Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 27, 2024

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 27, 2024

The British Parliament enacted The Coercive Acts on March 28, 1774.

The Coercive Acts were a series of four acts established by the British government. The aim of the legislation was to restore order in Massachusetts and punish Bostonians for their Tea Party, in which members of the revolutionary-minded Sons of Liberty boarded three British tea ships in Boston Harbor and dumped 342 crates of tea—nearly $1 million worth in today’s money—into the water to protest the Tea Act.

Passed in response to the Americans’ disobedience, the Coercive Acts included:

The Boston Port Act, which closed the port of Boston until damages from the Boston Tea Party were paid.

The Massachusetts Government Act, which restricted Massachusetts; democratic town meetings and turned the governor’s council into an appointed body.

The Administration of Justice Act, which made British officials immune to criminal prosecution in Massachusetts.

The Quartering Act, which required colonists to house and quarter British troops on demand, including in their private homes as a last resort.

Thomas Jefferson was elected as a Virginia delegate to the Second Continental Congress on March 27, 1775.

Colonel James Fannin, a Georgia native and Colonel in the Texas Regular Army and more than 300 other members of the Georgia battalion were executed on March 27, 1836 after surrendering to Santa Anna’s Mexican Army. Fannin County, Georgia is named after Col Fannin.

On March 27, 1912, the first Japanese cherry trees were planted on the northern bank of the Potomac River near the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC.

On March 27, 1941, Governor Eugene Talmadge signed legislation outlawing the handling of venomous snakes in such a way as to endanger another person or to encourage another person to handle a snake in such a way as to endanger them. The legislation resulted from a six-year old handling a venomous snake during a church service in Adel, Georgia, during which she was bitten and died. Under that act you could still handle snakes yourself as long as you didn’t endanger someone else.

On March 27, 1947, Governor Melvin Thompson signed legislation that made Georgia a “Right to Work State,” meaning that employees cannot generally be forced to join a union or pay dues in order to take a job. On the same day, gambling on sporting events was outlawed by another bill signed by Gov. Thompson.

Governor Ernest Vandiver signed legislation authorizing the construction of monuments to Georgians killed in battle at the Antietam and Gettysburg battlefields on March 28, 1961.

Identical 15 1/2-foot-tall monuments of Georgia blue granite were sculpted by Harry Sellers of Marietta Memorials. At the top of the shaft is the word “GEORGIA” over the state seal. Lower on the shaft is the inscription, “Georgia Confederate Soldiers, We sleep here in obedience; When duty called, we came; When Country called, we died.”

Georgia’s first “Sunshine Law” requiring open meetings of most state boards and commissions, was signed by Governor Jimmy Carter on March 28, 1972.

A nuclear reactor at Three Mile Island near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania overheated on March 28, 1979 and within days radiation levels had risen in a four county area. It was the most serious accident in commercial nuclear history in the United States.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The Georgia Ports Authority said state bridges are protected against ship strikes, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The current 7,780-foot-long cable-stay [Sidney Lanier] bridge [in Brunswick] built to replace the old vertical-lift one opened in 2003 with extra safety measures, according to Tom Boyd, chief communications officer for the Georgia Ports Authority. More than two acres of rock surround its two stanchions, limiting the possibility of another vessel strike, Boyd said.

The Key Bridge [in Baltimore], according to the Civil Engineering Almanac, is a 1.6-mile continuous steel-arched truss bridge built in 1977 over the Patapsco River. According to vesselfinder.com, the cargo ship that hit the bridge, the Dali, is a 9-year-old cargo ship measuring 300 meters long and weighing 95,000 tons, which would be considered a big ship for the East Coast, said Griff Lynch, President and CEO of the Georgia Ports Authority.

Both Lynch and Boyd spoke of the safety measures around the Port of Savannah, where the Talmadge Memorial Bridge spans the Savannah River between Georgia and South Carolina. It is a cable-stayed bridge, like the Lanier in Brunswick. The Talmadge’s southside stanchion is firmly planted in the Ocean Terminal and in Hutchinson Island on the north.

According to Boyd, there are no bridge support columns within the river that a vessel could hit. And the way cargo ships are brought into and out of Savannah provides additional safety. Savannah River port pilots that guide cargo ships handle approximately 45 ships a week, said Boyd, adding that they assisted more than 2,000 ships in 2023.

“Equally important, whenever there is a first-time vessel called into the port, they do that only during the day,” said Boyd.

