Yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission decided to reclassify regulation of the Internet under the Telecommunications Act. Advocates have been discussing "net neutrality" for months. But what does it all really mean?
Professor Ellen Zegura, from the Georgia Tech School of Computer Science, researches the development of computer networks. She came over to the "A Closer Look" studio to explain this important new ruling.
There was a heated debate Thursday in the state Senate. At issue, a bill that would give employers the option of paying workers with pre-paid debit cards.
The bill says if a company decides they want to pay their employees by debit card they can do so, unless an employee tells them they would rather have a paycheck or direct deposit. Republican bill sponsor Burt Jones, R-Jackson, says companies need more options. And he says it will help low-wage workers without bank accounts.
Should cities and counties be able to ban plastic bags from grocery stores? The Georgia Senate said no Thursday. WABE spoke with local residents about the issue and took a look at the Senate fight over plastic bags.
Gerald Grady stands outside his car at the Ansley Mall shopping center in Midtown. He says the government shouldn’t be able to tell stores they can’t use plastic bags.
“I think it should be done on a local store level whether or not that should be banned or not,” Grady says.
And when Grady shops, he prefers plastic over paper.
At midnight on Friday, Feb. 27, 2015, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will run out of money, unless Congress approves a new funding measure.
Some Republicans have tried to tie DHS funding to their bill to overturn President Obama's executive actions on immigration.
On Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015, Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic leaders reached an agreement to hold a vote on DHS funding alone – without the immigration bill. House Republicans showed no signs of going along with that.
About 11,000 bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and other part-time school workers would keep their health insurance under a budget plan approved Thursday by the Georgia House. School districts, however, would be forced to pay significantly more to keep them insured.
House Appropriations Chairman Terry England stressed the importance of the workers, but said change is needed.
“We’ve got a lot of state employees out there that are not covered and so it’s kind of a fairness issue. It’s not fair to the part-time employees we’ve not been covering,” said England.
A popular state Senate bill requiring private insurers to cover autism treatment for young children was scrutinized Wednesday by members of a House committee. Representatives don’t want small businesses to pay more for insurance.
Under the bill, insurance companies would have to cover autism treatment coverage for children six years old and younger. Insurance Committee Chairman Richard Smith, R-Columbus, says small businesses can’t afford the extra costs.
“How do I go back home and say by the way, we just voted to raise your insurance premium,” Smith says.
Prior to state employees heading home early due to the weather, the Georgia House Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a bill that would allow for the limited use of medical marijuana.
The House voted 157-2 in favor of the bill, but not before amending it so the list of treatable illnesses was expanded to include sickle cell anemia, which mostly affects African-Americans. The Georgia Legislative Black Caucus lobbied hard for the change.
Bill sponsor Allen Peake, R-Macon, told colleagues it was needed.
Atlanta City Councilwoman Mary Norwood has never been shy of controversial topics. Now, she is taking on disagreements regarding the historic Adair Park community in southwest Atlanta.
Community members want a developer to purchase the George Adair School, that has been an empty eyesore in Adair Park for years. But Mayor Kasim Reed has refused to release the property deed to Atlanta Public Schools because of an ongoing dispute over BeltLine tax payments.
Today on "A Closer Look," Mary Norwood shared her view of the dispute.
Stephanie Blank was appointed last year to chair Governor Nathan Deal's Child Welfare Reform Council. Modeled on the Criminal Justice Reform Council, the group is conducting a comprehensive overview of the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS), and they released their first report this past January.
Overhauling the state’s tax code – and in particular lowering the state income tax – has been a goal of Republican leaders for some time. This week, they unveiled a plan to do it.
At a press conference flanked by House Speaker David Ralston, Rep. John Carson, R-Marietta said the time is now for major tax reform.
"We’ve had resolutions, we’ve had reviews, we’ve had councils, we’ve had committees for years ... but I think people aren’t looking for more reviews. What they’re looking for is leadership," said Carson.
Atlanta is becoming more of a film capital than it has been in a long time. Television and film production is taking place all over the state of Georgia, with many entertainment projects drawn here by tax credits the state began offering some 10 years ago.
California has taken note.
Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed California’s own set of tax credits that will triple the dollars TV and film companies can earn there, as long as they stay in-state. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti was standing right beside Brown when he signed the measure.
