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Greetings, Georgia.

It's Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022.

Gov. Brian Kemp has banned TikTok on all state devices due to national security concerns about the Chinese government's involvement in the social media site.

Finished your shopping yet? Inflation is biting into retail spending but many stores are countering with discount deals.

If you're flying out of ATL for holiday travel, remember to arrive at the airport at least two hours early. Don't forget your ID or passport (and socks!) and check security wait times here.

And here are some tips to keep your family healthy during the holiday season and avoid the "tripledemic" of flu, RSV and COVID-19.

This is Georgia Today.



Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger pushes for end of general election runoffs

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. (Stephen Fowler/GPB News)

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger released a statement Wednesday calling on the Georgia legislature to end runoffs in the state, one of only a few that still allow the practice. 

Gabriel Sterling from the Georgia secretary of state's office told GPB's Peter Biello this week he was "agnostic" about a change in the longstanding runoff rule. "I am not elected [or] a state legislator. It is 100% up to them." 

  • "No one wants to be dealing with politics in the middle of their family holiday,” Raffensperger said in his statement. “It’s even tougher on the counties who had a difficult time completing all of their deadlines, an election audit and executing a runoff in a four-week time period.”
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Georgia legislative committee proposes path to end disability services waitlist

State Sen. Sally Harrell, an Atlanta Democrat, speaks at a press conference at the Capitol in February. Harrell is leading a legislative push to eliminate the long waitlist for disability services in the state. (Riley Bunch / GPB News)

Members of a Senate study committee held meetings over the course of several months and listened to hours of testimony from advocates, providers and Georgians with disabilities about how the state’s hard-to-navigate system is harming lives.

Roswell resident Celeste Chippero — who moved from Michigan to Georgia six years ago — testified to lawmakers during a hearing in August that parents of disabled children and adults have been left stranded.

Through tears, she described caring for her 32-year-old son, Peter, who has cerebral palsy. 

Their family has been on the Medicaid waitlist for 5 years, she said, and they wrongfully assumed when they moved that care would be easy to access in Georgia as it was in their previous home.

  • “I know parents who left Georgia to go someplace else so they can get care for their kids,” she said. “And quite honestly, we can't retire right now for what we have to do to provide for our kids to be in these programs.”
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James Brown Arena reopens after worker's death

The James Brown Arena in Augusta has been called "functionally obsolete." A maintenance worker died there in November. The cause of his death is still under investigation. (Wikimedia Commons)

Augusta’s James Brown Arena this week hosted its first event since a maintenance worker died there last month.

While the cause of the death remains under investigation, initial reports blamed it on a gas leak from a heating and cooling system.

And while arena officials say the aging structure, built in the 1970s, is safe, they also call it “functionally obsolete” and have been working for years to replace it.

  • “You have these building systems that, quite frankly, they don’t make parts for them anymore,” said HB Brantley, the project consultant and a representative for the Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority. “The building systems are not as efficient as current building systems.”
The arena also doesn’t have the space and amenities of more modern ones.
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✭ State Department of Education identifies 175 low-performing schools for additional support 


The state Department of Education (DOE) has identified 175 low-performing schools that need additional support to improve student performance for the 2022-2023 school year.  

In good news, 57 schools exited the list for the year. This is the first year the state has updated the list of schools that will receive additional support since 2019 due to the data limitations imposed by the COVID pandemic.  

The schools are all Title I schools — schools where at least 40% of the students are from low-income families. The schools are identified as needing either Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) or Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI). 

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Watch this rehearsal of 'A Christmas Carol' at the Alliance Theatre in 360-degree virtual reality

A Christmas Carol runs through Dec. 24 live on the Coca-Cola Stage at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta. GPB-TV broadcasts a special look at the production on Dec. 21.

Tune into GPB-TV for a behind-the-scenes look at the Alliance Theatre’s production of A Christmas Carol on Wednesday, Dec. 21 at 7:30 p.m. Hear from the play's designers, director, performers, and more.

The play has been a tradition for Atlanta families for three decades and we are thrilled to give an in depth look at what goes into this performance.

Audiences will be transported to the streets of London to revisit the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, told with live music and an all-star cast.

The timeless themes of family, community, and redemption that are sure to resonate with audiences of all ages. 

For tickets to the play at the Alliance Theatre, click here. To view or stream the special, click 'Read More.'

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Headlines around the state

GPB News: Marietta Daily Journal: SCAD Connector:
Monday through Friday, host Bill Nigut leads a panel of journalists and experts in a respectful discourse on topics reflecting our state's political news. 

Listen live today at 9 a.m. and catch a special second live election day broadcast at 2 p.m.

Find the latest archived episode below!

Georgia Today is written by Sarah Rose and Kristi York Wooten and edited by Khari Sampson.
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