Poverty Agenda 2021 | 5 policy prescriptions to reduce poverty in Georgia

Poverty Agenda 2021 | 5 policy prescriptions to reduce poverty in Georgia

Poverty Agenda 2021 | 5 policy prescriptions to reduce poverty in Georgia

As the Georgia Legislature reconvenes next week, the Georgia Center for Opportunity (GCO) is calling on lawmakers to make poverty-fighting measures one of their top goals. Along these lines, GCO has released the following 5 recommendations to reduce poverty in Georgia and expand economic mobility:

Civil Asset Forfeiture

GCO produced a report (PDF download) examining Georgia’s civil asset forfeiture procedures. Civil asset forfeiture laws allow for an arrested person’s property to be seized, sold, and the proceeds used for law enforcement purposes, even if a person is not convicted of a crime. Our report makes several recommendations to improve transparency and accountability in this program. GCO will seek to have our recommendations passed into law.

Occupational Licensing

Following up on legislation passed last year benefiting spouses of our brave military personnel, GCO will support legislation to allow many other people who move to Georgia and hold an occupation license to immediately be granted a provisional license. This will allow these new Georgians to immediately go to work and support their families.

Criminal Justice Reform

GCO will support legislation that seeks to remove suspending the driver’s license of a person late on their child support payments. We approach this topic with sensitivity, knowing these payments are meant to support children, but losing a driver’s license impacts the debtor’s ability to work—and thus the ability to pay. There are better ways to hold people accountable for past due child support.

Education Scholarship Accounts

GCO has long supported empowering parents by creating Education Scholarship Accounts (ESAs). We will support such legislation again this year. ESAs take the state portions of a child’s education funds and allow parents to seek other educational pathways for their child. This is especially important in the time of COVID-19, where face-to-face instruction is limited but still extremely important to a child’s development.

Special Needs Scholarship Program

Last year, GCO championed legislation to fix a loophole in Georgia’s Special Needs Scholarship Program that has been keeping thousands of otherwise eligible children out of the program. The legislation passed the Georgia Senate, but was sidelined when the pandemic hit our state. We will work to see this legislation pass both Legislative Chambers and be signed successfully by Governor Kemp this year.

The GCO team will keep you updated throughout the session as we work on these priorities. Keep up with us on Facebook or Twitter for regular updates and be sure to join us for Get Buzz’d a live update on Facebook from our VP of Policy, Buzz Brockway. Buzz shares his insight into how policies will impact your everyday life.

A statement on current events affecting our communities

A statement on current events affecting our communities

A statement on current events affecting our communities

Our hearts are broken by the events of the last few days. We struggle to make little sense of the tragic and unnecessary deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the many other stories told and untold.

In tragedy, we are reminded of the value of all humans. That each person deserves the opportunity to flourish. An opportunity that entire generations and communities are prevented from accessing.

We now must face the challenge of who we will be in light of the struggles of those around us. How will we respond to these systemic barriers? How will we address the injustices around us?

As an organization, we stand with the many communities who face these injustices. We are committed to listen, to learn, and most importantly, to act.

Reducing vulnerability to unwanted emotions | HEALTHY @ HOME

Reducing vulnerability to unwanted emotions | HEALTHY @ HOME

Reducing vulnerability to unwanted emotions | HEALTHY @ HOME

Licensed Professional Counselor, Diana Lleras gives her perspective on emotional health from the communities she serves. She also shares ways to identify unwanted emotions in family members and how you can create an environment that keeps you in an emotionally healthy place.

 

Cultivating a healthy message at home | HEALTHY @ HOME

Cultivating a healthy message at home | HEALTHY @ HOME

Cultivating a healthy message at home | HEALTHY @ HOME

We need distribute healthy messages in our home not only to our spouse, but to our children, pets, friends, etc. Here are some techniques you can begin using today and continue throughout a lifetime in order to help keep a healthy home and family.

3 times a day

Give the people you love an endearing touch.

2 times a day

Model the behavior you want the people you love to see in the future.

1 time a day

Come to the center and do something together.

VIDEO: Shelter-In-Place Is Extended But There Is Good News

VIDEO: Shelter-In-Place Is Extended But There Is Good News

VIDEO: Shelter-In-Place Is Extended But There Is Good News

We learned this week that Gov. Kemp was extending the shelter-in-place mandate for all Georgians and that the election was being postponed. Buzz shares all of the changes happening in the state, as well as some good news.

Watch Buzz’s weekly update: