Politics

A Closer Look
11:58 am
Fri July 3, 2015

Ga. ‘Religious Liberty’ Bill Sponsor Vows To Continue Fight

The bill sponsored by Georgia state Sen. Josh McKoon (left), passed the Senate but not the House in the 2015 session
Credit Branden Camp / Associated Press

 

The recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down bans on same-sex marriage in Georgia and other states has raised a new debate.

One of the many questions is whether the decision will have any effect on the fight over the bill titled the Georgia Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

On “A Closer Look,” the bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Josh McKoon (R-Columbus), provided an update on his plans to re-introduce that measure and related topics.

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Technology
10:20 am
Thu July 2, 2015

Ga. Residents Can Now Get Financing For Rooftop Solar Panels

A small loader moves and lifts solar panels in Walton County. In Georgia, residents will be able to install and finance solar panels on their property through third-party lenders.
Credit Courtesy of Greg Brooks / Walton EMC

Putting solar panels on your rooftop just became way more affordable: Customers can now pay for just the power they get from the solar panels.

A new law took effect Wednesday that allows financing for residents who want to lease rooftop solar panels.

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Business
1:15 pm
Wed July 1, 2015

Ga. Breweries Can Now Give Away More Craft Beer

The Eventide Brewing tasting room was opened a couple of weeks ago because of the new state law that allows breweries to give visitors beer to take home with them.
Credit Courtesy of Eventide Brewing

Starting Wednesday, Georgians will be able to take up to 72 ounces of craft beer home from a brewery, but only after they take a tour.

They can also now taste three full beers on the tour. That's four ounces more than before.

"We are thrilled and even though it's not exactly what we wanted, we've been gearing up for the last couple of weeks," says Nick Purdy, the president of Wild Heaven Craft Beers in Avondale Estates.

What breweries really wanted was direct sales. But Georgia's beer distributors' lobbied hard against them in the state Legislature.

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Politics
8:00 am
Wed July 1, 2015

U.S. Government Auctioning Off Bridal Dresses In Atlanta

Among the items up for auction at an Atlanta warehouse is a Pallas Athena ivory wedding gown with pearl and sequin beading.
Credit Courtesy of U.S. General Services Administration

After a bridal shop owner in Alaska was sentenced on drug trafficking charges, nearly 3,000 items were seized by the U.S. Marshals Service and transported to a warehouse in Atlanta.

It's now being auctioned off online by the U.S. General Services Administration, which helps agencies get rid of surplus property.

Kristy Tubbs drove down from Fredericksburg, Virginia on Tuesday to see it in person. She plans to bid on 16 items. 

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Politics
7:00 pm
Tue June 30, 2015

Johns Creek Mayor To Lead Georgia Municipal Association

The mayor of the Atlanta suburb of Johns Creek will serve as president of the Georgia Municipal Association.

Authorities say Johns Creek Mayor Mike Bodker on Sunday was sworn in as the 83rd president of the association during the group's annual conference in Savannah.

The Georgia Municipal Association represents municipal governments in Georgia.

Politics
1:33 pm
Mon June 29, 2015

Georgia Attorney General Chosen For Leadership Position

Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens has been elected to head the southern region of the National Association of Attorneys General.
Credit David Goldman / Associated Press

 Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens has been elected to head the southern region of the National Association of Attorneys General.

Olens' office said in a news release Monday that Olens was elected chair by attorneys general from the other southern states during the national organization's meeting earlier this month in San Diego.

The organization's southern region includes 13 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

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Braves Stadium Bonds
11:15 am
Mon June 29, 2015

Georgia High Court Says Bonds For Braves Stadium Are Valid

An aerial rendering of SunTrust Park in Cobb County.
Credit Atlanta Braves

 

The Georgia Supreme Court has upheld the authorization of up to $397 million in bonds to build a new baseball stadium for the Braves in Cobb County.

Three Cobb County residents opposed the authorization and appealed a Cobb County Superior Court ruling approving the bond issuance to the high court.

The unanimous opinion published Monday says an intergovernmental contract used to authorize the bonds is valid, that the issuance of the bonds does not violate Georgia's Constitution or revenue bond laws and that the process used to validate the bonds was not improper.

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Politics
11:04 am
Mon June 29, 2015

Supreme Court Justices Uphold Use Of Lethal Injection Drug

Credit Associated Press

The Supreme Court has upheld the use of a controversial drug that has been implicated in several botched executions.

The justices on Monday voted 5-4 in a case from Oklahoma that the sedative midazolam can be used in executions without violating the Eighth Amendment prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.

The drug was used in executions in Arizona, Ohio and Oklahoma in 2014 that took longer than usual and raised concerns that it did not perform its intended task of putting inmates into a coma-like sleep.

