Friday Facts: October 6, 2023

North Carolina recently became the latest state that borders Georgia to pass sweeping education freedom legislation.

Many states are adopting policies that allow parents to choose the methods of education that best fit their children. In fact, this year alone, at least 19 states have significantly expanded school choice policies. That’s why National Review called 2023 “the most successful year in the history of school choice advocacy.”

What makes North Carolina is unique if the fact that they did it with a Democratic governor. And one who has been particularly outspoken in his opposition to school choice.

At the end of the day, families in North Carolina will have new and expanded options in the education of their children. Something most states surrounding now or will soon enjoy. 

I hope you will check out this week’s commentary on how we can follow North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida and Tennessee in trusting parents by expanding educational options for students. We also have the latest news and analysis from the last week, including:

  • Georgia again ranked No. 1 state for business
  • Chronic absenteeism continues to rise at the largest school district in the state
  • High school students now eligible to take advantage of NIL deals
  • The latest stories of waste, fraud and abuse in Georgia

Have a great weekend,

– Kyle Wingfield

Friday’s Freshest

The mayor of Atlanta and even Madea got busted wasting taxpayer money

To put on the 2022 Senior Ball, Mayor Andre Dickens’ staff members bypassed not only the Atlanta City Council but city ordinances. The event cost taxpayers at least $120,000. This story, and more, in our latest review of waste, fraud and abuse throughout Georgia. 

Make the federal government work better by having it do less

We might describe the central government of the U.S. Constitution as all-powerful in a small number of crucial spheres, and deferential in the rest. Those crucial spheres are ones that  require uniformity: things like defense and diplomacy, commerce and currency, which can’t function effectively if done differently in different states. But most issues don’t belong in that small number. 

Augusta Birth Center blocked by CON laws

In 2021, Katie Chubb and the Augusta Birth Center applied to become the first freestanding birth center in Richmond County. The only thing standing in their way? Certificate of Need laws that competitors used to stop the birth center from opening. 

Why Calhoun residents are fighting the city over tiny homes 

Calhoun resident Kevin Casey is a recent widower who would love to downsize and relocate to what is popularly known as a tiny home. For a variety of reasons, Casey cannot. The primary obstacle is the city of Calhoun’s regulations. The city government bans the construction of new homes less than 1,150 square feet.

Protecting non-profit organizations from the IRS

The Georgia Public Policy Foundation joined over 70 groups and organizations in signing an amicus brief that defends the rights of Americans to support the causes they believe in without fear of harassment or intimidation.

The Latest


120,000 Georgia high school seniors to get direct college admissions letter

Georgia’s public colleges and universities will soon be mailing a letter to the state’s 120,000 seniors, urging them to claim their spot. Gov. Brian Kemp and others unveiled the new program this week, encouraging more young people to attend college. They say college will help students earn more over the long run and give the state a better-qualified workforce.

Gwinnett schools grappling with a rise in ‘chronic absenteeism’

More Gwinnett County Public Schools students are missing school on a frequent basis, according to district officials. In fact, GCPS leaders are saying chronic absenteeism across the entire district has doubled since the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the recent Milestones presentation, district officials highlighted the rise in chronic absenteeism since 2018.

Student loan payments are due again

For more than three years, federal student loan borrowers have not had to make monthly payments. But that pandemic-era pause has officially ended, setting up a potential financial shock for millions of Americans. About 44 million borrowers in the U.S. were affected by the payment pause, which initially began in March 2020 at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Coffee High School offers new aviation program for students

Coffee High School in Douglas is hoping to introduce its students to the aviation industry through a partnership with Middle Georgia State University. Some of the things teachers want the students to know are the basic skills needed to fly an airplane.

Government accountability

Bill aimed at closer scrutiny of Georgia film tax credit paying off

A bill the General Assembly passed three years ago bringing additional scrutiny to Georgia’s film tax credit is reducing the program’s impact on state tax revenues, witnesses testified at a legislative committee hearing. All film productions located in Georgia are required to undergo mandatory audits by the state Department of Revenue or third-party auditors.

Augusta offers a second chance for people with a criminal record

People with a criminal record in Augusta now have a second chance to move past their mistakes. The Georgia Justice Project, the District Attorney’s Office and the Solicitor General are working together on the “Augusta Second Chance Desk,” to provide free assistance to people regarding their criminal history.

Georgia political group launches ads backing Kemp’s push to limit lawsuits

A political group linked to Gov. Brian Kemp says it is launching an ad campaign backing the Republican’s efforts to advance tort reform in Georgia. The group, Hardworking Georgians, said Monday that limits would cut insurance costs and make it easier for businesses to get insured and to defend against lawsuits in court.


The apartment market is hitting a construction lull

The number of new apartments starting development has fallen dramatically this year, a consequence of higher interest rates, declining rents and what in some places looks like overbuilding. Apartment building starts fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 334,000 units in August, marking a 41% decline from the pace seen the same month a year prior.

Angst over Hamilton Mill zoning vote grows amid changes to county development ordinance

It’ll be at least another 30 days before Hamilton Mill residents know the fate of a massive apartment development they hope will be denied a building permit. Gwinnett County planning and zoning officials once again tabled the vote on the proposal to build 700 apartment units and 10,000 square feet of commercial retail space at a meeting Tuesday night.


Citizens skeptical of transit tax at East Cobb town hall

Cobb officials have presented two options for a transit sales tax. One option would be for 10 years that would collect $2.8 billion and the other is a 30-year tax that would collect $10.9 billion. And at the first open house, many skeptics questioned the need for the tax. 

Meeting about Columbus METRA services expanding to be held

Debate over Columbus METRA services expansion is resurfacing after a presentation to the city council earlier this month by its director, Rosa Evans. The council wanted to expand to provide more services for those with disabilities while ensuring the service grows with the city.


Magazine names Georgia No. 1 state for business, Gov. Kemp announces

Gov. Brian Kemp announced this week that Georgia was named the top state to do business in by Area Development magazine for a 10th consecutive year. Area Development’s 2023 Top States for Doing Business rankings are based on scores from approximately 50 leading site consulting firms from across the U.S. in 14 categories, they said.

Georgia High School Association adopts NIL guidelines

Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) has been a hot button issue in college sports for years. Monday, the Georgia High School Association passed guideline changes for NIL deals for even younger students. 

New net neutrality rules could threaten popular services

The Biden administration wants to bring back net neutrality. That’s a bad idea. 

Quotes of the Week

“A truth can walk naked, But a lie always needs to be dressed.” – Khalil Gibran

“The surest way to work up a crusade in favor of some good cause is to promise people they will have a chance of maltreating someone. To be able to behave badly and call your bad behavior ‘righteous indignation’ – this is the height of psychological luxury, the most delicious of moral treats.” – Aldous Huxley

“It may be true that you can’t fool all the people all the time, but you can fool enough of them to rule a large country.” – Will Durant

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