Sunday Solutions — Feb. 19, 2023

Illegal camping and gambling are on tap this week. We’ll wager you’ll find another topic or two to consider as well. Roll ’em!

A barge is loaded with dismantled structures ready to be removed from Twin Palms.
A barge is loaded with dismantled structures ready to be removed from Twin Palms. Credit: Georgia DNR

Little Tybee: There’s more than footprints

A barge anchored off Little Tybee last week and was promptly filled with metal sheets, lumber, old tents, mattresses and other signs of permanent camps built on the Heritage Preserve islands there. The cleanup was a long time coming. Campers have always been welcome but the rules have always been to leave only your footprints when you go home. Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources received complaints over the years about campers who’d turned the island areas into their own private oases, errant gunfire and destruction of the natural habitat for flora and fauna. And, in the state’s deal to buy the island areas it agreed to keep the area “environmentally sound” without permanent encampments or hunting, so DNR officials said they had to act. The Current’s environment reporter Mary Landers talked to people who grew up loving the island getaways and those who felt the camping areas had become unsafe before DNR removed debris and structures from the preserve.

GeoComply charted where Georgians attempted to place online bets during the recent NFL season. The red dots are where an attempt was blocked.

Blocked bets show gambling demand

Last Sunday — after you finished reading this newsletter, of course — you likely were getting the snacks ready for the Super Bowl. In 23 other states, people were placing their bets. GeoComply, a company that verifies location checks for online wagering, tracked 100 million geolocation checks for the game. The data also show that while sports betting is illegal in Missouri (home of Super bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs), they still tried. More than 250,000 Missouri residents attempted to access online sportsbooks and were blocked. The same scenario was true for Tennessee, where online sports betting is legal, and Georgia, where it’s not.

As of this writing, the Georgia legislature has at least 5 bills that mention gambling to consider. They are various takes on how to tax and run state-legal betting. The biggest question so far is whether any action would have to be authorized by a constitutional amendment or whether betting would be regulated by the Georgia Lottery Corp., meaning it would not require a citizen vote. Things will have to get hashed out pretty quickly for betting to make it to Crossover Day (March 6) in some form. Here’s the breakdown so far from Capitol Beat.

If you’re wondering if there’s an appetite for online sports betting in Georgia, The Current asked GeoComply for a look at how many would-be bettors were blocked in Georgia. The company provided its numbers for the recent NFL season (Sept. 8 to Feb. 12): It identified and blocked about 1.4 million transactions from Georgia that were accessing legal sportsbooks in other markets. The online tracker found 43.4% were attempting to bet through sportsbooks in Tennessee, where betting is legal. The attempts came from more than 128,000 unique player accounts. On Super Bowl Sunday, GeoComply identified and blocked 28,000 transactions from 5,400 unique accounts for Georgians attempting to bet.

jail shadow
Credit: Ye Jinghan/Unsplash

Does bail for misdemeanors deter offenses?

Georgia Senate Bill 63 will force judges to set bail for nearly all charges including misdemeanor crime charges if it passes the legislature. Trespass, reckless driving, shoplifting or fighting would be among the offenses requiring bail instead of a signature as bond to be released from jail. Sponsors cite data that staying in jail will deter people from a second offense; those against the measure say it targets poor people who can’t raise bond money and overcrowds jails. Here’s a look at the data, the arguments for and against the bail prohibitions from Georgia Recorder.

