Quotes of note
“The deterioration of every government begins with the decay of the principles on which it was founded.” – Charles de Montesquieu
“How strangely will the Tools of a Tyrant pervert the plain Meaning of Words!” – Samuel Adams
“Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.” – George Carlin
On Our Desks
We’re hiring! Are you a journalist with a love of investigation and the desire to use your skills to lead meaningful change? We’re hiring an investigative journalist to join the Foundation team. Learn more here.
Choices in education, too: In his weekly column, Kyle Wingfield explores all of the places where we experience “cultural splintering” and pluralism, and asks for that same choice in education.
At the Capitol
Mental health: The long-anticipated mental health omnibus bill, H.B. 1013, was introduced on Wednesday by House Speaker David Ralston. This legislation would implement recommendations of the Georgia Behavioral Health Reform and Innovation Commission, and includes payment parity monitoring for mental health treatments among insurers, additional resources for law enforcement, and a series of pilot projects across the state. The bill number is symbolic as a “1013” represents the form required for a patient to receive transport to a behavioral health facility in Georgia.
Second chances: The Senate Education & Youth Committee heard testimony on a bill that would create a pilot program within a limited number of charter schools to allow for individuals aged 21-35 to receive a high school diploma and is intended to prepare them for entering the Technical College System of Georgia upon graduation.
Save the dates: The calendar was passed for the remainder of the 2022 legislative session. Notable dates include Crossover Day on Tuesday, March 15, and Sine Die on Monday, April 4.
Poll positions: An Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll released Thursday showed Governor Brian Kemp slightly ahead of Stacey Abrams, with Abrams in a dead heat against former U.S. Senator David Perdue in a potential race for Governor. U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock, seeking re-election, appeared tied in a potential race against Herschel Walker. The poll was conducted by UGA’s School of Public and International Affairs, and took place from January 13-24, sampling 872 registered voters.
Housing and Real Estate
Staycation ready: The next phase in Douglas County’s Foxhall Resort is a $180 million Westin hotel that would nearly triple the resort’s capacity. The project will be financed by nearly $175 million in revenue bonds. Construction is scheduled to begin during the third quarter of 2022, with the hotel slated to open in 2024. Source: Atlanta Business Chronicle
Rising cost: A new report from Florida Atlantic University’s College of Business identifies Atlanta as one of the most overpriced housing markets in the country. Buyers are paying a 47.5% premium on the average house sold in Atlanta, eighth highest of 100 metro areas covered in the report.
Bubbly: The United States’ housing market has doubled in value since the Great Recession, according to an analysis by Zillow. The U.S. housing stock gained $6.9 trillion in 2021, creating the biggest increase in a single year. In Georgia, the housing market crossed the $1 trillion milestone.
Stolen: According to the FBI, there were 2,007 property crimes for every 100,000 people in Georgia which is the 24th highest property crime rate among states. Larceny accounted for roughly 74% of all major nonviolent offenses in 2020. Source: The Center Square
On the rise: Atlanta’s murder rate increased by 44 percent from the 2019 murder rate. While this is a large percentage increase, Atlanta’s murder rate is in “roughly middle of the pack”among several large cities across the country surveyed in a new report tracking criminal trends. Georgia’s murder rate increase was less than the 5.4% increase seen in other cities. Source: 11Alive
Major problems for monoclonals: The Food and Drug Administration put new limits on monoclonal antibody drugs from Regeneron and Eli Lilly for use against recently acquired Covid infections, The Wall Street Journal reports. More than 99% of the active Covid cases in the U.S. are believed to be the Omicron variant, for which they are ineffective. The FDA said it would re-authorize their use if they are effective against future variants.
Sick day: A survey by the U.S. Census Bureau in early January found that 8.8 million people were out of work either because they were sick themselves or caring for someone else with Covid symptoms, up from 3 million in December. Some 3.2 million people reported not working due to concern about getting or spreading the virus in January, up from 2.6 million in December. Source: The Wall Street Journal.
COVID-19: The Georgia Department of Public Health reports COVID-19 cases, deaths and vaccination rates on its website here.
This month in the archive:
Visit georgiapolicy.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “State-Run Pre-K Resulted in Worse Educational, Behavioral Outcomes for Kids“
Have a great weekend.
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