswalks

The House made it closer to the home stretch of session last week by voting on one of Georgia’s most important challenges. Check out the all transportation edition of This Week Under the Gold Dome. Transportation Funding Clears House On Thursday, the House passed legislation injecting almost $1 billion into Georgia’s roads and bridges. The […]

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Week 7

Despite the weather, last week was a busy week as the House made progress on some of the more visible legislative proposals during this session. The House passed the budget for fiscal year 2016, discussed minority participation in transportation projects, and approved medical marijuana legislation after a two-year effort. House of Representatives Votes to Approve […]

Issues in Focus: Raising the Minimum Wage

Raising the minimum wage, or the existence of a minimum wage at all, is one of those topics that nearly everyone you meet will have some opinion on. Some will argue that raising the minimum wage will cost jobs because employers won’t be able to employ the same number of persons at a higher salary. […]

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Week 5

Transportation Update This week the Transportation Committee passed House Bill 170 by committee substitute. As it was passed by committee substitute, the bill has seen many changes since its original version. One of the new amendments allows local governments to create a 1.25 percent sales tax instead of the 1 percent allowed by current law. […]

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Week 4

House Votes to Facilitate Residential Use of Solar Power Athens is a city on the front lines of conservation and concern for the environment. From the recycling bins across UGA’s campus to the recycling pick-up that occurs in many of your front yards, Athens is a town that knows our current resources are finite, and […]

Square One: Medical Marijuana

On this edition of Square One, we take a look at the increasingly important issue of medical marijuana, including how it can help children suffering from debilitating diseases and why everyone in Georgia seems to be talking about it. Legalizing medical marijuana is an issue that frequents all forms of media and conversation, but what […]

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Transportation, Education, and Medical Marijuana

The legislators were back to work last week with discussions on some of the biggest challenges the state faces like transportation and education. While we wait for the bills to start hitting the floor, check out the latest from the Dome this week. Tracking Transportation The Transportation Funding Act of 2015 has been out a […]

This Week Under the Gold Dome: Week 2

While the days may be cold, business under the dome is heating up. Through the budget discussions, the transportation debate and new legislation, Spencer has been advocating for you on these major issues. Revised Budget When lawmakers allocate money for next year’s budget, the total amount of the budget is based on an estimate. The […]

Issues in Focus: Georgia Breweries

Fairness. It’s a quality we cultivate in this country and this state. This quality extends to small businesses trying to compete in today’s competitive world. However, in Georgia, one group of businesses is not treated with the same fairness the rest of our state’s industry enjoys: Georgia’s Brewers. Craft breweries are breweries that make specialty […]