Sunday Solutions — Jan. 15, 2023

On Thursday, new and old state officials have been sworn and re-sworn for new terms. Now there’s likely to be a bit more swearing as the legislature considers Governor Brian Kemp’s new budget and members put a few more topics on the table. We’ll dedicate today’s note to what you told us last week about priorities and add few more reads for your dinner conversations.


What you said

Last week we offered our second annual survey for Sunday Solutions readers to give us an idea of your priorities for the Georgia General Assembly and you responded. Here’s what you said:

In this admittedly unscientific poll, the trends for several topics match with the scientific statewide poll from the Georgia News Collaborative taken in late October. Those include gambling, taxes and education funding. We’ll watch to see how your preferences play out through the legislative session.


Gov. Brian Kemp takes his second oath of office on Jan. 12, 2023. Credit: Screenshot/GPB News

Setting the agenda

Gov. Kemp announced his priorities for the next 4 years with his inauguration speech on Thursday. He says he’s focused on public safety, education, raises for state employees and continuing to build the state’s business chops. He didn’t mention health care, still a concern for many even outside the debate over whether to expand Medicaid for more Georgians. Here’s the story from Georgia Recorder wrapping up his message.

The national press is picking up on the governor’s growing stature as a leader for a more traditional wing of the national GOP. He’s also been invited to speak at the respected World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in a few weeks. Politico’s take on Kemp’s push to make Georgia the electric vehicle capital of the U.S. is linked here.


Budgeting

The legislature got a copy of the governor’s budget on Friday which breaks down what the spending priorities will be. Included in the budget will be $132 million for QuickStart programs to train workers for the rapidly expanding manufacturing base, including the thousands needed for the Hyundai metaplant and its suppliers coming to north Bryan County. The budget also holds funds for rural workforce housing to support those workers, who’ll be looking to live in the nearby counties. Here’s the early look at the record $32.5 billion budget from Dave Williams at Capitol Beat. A reminder: What’s in the budget proposal still has to go through the legislature. Hearings on the pieces and parts in the state House and Senate Appropriations committees start next week.


Considerable

  • Georgia House, Senate adopt ‘problematic’ new rules that reduce public accountability: Georgia legislators are already exempt from open records laws and last week they adopted new provisions shielding communication between lawmakers and third parties under legislative privilege. Legislators say they need to have open discussions with people — experts, lobbyists — to develop good legislation. First Amendment advocates say that shield goes too far and that people need to know who is advising their elected representatives.
  • Why America has a debt ceiling: 5 questions: The national debt ceiling is top of mind this week for Congress. Here’s what it is and why it exists to help you through the conversations you’ll hear.
  • An aviation expert explains how the critical NOTAM safety system works: Last week, the FAA had to ground-stop all flights for a few hours when a crucial computer-based system crashed. This story explains that it’s much more than a pilot system for weather.
  • Camden County deputy indicted: A deputy involved in an arrest where a woman was pulled from her vehicle and injured was indicted Thursday by a grand jury. It’s an update to a story by The Current’s Jake Shore which was sparked by a dash-cam video last year.

Your second cup

Thomas the Tank Engine got a new friend recently. While that wouldn’t be juicy news, Early Learning Nation has done a great story on the collaboration that produced Bruno the Brake Car. Bruno, who is autistic, arrived on the tracks last fall after years of development. Mattel turned to consulting partners to develop his personality traits and behaviors. Psychologists, autistic writers and the Autistic Self Advocacy Network all collaborated to help bring Bruno to life. The story, linked here, takes us through the discussion and considerations to bring Bruno to ‘life.’

Enjoy.



Kemp pledges more school spending, tough-on-crime policies for second term as governor

One of Kemp’s first duties in his second term will be to release a state budget for the 12 months starting in July.

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Kemp proposes record $32.5 billion state budget

Budget holds money for rural workforce housing, training facilities for manufacturing and a new prison.

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Georgia House, Senate adopt ‘problematic’ new rules that reduce public accountability

Rules protect conversations with outside parties, limit cameras for committee hearings.

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Why America has a debt ceiling: 5 questions answered

Governments must borrow, too, and the debt ceiling is the total sum of how much they can legally ask for.

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What is the FAA’s NOTAM? An aviation expert explains how the critical safety system works

Pilots and air traffic controllers can also access the system by calling flight service briefers, who can share live weather and NOTAM information. Airline pilots also rely on their dispatchers to relay any relevant NOTAMs not only before but also during the flight.

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Grand jury indicts fired Camden County deputy for violent traffic stop

Fired Camden County Sheriff’s Office deputy Christi Newman indicted on six counts by a grand jury after a traffic stop last year where Newman rammed a woman’s head into a car, according to the indictments.

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Lawsuit: Effingham schools barred high schoolers from wearing Black Lives Matter clothing

The Effingham County School District faces allegations by three Black students of civil rights and free speech violations.

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