Tug operators take a great deal of precaution moving vessels, said Lynch, explaining that two to three tugboats accompany ships as they come into the harbor. “So, as you go under the bridge, there’s three tugs surrounding that vessel.”

“This tragic incident [in Baltimore] sheds light on the future consideration of a tunnel underneath the Savannah River,” offered Boyd about the future of port operations in Savannah.

With the Port of Baltimore closed into the near future, the ports in Savannah and Brunswick may experience more traffic to alleviate any disruptions in the supply chain, mostly in the way of ro-ro cargo, such as automobiles. Both the Ocean Terminal in Savannah and the Port of Brunswick could be put into play, said Lynch.

From WSAV:

Many bridges, like the Talmadge, have some kind of protection on the main supports called piers.

“This bridge I would consider this much safer because the main pier, the main structure of the bridge is not in the river,” said [Georgia Southern engineering professor] Maldonado.

He says the banking on the side of the Savannah River protects it from boat collisions.

The AP reports that the bridge in Baltimore did not have protections for its pier that was hit.

“This is a complete bridge different from the one we have in Savannah at the port,” said Maldonado.

The Georgia Senate passed their FY 2025 state budget, according to the Capitol Beat News Service via the Savannah Morning News.

The Georgia Senate overwhelmingly passed a $36.1 billion fiscal 2025 state budget Tuesday, signing off on pay raises for state employees and public school teachers.

With Georgia sitting atop a $16 billion revenue surplus, the state can afford $4,000 cost-of-living increases for most state workers, with $3,000 raises on top of that for employees in state agencies being hit with large turnover rates, including law enforcement officers and welfare workers. Teachers would receive increases of $2,500.

The budget, which cleared the Senate 53-1, also contains substantial increases in funding for various education initiatives, including $243 million to account for student enrollment growth, $207 million to buy more school buses, and $109 million in school safety grants to upgrade security on public school campuses.

Senators also agreed with the budget the state House passed earlier this month to restore $66 million to the University System of Georgia that lawmakers had cut from the spending plan last year.

The budget also would increase reimbursement rates for health-care providers and provide $1.5 million for a new mental-health crisis center in Dublin and $1.2 million for a similar center in Augusta.

“Mental health is not going away,” Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Blake Tillery, R-Vidalia, told his Senate colleagues before Tuesday’s vote. “It’s filling our jails and prisons, and now it’s filling our hospitals.”

Another $6 million would go toward a multi-year plan to stabilize the state’s trauma-care network.

The budget is likely headed next to a joint legislative conference committee to work out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the budget by Thursday, the last day of this year’s General Assembly session.

From the Associated Press via WSAV:

Senators and representatives now must work out their differences on House Bill 916 before 2024’s legislative session ends Thursday. The budget, which passed 53-1, spends $36.1 billion in state money and $61 billion overall in the year beginning July 1.

Spending would fall from this year’s budget after Gov. Brian Kemp and lawmakers supplemented that budget will billions in one-time cash, boosting state spending to $38 billion in the year ending June 30.

Public school teachers would get a $2,500 raise starting July 1, boosting average teacher pay in Georgia above $65,000 annually, as the Republican governor proposed in January. That is in addition to a $1,000 bonus Kemp sent out in December. Prekindergarten teachers would also get a $2,500 raise.

State and university employees also would get a 4% pay increase, up to $70,000 in salary. The typical state employee makes $50,400.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Blake Tillery, a Vidalia Republican, said those pay raises are among “big things we agree on.”

Some employees would get more. State law enforcement officers would get an additional $3,000 bump, atop the $6,000 special boost they got last year. Child welfare workers would also receive extra $3,000 raises.

One thing that is unclear under the plan is judicial pay raises. There is money in the Senate budget for nearly $20 million, which would implement almost all of a plan to raise and standardize judicial pay. But Tillery wants the plan to be contained in a state constitutional amendment that hasn’t advanced. The House is still trying to implement the plan in a regular bill.

The state would spend hundreds of millions of dollars more to increase what it pays to nursing homes, home health care providers, dialysis providers, physical and occupational therapists, and some physicians.

The Senate proposes spending $30 million more on domestic violence shelters and sexual assault response. Tillery said that money would offset big cuts in federal funding that some agencies face.

Tillery said one key element in final talks will be a push from Kemp’s administration to not spend so much additional money on continuing programs, instead focusing more on one-time spending. That could, for example, endanger some of the rate increases House and Senate members have proposed for medical and social service providers.

