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University of Georgia students and Athens community members march to the Arch on Wednesday, March 27, to protest Georgia State House Bill 481, also known as the Heartbeat Bill.

“Heartbeat” abortion bill drew protest on UGA campus

UGA students and Athens activists and elected officials marched on campus on March 27 to demonstrate opposition to a bill which would restrict abortions in Georgia.

House Bill 481, or the Living Infants Fairness and Equality Act, restricts abortions once a heartbeat is detected. This often happens around six weeks into pregnancy — before many women might be aware they are pregnant. Current law allows abortions until 20 weeks.

First introduced on Feb. 25, it passed the House on March 7, and passed the Georgia Senate on March 22. The bill passed final reviews by the House on March 29, and now heads to the desk of Gov. Brian Kemp, who has openly supported the bill.

The Commit to Choice protest started in Tate Plaza with a presentation from three speakers and ended at the Arch. Protesters walked through campus touting signs and shouting different chants: “Show me what a feminist looks like!”

The protesters’ goal was for as many people as possible to call their representatives in opposition to the bill. The efforts were not successful, as the bill passed the Georgia legislature the next day.

In addition to the heartbeat rule, the bill would allow parents to claim the fetus as a dependent on their taxes, and fetuses will count toward the population in the census.

Exceptions to the restrictive heartbeat stipulation include if the pregnancy was caused by rape or incest and if a police report is filed, if the mother’s life is threatened or if the fetus is non-viable, meaning not capable of living or developing.

Chuck’s Fish seafood restaurant set to open on Broad Street

The first Georgia location of Chuck’s Fish will move into the Broad Street location which was once Junkman’s Daughter’s Brother. The location will open between late April and early May, said Dane Henderson, the general manager of FIVE Athens and Chuck’s Fish.

Chuck’s Fish is a small chain with three locations in Alabama, including a location in Tuscaloosa. It is also owned by the same group that owns FIVE Athens.

The building and interior are being designed by Lisa Ellis, the head of Lisa Ellis Design, an Athens-based design firm. The location was historically a Greyhound bus station, and both Henderson and Ellis stressed the importance of an architecture scheme that establishes atmosphere and recognizes the location’s history.

Henderson said customers can expect authentic seafood that comes straight from Destin, Florida.

NAACP and SGA hosted student discussion following release of racist video

Nearly 300 students showed up to the Zell B. Miller Learning Center on March 25 for a discussion on race relations at UGA. The discussion was planned after a video went viral on March 22 due to its racist language and message. The video involved four UGA students, part of the university chapter of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, who appeared using racial slurs.

The University of Georgia chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People hosted the event, “In Solidarity,” to provide students with a space for discussion regarding the incident. The event was also hosted in part by the UGA Student Government Association.

For about an hour and a half, students were given a platform to share their thoughts, personal experiences and feelings regarding how UGA responds to incidents of racism and discrimination against minorities.

In light of the video, the UGA Xi-Lambda chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon was suspended on March 22 following a statement released by SGA which said an investigation is underway. According to another statement released by the national fraternity on March 23, the four men who appeared in the video were then expelled from the UGA chapter.

ACC Mayor and Commission presented with narrowed list of SPLOST projects

Citizens Advisory Committee Chair Shannon Wilder presented the mayor and commission with the committee’s recommendation of SPLOST 2020 projects on March 26.For SPLOST 2020 funding, the CAC was presented with 132 projects — 88 originals and 44 alternates — and chose 34 to recommend to the mayor and commission.

The cost of the 34 potential projects totaled around $299 million, or 121 percent of the SPLOST 2020 budget, and it’s up to the mayor and commission to decide on how to trim the cost to fit into the SPLOST 2020 budget.

Wilder said many of the projects reach a consensus early because they are “loved to death,” citing projects such as Bear Hollow Zoo renovations, Holland Park improvements and Sandy Creek Nature center renovations as examples of some of the more beloved projects.

Wilder said the CAC spent the most time discussing three big-ticket projects: a new judicial center, a revamped affordable housing program and expansion to the Classic Center Arena, which cost ACC around $70 million, $44 million and $58 million respectively.

A full list of recommended projects can be viewed here.

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