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A Closer Look
7:20 pm
Fri June 26, 2015

Georgians React To Supreme Court’s Gay Marriage Ruling

Celebrations took place outside the U.S. Supreme Court building following a 5-4 ruling to make same-sex marriages legal nationwide.
Credit Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP Photo

 

After a 5-4 decision from the Supreme Court on Friday, same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states. 

Writing the majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy said that “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.”

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A Closer Look
5:35 pm
Fri June 26, 2015

Ga. Lawmaker Continues Push For Confederate Memorial Bill

Rep. Tommy Benton, whose House Bill 50 would prohibit the removal of monuments despite any future objections to them, talks about the various aspects of his bill.
Credit Charles W. Jones / WABE

For the past three years, State Rep. Tommy Benton, R-Jackson County, has filed bills to require that no Confederate memorials be moved or replaced in Georgia unless they are given new places with similar prominence to their previous location.

Benton wrote his first bill after the statue of former U.S. Senator Tom Watson, an avowed white supremacist, was moved out of the Georgia state capitol plaza.  

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Politics
4:02 pm
Fri June 26, 2015

Ga. Stops Issuing License Plates Featuring Confederate Flag

A Georgia official has ordered changes to a license plate featuring two Confederate battle flags and ordered her agency to stop issuing the tags.
Credit Georgia Department of Revenue

A Georgia official has ordered changes to a license plate featuring two Confederate battle flags and ordered her agency to stop issuing the tags.

Department of Revenue spokesman Nick Genesi said Friday that the agency's Commissioner Lynne Riley ordered that the plate be redesigned.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans plate was created by state law, but Revenue commissioners have final approval, Genesi said.

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Politics
3:29 pm
Fri June 26, 2015

Ga. Officials Call For End To Confederate Holidays, Plates

A Confederate flag is planted next to the grave of Confederate soldier William Philip Mitchell as a cemetery worker pauses while walking through Oakland cemetery April 22, 2013, in Atlanta. Georgia observes Confederate Memorial Day marking the anniversary of the end of the Civil War.
Credit David Goldman / Associated Press

Georgia activists say the state should end holidays celebrating the Confederacy.

State Sen. Vincent Fort, an Atlanta Democrat, said he's developing legislation for the next session to eliminate Confederate Memorial Day and Confederate History Month.

A man accused of killing 9 people in a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, has been shown in photos with the Confederate battle flag. Officials across the country have called for the removal of Confederate flags and symbols.

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Breaking
10:05 am
Fri June 26, 2015

Supreme Court Extends Same-Sex Marriage Nationwide

The Supreme Court has declared that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the United States. John Becker, 30, of Silver Spring, Md., waves a rainbow flag in support of gay marriage outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, Thursday.
Credit Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press

 

The Supreme Court has declared in a 5-4 ruling that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the United States.

Gay and lesbian couples already can marry in 36 states and the District of Columbia. The court's ruling on Friday means the remaining 14 states, in the South and Midwest, will have to stop enforcing their bans on same-sex marriage.

The states affected by the ruling are: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, most of Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.

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A Closer Look
6:34 pm
Thu June 25, 2015

Emory Expert: Court Ruling Helps End Challenges To Obamacare

The U.S. Supreme Court's 6-3 ruling in King v. Burwell upholding the Affordable Care Act's federal subsidies means millions of Americans can keep their health insurance.
Credit Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press

Millions of Americans in 34 states, including Georgia, are buying affordable healthcare through the federal government’s online marketplace. The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in King v. Burwell guarantees that will continue, at least for now.

The court ruled in a 6-3 decision Thursday that the federal tax subsidies provided by the Affordable Care Act are legal. The ruling means more than 6 million Americans can keep their health plans.

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A Closer Look
6:13 pm
Thu June 25, 2015

Ga. Congressman Vows To Continue Battle To Repeal Obamacare

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden shake hands after a press conference in the Rose Garden following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act.
Credit Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press

The U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed President Obama's signature healthcare legislation in a 6-3 ruling Thursday on a key provision of the Affordable Care Act.

The court ruled federal tax subsidies used in the online marketplace exchanges in 34 states, including Georgia, are legal.

But a majority of Georgia’s Republican congressional delegation is vowing to continue efforts to repeal or replace the health plan.

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A Closer Look
3:53 pm
Thu June 25, 2015

Mandela’s Great-Grandson Talks Civil Rights On Atlanta Visit

Nelson Mandela won the Nobel Prize for his efforts to lead South Africa out of apartheid rule in the 1990s.
Credit Denis Farrell / Associated Press

 

Following in the footsteps of his famous ancestor, Luvuyo Mandela is a new generation of civil rights leader in South Africa.

His great-grandfather, the late Nelson Mandela, was a revolutionary who became South Africa’s president after the downfall of apartheid.