Four rural hospitals may get state money to reduce unnecessary emergency room visits. It’s part of a plan backed by Gov. Nathan Deal aimed at stabilizing Georgia’s rural health network.
A handful of hospitals have closed in recent years and 15 more are under significant financial stress. In April, Deal handpicked a committee of lawmakers, advocates and stakeholders to study the problem and draft recommendations.
On the surface, legislation aimed at fighting child sex trafficking in Georgia sounds like a great idea … unless you’re part of the adult entertainment industry that would be levied a penalty fee of $5,000 or 1 percent of gross earnings.
Controversial legislation that gay rights activists, religious leaders and others have been fighting over has hit a stumbling block. One of the “religious freedom” bills that’s making its way through the state legislature got hung up in a state Senate committee yesterday.
It was a procedural fight over a bill supporters say is needed to ensure government can’t infringe on someone’s religious rights without a good reason. Opponents say it could lead to the unjust treatment of gays and lesbians and protect child abusers.
Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft remain strongly against a bill that would impose new regulations on its drivers. The proposal includes a new $300 annual fee, fingerprinting and obtaining a special state license.
"We rely on part-time drivers," Lyft’s Joseph Okpaku said. "If less drivers are signing up because of these barriers that are being put up, customers are not going to have the access to the rides they currently enjoy, so it’s a real threat to our operations here in Georgia."
Documents illustrating Georgia's transportation needs sit on the desks of House Transportation committee members as they listen to testimony on a bill proposing to raise millions of dollars more to maintain Georgia's roads and bridges at a hearing on Feb. 12, 2015, in Atlanta. In recent days, GOP leaders have sought to placate local government officials unhappy with their initial proposal to take about $500 million in local sales taxes on fuel for state use.
A House bill aimed at fixing Georgia's ailing transportation system cleared a key legislative committee Wednesday, but not before lawmakers made some major revisions.
A billion dollars. That’s how much lawmakers are trying to raise for Georgia’s roads and bridges. To get there, the sponsors of House Bill 170 want to increase the state excise tax on gas by about 20 cents per gallon. At the same time, local taxes on gas would be phased out.
Small brewers and distributors are at odds over a state Senate bill that would allow craft brewers to sell directly to customers.
If you go to a Georgia craft brewery right now, you can’t actually buy beer there or take it home. All that’s allowed is buying a souvenir pint glass for limited samples. David Larkworthy with 5 Seasons Brewing told members of a Senate committee that has to change.
A federal judge in Texas granted a request by 26 states ─ including Georgia ─ to temporarily block President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration. But it’s not clear what the ruling means for immigrants in this state.
The president’s order gives temporary deportation relief to children brought to the U.S. illegally. It would also provide relief for some of their parents.
U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen issued an injunction, saying the president overstepped his authority.
The Georgia Legislature may soon be taking another look at the rights of the state's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens.
After several previous efforts failed, Rep. Karla Drenner (D-Avondale) has introduced HB 323, which would ban the state government from discriminating in hiring and promotion against anyone based on sexual orientation.
State lawmakers are pushing a $1 billion plan to boost transportation revenue. An underlying motivation in those efforts is to become less dependent on federal funds for road and bridge projects. They say the money comes with too much red tape.
Georgia is second to last in the country in transportation spending per capita. That means the state has to depend more on federal dollars to build and maintain the state’s roads and bridges.
Voters are one step closer to deciding whether a fund should be set up to help victims of child sex trafficking. That’s because the Georgia Senate approved measures aimed at combating the sexual exploitation of children Thursday.
If the fund gains approval, it’s supposed provide counseling, housing and other services for victims of child sex trafficking.
Voters would also have a say on whether adult entertainment establishments should give 1 percent of their profits annually to the fund. The legislation was sponsored by Sen. Renee Unterman, R-Buford.
A pair of Democrat and Republican lawmakers will once again try to pass a bill aimed at strengthening protections for state employees who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
Rep. Karla Drenner, D-Avondale Estates, is sponsoring House Bill 323, which would ban the state from discriminating against employees based on sexual orientation. Drenner, a lesbian, has sponsored similar legislation in the past, but each time those efforts have failed.