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Gov. Deal swears in Ga. Supreme Court justice

Gov. Deal swears in Ga. Supreme Court justice

ATLANTA (AP) - Gov. Nathan Deal has sworn in the newest justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia.

Georgia Court of Appeals Judge Keith Blackwell was sworn in Thursday morning in the House Chamber of the State Capitol.

Deal last month appointed the 37-year-old Blackwell to fill a vacancy left by Chief Justice George Carley. Carley's resignation as chief justice was effective Tuesday.

Blackwell had served on the Court of Appeals since he was appointed in 2010 by former Gov. Sonny Perdue. He is the 92nd justice since the court's creation in 1845.

Blackwell previously practiced civil and criminal law. He will serve on the court until 2014, when voters will decide whether to keep him on the bench for a six-year term.

Transportation Tax Debate On 11Alive

ATLANTA, Ga. -- A supporter and opponent of the July 31st transportation tax referendum debated the issues on 11Alive Weekend Morning News Saturday.

State Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers has broken ranks with fellow Republicans Governor Nathan Deal and Lt. Governor Casey Cagle in opposing the measure.   Democratic State Senator Curt Thompson says what's on the ballot is not perfect, but says the state in general, and metro Atlanta specifically, must do something now to ease gridlock.

Senator Thompson says if the measure fails, businesses will bypass Georgia and go elsewhere.  Majority Leader Rogers dismissed that claim, saying that businesses in states with more developed mass transit than Atlanta have already come to Georgia and will continue doing so.

Many of the questions asked arose from questions viewers have posed to 11Alive via e-mail or postings on our Facebook page.



State's net revenue up 4.8 percent in fiscal 2012

State's net revenue up 4.8 percent in fiscal 2012

ATLANTA (AP) - Georgia's state government ended the fiscal year of 2012 with $16.1 billion in net revenues, a 4.8 percent increase compared to fiscal year 2011.

Republican Gov. Nathan Deal said in a statement Friday that "positive year-over-year growth continued for the eighth consecutive quarter" as net revenues reached $4.3 billion for the fourth quarter compared to $4.1 billion last year.

Those collections are viewed as a rough measure of economic health. The government collects more tax money as people get jobs, earn better pay and make purchases.

Net revenues in June totaled $1.54 billion, a 2.6 percent increase compared to June 2011.

Individual income tax collections dropped 0.2 percent from June 2011 to $780.75 million last month, but corporate income tax collections rose 38.7 percent through the end of fiscal 2012.

DDS Commissioner questioned about understaffing amid five-hour waits

ATLANTA -- A week ago Tuesday, new federal guidelines were implemented, which changed the procedures for obtaining or renewing a Georgia Drivers license

RELATED | Create your own custom document checklist here

The result has been chaos at Department of Driver Services offices with some customers being forced to wait in line five hours or more.

UPDATE | Driver's license changes lead to extra long lines

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. -- At 7:29 last Thursday morning, one minute before the doors even opened, nearly 200 people were already in line waiting to enter the Sandy Springs Department of Driver Services.

Drivers have waited up to five hours (and more) to renew their licenses after a change in law that took effect July 1st. The new law requires more stringent driver identification procedures which will result in the creation of a new, 'secure' license. 

RELATED | Big changes in Georgia driver's license procedures

Early voting starts Monday for July 31 primary

Early voting starts Monday for July 31 primary

ATLANTA -- Voters can start casting early ballots Monday for the July 31 primary and transportation referendum.

RELATED | Group threatens lawsuit over TSPLOST ballot language

Secretary of State Brian Kemp said voting officials will being taking early ballots for the July 31 primary election. The election will also decide nonpartisan races and whether to approve a 1-cent hike in the sales tax to fund regional transportation projects.

CDC: Methadone deaths may have peaked

CDC: Methadone deaths may have peaked

ATLANTA -- Health officials say methadone is involved in nearly one-third of deaths from prescription painkillers. But overdose deaths from methadone appear to have peaked.

Methadone is known mainly for treating heroin addictions but it is also prescribed for pain. Health officials say most of the overdose deaths are people who take it for pain - not heroin addicts.

New federal data shows the number and rate of methadone-related deaths have fallen since 2007.

Experts believe doctors are more cautious today about prescribing methadone for pain because of federal warnings and state prescription monitoring programs.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the study Tuesday.