Savannah resident Jaymie Knox is part of a push to require health insurance plans to cover comprehensive biomarker testing for Georgians who may not have access to it today. Contributed by Jaymie Knox
Savannah resident Jaymie Knox is part of a push to require health insurance plans to cover comprehensive biomarker testing for Georgians who may not have access to it today. Contributed by Jaymie Knox


  • Access to better health science: Georgia House Bill 85 would require health insurance to pay for biomarkers for certain health conditions if the request is supported by scientific and medical evidence. The knowledge from the tests would enable people to make earlier decisions about treatments for cancer, autoimmune disease and other illnesses. Four other states have passed similar laws. Insurance lobbyists worry that tests will be used too often while proponents say insurance companies shouldn’t make that coverage decision.
  • Faces of environmental justice, mentors for the future: The 19th has compiled interviews and stories about Black women who are leaders in the work to expose, clean up and inform communities about environmental problems caused over years by human-made hazards and climate challenges for the future. Many of them grew up near hazardous waste sites and now work to protect new generations.
  • Who should oversee high school sports? There’s been some debate in previous Georgia legislative sessions about state government’s role in high school sports. In Florida, the General Assembly is considering a bill to put the Florida High School Athletic Association — a private nonprofit organization — under a governing board for which all members are appointed by the state’s governor. The Tampa Bay Times outlines the controversies which include pre-game remarks, requirements for girls, and FHSAA membership.

South Korea’s flag

Learning more about South Korea

South Korean manufacturers are heading to Coastal Georgia in support of the Hyundai Metaplant development in north Bryan County. As residents and businesses prepare, they’ve been looking for opportunities and chances to learn about our new neighbors. There’s a chance to do that on Thursday as the Savannah Council on World Affairs hosts “The Future of Korea,” a panel discussion on politics, trade and diplomacy with representatives of the Korea Economic Institute of America, a member of the U.S. State Department and an official from the Korean Embassy. The program begins at 7 p.m. Thursday at Benedictine Military School, 6502 Seawright Drive in Savannah. Here’s a link to more information.

Jimmy Carter with Prime Minister of U.S.S.R., Andrei Gromyko, 1978. Credit: U.S. Government archive

Your second cup: Carter’s legacy

Georgia resident and former U.S. President James Earl Carter, 98, entered hospice care this weekend. With the benefit of current events and hindsight, a historian makes the case that while Jimmy Carter’s work didn’t get rave reviews as the Georgia native left the White House, it should now. He makes the case that Carter’s human rights policies led to the dismantling of the Soviet Union. Here are his reasons why it’s important to understand Carter’s impact.


DNR clears illegal encampments from Little Tybee

After repeated complaints the Georgia DNR began to remove unauthorized structures and equipment from the Little Tybee and Cabbage Island Natural Area in Chatham County.

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Georgia lawmakers mull legalizing gambling through constitutional amendment

Senate bill restricts betting to sports but House version allows casinos and horse racing.

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Tough-on-crime theme of 2023 Georgia Legislature underpinned by proposed new bail requirements

Bill sponsor said the measure targets repeat offenders and violent criminals who often avoid accountability by not putting up bail.

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Georgia House public health chair pushes for insuring earlier cancer screening, biomarker testing

Lawmaker argues that her bill would ease patient suffering and save valuable time and money if ineffective or unnecessary treatments are avoided. The testing is also used when diagnosing autoimmune diseases.

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Jimmy Carter’s lasting Cold War legacy: Human rights focus helped dismantle the Soviet Union

In 1985, President Reagan publicly acknowledged that his predecessor demonstrated great timing in modernizing and strengthening the nation’s forces, which further increased economic and diplomatic pressure on the Soviets.

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Georgia Senate approves proposal to install Clarence Thomas statue at state Capitol

Bill drew criticism from Democrats over harassment allegations, conservative approach and controversy over wife’s involvement in 2020 election denials.

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State lawmaker’s revival of Georgia ‘religious freedom’ legislation sparks civil rights concerns

Local governments can also pass ordinances that he argued would provide enhanced nondiscrimination protections. So far, 13 cities have passed such ordinances, according to Georgia Equality. But opponents say Setzler’s bill could potentially negate those local protections.

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Study recruits Glynn residents to measure their bodies’ chemical levels

A pilot study is getting underway in Glynn County to determine if some of its residents carry a higher burden of chemical contaminants than average Americans.

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