The state already plans to pay cash for new buildings and equipment in the upcoming budget, instead of borrowing as normal, reflecting billions in surplus cash Georgia has built up in recent years. The Senate would go farther, taking $33 million the House planned to spend elsewhere and use it instead to pay down debt, which Tillery said would free up spending in future years.

Senate Bill 36 by State Sen. Randy Robertson (R-Cataula) passed out of the House Committee on Judiciary Non-Civil and would increase penalties for some forms of pimping and pandering, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News.

Senate Bill 36 is a carryover from 2023. Its sponsors include 20 Republican lawmakers, among them District 54 Sen. Chuck Payne, of Dalton.

SB 36 was originally withdrawn and recommitted by the Georgia House of Representatives in March 2023.

The latest iteration of the bill includes numerous revisions from the aforementioned committee.

As currently written, Georgia law stipulates that a first offense conviction for pimping is punishable as a high and aggravated misdemeanor. The bill, however, would make the offense a felony, with the prison sentence range running from one to 10 years.

Under SB 36, secondary or subsequent convictions for pimping would result in a mandatory minimum imprisonment period of one year — with no portion of that mandatory minimum sentence eligible for suspension, stay or probation by a sentencing court.

The bill, however, still affords judges the ability to deviate from the mandatory minimum sentence “if the interest of justice will not be served by the imposition of the prescribed mandatory minimum, with such findings stated on the record by the court.”

Under SB 36, the same penalties would also be applicable to individuals convicted of pandering in Georgia.

Houston County District Attorney Will Kendall forwarded an anonymous complaint alleging campaign violations in the Sheriff’s race to state officials, according to 13WMAZ.

The letter lists 11 points that suggest the sheriff’s office is using its resources to support Matt Moulton’s campaign for sheriff.

Moulton is a lieutenant overseeing the criminal investigations division at the sheriff’s office.

The letter was sent to: Georgia Attorney General Christopher Carr; Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger; Georgia Ethics Commission Chairman David Emadi, County Commissioner Chairman Dan Perdue and District Attorney Will Kendall.

The district attorney, who is also running for sheriff against Moulton, says he takes allegations like these seriously.

“But, being a candidate in the same race that the allegations arise from, that means I have a legal conflict of interest as district attorney,” Kendall said.

He’s handing the letter off to the state’s Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council and the State Ethics Commission.

Kendall’s letter to a state agency says he takes ‘all citizen complaints seriously,’ but he cannot investigate the allegations or act on them.

That’s because as one of Moulton’s opponents, he is in a conflict of interest.

“I also can’t be in a position where I violate my own integrity, morals or the law as district attorney, and then tell people I wanna be sheriff because that doesn’t make sense,” Kendall said. “It’s not the right thing to do.”

He continued, “I’m sure there’ll be critics as to me sending this letter off, but the reality is that is my legal obligation. I don’t get a choice in that matter. In order to follow the law, uphold the oath that i already have, it’s my obligation to send that letter off.”

Also on Monday, Chief Deputy Billy Rape scoffed at the letter . “I thought it was a bunch of B.S.”

Last month, 13WMAZ addressed one of the complaints about why Moulton got to hold his campaign announcement at the sheriff’s office. Moulton and his supervisor, Rape, told 13WMAZ that the sheriff’s office policy regarding elections and campaigning was verbally waived for Moulton and his colleagues, including private citizens and deputies working at the sheriff’s office, in December.

Rape argued the setting of the sheriff’s endorsement for Moulton was not a political rally, rather “a public announcement for his campaign” held inside the lobby of the Tax Commissioners office at the Houston County Annex.

Rape also confirmed his office requested permission from the commissioner’s office to use sound and other equipment for Moulton’s public announcement.

He added this is almost customary these days in Houston County, and many other candidates have made public announcements in similar settings.

The state Prosecuting Attorney’s Council told 13WMAZ that they are not an investigating agency. Generally, when a district attorney like Kendall reports a conflict of interest, that agency can refer the case to a different prosecutor.

However, Executive Director Peter Skandalakis confirmed he and Chairman Emadi from the Georgia Ethics Commission are speaking about this matter.

Four Republicans and one Democrat are running for Sheriff Talton’s seat.

Democrat Arthur Harris will face the Republican candidate, who will be decided after the May primaries.

The Republican contenders are Jimmy Dunn, Kendall, Moulton and Slate Simons.  The winner of the May 21 party primary faces Harris.

