Political Notes – Tech named transportation research center

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Georgia Tech has been named by the U.S. Department of Transportation as one of 10 centers around the country that will conduct research on highway safety issues and the impact of transportation networks on economic competitiveness.

Tech’s designation as a national research center was announced Friday by U.S. Rep. John Lewis, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, and Gov. Nathan Deal.

“Georgia Tech is uniquely qualified to lead the University Transportation Center,” Deal said. “It is home to one of the largest and most accomplished transportation and logistics research programs in the country and is responsible for many of the strategic improvements that have been made to Georgia’s infrastructure.”

The research facility will be funded by a $3.5 million federal grant and $3.5 million in matching funds from several state transportation departments and the Woodruff Foundation.

Other colleges participating in the research initiatives will be the University of Georgia, Georgia State, Georgia Southern, Southern Polytechnic, Clark Atlanta, Spelman College, Alabama-Birmingham, Florida International and Central Florida.

More funds sought for HOPE

Sen. Rick Jeffares (R-Locust Grove) has introduced legislation (SB 310) that would bolster the HOPE scholarship and pre-kindergarten programs by allocating to them the money resulting from unclaimed lottery prizes.

State law now provides that the proceeds from unclaimed prize money from the Georgia Lottery goes back into the lottery system for future prize earnings and to support compulsive gambling programs.

SB 310 would require the Georgia Lottery Corporation to transfer the proceeds from unclaimed lottery prizes to the Georgia Lottery Education Account instead.

“Passing this bill is a step in the right direction towards advancing student achievement in Georgia,” Jeffares said.

Nahmias proposes court restructure

Georgia Supreme Court Justice David Nahmias thinks it is time for the state to consider changes in the way the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals handle their reviews of court cases.

From a report in the Augusta Chronicle of a Nahmias speech to the Augusta Bar Association:

Besides cases that are handled by relatively few judges, Nahmias said the types of cases that state law dictates must be handled by each court make little sense, such as the number of property disputes and divorces that must be appealed directly to the Supreme Court. He said fewer than half the cases his court hears would be heard in other states’ supreme courts.

“It’s amazing the system works as well as it does,” he said. “It’s just a strange one.”

Nahmias said he believes the state constitution has given the Legislature the latitude to make the kinds of changes needed, but it won’t be a quick fix.

Reducing the number of cases the Supreme Court hears would mean that more judges would be needed on the Court of Appeals. He encouraged the members of the bar to consider the issue and come up with their own recommendations.

“It’s something that is going to need a lot of input to make it happen,” he said.

© 2012 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: David Nahmias , Georgia appellate courts , georgia tech , HOPE , research center , Rick Jeffares , U.S. Department of Transportation , unclaimed prize money