Here’s your roundup of news and moments you should know on this rainy Wednesday 🙂 As a reminder, each article presents with you straight facts; none of the articles below are editorials (no opinions). Click the title to read the entire article.
Wednesday, March 16, 2022
The Jolt: Greene made defense stock purchases days before Russia invaded Ukraine
AJC (by Tia Mitchell & Greg Bluestein)
U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s controversies usually center around her public appearances and musings, but most recently her critics have focused on what they see on paper. It all started when Greene submitted financial disclosures showing that on Feb. 22, two days before Russia invaded Ukraine, she purchased shares worth up to $15,000 each in defense contractor Lockheed Martin, oil giant Chevron and Florida-based utility company NextEra Energy, which has a large stake in renewable energy. AJC investigative reporter Chris Joyner helped us dig into this issue. He found that no other Georgia lawmaker has made comparable purchases timed around the Ukraine crisis
The Jolt: Voting groups prep 7-figure fight against new Georgia elections bill
AJC (by Greg Bluestein)
After Georgia Republicans fast-tracked a new elections bill, voting rights groups and their allies are rallying behind a new effort to stop it. A coalition of organizations is launching a seven-figure campaign today in opposition to House Bill 1464 that aims to remind Georgians that Gov. Brian Kemp and his allies promised they wouldn’t adopt more election-related measures after last year’s controversial rewrite. Hillary Holley of Fair Fight Action said that the coalition of dozens of organizations will “lobby hard to defeat this egregious bill that could devastate local elections administration and undermine our democracy.” Other members of the coalition include the New Georgia Project Action Fund, Stand Up America and several labor unions. The measure, which emerged last week ahead of tomorrow’s Crossover Day deadline, would authorize public paper ballot inspections and GBI fraud investigations. It cleared a panel last week, setting the stage for a vote soon.
Bill to allow permit-less carry of handguns clears Georgia House
AJC (by Maya T. Prabhu)
For the second time in less than two weeks, Republican lawmakers have passed legislation that would let Georgians carry a concealed handgun without first getting a license from the state. State representatives approved House Bill 1358 on a 94-57 vote along party lines on Friday, with Republicans voting in favor of the measure. Republican state senators passed a similar piece of legislation, Senate Bill 319, less than two weeks ago, also on a party-line vote. “We need to protect ourselves,” said HB 1358′s sponsor, House Juvenile Justice Chairwoman Mandi Ballinger, R-Canton. “And this bill allows us to do so without having to pay money to the government to do it.”
Insulin costs have sky-rocketed; Warnock-sponsored bill would cap co-pays
AJC (by Tia Mitchell)
When Lacy Mason was in college and graduate school pursuing a degree in physical therapy, there were months when she could not come up with the $800 she needed to pay for her insulin. So she would ration her doses or purchase insulin on the black market when times were tough. “It’s really hard for me to talk about, but it’s important to talk about it,” she said recently. “Type 1 diabetics can only go about two to three days without insulin before they die; it is literally life or death.” Mason, who lives in East Atlanta, currently is participating in a treatment plan that is affordable under her employer-sponsored health insurance at about $35 a month. And she works at a senior living facility where some of her patients have saved money by enrolling in Medicare plans where insulin co-pays are capped at $35.
Georgia Senate passes bill targeting teaching of racism, ‘divisive concepts’
Capitol Beat (by Dave Williams)
The Republican-controlled Georgia Senate passed controversial legislation Friday prohibiting the teaching of a series of “divisive concepts” on race in the state’s public schools over the objections of Democrats. The bill, which passed 34-20 along party lines, lists nine concepts teachers could not teach, including that the United States and Georgia are systematically racist and that no race is inherently superior or inferior to any other. The measure requires local school boards to adopt a process allowing parents to file a complaint to their child’s school if they believe the law has been violated. Parents not satisfied with the response could appeal to the school district’s superintendent, the local school board and — if still not satisfied — to the state Board of Education.
Historically redlined neighborhoods in Atlanta still have more polluted air
WABE (by Molly Samuel)
Atlanta neighborhoods that were subject to racist housing policies decades ago have higher levels of air pollution than other neighborhoods, according to a recent study that looked at the legacy of redlining in hundreds of American cities. Experts say the study, published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters, shows that decisions made nearly 90 years ago still affect people’s lives unequally. In the late-1930s, the federal government’s Home Owners’ Loan Corporation graded American neighborhoods for how risky it considered loans to be in those areas. Areas graded “A” were considered safer investments, and the scale went down to “D” grades, considered “hazardous.” Those “D” neighborhoods were shaded red on maps.
Alabama’s only Black member of Congress welcomes a fight over her voting rights bill
NBC News (by Donna Owens)
In August, Rep. Terri Sewell stood at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in her hometown, Selma, Alabama, to tout H.R. 4, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Sewell, Alabama’s only Black member of Congress and the delegation’s only Democrat, had high hopes after she introduced the legislation named in honor of her late mentor and friend. The House voted soon afterward to pass the bill, but it stalled in the Senate last year. In January, a modified measure called the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act failed to clear the chamber. “We’re at a great inflection point in our nation’s history,” said Sewell, a Harvard-educated lawyer who was elected to Congress in 2010. “We have to remember John’s words: ‘Ours is the struggle of a lifetime, or maybe even many lifetimes, and each one of us in every generation must do our part.’
Poll: Equality concerns rise, but few say voting is too hard
AP News (by Nicholas Riccardi & Hannah Fingerhut)
Majorities of Americans in both major parties think voting rules in their states are appropriate and support a voter identification law, but Democrats are increasingly worried about progress in voting rights for Black Americans. A new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research showed voting was the only one of eight subjects — including education and treatment by police — in which fewer Americans now than four years ago said African Americans had achieved significant progress since the civil rights era. Concern about a lack of progress is much higher for Democrats, 86% of whom believe more must be done to secure racial equality in voting rights, compared with 40% of Republicans.
Why Can’t the Biggest County in Texas Run an Election?
Texas Monthly (by Michael Hardy)
[…]This year, both had their mail-in ballots rejected because they failed to write the ID numbers that they used to register decades ago in the correct spot on the envelope, as Senate Bill 1 requires. Theirs were among the 11,717 absentee ballots—nearly 30 percent of all mail-in votes—that were rejected in Harris County, whose seat is Houston, because they didn’t meet one of the new requirements set by the “election integrity” law. In the state’s largest county, though, the debacle of SB 1 has been overshadowed by one of the worst-run elections in recent memory. Right as polls opened, the county’s online map of voting locations crashed for about ninety minutes.
That’s all for this week! That’s just a snapshot of what’s going on around Georgia and our nation. See you back next week 🙂