Friday Facts: February 3, 2023

It’s Friday!

There once was a time when comedy was something that could bring people together. It was the job of comedians and satirists to mock and ridicule our largest and loudest institutions. But that started to change over time, and now it is as if our friends on the left have placed a moratorium on comedy. Laughter has been replaced by lectures.

Around that same time, a new website known as The Babylon Bee entered the scene. Billed as a Christian satire site, this was something new. Christians making fun of themselves? Conservatives telling jokes? People didn’t know what to make of it. After all, it was always the right that supposedly disliked comedy.

Today, The Babylon Bee is one of the country’s leading satire sites. And from the beginning, the left has tried to shut it down. The Bee was banned by Twitter’s previous owners. Some have even speculated that the ban garnered the attention of Elon Musk, who would later buy Twitter. The Bee has been “fact checked” by supposed independent fact checkers. Fact-checking satire? Really? Of course, so much in our society has become so ridiculous that it’s often difficult to tell the difference between what’s real and what is, to borrow the Bee’s slogan, “Fake news you can trust.”

We believe that comedy and the ability to ridicule our leaders holds an important place in the fabric of our society. That is why The Babylon Bee’s CEO, Seth Dillon, will be the keynote speaker at our upcoming Georgia Freedom Dinner. He’ll talk about the Bee, its role in American culture and the threats of cancel culture today.

Do you want to meet Seth Dillon?

Friday’s Freshest

School choice would benefit rural students in Georgia

Data from a new report shows that education choice policies like tax-credit scholarships and education savings accounts expand educational opportunities for rural families while spurring rural district schools to improve their performance.

States quickly move to expand education freedom

While Iowa and Utah have already adopted universal school choice this year, with a number of other states preparing for a move, we may see education options expanded in the Peach State. Rep. John Carson, R-Marietta, has introduced legislation to increase the cap of the tax credit scholarship program to $200 million from $120 million.

📺 WATCH: More students in Georgia’s tax credit scholarship program?

One Georgia mayor’s alleged malfeasance and other acts of misspent taxpayer money

The latest stories about waste, fraud or abuse of taxpayer money throughout Georgia find the former mayor of Augusta using his taxpayer credit card for personal expenses, Burke County School District officials misspending federal funds and more.

Georgia should reinforce its tax reform intentions

A change last year will move the state’s progressive income tax to a 5.49% flat tax beginning in 2024, with triggers to provide additional rate reductions. But if Georgia truly wants to cement its status as a competitor in an increasingly mobile post-pandemic economy, lawmakers should consider strengthening their reforms.

Taxpayer-funded benefits should be for those that are supposed to receive them

Using the pandemic as the excuse, the federal government has prevented states from reviewing Medicaid eligibility for the past two years. That has resulted in 20 million new Medicaid enrollees, at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars to the states.

📺 WATCH: End governing by crisis

Here is your recap of the fourth week of the 2023 legislative session in Georgia.

  • As lawmakers begin to settle in and move past introductions and committee assignments, the Capitol was busy this week with numerous committee hearings, votes on the floor, and bills entering the hopper.
  • On Thursday, the House adopted a $32.6 billion mid-year budget, one of the big, early items for the legislature. This includes a $1 billion property tax rebate worth $500 to the average homeowner.
  • The Senate passed its first bill of the session earlier this week. Senate Bill 11, sponsored by Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell, is known as the “Georgia Fights Terrorism Act.” It would allow the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to independently investigate allegations of terrorism.
  • With lawmakers looking to increase public safety and tackle gang activity, new legislation would increase sentences for gang recruitment. Under the proposal, judges would have to follow mandatory minimums in most cases. Senate Bill 44, sponsored by Sen. Bo Hatchett, R-Cornelia, along with 22 co-sponsors, has the backing of Gov. Brian Kemp and Lt. Gov. Burt Jones.
  • Legislation to authorize sports betting in Georgia, which many people are looking at, has been introduced. Senate Bill 57 is sponsored by Sen. Billy Hickman, R-Statesboro.
  • A bill to regulate third-party delivery apps like DoorDash or Uber Eats has been introduced in the Senate. Senate Bill 34 is sponsored by Sen. Elena Parent, D-Atlanta.


Over 700 auto parts manufacturing jobs coming to Georgia

Gov. Brian Kemp recently announced Seoyon E-Hwa, a global auto parts supplier, will bring almost $76 million and more than 740 new jobs to Chatham County through a new manufacturing facility.

California considers wealth tax — including for people who moved out of state

California lawmakers are pushing legislation that would impose a new tax on the state’s wealthiest residents — even if they’ve already moved to states like Georgia or other parts of the country.


Another state adopts universal school choice

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox signed legislation that will provide scholarships to K-12 students who choose nonpublic education. House Bill 215 funds yearly grants of up to $8,000 per student that families may use to pay for tuition, textbooks, tutoring and other educational needs.

Gwinnett schools looking to tackle teacher retention challenges

The percentage of Gwinnett County Public Schools teachers who were hired in 2018 and had left by the summer of 2021 was well above the national average, a consultant recently told the county’s school board.

Government accountability

Georgia officials mum on taxpayer incentives for Green Georgia

A sustainable building materials manufacturing company plans to spend $59 million on its new headquarters in Thomaston. But a Georgia Department of Economic Development representative declined to release information about what incentives the state provided.

Biden administration makes major push to regulate gas stoves

A couple weeks after the Biden administration was forced to clarify that the president does not support a ban on gas stoves, the Energy Department is set to release a slew of new regulations on gas and electric stoves.


Atlanta named top area to buy a house in 2023

Metro Atlanta was rated the top city in the country to buy a home, according to the National Association of Realtors. Good job opportunities and relatively affordable down payments were the main reasons given. All of the top 10 cities were in the South.

Industry experts: Another week of declining mortgage rates fuels homebuyer demand

The housing market is emerging from its deep freeze with the aid of lower mortgage rates, according to Freddie Mac. Still, rates remain significantly higher than they were a year ago.

Quotes of the Week

“I just disagree with this idea that speaking facts can possibly be hateful. I mean, you can say it with a hateful tone, sure I guess, but a fact is a fact, and it doesn’t really matter what your motives are in stating it. Simply stating a fact is not hate speech, there is something that needs to give here with these policies.” – Seth Dillon

“When we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember that virtue is not hereditary.” – Thomas Paine

“Man as an individual is a genius. But men in the mass form the headless monster, a great, brutish idiot that goes where prodded.” – Charlie Chaplin

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