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Capitol Beat Weekly Digest for 11-27

Here were some of the goings-on around the GeorgiaCapitollastweek: PSC sets hearings, vote on Georgia Power request for more capacity State energy regulators will vote in April on Georgia Power’s request for additional electrical generating capacity.

The Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) approved a hearing schedule last week that calls for a final vote April 16 on an updated Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) the Atlanta-based utility submitted late last month.

The PSC voted in July of last year in favor of a three-year IRP outlining the mix of energy sources Georgia Power intends to rely on for power generation during the next two decades.

But rather than wait the usual three years to submit its next IRP, Georgia Power is looking to the commission now to approve additional generating capacity to accommodate what the company called “extraordinary” economic growth.

The utility is asking for about 6,600 megawatts of electricity. A megawatt is enough electricity to power about 750 homes.

Environmental advocates who oppose the updated IRP are focusing on the proposed construction of new gas combustion turbines at Plant Yates near Newnan. A lawyer for the Southern Environmental Law Center criticized the gas turbine project last month as “walking back the incremental steps” Georgia Power has taken to transition to clean energy.

Under the schedule the PSC adopted last week, commissioners will hold hearings on the proposed IRP update Jan. 16-17, Feb. 29-March 1, and potentially on March 27-28. The commission’s Energy Committee will hear from all interested parties in the case April 11, ahead of the final vote April 16. Georgia Supreme Court blocks Republicanbacked prosecutors oversight board The Georgia Supreme Court has halted attempts to move forward with a new oversight board for local prosecutors the General Assembly’s Republican majorities created this year.

In a six-page ruling Nov. 22, the justices declined to review rules and regulations for the Professional Attorneys Qualifications Commission as required by Senate Bill 92, which lawmakers passed along party lines in March and GOP Gov. Brian Kemp signed in May.

“We have grave doubts that adopting the standards and rules would be within our constitutional power,” the court wrote. “Accordingly, we respectfully decline to take any action regarding the commission’s draft standards of conduct and rules for the commission’s governance.”

The legislature created the oversight commission to investigate complaints lodged against local prosecutors and potentially discipline or remove the target of a complaint on a variety of grounds including mental or physical incapacity, willful misconduct or failure to perform the duties of the office, conviction of a crime of moral turpitude, or conduct that brings the office into disrepute.

Republican legislators pushed the measure to provide a way to sanction prosecutors in Georgia cities led by Democrats who they said were reluctant to prosecute certain crimes.

Legislative Democrats countered that the bill would let an unelected commission usurp the will of local voters in elections of district attorneys.

Meanwhile, a lawsuit challenging the law filed in Fulton County Superior County in August by three Democratic district attorneys and one Republican D.A. remains pending. Warnock tours proposed national park site at Ocmulgee Mounds Legislation will be introduced soon in Congress to create Georgia’s first national park, U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock said last week after touring the Ocmulgee Mounds in Macon, a prehistoric Native American site.

Ocmulgee Mounds was established as a national historical park during the 1930s to preserve an area occupied by various native cultures for thousands of years. The mounds were built during the Mississippi Period, which began around 900.

“Ocmulgee is not just an expanse of land,” Warnock said. “It is a living testament to our intertwined histories, and a source of economic and cultural vitality.”

Warnock’s tour came less than a week after the National Park Service sent a study to Congress concluding that the Muscogee Creek Nation’s historic homeland in Middle Georgia warrants protection. But the study also declared the area contemplated for a park, stretching for more than 50 miles, includes so much private property it wouldn’t be possible to acquire.

To get around that problem, the report recommended reducing the area to be preserved along the Ocmulgee River.

Warnock is working with Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., and U.S. Reps. Austin Scott, R-Tifton, and Sanford Bishop, DAlbany, to craft legislation designating the Ocmulgee

Mounds as a national park. State launches online platform for job seekers The Technical College System of Georgia has launched a website to help link job seekers in Georgia with employers, Gov. Brian Kemp announced Nov. 21.

The Labor Exchange Platform will provide access to job listings, educational and training resources, and career services.

“Georgia continues to meet the needs of both employees and job creators as we welcome the incredible job growth we’ve seen over the past several years,” Kemp said. “This innovative platform will help match members of our skilled workforce with opportunities for success in every corner of the state.”

Besides helping job seekers, the platform serves as a resource for employers by simplifying job postings, facilitating connections with qualified candidates, and providing labor market insights to help businesses navigate Georgia’s dynamic employment environment.

“The online platform plays a crucial role in aligning our workforce development efforts with the pace of our economic growth,” said Greg Dozier, commissioner of the state’s technical college system. “The Labor Exchange Platform is more than just a job site; it’s a bridge connecting Georgia’s talented workforce with the numerous opportunities arising across the state.”

The new platform can be found at www.worksourcegaportal. com.

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