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Associated Press

Former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue remembers what it was like dealing with the aftermath of hurricane Katrina in Georgia with WABE's Denis O'Hayer on Tuesday, August 25, 2015.
Brenna Beech / WABE

President Donald Trump picked former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue to be his agriculture secretary six weeks ago, but the administration still hasn't formally provided the Senate with the paperwork for the nomination.

 

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The delay is frustrating farm-state senators, who represent many of the core voters responsible for helping elect Trump.

 

Georgia state capitol
Nick Nesmith / WABE

A vote on whether licensed gun owners can bring handguns onto college campuses is expected Friday as lawmakers confront a key deadline.

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Legislative rules require bills to pass at least one chamber by a certain point in the session to remain alive for the year. Lawmakers set that deadline, called "crossover day," at the 28th day of this year's 40-day session.

There are ways around the deadline, but lawmakers try to pass as many bills as possible.

mike stewart / Associated Press

Amid a surge of bomb threats and vandalism at Jewish institutions nationwide, members of Atlanta's Jewish community have felt a familiar wave of apprehension about what may come next.

 

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Because all of that, and worse, has happened before.

 

Susan Walsh / AP

Under growing pressure from Democrats and Republicans alike, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions agreed Thursday to recuse himself from an investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. His action followed revelations he twice met with the Russian ambassador and didn't say so when pressed by Congress.

Sessions rejected any suggestion that he tried to mislead anyone about his contacts with the Russians, saying, "That is not my intent. That is not correct."

Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press

An Atlanta man accused of threatening the staff of U.S. Rep. John Lewis appeared confused in court on Thursday before a judge ordered him held until his next hearing.

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Dante Antoine Rosser, 42, was taken into custody Thursday on a charge of threatening to assault a federal official, said FBI Special Agent David LeValley, head of the agency's Atlanta office.

Georgia State Capitol gold dome.
Al Such / WABE

Georgia senators plan to vote on a bill that would greatly expand the definition of domestic terrorism. Critics say the bill is designed to target protesters.

 

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The bill is scheduled for a vote by the full chamber Wednesday. A 33-page version replaced the original four-page bill ahead of the vote.

 

John Bazemore / associated press file

A well-known jewel thief who reflected on her six-decade criminal career in a 2013 documentary has been deemed too ill to stand trial for an alleged 2015 theft.

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The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that 86-year-old Doris Payne's trial was scheduled to start Feb. 21 in connection with the theft of a pair of Christian Dior earrings from a Saks Fifth Avenue store.

Elliott Minor / associated press file

Updated 12:55 p.m. Thursday

A search continues in South Georgia for the remains of a teacher who's been missing for more than 11 years.

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Georgia Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge J.T. Ricketson tells multiple news outlets that investigators returned to a pecan farm Wednesday morning, searching for Tara Grinstead's remains. Investigators dug through a wooded area Tuesday for Grinstead, who went missing from her Ocilla home in 2005.

David Goldman / Associated Press

Georgia lawmakers plan to consider dozens of bills on Wednesday, staring down a key deadline at the end of this week. Chamber rules require bills to pass at least one chamber by a certain point in the session. This year, the deadline falls on Friday.

There are ways to revive proposals past that deadline, but lawmakers make every effort to get their bills through the easy way.

Some of Tuesday's key developments and what's coming up on Wednesday:

Deadline Approaching

Paul Sancya / Associated Press

A presidential address to Congress is always part policy speech, part political theater. With President Donald Trump, a former reality TV star, there's extra potential for drama as he makes his first address to Congress.

A Georgia judge sentenced two people to lengthy prison terms for their role in the disruption of a black child's birthday party with Confederate flags, racial slurs and armed threats.

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Jose Ismael Torres, 26, will spend 13 years in prison; Kayla Rae Norton, 25, is to serve six years, Atlanta news outlets report.

Both wept as the sentences were handed down Monday in Douglas County, west of Atlanta.

"Their actions were motivated by racial hatred," said Superior Court Judge William McClain.

Keith Srakocic / AP File

The sponsor of legislation to allow casino gambling in Georgia said Monday the effort is over for 2017.

State Sen. Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta) said he doesn't have enough votes to get the bill out of the Senate Regulated Industries Committee. 

Beach said he'll "double-down" on his push by pitching the idea around the state. He said that effort begins in April.

Chris Pizzello / Invision/AP

The 89th Academy Awards got off on the right foot, with a song and dance, but ended with the most stunning mistake ever to befall the esteemed awards show when the best picture Oscar was presented to the wrong movie. Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty, holding an incorrect envelope, wrongly presented the top prize to "La La Land" instead of "Moonlight."

John Bazemore / Associated Press

By day, Jamey Adams works as a forensic chemist for the U.S. Army crime lab in Atlanta. But at night he trades his fatigues for a pint as he steps into the role of brew master at Arches Brewery, one of Georgia's up and coming craft enterprises.

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"This is my professional hobby," said Adams who founded the company with four friends and is already getting ready to expand their capacity within their first year of operation.

Evan Vucci / Associated Press

Schools in Dade County are closed for a second day after 20 percent of students called in sick this week, making Dade the second North Georgia school district this year to close due to outbreaks of influenza and norovirus.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports classes in the district were canceled Thursday and Friday.

Dade Middle School was missing 42 percent of its students Wednesday. Superintendent Jan Harris says more than 20 percent of bus drivers and 10 percent of faculty were also out sick.