House Bill 181 by State Rep. Rick Townsend (R-St Simons Island) was amended by the Senate before passing, and must return to the House for another vote, according to The Brunswick News.

State Rep. Rick Townsend’s kratom legislation passed the Senate 49-3 Tuesday, but it will have to go back to the House.

Townsend feels confident the changes, which include softening penalties on store clerks who break the law, will get through the House.

“I’m cautiously optimistic,” he said.

Townsend said the House will vote on the altered version Thursday, the last day of the 40-day session of the General Assembly, if it had not done so late Tuesday.

If it passes and is signed by the governor, it would go into effect Jan. 1, 2025.

“I’m OK with that,” Townsend said. “That was a compromise.”

It would enable those in the industry to get in line with the new law.

The legislation sets the minimum age to purchase or possess kratom at 21 and requires sales clerks to store the substance behind the counter.

House Bill 1104, orphaned by its original sponsor, restricts trans students and other things that offend some Republican, according to the Savannah Morning News via the Augusta Chronicle.

A five-part bill that originally addressed mental health issues among student athletes, HB 1104 passed in a 33-21 vote along party lines. The bill now returns to the state House for another vote.

In its current form, the bill restricts transgender athletes from participating in sports teams or using school bathrooms that align with their gender identity under a section borrowed from SB 438. It includes a section from SB 532, a bill preventing students from enrolling in sex education programs unless their parents opt into the program, and prohibiting students below sixth grade from receiving any sort of sex education. The measure also incorporates language from SB 365 which would notify parents every time their child checks a book out of their school library.

The bill is a “very important piece of legislation to empower parents and protect kids,” said state Sen. Clint Dixon (R-Gwinnett), who presented the bill in the Senate.

“Each piece of the bill was vetted very well,” Dixon added. “Kids only have a short, finite time to be children and we need to protect that. We can’t legislate bad parenting, but we can legislate what kids are taught in school and protect them during those youth years.”

“HB 1104 combines several controversial culture war bills into one vehicle,” Senate Democrats wrote in a Minority Report on the bill. “The controversial portions of this bill were added moments before a committee hearing with no meaningful opportunity for review. Worse, it limited the ability of affected persons to testify against these bills. While we work within the constraints of a tightened session, the General Assembly should follow the transparency rules it’s trying to enforce on others.”

“This Frankenstein bill cobbles together some of our most draconian and backwards thinking, that if passed would not only betray these values, but also inflict irreversible harm on our students, and set our state on a perilous path towards legal turmoil and moral decay,” said Sen. Nabilah Islam Parkes (D-Duluth), who spoke in opposition to the bill.

Bill Torpy of the AJC writes about how HB 1104 became a legislative orphan.

[State Rep. Omari] Crawford, [(D-DeKalb County)] an attorney, had sponsored a suicide prevention bill about mental health and high school athletes. It was to compile information about mental health for athletes, coaches and parents.

HB1104 was his first bill as a legislator and important to him, a former high school sprinting champion from DeKalb County.

“This bill means a lot to me,” he told fellow legislators last month from the well of the state House. “As a former student athlete, I understand the pressures and anxiety that student athletes face.”

It passed in the House 159-4, getting the kind of support that a resolution professing undying love for grandmas might get.

But the real hazing was to come across the hall in the Senate, the one-time august chamber that now sometimes comes across like feeding time at the zoo. It occurred in the Education and Youth Committee, which was fitting, because he got a proper schooling in Legislative Trickery 101.

Last week, Crawford was in a House Judiciary Committee meeting when he got word his bill was going to get a hearing in the Senate education committee.

He had less than an hour to prepare for a big dose of sobering news. “I was informed that there was some language added,” he said. “It wasn’t ‘some’ language, it was 17 pages.”

“How are the schools supposed to talk about menstruation without talking about human reproduction, which is forbidden before sixth grade?” she asked.

“I am not a woman, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express,” Dixon quipped, referring to the advertisement on becoming an expert. “But I would say to the reproductive part of it, or whatnot, I don’t think that would align with sex education.”

From WSAV:

Georgia’s Republican state senators are making another attempt to impose a conservative stamp on the state’s public schools, passing a bill Tuesday that would ban transgender girls from playing high school sports with other girls, limit sex education and require a system for notifying parents of every item a child obtained in a school library.

The Senate voted 33-21 along party lines for House Bill 1104, a measure that originally dealt with suicide prevention, but was radically overhauled in Senate committee by adding a number of other bills that had earlier failed to pass the Senate. The measures mirror bills brought by Republicans in other states.

