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Latest from Mark Niesse

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Georgia Senate votes to allow lawsuits over questionable laws
 The Georgia Senate voted Monday to allow residents to sue their government over unconstitutional laws. The Senate voted 49-0 to permit lawsuits challenging state and local governments, letting judges decide whether laws have gone too far. “In the event that the government is engaged in an unconstitutional act ... we have a right to...

Posted: 10 hours ago

The Georgia Senate voted Monday to allow residents to sue their government over unconstitutional laws. The Senate voted 49-0 to permit lawsuits challenging state and local governments, letting judges decide whether laws have gone too far. “In the event that the government is engaged in an unconstitutional act ... we have a right to...
Mystery of 4,700 missing DeKalb ballot requests gets state review
 The mystery surrounding thousands of missing absentee ballot requests in DeKalb County during last fall’s hotly contest gubernatorial election has led to months of finger-pointing and a renewed state investigation announced Thursday. Allegations two weeks before the Nov. 6 contest that DeKalb’s elections office had lost track...

Posted: 3 days ago

The mystery surrounding thousands of missing absentee ballot requests in DeKalb County during last fall’s hotly contest gubernatorial election has led to months of finger-pointing and a renewed state investigation announced Thursday. Allegations two weeks before the Nov. 6 contest that DeKalb’s elections office had lost track...
Senate vote sends Georgia DUI breathalyzer bill to governor
 Police officers would no longer tell motorists suspected of drunken driving that their refusal to take a breathalyzer test could be used against them in court, according to a bill approved Thursday by the state Senate. The legislation, House Bill 471, now heads to Gov. Brian Kemp for his signature. The bill passed the Senate 50-2...

Posted: 4 days ago

Police officers would no longer tell motorists suspected of drunken driving that their refusal to take a breathalyzer test could be used against them in court, according to a bill approved Thursday by the state Senate. The legislation, House Bill 471, now heads to Gov. Brian Kemp for his signature. The bill passed the Senate 50-2...
New investigation targets lost Georgia absentee ballot requests
 Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is opening a new investigation into allegations that 4,700 absentee ballot requests went missing before November's election. Raffensperger, a Republican, announced the investigation Thursday after the Democratic Party of Georgia had alleged last fall that 4,700 DeKalb County voters sent ballot...

Posted: 4 days ago

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is opening a new investigation into allegations that 4,700 absentee ballot requests went missing before November's election. Raffensperger, a Republican, announced the investigation Thursday after the Democratic Party of Georgia had alleged last fall that 4,700 DeKalb County voters sent ballot...
Forced DUI breathalyzer tests remain banned under Georgia bill
 Legislators scrambled to fix Georgia’s DUI law after the state’s highest court ruled last month that refusing to take a breathalyzer test can’t be used in court against motorists suspected of driving drunk. But a bill up for a final vote in the state Senate on Thursday doesn’t reinstate mandatory roadside breath...

Posted: 5 days ago

Legislators scrambled to fix Georgia’s DUI law after the state’s highest court ruled last month that refusing to take a breathalyzer test can’t be used in court against motorists suspected of driving drunk. But a bill up for a final vote in the state Senate on Thursday doesn’t reinstate mandatory roadside breath...
Changes coming to Georgia purges, vote counts and voting machines
 When Georgia legislators approved new voting machines last week, they also rewrote election laws dealing with voter registration cancellations, recounts and precinct closures. The sweeping election bill, which is awaiting Gov. Brian Kemp’s signature, attempts to address some of the problems seen in November’s high-turnout...

Posted: 8 days ago

When Georgia legislators approved new voting machines last week, they also rewrote election laws dealing with voter registration cancellations, recounts and precinct closures. The sweeping election bill, which is awaiting Gov. Brian Kemp’s signature, attempts to address some of the problems seen in November’s high-turnout...
New Georgia voting machines win final vote in state House
 Legislation to replace Georgia’s electronic voting machines with a touchscreen-and-paper ballot election system is heading to Gov. Brian Kemp for his signature after winning final approval from state lawmakers Thursday. The Georgia House’s 101-69 vote, mostly along party lines, concluded a polarized debate over how to protect...

