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Georgia lawmaker would support more funding for Georgia medical board to bolster inspector ranks

(The Center Square) — A Georgia lawmaker will support additional funding for the Georgia Composite Medical Board to hire additional investigators if the agency asks for the money. “I don’t think they have enough investigators and when they ask for appropriations for that I will support it,” state Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick, R-Marietta, an orthopedic hand surgeon for more than 30 years, told The Center Square. However, the agency’s executive director will not say whether he

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Decision awaited in lawsuit that could block Georgia’s fetal heartbeat law from taking effect

(The Center Square) — A Fulton County judge could soon decide whether to block the state’s fetal heartbeat law from taking effect. Last month, a group of pro-abortion doctors and advocates filed a lawsuit in Fulton County Superior Court to block a state law banning most abortions after six weeks. The group asked a judge to block House Bill 481, the Living Infants Fairness Equality Act, which Georgia lawmakers passed in 2019. A federal appeals

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Ten Georgia rural hospitals to receive $9M in stabilization grants from state agency

(The Center Square) — The Georgia Department of Community Health has awarded $9 million in Rural Hospital Stabilization Grants to 10 rural Georgia hospitals. The hospitals will each receive $900,000 to support initiatives strengthening underserved communities’ access to care. The Rural Hospital Stabilization Grant, established in 2014, ostensibly helps address the challenges rural hospitals across The Peach State face. DCH’s State Office of Rural Health, which facilitates the initiative, has awarded more than $39 million

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Georgia DOT awards $199M in projects, but rising costs could squelch future construction

(The Center Square) — The Georgia Department of Transportation awarded another $199 million in June for road projects statewide, but state officials warned that road project costs are increasing. The state allocated the money to 37 projects across The Peach State. The board considered 53 projects in June and rejected 12; four others were withdrawn. During the July State Transportation Board meeting, GDOT officials said they are seeing a roughly 33% increase in the bid

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Georgia cities such as Atlanta using COVID-19 relief funds to pay retention bonuses

(The Center Square) — Local governments across Georgia are doling out federal COVID relief money to government employees as retention bonuses. In March 2021, the U.S. Treasury Department said the federal dollars were primarily intended to help governments “continue to support the public health response and lay the foundation for a strong and equitable economic recovery.” A subsequent Treasury Department rule expanded how governments could use the money, including giving “premium pay for essential workers.”

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Kemp signs order to maintain moratorium on Georgia’s gasoline tax that expires on Sept. 12

(The Center Square) — Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed an executive order to extend a suspension of the state’s excise tax on motor fuel sales, which was set to expire next week. The motor fuel order also applies to locomotive fuel, and the governor also renewed a state of emergency for supply chain disruptions. Both orders run through Sept. 12. “With 40-year high inflation, gas prices that are still far too high, and supply chains

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Kemp to extend Georgia’s gas tax moratorium, possibly for another month

(The Center Square) — Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is poised to extend the state’s moratorium on its gas tax, The Center Square has confirmed. Kemp, a Republican, is set to announce the extension on Wednesday, possibly for another month. A current gas tax suspension expires on Aug. 13. The news comes as gas prices in Georgia continue to drop but remain higher than they were a year ago. This week, AAA said the average price

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Gas prices falling in Georgia, but are still higher than the same time last year

(The Center Square) — Georgia motorists continue to see a bit of relief as gas prices drop, but they remain higher than a year ago. In Georgia, a gallon of regular unleaded gas averages $3.77, according to AAA. While the average is 13 cents less than a week ago and 59 cents less than a month ago, it is 81 cents higher than last year. According to AAA, Georgia motorists will pay $56.55 to fill

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Georgia pension fund provides 1.5% cost of living adjustment to help retirees

(The Center Square) — Retired Georgia state employees started receiving a 1.5% cost-of-living adjustment with their monthly benefit payment, which state lawmakers say is needed amid rising inflation. In passing the $30.2 billion fiscal 2023 state budget with House Bill 911, Georgia lawmakers allocated $119.6 million to increase the employer contribution rate for several retirement plans. The spending plan represented a roughly 10.8% increase over last year’s budget. In addition to the COLA for Employees’

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Georgia officials unable to determine total amount spent on school supply program for teachers

(The Center Square) — Georgia plans to give a $125 supplement to teachers in the state to offset the cost of classroom materials and ostensibly help students rebound from learning losses suffered amid the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Georgia officials cannot say how much money in total the state plans to give public school teachers as part of the “Back-to-School Supply Supplement” program. Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, announced the initiative targeting full-time public-school teachers and