June 25, 2024 3:54 am
Search
Close this search box.

Local News

Bill aims to expand HOPE scholarship to students with nonviolent drug offenses

iStock

By Sarah Kallis,  GPB News

A proposed new bill aims to give teenagers convicted of nonviolent drug offenses better access to higher education.

House Bill 853, sponsored by state Rep. Eric Bell, would allow students with only nonviolent drug offense convictions to be eligible for the HOPE Scholarship.

Current law prohibits students with any criminal convictions from accessing the scholarship. HB 853 would prevent students from being denied HOPE scholarship from a nonviolent drug offense only. Other types of criminal charges would still bar a student from accessing it. 

Bell said that the bill was inspired by people he knew who were not able to access the scholarship.

I just think we can be more compassionate, especially when we understand that drug addiction is not a criminal act; it’s a health care issue,” he said, adding that many Georgians have been touched by addiction. 

“It’s a Georgian bill,” Bell said. “Regardless of if you grew up in the projects or trailer park or if you grew up in a mansion or single-family home with a two-car garage, you know someone affected by it.

HB 853 will be up for debate during the legislative session, which begins Jan. 8.

This story comes to OTP Tribune through a reporting partnership with GPB News, a non-profit newsroom covering the state of Georgia.

Georgia Supreme Court justices appear skeptical of Athens DA’s claim of open records exemption

In an upcoming ruling, Georgia’s Supreme Court will weigh in on a claim brought by Athens-Clarke District Attorney Deborah Gonzalez, arguing that top prosecutors are exempt from the state’s open records laws. The case involves assertions that the trial court overlooked a constitutional provision in denying Gonzalez’s motion to dismiss an open records complaint, mirroring similar immunity arguments made by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis in a separate case related to the 2020 presidential election interference.

CNN sets first Biden-Trump presidential debate for June 27 in Atlanta

CNN announced today that it will host a debate between President Joe Biden and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at the network’s Atlanta studios on June 27, with no audience present. Both candidates have agreed to participate, marking a pivotal moment in the lead-up to the November election as they engage in direct exchanges over key issues.

Georgia public colleges to expand admissions testing requirements for fall 2026

Georgia colleges are reverting to requiring standardized test scores for all new applicants, signaling a shift from pandemic-era policies. Beginning in fall 2026, institutions including Augusta University, The University of Georgia, and Georgia Tech will mandate SAT or ACT scores, a decision unanimously approved by the Georgia Board of Regents.