But Sen. Elena Parent, an Atlanta Democrat, called the measure “an amalgamation of a whole number of wrongheaded culture war bills.”

Augusta launced an AI chatbot to help people seeking information, according to WJBF.

The city recently launched a new 311 Artificial Intelligence-powered chatbot called “Ask Gus.”

Augusta 311 gets more than 130,000 calls a year and “Ask Gus” is another avenue for that information.

People can go to the city’s website and in the lower corner of the screen is an “Ask Gus” icon which launches a chat window.

The chatbot allows people to get answers about city services, submit service requests or just ask the staff questions.

“So it’ll it’ll answer questions related to’ When is my trash service day?’ ‘What are regular operating hours?’ ‘How do I pay a utility bill?’ ‘How do I enter a pothole?’ And then it will also connect you to our internal system that will allow you to submit a request for city services,” Walker said.

Gilmer County government fell victim to ransomware, which has taken down some services, according to AccessWDUN.

A notice posted on the Gilmer County Government website said it recently detected and responded to the ransomware incident.

As a result, the county said it has taken impacted systems offline while it works to secure and restore services safely.

“In the meantime, the public should expect delays from the county as a result,” the notice said.

“We are actively monitoring the situation and sending updated information as it becomes available.”

Savannah City Council members attended a retreat for planning, according to WTOC.

This retreat at the city’s Civic Center comes less than three months into the start of council member’s new term. City leaders say it’s a good way to set the tone for the next four years.

These meetings are also called “Visioning Sessions” that lay out city goals. Transportation, tourism, and recreation were among some of the topics discussed.

Mayor Van Johnson says that allows them to hit the ground running in these sessions and talk about the big ideas that can be turned into city policies.

“How do we make that real in the policies, the practices, the game plan and the actions we do every single day? We’re taking the very macro and making it very micro. This is what that process is all about,” said Mayor Johnson.

Custodians in Valdosta city schools want higher pay, according to WALB.

A video from Valdosta City Schools board of education finance meeting led to 40 out of 46 custodians calling out of work beginning last Thursday to take a stance against what were considered “poverty level” salaries.

The video is public on the district’s YouTube page, long-standing board member Warren Lee questions the salary of city school custodians that are full-time and receiving benefits within the school system. Click here to view the video.

“My next concern is regards to salary for custodians which is next to poverty salary and I assume it full time…that’s really embarrassing for us to be discussing this as hard as those custodians work,” he said.

WALB’s Brittanye Blake spoke to a few custodians that want to remain anonymous, but they said their full-time salary is $12 an hour with health benefits that they are not able to afford. While part-time is only $10 an hour with no benefits. They are scheduled between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m., working year-round with no holiday pay.

Athens-Clarke County is considering revising their short term rental ordinance, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

Soon after Athens-Clarke County commissioners approved a zoning ordinance amendment aimed at halting proliferation of problematic non-owner-occupied residential commercial short-term rental properties (STRs), particularly in single-family residential areas, a commission committee has begun tweaking the new rules.

The move to adjust the amendment is not unexpected. On Feb. 6, Mayor Kelly Girtz referred the amended ordinance to the commission’s Government Operations Committee (GOC) for additional work. That referral came immediately upon the commission’s 9-0 adoption of the amendment at the Feb. 6 meeting. Commissioner Allison Wright, who owns a short-term rental property, recused herself from the discussion and vote.

Work by the GOC to refine the amendment is a result of the potential for legal action by at least some STR owners. At issue for those owners is an amendment provision, added last month by the county’s planning commission and part of the Feb. 6 approval, that would eventually prohibit STRs that don’t conform to the amended ordinance from continuing to operate as STRs.

Under that “sunset” provision, non-conforming STRs, based on a list to be developed by the county, would have that use declared “null and void” two years after the list of non-conforming properties is completed by the county.

And a lawsuit ensued, according to the Athens Banner Herald:

A group of short-term rental property owners has filed a lawsuit against the Athens-Clarke County government, challenging a recent county commission decision to amend the county zoning ordinance that could eventually and dramatically curtail STR operations.

In addition to raising property rights issues, the lawsuit filed in Athens-Clarke County Superior Court contends that Athens-Clarke Mayor Kelly Girtz and the 10 district commissioners violated the state’s open meetings law when they took a break outside of public view, apparently discussing the amendment, after two failed votes on the issue.

