Georgia considers restoring voting rights for ex-offenders

Georgia considers restoring voting rights for ex-offenders

Georgia might be the next state to restore voting rights to past criminal offenders.

The state’s Senate Study Committee on Revising Voting Rights for Nonviolent Felony Offenders held its first meeting Friday to discuss if it will take the step in criminal justice reform.

According to the Georgia Center for Opportunity, one in 13 adults in Georgia is in jail, prison, on probation or parole. That’s significantly higher than the national average of one in 31.

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Georgia considers restoring voting rights for ex-offenders

Georgia AG files legal brief protecting school choice

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr fears that if a Montana court’s restriction on school choice programs is not reversed, it will open the door for other state courts to enact similar laws. 

The Montana Supreme Court’s decision excludes religious schools from the state’s tax credit scholarship program. Carr alleges that the ruling violates the parents’ First and 14th Amendment rights by discriminating against and punishing them for their religious decision. It could also limit access to adequate education for another quarter million children, he said.

Corey Burres, spokesperson for free-market nonprofit Georgia Center for Opportunity, said the state’s goal should be to provide the best education to every student regardless of the source. The organization works to open doors for all students.

“At this point, a lot of education choices for impoverished areas come from institutions with religious affiliations, so by excluding that option, limits the options that children have,” he said.


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Georgia considers restoring voting rights for ex-offenders

More jobs in distressed areas could reduce Georgia’s poverty rate

More job opportunities for the poor could be the solution for poverty in Georgia, a free-market solutions advocate says.

Georgia’s workforce and economy have shown promising growth, but new numbers released by the U.S. Census Bureau show poverty has declined in the state but still sits high above the national level.

 “This shows that there is much more to be done to address poverty here in Georgia,” Corey Burres, spokesperson for the nonprofit Georgia Center for Opportunity, said.

According to the Census report released this week, the average number of people living in poverty in the state has decreased by 2.8 percent over 2015-2016 and 2017-2018. The overall rate for the country dropped by 1.1 percent. Yet, the percentage of poor Georgians is 2.4 more than the national average, which is 12.3 percent.

Burres said one way to curb poverty in Georgia is to create more job opportunities in the impoverished areas of the state.

Based on the Census Bureau’s three-year estimates, there is an average of 1,522,000 people in Georgia living in poverty.

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Georgia considers restoring voting rights for ex-offenders

DeKalb sheriff launches job training program for jail inmates

Some of the newest students at Georgia Piedmont Technical College reside in a high-rise less than two miles away. But the towering building is not one of luxury.

It is the DeKalb County jail, and these nine inmates are the first to participate in a job training initiative to make sure they never return…

Eric Cochling, executive vice president and general counsel of the Georgia Center for Opportunity, applauded the initiative.

Cochling’s organization is a non-profit think tank that has focused on making it easier for ex-offenders to re-enter the workforce. It notes that roughly half-a-million Georgians are either incarcerated or under parole or probation and there are millions more with criminal records that could make it difficult to get jobs.

“If you truly want to help returning citizens avoid recidivism, the best thing you can do is training them for work they can do immediately,” Cochling said.

He said that recidivism drops by two-thirds when a person can find and keep a job for at least six months after leaving jail or prison. “There is really no other intervention that has that kind of impact.”

The idea that they’re trying to give practical skills that are in demand in the market, that is exactly the kind of thinking that we need across the board when we think about the men and women who are coming out of prison and even jail,” Cochling said.

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Georgia considers restoring voting rights for ex-offenders

Georgia Gov. Kemp calls for state budget cuts

State agency officials in Georgia will have until Sept. 6 to come up with a plan to cut spending by 4 percent in 2020 and by 6 percent in 2021.

Gov. Brian Kemp has instructed agency heads to submit amended budget proposals that reflect the cuts along with their 2021 budget proposals….

Corey Burres, spokesperson for the nonprofit, free market Georgia Center for Opportunity, said it is possible that the tax revenues could decrease or stay flat in future months.

Tax revenues peaked in June 2018 when they finished up by 7 percent, nearly $146 million. But May’s revenue saw a 0.1 percent increase ($1 million) over May 2018.

Burres said there’s also concern over the scaling back of federal support for state programs “in the near future.”

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