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News Briefs (Jan. 17 - 23)

1/17/2014, midnight

SCLC pushes for statue of King at Capitol building

ATLANTA (AP) - The Southern Christian Leadership Conference is lobbying state lawmakers to approve building a statue of Martin Luther King Jr. on the steps of the state Capitol. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (http://bit.ly/1hjGXJ4) reports state Rep. Tryone Brooks is leading the initiative and has already filed a bill for consideration. The Rev. Joseph Lowery, former SCLC president and civil rights leader, says the statue should have been erected a long time ago. In 2013, a statue of former lawmaker and publisher Tom Watson was removed from the Capitol steps. Some had criticized the statue’s placement because they said Watson vilified Jews and blacks. His statue was relocated to a park across the street from the Capitol. Brooks says the SCLC plans to fully fund the statue, and will not seek state funds.

Deal: State of the state ‘excellent’

ATLANTA (AP) - Gov. Nathan Deal says he will propose a $547 million increase in state education spending, calling it the "largest single year increase in K-12 spending in seven years.’’ Deal delivered his annual State of the State address on Wednesday to lawmakers during a special joint session of the General Assembly on Wednesday. Deal said state education funding will total nearly $8 billion, allowing schools to restore instructional days, eliminate furloughs and boost teacher pay.

Atlanta mayor traveling to Brazil on trade mission

ATLANTA (AP) - Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is expected to travel to Brazil for a trade mission in early April. City officials say the trip is intended to encourage foreign investment in the metro Atlanta region, and help small and mid-size local businesses develop export opportunities in the South American nation. City of Atlanta officials say Brazil is Georgia’s eighth-largest export market and the state exported about $1.01 billion in goods to Brazil in 2012. The country ranks second among Latin American nations investing in Georgia based on total employment and the number of facilities operating in the state. Reed is expected to visit Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. His agenda is being organized by several state agencies including Invest Atlanta, the Metro Atlanta Chamber and the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

Georgia senate votes to move primary election date

ATLANTA (AP) - The Georgia state Senate has passed a version of a bill intended to move the state’s 2014 primary election date to May 20. According to the state Senate press office, House Bill 310 passed by a 38-15 vote Tuesday. The proposed legislation will now be presented in the state House of Representatives. The proposed legislation would require all candidates to file campaign finance reports by March 31, and would make the state and partisan county primaries compatible with the state’s federal primary schedule. The proposal calls for candidate qualifying to run from March 3 to March 7.

Grand jury to receive documents in Ga. ethics case

ATLANTA (AP) - An attorney for two people who received federal grand jury subpoenas for documents related to a state probe of ethics complaints against Gov. Nathan Deal says those documents are being sent. Attorney Brian J. Sutherland represents both Sherry Streicker, the former deputy executive secretary of the state ethics commission and Elisabeth Murray-Obertein, the commission’s staff attorney. They are among at least five people who received subpoenas last month asking for records to be produced Tuesday. Sutherland says "documents responsive to those subpoenas are being sent today.’’ Deal’s attorney has said the inquiry doesn’t involve the governor. The subpoenas show federal authorities want documents related to the commission’s investigation of Deal’s campaign finances and disclosures during his 2010 gubernatorial bid, but reveal nothing about the scope of the inquiry.