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A Closer Look
3:19 pm
Thu June 25, 2015

U.S. Supreme Court Ruling Avoids Health Insurance Meltdown

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a 6-3 decision on Thursday, June 25, 2015, upholding the legality of the federal health insurance subsidies provided in the Affordable Care Act.
Credit Jonathan Satriale / flickr.com/politicalpulse

The United States Supreme Court upheld a crucial provision of the Affordable Care Act in a 6-3 ruling Thursday, allowing federal health subsidies for lower income Americans to continue in the case of King v. Burwell.

The ruling means that more than 6 million people who receive government assistance with their health premiums won’t lose their insurance.

The CEO and editor of the online health news site, Georgia Health News, Andy Miller said during an interview on "A Closer Look” he expected a closer ruling.

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Politics
12:53 pm
Thu June 25, 2015

Perdue Backs 'Just Google It Act' To Eliminate Federal Agency

U.S. Sen. David Perdue, R-Georgia, introduced the ''Just Google It Act'' to get rid of a federal agency that prints and sells government documents.
Credit Paul Sakuma / Associated Press

Lots of jobs are being replaced by the Internet.

Now that may include a federal agency: the National Technical Information Service. 

It prints and sells copies of government documents to the public and other government agencies. But many of the documents can be found online for free.

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Politics
10:43 am
Thu June 25, 2015

Supreme Court Upholds Key Tool For Fighting Housing Bias

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that federal housing laws can prohibit seemingly neutral practices that harm minorities even without proof of intentional discrimination.
Credit Jonathan Satriale / flickr.com/politicalpulse

The Supreme Court has upheld a key enforcement tool used by the Obama administration and civil rights groups to fight housing bias.

The justices ruled Thursday that federal housing laws can prohibit seemingly neutral practices that harm minorities even without proof of intentional discrimination.

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Breaking
10:14 am
Thu June 25, 2015

Supreme Court Upholds Nationwide Health Care Law Subsidies

Jessica Ellis, right, with “yay 4 ACA” sign, and other supporters of the Affordable Care Act, react with cheers as the opinion for health care is reported outside of the Supreme Court in Washington,Thursday. The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the nationwide tax subsidies under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, in a ruling that preserves health insurance for millions of Americans.
Credit Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press

 

    

The Supreme Court has upheld the nationwide tax subsidies under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, in a ruling that preserves health insurance for millions of Americans.

The justices said in a 6-3 ruling Thursday that the subsidies that 8.7 million people currently receive to make insurance affordable do not depend on where they live, under the 2010 health care law.

The outcome is the second major victory for Obama in politically charged Supreme Court tests of his most significant domestic achievement.

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A Closer Look
6:40 pm
Wed June 24, 2015

Ex-Gov. Barnes: Confederate Symbols ‘Always About Slavery’

Debates about official use of the Confederate battle flag and other symbols are taking place in many Southern states following last week's racially-motivated shootings in Charleston, South Carolina.
Credit Edward Stojakovic / flickr.com/edwardstojakovic

 

It’s been 14 years since former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes had the Confederate battle cross removed from the official Georgia state flag. He still considers that decision a major factor for his 2002 re-election loss.

As South Carolina legislators consider removing a Confederate flag that flies over their state capitol, Barnes said he’s never regretted his decision.

“If I had to do it now, I’d do it all over again,” Barnes told Rose Scott and Denis O'Hayer on “A Closer Look.”

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A Closer Look
6:18 pm
Wed June 24, 2015

Former Ga. Lawmaker: Confederate Symbols Belong In Museums

The Confederate symbol on a Georgia state-sponsored license plate is coming under fire after the church massacre in Charleston, South Carolina last week.
Credit GeorgiaSCV.org

The church shootings in South Carolina have prompted a renewed debate over the Confederate flag. Nine people were gunned down in the historic Emanuel AME Church in Charleston last Wednesday night.

Photographs of the alleged killer, Dylann Roof, show the suspect draped in the Confederate flag and standing in front of a vehicle with a Confederate license plate.

In Georgia, a design for the Georgia Sons of Confederate Veterans specialty license plate caused a controversy last year.

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Politics
9:12 am
Wed June 24, 2015

Nathan Deal: Confederate Flag License Plate Needs Redesign

Gov. Nathan Deal has called for a redesign of the Sons of Confederate Veterans special interest Georgia license plate.
Credit Georgia Department of Revenue

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal says he wants a specialty license plate the state offers featuring the Confederate flag redesigned after initially telling reporters he wouldn't urge changes.

Deal did not call for removing the flag Tuesday as other governors have following the Charleston shooting.

The license plate features a full Confederate flag and a smaller version included in the organization's logo.

