Politics & Government

Legislative Notebook: Goodwill overcomes splits among Bibb lawmakers

Goodwill overcomes splits among Bibb lawmakers

The state House this week passed a tax break for Goodwill Industries that the nonprofit could tap to cut costs in its job training programs, such as the culinary arts training it offers in Macon.

"I feel almost unworthy to try to present this to you ... because I see the tremendous effect that Goodwill has in the areas of the state that it serves," said state Rep. Bubber Epps, R-Dry Branch, as he presented his House Bill 924 to the House.

The tax break would be worth just over $2 million over three years. Epps said Goodwill reaches people who might not otherwise get into the job market, such as those who have disabilities or who are ex-convicts. The wages they will earn, he said, are larger than the amount of the tax break.

The other names appearing at the top of the bill with Epps' were an unusual mix: the other four representatives from Macon-Bibb County.

It appears goodwill for Goodwill is enough to overcome the five legislators' partisan splits this year about how Macon-Bibb is run.

The bill now moves to the state Senate.

HANCOCK ELECTION BOARD RESHUFFLE

A bill just approved by the state Senate would give more people a say in who is named to the controversial Hancock County Board of Elections and Registration.

Under Senate Bill 412, the County Commission would name one member to the five-person board, replacing an appointment that is now in the hands of the chief judge of the Superior Court. The county's Democratic and Republican parties would still spit the other four appointments evenly.

The NAACP, the Georgia Coalition for the People's Agenda and five black Hancock residents sued the elections board last year, claiming that the body improperly purged black voters. The board is fighting the allegations in court.

The bill by state Sen. David Lucas, D-Macon, now heads to the Senate.

MACON GIVES, RECEIVES CAPITOL AWARD

In a pause between the Mercer campus and the dozen or so countries where the school sends its students on work studies, the director of Mercer on Mission accepted an award in Atlanta for the program's work.

"Every time we send a team of students, faculty members to bring clean water to a village, help teachers with educating their students, to set up a medical clinic, to work with gold miners who are trying to harvest gold safely, we work with the community leaders," said Mercer on Mission Director Craig McMahan to an audience at an Africa Day ceremony at the state Capitol. "It's all about respect."

In 2015, some 180 students and 30 faculty members signed up for Mercer on Mission projects.

Former Macon Mayor C. Jack Ellis presented the award on behalf of an organization of African and Caribbean diplomats.

-- Telegraph writer Maggie Lee compiled this report.

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