Posted: 11 days ago

Legislation to replace Georgia’s electronic voting machines with a touchscreen-and-paper ballot election system is heading to Gov. Brian Kemp for his signature after winning final approval from state lawmakers Thursday. The Georgia House’s 101-69 vote, mostly along party lines, concluded a polarized debate over how to protect...
Burchett wins runoff for South Georgia House seat
 Voters elected Republican James Burchett to fill the South Georgia state House seat previously held by Jason Shaw. Burchett, an attorney from the Waycross area, won a runoff election Tuesday against Republican Franklin Patten, chairman of the Lanier County Board of Education, to represent House District 176. When Burchett takes office...

Posted: 12 days ago

Voters elected Republican James Burchett to fill the South Georgia state House seat previously held by Jason Shaw. Burchett, an attorney from the Waycross area, won a runoff election Tuesday against Republican Franklin Patten, chairman of the Lanier County Board of Education, to represent House District 176. When Burchett takes office...
New Georgia voting machines near final approval after passing Senate
 A far-reaching bill to change how Georgia’s 7 million registered voters cast their ballots is on the verge of clearing the Georgia General Assembly after the state Senate voted Wednesday for a new touchscreen-and-paper voting system, despite objections that it wouldn’t be any more secure from election tampering than what&rsquo...

Posted: 12 days ago

A far-reaching bill to change how Georgia’s 7 million registered voters cast their ballots is on the verge of clearing the Georgia General Assembly after the state Senate voted Wednesday for a new touchscreen-and-paper voting system, despite objections that it wouldn’t be any more secure from election tampering than what&rsquo...
Georgia voting machine debate pits election officials vs. tech experts
 Georgia lawmakers are preparing for final votes on a statewide voting system that’s strongly supported by government workers experienced in running elections and just as staunchly opposed by computing experts who see an imminent threat to election security. The conflict over election integrity will be a driving force in Wednesday&rsquo...

Posted: 13 days ago

Georgia lawmakers are preparing for final votes on a statewide voting system that’s strongly supported by government workers experienced in running elections and just as staunchly opposed by computing experts who see an imminent threat to election security. The conflict over election integrity will be a driving force in Wednesday&rsquo...
Gambling, guns and taxes fall short in Georgia General Assembly
 Amid the whirlwind of debate and votes at the Georgia Capitol last week, dozens of bills didn’t make the cut. From gambling to gun control, from digital download taxes to private school vouchers, many proposals failed to advance before this year’s deadline for legislation to pass either the state House or the state Senate. No...

Posted: 14 days ago

Amid the whirlwind of debate and votes at the Georgia Capitol last week, dozens of bills didn’t make the cut. From gambling to gun control, from digital download taxes to private school vouchers, many proposals failed to advance before this year’s deadline for legislation to pass either the state House or the state Senate. No...
Georgia House backs bill to save rape kit evidence
 The Georgia House voted unanimously Thursday to preserve sexual assault evidence indefinitely until cases are solved. The legislation, House Bill 282, calls for police to save evidence of rapes and similar crimes so that perpetrators can be tracked down even many years later. Current state laws allow evidence of sexual assaults to be...

Posted: 18 days ago

The Georgia House voted unanimously Thursday to preserve sexual assault evidence indefinitely until cases are solved. The legislation, House Bill 282, calls for police to save evidence of rapes and similar crimes so that perpetrators can be tracked down even many years later. Current state laws allow evidence of sexual assaults to be...
Georgia House approves lawsuits against governments
 Georgians could sue the government to try to overturn unconstitutional laws, according to a bill approved by the state House on Thursday. The legislation, which passed 168-4, would reinstate Georgians’ ability to use the courts to stop illegal government actions. The Georgia Supreme Court prevented these kinds of lawsuits in 2017...

Posted: 18 days ago

Georgians could sue the government to try to overturn unconstitutional laws, according to a bill approved by the state House on Thursday. The legislation, which passed 168-4, would reinstate Georgians’ ability to use the courts to stop illegal government actions. The Georgia Supreme Court prevented these kinds of lawsuits in 2017...
5 key issues that could live or die in the Legislature today
 Hundreds of bills hang in the balance at the Georgia Capitol on Thursday, the self-imposed deadline for legislation to pass at least one chamber. Dozens of bills ranging from the hotly contested to the mundane will be debated on Crossover Day, which occurs on the 28th business day of each year’s 40-day legislative session. Lawmakers...