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A Closer Look
5:46 pm
Tue June 23, 2015

Mayor Kasim Reed Defends Record, Fights Back Against Critics

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is busy with a number of city projects, including a massive new infrastructure overhaul of potholed roads and crumbling bridges.
Credit Patrick Semansky / Associated Press

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed defended his recent record and went after his critics during an extensive and in-depth interview on “A Closer Look” Tuesday afternoon. 

The conversation comes as the city and its government are busy with enterprise ventures, programs and problems. There are big infrastructure projects planned – including road and bridge repair. A new Falcons stadium is underway, and the future of Turner Field when the Braves leave is turning into a thorny and contentious issue with some community groups.

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Politics
11:09 am
Fri June 19, 2015

Fulton Commission Orders Audit Over Unspent Millions For HIV Prevention

The CDC has taken back millions of dollars in HIV prevention money the Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness failed to spend. Now, the Fulton Commission has ordered a full audit of the department.
Credit John Lorinc / WABE

    

The Fulton County Commission ordered a full audit of the county health department Wednesday.

The move comes after a WABE investigation found millions of dollars set aside for HIV prevention went unspent.

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Politics
8:43 am
Wed June 17, 2015

400K Georgians May Lose ‘Obamacare’ Subsidies

Georgia is one of 34 states that elected not to set up its own health care exchange under the Affordable Care Act and let the federal government run its exchange instead. This March 1, 2014, file photo shows part of the website for HealthCare.gov, seen in Washington.
Credit Jon Elswick, File / Associated Press

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule by the end of this month on a case that could mean 412,000 Georgians covered by "Obamacare" lose their subsidies. That means their monthly health insurance premiums could skyrocket.

Georgia is one of 34 states that elected not to set up its own health care exchange under the Affordable Care Act and let the federal government run its exchange instead. The high court will decide, in King v. Burwell, whether people insured through federally-run health care exchanges, such as Georgia, are still eligible for monthly subsidies.

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A Closer Look
4:15 pm
Tue June 16, 2015

Ga. Lawmaker Rolling The Dice On Casino Gambling In Georgia

Savannah Republican Rep. Ron Stephens has proposed a bill allowing six casinos in Georgia. Voters would need to approve the measure, which was introduced in March.
Credit flickr.com/kubina

State Rep. Ron Stephens, Savannah-R, is rolling the dice on casino gambling in Georgia, despite past opposition from state lawmakers.

Stephens introduced legislation in March proposing a constitutional amendment to allow casino gambling in the state, as well as a bill that would limit the number of casinos in the state to just six in five specific geographic areas. Atlanta is the only city that would be allowed to host more than one casino under  Stephens' legislation.

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Politics
12:39 pm
Tue June 16, 2015

Georgia Unveils Medical Marijuana Registry

The legislation also says those with conditions such as cancer, Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), multiple sclerosis and sickle cell disease would have to be near death or have severe symptoms to get the oil.
Credit Michelle Wirth / WABE

Medical cannabis oil is now legal in Georgia for people with eight different medical conditions, but getting it could mean breaking federal law. Georgia lawmakers are working on several ways to address this issue.   

Tuesday, Georgia Department of Public Health Commissioner Brenda Fitzgerald is expected to announce the state has completed a registry for cannabis oil users. 

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A Closer Look
4:22 pm
Fri June 12, 2015

Isakson’s Parkinson’s Diagnosis Won’t Stop His 2016 Campaign

Georgia's senior U.S. Senator Republican Johnny Isakson revealed he has Parkinson's disease, but he still plans on running for re-election in 2016.
Credit isaksonsenate.gov / isaksonsenate.gov

Georgia’s senior Republican U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson confirmed this week he has Parkinson’s disease, but Isakson also confirmed he still plans on running for re-election in 2016.

Will he face declining support over his illness? Will the diagnosis give competitors a better chance at beating him? Can he maintain a grueling campaign schedule with the disease?

Insider Advantage CEO, conservative columnist and author Matt Towery answers those questions and discusses Georgia’s role in the 2016 presidential race on “A Closer Look.”

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Transportation
2:55 pm
Wed June 10, 2015

Bill Shuster: Lowering Tax Rates Can Replenish Highway Trust Fund

Chairman of the U.S. House Transportation Committee Bill Shuster of Pennsylvania hosted a roundtable at Georgia Tech to discuss the region's transportation and infrastructure challenges. Pictured left is Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Graves. He represents Georgia's 14th Congressional District.
Credit Stephanie M. Lennox / WABE

The chairman of the U.S. House Transportation Committee says raising the federal gas tax is off the table, but he’s still confident a long-term transportation bill will pass Congress this year.

Republican Congressman Bill Shuster of Pennsylvania said Tuesday that he thinks the funding idea that has the strongest chance of making it through Congress is what some senators call "repatriation."

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