“Following the extended recess, the Commission unanimously voted to adopt the Ordinance without any discussion whatsoever,” the lawsuit notes.

The STR owners who filed the lawsuit are demanding a court review of the process by which the ordinance amendment was adopted and are asking the court to issue a judgment “that requires the Unified Government (of Athens-Clarke County) to exercise its zoning authority in a constitutional manner and in compliance with the laws of the State of Georgia.”

Beyond that, the lawsuit contends the local government did not undertake any detailed analysis on the impact of STRs locally beyond looking at a New York Times story from December of last year, headlined “How College Football Is Clobbering Housing Markets Across the Country” that looked at the expansion of STRs in the community in connection with the University of Georgia’s football season.

Dawson City Manager Tracy Hester ends his tenure due to contract non-renewal after an investigation, according to WALB.

An investigation into the current Dawson city manager found misconduct and violations of operational procedures is why city leaders said they voted not to renew his contract.

On Jan. 11, 2024, the city of Dawson passed a resolution to launch an investigation against Dawson City Manager Tracy Hester, along with other city officials. City Attorney Tommy Coleman said the investigation was initially launched after receiving claims of misconduct as a result of whistleblowing.

The investigation, done by Coleman, found that Hester did not follow procedures provided in Georgia Law for the sale of the surplus property. The city also failed to collect deposits and fees for the connection to the gas system.

“Matter of fact, on the deposit that was necessary, it didn’t come in until I subpoenaed the council check and then we got the check. So there were some irregulars there,” said Coleman.

Coleman also said audits showed the city of Dawson was not reconciling their bank accounts and was spending more than appropriated by the council, which the city manager is required to oversee. A corrective report has since been turned in to the Georgia Department of Audits.

The Georgia Department of Public Health noted increased measles cases nationally, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News.

The DPH issued a media release on March 22, addressing an uptick in measles outbreaks throughout the United States.

“Among 58 measles cases reported in the U.S. so far in 2024, 54 (83%) were linked to international travel,” DPH Division of Communications Director Nancy Nydam stated. “Most cases reported this year have been among children over the age of 12 months who had not received MMR vaccine.”

The DPH confirms two reported measles cases in Georgia so far this year.

“The individuals were unvaccinated, from the same family and had traveled outside of the country,” Nydam continued. “The measles virus can stay in the air for up to two hours after an infected person is there, so you can become infected by simply being in a room where an infected person once was.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates large measles outbreaks have popped up all over the globe recently, including areas in Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia.

United States Representative Buddy Carter (R-Pooler) is promoting naloxone access, according to the Savannah Morning News.

U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter (GA-1) has made naloxone access a legislative priority, and he visited the Habersham Village Walgreens during a recent stop in Savannah to spread awareness about the over-the-counter option.

“It’s important because we need people to know this is available,” Carter said. “When you’re losing 200 people every day to fentanyl poisoning, there needs to be an education out there that there is a drug out there that can reduce the effects of this, if used quickly enough, and people need to have it on hand.”

A piece of legislation Carter has touted is the Saving Lives in Schools Act, which would require elementary and secondary schools to carry naloxone in emergency kits.

“That’s where Narcan/naloxone should be, in every emergency box in America,” Carter said. “Wherever you see a fire extinguisher in a school, or a defibrillator, you ought to see Narcan or naloxone.”

Carter said his other advocacy includes including drug therapy in mental health legislation and Sammy’s Law, which would alert parents to potentially dangerous online internet activity by their children. The law is named for Sammy Chapman, who died from fentanyl-laced drugs purchased from a dealer on Snapchat.

United States Senator Jon Ossoff (D-Atlanta) announced new funding for additional border agents, according to WALB.

The announcement comes following the passage of this year’s bipartisan government funding bill, which has been signed into law.

The bipartisan bill includes provisions for surging more border agents to enhance border security efforts, combat human trafficking, and prevent the trafficking of illegal drugs across the border.

Funding has been allocated to recruit additional border patrol agents, aiming to maintain a workforce of 22,000. In addition to expanding the border patrol workforce, the bipartisan legislation also ensures that border patrol agents receive the overtime pay they are entitled to.

“Chaos at the southern border remains a serious threat to U.S. national security. That is why I have worked consistently to hire and deploy more CBP officers.” Sen. Ossoff said in a statement regarding the funding allocation.

WRDW continues to profile the candidates for Richmond County Sheriff, this week speaking to Bo Johnson without disclosing his party affiliation.

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