Elliott Minor / Associated Press

Authorities announced Thursday they arrested a man on murder charges in the disappearance of a high school teacher in rural south Georgia more than 11 years ago.

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Ryan Alexander Duke was being held in the Irwin County jail days after investigators received a tip linking him to Tara Grinstead, a teacher and former beauty queen missing since October 2005.

Toby Talbot / Associated Press

Georgia has become the opioid treatment program capital of the South as loose regulations have led to an explosion of new clinics opening around the state.

But Senators are working to tamp down the booming business with a licensure program that will require new clinics to demonstrate a need in the community before being allowed to open.

"We wanna make sure we have quality treatment facilities in all of Georgia and help run off the riffraff," said Sen. Jeff Mullis, R- Chickamauga, sponsor of the legislation.

Democrats To Meet In Atlanta To Pick New DNC Head

Feb 23, 2017
Paul Holston, File / Associated Press

Hundreds of Democrats will meet at the Westin Peachtree Plaza downtown for a three-day meeting that will culminate in the election of a a new party chair. 

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Just days before the meeting, held Feb 23 -25, the contest to head the Democratic National Committee remained fluid, as national leaders grappled with how to turn an outpouring of liberal protest against President Donald Trump into political gains.

Private colleges that don't cooperate with federal immigration authorities would lose state funding for scholarships and research under a bill approved by the Georgia House.

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The chamber voted 115 to 55 on Wednesday, sending the bill to the Senate.

Administration To Lift Transgender Bathroom Guidance, Source Says

Feb 22, 2017
Elaine Thompson, File / Associated Press

The Trump administration will revoke federal guidelines telling public schools to let transgender students use bathrooms and locker rooms matching their chosen gender identity, a government official said Wednesday.

Procurement is the city department responsible for awarding contracts.
Miranda Hawkins / WABE

The city of Atlanta's chief procurement officer, Adam Smith, is out of a job.

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A statement from Mayor Kasim Reed's office said Smith "has been relieved of his duties effective immediately." No reason for Smith's termination was given.

FBI agents also confiscated a computer and a phone from Smith's department.

The U.S. Attorney's Office says its investigation into bribery at City Hall is "ongoing."

Pixabay

A group of Georgia senators are working on a package of bills designed to support law enforcement.

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One bill aims to addresses complaints that law enforcement officers in rural areas are undercompensated for their work. Two others would impose tougher penalties for crimes against officers. The fourth measure would create a special license plate that reads "Back the Badge."

Evan Vucci / Associated Press

President Donald Trump on Tuesday denounced recent threats against Jewish community centers as "horrible ... painful" and said more must be done "to root out hate and prejudice and evil."

Trump made his remarks after touring the newly opened National Museum of African American History and Culture.

"This tour was a meaningful reminder of why we have to fight bigotry, intolerance and hatred in all of its very ugly forms," Trump said.

Jay Reeves / Associated Press

The Celtic cross tattoo on Shannon Martinez's leg gives away her past.

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A victim of sexual assault at age 14 and never quite able to meet her parents' expectations, Martinez sought out other angry teens. By 16, she was a skinhead spouting white supremacist rhetoric, giving stiff-armed Nazi salutes and tagging public property with swastikas. She favored racist fashion statements — like the symbol on her right calf.

Susan Walsh / Associated Press

President Donald Trump has tapped Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster as his new national security adviser, replacing the ousted Michael Flynn.

Trump announced the pick Monday at his Palm Beach club and said McMaster is "a man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience."

Trump says retired Army Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg who had been his acting adviser, will now serve as the National Security Council chief of staff.  He also said he would be asking John Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, to work with them in a "somewhat different capacity."

John Bazemore / Associated Press

Atlanta has been named one of three communities worldwide chosen for the Safer Roads Challenge, an initiative involving several companies aimed at finding solutions to traffic dangers.

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Together For Safer Roads is a consortium of IBM, UPS, AIG, Facebook and other companies.

It selected Atlanta; São Paulo, Brazil; and Shanghai, China, for the initiative.

David Goldman, File / Associated Press

Getting through college isn't easy, and it can be even harder for low-income and first generation students with few support resources. A new tool involving big data can help those at risk.

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Al Such / WABE

A second construction company owner has pleaded guilty after he was accused of conspiring to pay bribes to get contracts with the city of Atlanta.

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News outlets report that 64-year-old Charles P. Richards, Jr. of Tucker pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiracy to commit bribery.

Seth Wenig / Associated Press

Licensed gun owners could carry concealed handguns on public college campuses under legislation advancing in the Georgia House.

A panel approved the bill on Thursday after about an hour of testimony, sending it to the House's full Public Safety Committee. The measure would allow anyone age 21 and up to carry a concealed handgun on campus with a state-issued permit.

Georgia's Republican Gov. Nathan Deal last year vetoed similar legislation. The University System of Georgia also has opposed past efforts.

Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press

Former Attorney General Eric Holder said Wednesday that he worries some Obama administration criminal justice reforms could be in jeopardy under President Donald Trump.

Holder commented during a panel discussion on race at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library in Atlanta.

When Holder and the other panelists entered the room a surprise guest walked in with them: recently ousted Acting Attorney General Sally Yates. As Holder held his hand over her head, the crowd cheered loudly and gave Yates a standing ovation as she took her seat in the front row.

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