Posted: 19 days ago

Hundreds of bills hang in the balance at the Georgia Capitol on Thursday, the self-imposed deadline for legislation to pass at least one chamber. Dozens of bills ranging from the hotly contested to the mundane will be debated on Crossover Day, which occurs on the 28th business day of each year’s 40-day legislative session. Lawmakers...
Bill for new Georgia voting machines clears Senate committee
 A Senate committee voted along party lines Wednesday to replace Georgia’s voting system so that it includes paper ballots, clearing the way for final votes on the legislation. On a 7-5 vote in the Senate Ethics Committee, Republicans supported the bill to convert the state to a $150 million voting system that combines touchscreens...

Posted: 19 days ago

A Senate committee voted along party lines Wednesday to replace Georgia’s voting system so that it includes paper ballots, clearing the way for final votes on the legislation. On a 7-5 vote in the Senate Ethics Committee, Republicans supported the bill to convert the state to a $150 million voting system that combines touchscreens...
Georgia legislators pursue redistricting to protect their seats
 Neighboring state representatives from Gwinnett County — a Democrat and a Republican — are trying to secure their seats by redistricting themselves into safer maps. Republican state Rep. Chuck Efstration and Democratic state Rep. Donna McLeod sponsored a bill this week to redraw the lines between their districts. Efstration&rsquo...

Posted: 19 days ago

Neighboring state representatives from Gwinnett County — a Democrat and a Republican — are trying to secure their seats by redistricting themselves into safer maps. Republican state Rep. Chuck Efstration and Democratic state Rep. Donna McLeod sponsored a bill this week to redraw the lines between their districts. Efstration&rsquo...
Medical marijuana dispensaries bill passes Georgia House
 The Georgia House approved a bill Tuesday that would allow medical marijuana oil to be sold to registered patients, giving them a legal way to obtain a drug that they’re already allowed to use. The legislation, which passed on a 123-40 vote, would permit medical marijuana growing, manufacturing, testing and distribution. Sixty...

Posted: 20 days ago

The Georgia House approved a bill Tuesday that would allow medical marijuana oil to be sold to registered patients, giving them a legal way to obtain a drug that they’re already allowed to use. The legislation, which passed on a 123-40 vote, would permit medical marijuana growing, manufacturing, testing and distribution. Sixty...
Bill raising Georgia’s marriage age to 17 advances
 A bill raising Georgia’s marriage age to 17 is moving closer to approval. The state Senate will consider the legislation after it passed the state House on a 158-13 vote last week. The measure, House Bill 228, increases the minimum marriage age from 16 to 17 with parental consent. Most states, including Georgia, currently...

Posted: 20 days ago

A bill raising Georgia’s marriage age to 17 is moving closer to approval. The state Senate will consider the legislation after it passed the state House on a 158-13 vote last week. The measure, House Bill 228, increases the minimum marriage age from 16 to 17 with parental consent. Most states, including Georgia, currently...
Georgia religious rights bill may need a ‘miracle’ to pass this year
 A proposal to strengthen legal protections for religious Georgians stalled Monday when senators delayed a planned public hearing. The prospects for the measure’s passage dimmed because Thursday is a deadline when bills typically need to win approval in at least one legislative chamber to become law. It’s still possible for...

Posted: 21 days ago

A proposal to strengthen legal protections for religious Georgians stalled Monday when senators delayed a planned public hearing. The prospects for the measure’s passage dimmed because Thursday is a deadline when bills typically need to win approval in at least one legislative chamber to become law. It’s still possible for...
Why 3 Georgia lawmakers didn’t toe the party line on voting machines
 When it came time to decide on new Georgia voting machines this week, almost every state representative stuck with their political parties. Republicans supported a voting system that prints out paper ballots, while Democrats opposed the bill because they want paper ballots that voters could bubble in by pen. But three lawmakers broke with...

Posted: 24 days ago

When it came time to decide on new Georgia voting machines this week, almost every state representative stuck with their political parties. Republicans supported a voting system that prints out paper ballots, while Democrats opposed the bill because they want paper ballots that voters could bubble in by pen. But three lawmakers broke with...
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