ATLANTA (AP) — Republicans in the Georgia Senate on Thursday announced goals to further lower state income tax rates and improve reading instruction for young public school students, although tax changes are unlikely to occur before the 2024 legislative session and leaders could be find themselves short of time to build the consensus for changes in literacy instruction this year. The majority party in the Senate, which will likely have 33 of 56 senators once a special election is concluded, also voices support for a number of plans already proposed by Gov. Brian Kemp.

ATLANTA – Last weekend’s violent protests in downtown Atlanta have prompted Gov. Brian Kemp to activate up to 1,000 Georgia National Guard troops. Kemp declared a state of emergency Thursday, citing violence by masked protesters last Saturday that included rock throwing, setting off fireworks and burning a police vehicle. “Georgians respect peaceful protests but do not tolerate acts of violence against persons or property,” the governor’s order stated.

ATLANTA – With a bruising but successful re-election campaign behind him, Gov. Brian Kemp vowed Wednesday to build on the successes of his first term in education, public safety, economic development, and health care. “The campaigns have all been run … and the people have spoken,” Kemp told a joint session of the Georgia House and Senate in his annual State of State address. “They have given us our marching orders, and it’s time to get back to work.”

ATLANTA – A South Georgia lawmaker has introduced legislation into the General Assembly aimed at banning surface mining near the Okefenokee Swamp. House Bill 71 is being sponsored by state Rep. Darlene Taylor, R-Thomasville, who backed a similar bill last year that failed to gain passage. Taylor’s bill would not affect plans by Alabama-based Twin Pines Minerals to mine titanium along Trail Ridge near the Okefenokee. Twin Pines already has a permit application before the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, while the legislation would prohibit the EPD from considering permit applications submitted after July 1.

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Georgia officials have signed off on a plan to raise Savannah's towering suspension bridge to make room for larger cargo ships to reach the city's busy seaport.

ATLANTA – Georgia House Republicans are backing legislation that would increase the statewide cap on income tax credits offered to donors to a fund that provides private school scholarships. House Bill 54, introduced by state Rep. John Carson, R-Marietta, would raise the cap from the current $120 million per year to $200 million. The program offered $58 million in tax credits through 2018, then was increased to $100 million in 2019 and $120 million this year.

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Southeastern Grasslands Institute is developing a grasslands conservation plan for the Cumberland Plateau in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee, thanks to a $495,000 federal grant. The money from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation will help the institute prioritize habitat needs for at least 185 species of conservation concern, according to a news release from the institute at Austin Peay State University. Those species include at least 125 grassland plants and at least 60 animals that make grasslands their homes.

ATLANTA – The 26-year-old man shot to death by law enforcement in Atlanta last week legally purchased the gun he used to shoot a state trooper, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation reported Monday. Manuel Esteban Paez Teran was shot last Wednesday at the site of the future Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, a project that has drawn protests for more than a year. Teran was shot as multiple law enforcement agencies were removing 25 campsites from the area. Officers returned fire after Teran did not comply with verbal commands and instead shot and wounded a state trooper, according to the Bureau.

ADEL, Ga. (AP) — A storm that tore through southwest Georgia over the weekend spawned a tornado that damaged homes, flipped trailers and mowed down trees along a path nearly 6 miles long, officials confirmed Monday. The National Weather Service reported Monday that damage observed in the rural community of Adel appears to have come from an EF2 tornado with peak winds estimated at 115 mph. The tornado touched down at about 5:20 p.m. Sunday west of Interstate 75.

ATLANTA (AP) — A now-retired Atlanta police officer who was indicted last month in the 2019 fatal shooting of a man hiding in a closet after running from authorities wants the case moved from state to federal court. Sung Kim was assigned to an FBI fugitive task force when he shot Jimmy Atchison. In seeking to have Kim's murder case moved to U.S. District Court, Kim's attorney, Don Samuel, noted that Kim was working with the FBI’s Atlanta Metropolitan Major Offender Task Force at the time, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

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