Editorial Roundup: Georgia

Brunswick News. August 9, 2022.

Editorial: Viable solutions needed for state to tackle homelessness

If state legislators are serious about finding a productive approach to growing homelessness in Georgia, then they must seek and uncover facts. That excludes listening to pitches for programs that offer unstructured solutions to a problem that has become a national crisis.

The answer must be more than just providing temporary shelter, a place to sleep and a square meal. While humane, it fails to tackle the real issue, which is why more individuals and families are on the streets today and adding to the populations of tent cities.

Could it be a lack of jobs? Or how about this: an inability to anchor oneself to a stable environment? Perhaps it has something to do with a person’s education and upbringing.

Some blame the homeless issue on housing. There is either not enough rooftops to cover everyone in a community or what is available is too expensive to buy or rent, those appearing before a special state Senate study committee on homelessness testified recently.

The study committee wants to know why tent cities are popping up in increasing numbers around Atlanta and other large cities across the state and what can or should be done to prevent or eliminate them.

Members appointed to the study panel might consider checking to see how many of these homeless individuals have been treated for a mental illness and released. A shocking number of them are unable to maintain a medication schedule on their own and end up in county jails, sometimes for the second, third or fourth time. Until recent action by the General Assembly, incarceration tended to be a primary remedy for homelessness.

Research will ultimately reveal that there is no single cause. There is no single cure that will fit all circumstances. At the root can be anything from simply being thrown out of the home without resources to economic collapse, a factor that can be attributed to a bushel of reasons.

After exploring the homeless situation, the legislative study committee will conclude that furnishing safe temporary shelter while determining a solution that fits the needs and capabilities of an individual who is willing to accept guidance is about the only viable answer to its quest.

It would benefit everyone to return them to productive lives.

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Valdosta Daily Times. August 9, 2022.

Editorial: Immunizations safe, effective

There is no good reason for parents not to immunize their children.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month.

Safe and effective vaccines are available to protect adults and children alike against potentially life-threatening diseases such as tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, meningococcal disease, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, shingles, measles, mumps, rubella and varicella (chicken pox).

Students born on or after Jan. 1, 2002 and entering the seventh grade need proof of an adolescent pertussis (whooping cough) booster and adolescent meningococcal vaccinations, health officials have said.

Every child in a Georgia school system (kindergarten-12th grade), attending a child-care facility or a student of any age entering a Georgia school for the first time is required by law to have a Georgia Immunization Certificate, Form 3231.

Children 16 years of age and older, who are entering the 11th grade (including new entrants), must have received one booster dose of the meningococcal conjugate vaccine, unless their initial dose was administered on or after their 16th birthday, according to the South Health District.

Meningococcal disease is a serious bacterial illness that affects the brain and the spinal cord. Meningitis can cause shock, coma and death within hours of the first symptoms.

To help protect your children and others from meningitis, Georgia law requires students be vaccinated against the disease, unless the child has an exemption.

To be fair, and accurate, there are a few — very few — medical exceptions for immunizations, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

All states, including Georgia, allow for medical exemptions for vulnerable children that might be more susceptible to serious side effects or reactions.

There is no science whatsoever to support outlandish claims that vaccines are somehow related to infant mortality, autism or other conditions.

Immunizations are both safe and effective, public health officials have said repeatedly.

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Dalton Daily Citizen. August 9, 2022.

Editorial: The November General Election is approaching, please register to vote

If you’ve watched television, been online, checked out social media or driven around town lately you’ve probably seen advertisements for candidates vying for elected positions in the Nov. 8 General Election.

Although there are no local contested races and the next presidential election isn’t until Nov. 5, 2024, the upcoming ballot is chock-full of races that will impact you.

Republican Gov. Brian Kemp faces Democrat Stacey Abrams; Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock takes on Republican Herschel Walker; and Republican U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene faces Democrat Marcus Flowers in the 14th Congressional District (which includes Murray and Whitfield counties). There are several other important state races on the ballot.

If you want to have a voice in who makes the decisions that affect you, you must register to vote. Tuesday, Oct. 11, is the last day a person can register and be eligible to vote in the November General Election. To register to vote, go to sos.ga.gov or your local Board of Elections office.

According to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office (georgia.gov/register-vote), to register to vote you must:

To register to vote you must be:

• A citizen of the United States.

• A legal resident of Georgia and of the county in which you wish to vote.

• At least 17 1/2 years of age to register and 18 to vote.

You may not register to vote if you:

• Are currently serving a sentence for a felony.

• Have been ruled mentally incompetent by a court.

Here are several other key upcoming dates in the voting process:

• Aug. 22: Earliest day to apply for an absentee ballot for November General Election

• Sept. 6: Last day to file the notice of intention to be a write-in candidate.

• Oct. 17: Advanced (absentee in-person) voting begins for the November General Election.

After you’ve made sure you are eligible to vote, you then fill out and submit a voter registration application, check for your precinct card and then vote. Being a part of the democratic process of voting is an honor we all should participate in. Please register to vote.

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