Georgia

ATLANTA (AP) — Startup of a nuclear power plant in Georgia will be delayed since its operator found a vibrating pipe in the cooling system during testing. Georgia Power Co., the lead owner of Plant Vogtle near Waynesboro, announced the delay Wednesday. The company said that the third reactor at the plant is scheduled to begin generating electricity for the grid in April. The unit of Atlanta-based Southern Co. had previously given a startup deadline of March.

BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — Federal authorities announced a blitz of arrests and indictments Wednesday against more than 100 people charged with gun and drug crimes in three U.S. states. The flurry of charges from the Justice Department in Georgia, West Virginia and New York comes as federal officials work to combat an uptick in violent crime, particularly involving guns. Federal prosecutors and FBI agents were particularly busy in southern Georgia, where an indictment was unsealed charging 76 people with involvement in what authorities called a gang-related network that distributed methamphetamine, fentanyl and other illegal drugs. Authorities called it the largest indictment ever filed in the 43-county Southern District of Georgia.

ATLANTA –- The Georgia House and Senate passed separate resolutions primarily along party lines Wednesday setting rules for the two-year term that began this week. The resolutions set the procedures – most of them routine – for the operation of the two legislative chambers. But this year, the resolutions included a few notable changes.  Most controversial was the addition of new provisions that exempt communications between lawmakers and non-legislators about legislative business from public disclosure.

ATLANTA – Gov. Brian Kemp vowed Wednesday to fulfill a pledge he made on the campaign trail by doubling down on a tax rebate the General Assembly passed last year. Kemp, who won reelection in November, told Georgia business and political leaders he will seek another $1 billion state income tax rebate. In addition to that, he will propose a second $1 billion rebate of property taxes Georgians pay to their local governments, which should result in a check of about $500 to each taxpayer.

ATLANTA (AP) — A South Korean solar panel maker will invest more than $2.5 billion to build factories in Georgia, hiring 2,500 new employees and making components usually manufactured outside the United States, the company announced Wednesday. Qcells, a unit of Hanwha Solutions, will build a new factory in Cartersville that will employ 2,000 people, with construction starting within weeks and production starting before the end of 2024.

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia's population has been growing more diverse for decades. Now its lawmakers are catching up. Georgia swore in 85 lawmakers on Monday who are of Hispanic, Black, Asian or Arab descent, bringing such lawmakers to 36% of the legislature once vacancies are filled in the 236-member General Assembly. That's an increase of eight nonwhite members from the previous two-year session. And the growth is prompting changes: For the first time, members have formed a Hispanic caucus and an Asian American Pacific Islander caucus, to go with longstanding groups for women and Black lawmakers.

ATLANTA (AP) — A former Atlanta city councilman has pleaded guilty to a federal charge of bank fraud. U.S. District Court records show Antonio Brown entered his plea before a judge Monday as part of a deal with prosecutors. He had been scheduled to stand trial next week, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Brown served two years on Atlanta’s city council before running an unsuccessful campaign for mayor in 2021. He campaigned under a cloud of federal charges filed in 2020. Prosecutors accused Brown of opening credit cards, taking out auto loans and spending thousands of dollars before falsely claiming his identity had been stolen.

ATLANTA (AP) — State gasoline and diesel taxes make their return in Georgia on Wednesday. The state will resume collecting a tax on gasoline of 29.1 cents per gallon and tax on diesel of 32.6 cents per gallon from wholesalers. That change is likely to trickle through rapidly to retailers who sell fuel to drivers. In March, with broad bipartisan support, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed a law suspending the state’s gas tax. He signed seven separate extensions after that, with the state forgoing an estimated $1.7 billion million in revenue according to the governor's office.

ATLANTA (AP) — Jon Burns has made a reputation as everyone's friend during his 18 years in the Georgia House. Now he hopes that affability will serve him as the chamber's speaker, one of the most powerful positions in the state. “You get a lot more done in life, and certainly in government, if you’re amenable to other people’s positions, their viewpoints,” Burns told The Associated Press on Thursday. “And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having a laugh while you’re working.”

ATLANTA – The 2023 session of the General Assembly beginning Monday is expected to get off to a slow start. With the Georgia Bulldogs vying for their second straight college football championship on Monday night and Thursday’s inauguration of Gov. Brian Kemp for a second term, there won’t be a rush to get down to legislative business on the session’s front end.  Since it’s not an election year, lawmakers also won’t be in a hurry on the back end to finish up under the Gold Dome and hit the campaign trail.

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