Photo Credit: Savannah Cole
The Georgia House of Representatives could vote soon on what will be one of the strictest—if not the strictest—abortion laws in the country today.
On Friday, the Georgia Senate moved forward House Bill 481. The “Heartbeat Bill” bans most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. That’s when supporters claim a fetal heartbeat can be detected, although doctors dispute that. The current law bans most abortions after 20 weeks.
Both Athens-area senators, Bill Cowsert (R-Athens) and Frank Ginn (R-Danielsville) voted in favor of the bill. Two Athens representatives, Republicans Houston Gaines and Marcus Wiedower, have stated they will vote to approve the bill as they did the first time around. Democrat Spencer Frye is the only Athens legislator expected to vote against it.
Senate tweaks to the bill mean the House must approve it again to send it on to Gov. Brian Kemp for his signature, but time is running out. Before Day 38 of the 40-day session, HB 481’s sponsor, Rep. Ed Setzler (R-Acworth), said the bill is three votes shy of passage.
Photo Credit: Blake Aued
More than 200 University of Georgia students gathered at the Miller Learning Center Monday night to talk about a racist video that went viral over the weekend.
Black students who spoke at the "In Solidarity" event, organized by the Student Government Association and UGA chapter of the NAACP, said they were hurt but not surprised by the Snapchat video, which showed a white UGA fraternity member whipping another white student with a belt, telling him to "pick my cotton," and using a racial slur. They also criticized the university administration's response to the video.
"There are students of color who don't feel safe, who don't feel comfortable, and that's a failure on the administration's part," one student said.
The Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity’s UGA chapter has been suspended and four members expelled from the fraternity after a video surfaced showing them using racist language and mocking slavery.
“I want to reach out to you to express how profoundly disappointed and appalled I am by the content of a recent video involving four UGA students that has been circulating on social media. I know this matter has caused great pain and anguish within our University community,” UGA president Jere Morehead said in a statement. “This incident does not reflect the culture of unity and inclusion which we support on our campus.”
Once the video began gaining attention, the University of Georgia, Student Government Association and Tau Kappa Epsilon gave statements via Twitter.
The Georgia Senate passed one of the nation's most restrictive abortion bills today.
The largely party-line vote was 34–18, with both of the Athens area's senators, Bill Cowsert (R-Athens) and Frank Ginn (R-Danielsville) voting in favor of it.
The bill—dubbed the "Heartbeat Bill" by supporters—bans almost all abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. The bill criminalizes physicians, according to the Georgia Medical Association , and some critics say it could make women who use a morning-after pill legally culpable as well.
Kemp is almost certain to sign the bill—he supported it during his campaign—setting up a potential legal battle. The American Civil Liberties Union has already said it will sue if Kemp signs the bill into law.
Oconee County’s three legislators in the Georgia General Assembly last week voted in favor of House Bill 316, which selects new voting machines and responds to allegations that voters last year were denied access, absentee ballots were not counted and vote tallies were incomplete.
The vote on the House bill was partisan, and Sen. Bill Cowsert from the 46th District, Rep. Houston Gaines from House District 117, and Rep. Marcus Wiedower from House District 119, all Republicans, sided with the Republican majority.
Photo Credit: Joshua L. Jones
In "Run It Up," Flagpole's new podcast, we take a deeper look at some of the stories from the current issue. In this week's episode, Athens Hip Hop Awards founders Mokah and Knowa Johnson join Gabe Vodicka to discuss this year's expanded event and how hip-hop informs their work as community activists. Plus, Blake Aued chats with SPLOST citizens advisory committee chairwoman Shannon Wilder.
In "Run It Up," Flagpole's new podcast, we take a deeper look at some of the stories from the current issue. In this week's Very Meta Episode, writer, podcaster and The Rook and Pawn co-owner Tim Kelly joins Gabe Vodicka to talk about the recent boom in Athens podcasting. Plus, Blake Aued breaks down Athens-Clarke County's controversial settlement with former ACCPD officer Taylor Saulters.
Oconee County’s two representatives in the Georgia General Assembly cast their votes late Thursday night with the House majority in favor of a bill that prohibits most abortions after a doctor can detect a heartbeat in the womb and with the minority against a hate crimes bill.
House Bill 481, officially called the Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act, passed narrowly at 10:45 p.m. on Thursday with 93 representatives, almost all Republicans, voting in favor, and 73 voting against.
House Bill 426, which would amend existing Georgia Code to provide criteria for imposition of punishment for defendants who select their victims based upon certain biases or prejudices, also passed narrowly with 96 voting in favor and 64 voting against.
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