Friday Facts: September 29, 2023

In 2021, the Augusta Birth Center applied to become the first, freestanding birth center in Richmond County. This birth center would provide not only obstetrical services for low-risk pregnancies, including midwifery, but also “mental health services, women’s support groups, adoption, postpartum counseling and additional classes for the community at little to no cost.” 

Augusta Birth Center (ABC) was going to be located in the Laney Walker district, home to a historically black and underserved population. The three founding members of ABC included a board-certified family physician, a board-certified family nurse practitioner and the executive director, Katie Chubb. Certified nurse midwives and nurses would complement the medical staff. 

And yet, over two years after first submitting its application to open, the Augusta Birth Center remains unopened thanks to an arcane state law known as Certificate of Need (CON). 

With help from the Pacific Legal Foundation, Chubb has since filed a lawsuit against the state over CON laws blocking the birth center. What is ironic is that neighboring South Carolina recently repealed its CON laws. If the Georgia legislature doesn’t follow suit in 2024, perhaps she will start the North Augusta Birth Center across the river. 

I hope you will check out this week’s commentary on the fight for the Augusta Birth Center. We also have the latest news and analysis from the last week, including:

  • Why an organization is unable to build a tiny home community in Calhoun
  • The saga around Atlanta’s proposed Public Safety Training Center 
  • SAT scores decline, but Georgia students outperform their counterparts nationwide
  • What the end of the writers’ strike means for Georgia’s film industry

Have a great weekend,

– Kyle Wingfield

The 2023 Georgia Housing Summit will be here soon!

The Georgia Housing Summit will be here in less than two weeks! Get your tickets today for the October 12 event. Do you want to see who will be joining us? Check out the confirmed speakers, ranging from elected officials to industry experts, here. 

Friday’s Freshest

Why are out-of-state activists protesting Atlanta’s new public safety training center?

For more than two years, the city of Atlanta and the Atlanta Police Foundation have been working to replace aged training facilities for police and firefighters that were condemned and closed. They plan to build a new dual-purpose training center in DeKalb County. 

Imposing limits on housing supply

The Georgia Public Policy Foundation has released a new study of the lot and home size minimums enforced throughout the state. The study analyzes dimensional requirements in 157 of Georgia’s 159 counties, 126 of its county seats and 83 of the 92 municipalities within the metro Atlanta area. What did we find?

Why Calhoun residents are fighting the city over tiny homes 

Plans to build a group of “tiny homes” in Calhoun have been derailed by city regulations mandating minimum house sizes. And those looking for smaller or more affordable housing are left without this option.

Continetti looks at the past to look at the future of conservatism

As populist voices become louder, what does it mean for the future of the conservative movement in America? Author and historian Matthew Continetti was recently in Atlanta for the Foundation’s Georgia Freedom Series. 

It’s time for lasting, transformative changes

In a world of high inflation and higher gas prices, a break on gas taxes is nice. But it’s time for transformative reforms like permanent cuts to the income-tax rate.

The Latest


Consumer confidence drops for second straight month

Consumer confidence fell again in September as Americans expressed greater concern that the economy could be headed for a recession. The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index dropped to 103 this month, lower than the 105.5 reading analysts expected.

Construction projects slow business at Port of Savannah

The Port of Savannah reported a significant reduction in business last month compared to August of last year, when the Georgia Ports Authority enjoyed its busiest month on record. Savannah handled 413,300 twenty-foot equivalent units of containerized cargo in August, down 28% from August of last year.

What does writers’ strike ending mean for Georgia?

Writers and Hollywood studios have reached an agreement in the strike that’s lasted nearly six months. The labor dispute has cost billions of dollars nationwide, and it has hurt local Georgia businesses that depend on TV shows and films. 


Georgia students again best the nation on SAT

Georgia public-school students outperformed their counterparts in the nation’s public schools on the SAT this year. The Georgia public-school class of 2023 recorded a mean SAT score of 1045, 42 points above the national average for public-school students of 1003. This did, however, represent a drop in SAT scores compared to the class of 2022. 

The lockdowns made homeschooling more diverse

New polling shows that homeschooling families are more diverse and less religious than ever. The new data indicate that parents have a wide range of reasons for deciding to homeschool their children and that COVID-era school closures played a major role in inspiring many parents to pull their children out of the traditional educational system.

Baldwin County Schools installs sensory rooms in elementary schools

School can sometimes be a lot. There’s a lot to learn and a lot of people. The sounds and lights can overload a kid’s senses. To help students, the Baldwin County School District installed sensory rooms in all five elementary schools last spring. 

Government accountability

Jones promises ‘red tape rollback’ in upcoming legislative session

State lawmakers have spent the months following this year’s session holding various study committees on topics ranging from the state’s worker shortage to whether to overhaul or repeal some of the tax credits the state offers. The recommendations of those committees could influence lawmakers when they return to Atlanta, with Lt. Governor Burt Jones promising lawmakers would work to cut Georgia regulations.

Georgia lawmakers to tackle fishing rights issue

Mike Worley, president of the Georgia Wildlife Federation, said he hopes the House Study Committee on Fishing Access to Freshwater Resources comes up with legislation giving the state Department of Natural Resources the authority to define what constitutes a navigable stream in Georgia and what does not.

At least 360 Georgia prison guards have been arrested for contraband since 2018

At least 360 employees of Georgia’s state prison system have been arrested on accusations of smuggling contraband into prisons since 2018, with 25 more employees fired for smuggling allegations but not arrested.


Bowersville council de-annexes property of mayor, councilwoman

The properties of Bowersville Mayor Pruitt Manley and Councilwoman Melissa Holloway were among 10 de-annexed by the Bowersville Town Council during a recent meeting. The wave of de-annexed property comes on the heels of new ordinances that place restrictions on the construction and maintenance of poultry facilities within the city limits.

Marietta eyes new restriction on downtown apartments

The Marietta City Council is considering changes to the city’s zoning code that would give it more control over apartments and condos being built downtown. If adopted, new residential buildings downtown would have to receive a special permit from the council in order to be constructed.

Athens-Clarke approves moratorium on Airbnbs

At a recent meeting of the Athens-Clarke County Commission, almost a dozen people spoke on the proliferation of such short-term rental homes in Athens. A moratorium ordinance was approved by the commission. It will go through Nov. 7, giving the city staff time to create an ordinance to regulate and place restrictions on the operations of short-term rentals.


Target closing nine stores in four states, citing organized retail crime

Target announced it will be closing nine stores across four states in October because of theft and crime. The company said they tried taking “meaningful steps” to improve guest experience and business performance but made the “difficult decision” because certain locations saw theft and organized retail crime threatening the safety of employees and consumers.

Mother thanks Chick-fil-A worker who saved choking girl

A Coweta County Chick-fil-A team member is being hailed a hero after helping a child who was choking in her restaurant’s parking lot. 

Savannah makes list of top places to retire in the South, with praise for its arts & culture

Southern Living recently named Savannah as one of the best places to retire in the South. 

Quotes of the Week

“Don’t follow your feelings. Follow your faith, your principles and your convictions. Your feelings will probably catch up eventually.” – Dave Willis

“People will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.” – Aldous Huxley

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