Visa to open new hub in Georgia

ATLANTA – Visa will expand its Georgia presence by opening a new hub in Midtown Atlanta, Gov. Brian Kemp announced Wednesday.

The project is expected to create about 1,000 jobs in the metro region during the next several years.

 “Georgia is a growing hub for the fintech industry thanks in part to our strategic investment in workforce development initiatives,” Kemp said. “I look forward to seeing the countless opportunities this significant expansion creates for hardworking Georgians.”

Visa’s new 123,000-square-foot hub at 1200 Peachtree St. is expected to open next year.

The office will represent a wide range of Visa teams and functions, with a particular concentration of technology and client services teams.

The company is actively hiring for careers in client services, product management, software development, risk and security, finance and more. Individuals interested in opportunities with Visa are encouraged to visit:

“As the starting point for Atlanta’s Transaction Alley, Fulton County is a national leader in fintech talent,” Fulton County Commission Chairman Robb Pitts said. “We are thrilled such a strong company like Visa has decided to invest in our vibrant and tech-centric community.”

The Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Global Commerce Division partnered with Fulton County, the Metro Atlanta Chamber and Georgia Power on the project.

“Visa’s investment in Georgia is a testament to the strong pipeline of diverse talent we continue to produce in the state,” Georgia Commissioner of Economic Development Pat Wilson said.

“It is very exciting to see a company like Visa join our roster of world-renowned payment and fintech leaders that have chosen to invest and build the industry here.”

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.

Georgia State, feds establish National Center for Sexual Violence Prevention

ATLANTA — Georgia State University has partnered with the federal government to open the National Center for Sexual Violence Prevention. 

The center was established after Amanda Gilmore and Shannon Self-Brown, both staff professors in the school’s Health Policy & Behavioral Sciences Department, received a second year of federal funding from the U.S. Department of Defense’s sexual assault prevention and response office. 

The center hopes to establish a sexual assault prevention workforce within the military. The combined award totals $668,677. 

“The center will continue to support sexual violence prevention research at Georgia State to reduce violence in high-risk populations like military, college students and adolescents,” said Gilmore. “This can have long-lasting impacts by reducing the mental health consequences of sexual assault including substance use, post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide.” 

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.

Port of Savannah posts second busiest month ever

Port of Savannah

ATLANTA – August was the second busiest month in the Port of Savannah’s history, the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) reported Tuesday.

The port handled 485,595 twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEUs) last month, a 10% increase over August of last year and second only to the 498,000 TEUs that moved through the Garden City Terminal last March.

Meanwhile, the authority’s Board of Directors has allocated more than $34 million to add 1.6 million TEUs of new capacity due to come on line in December.

“This investment will begin to deliver the additional capacity we need to better accommodate increased volumes and demand for our services,” said Griff Lynch, the authority’s executive director.

Part of the approved expenditures include the purchase of 22.2 acres adjacent to the GPA’s 145-acre West Expansion property.

The board also provided funds to begin developing another 18 acres of land adjacent to the 60-acre Peak Capacity project, which is currently under construction.

In total, the developments will add 230 acres of container handling space, due to come online in phases by 2023.

“The GPA’s expansion strategy will not only maintain Savannah’s position as the hub port of the U.S. Southeast, but strengthen its ability to drive economic growth and private investment for communities across Georgia,” said Joel Wooten, chairman of the authority’s board.

“In light of unprecedented demand, it is incumbent on the board to maintain our ports to promote job growth for the state.”

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.

Georgia natural resources agency looking to ‘moderate’ social media content

A proposed titanium mine near the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge has drawn intense opposition.

ATLANTA – Advocates for civil discourse in public policy debates have long bemoaned the proliferation of profanity and other negative comments on social media sites.

Now, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is trying to do something to clean up its social media accounts.

The agency’s board was briefed Tuesday on a proposed rule setting guidelines for the “moderation” of comments posted on its third-party social media websites.

The rule would allow the DNR to remove comments not related to the topic of the social media post or that contain profanity.

In subjecting social media posts to such scrutiny, the agency would be creating a “limited public forum,” a concept the U.S. Supreme Court has declared does not violate Americans’ constitutional right to free speech.

“People get concerned about the First Amendment,” Kate Iannuzzi, the DNR’s deputy executive counsel, told board members Tuesday. “What we are doing is specifically allowed by the First Amendment. … All we’re trying to do is keep [social media posts] on topic and ask the people not to use profanity.”

The proposed rule doesn’t indicate what prompted the DNR to want to limit the content it allows on social media.

But the agency tends to draw intense criticism over issues that come under its purview. Lately, those include Georgia Power’s plans to leave in place coal ash from some of its closed ash ponds and a proposed titanium mine near the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.

The Board of Natural Resources is scheduled to vote on the rule at its next meeting Oct. 26.

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.

Ossoff urges including solar tax credit in reconciliation

As the White House continues its efforts this week to pass President Joe Biden’s signature legislative packages, Georgia U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff is urging that his solar tax credit legislation be included.

Ossoff and several of his Democratic colleagues held a press briefing Tuesday as negotiations between Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer continue working toward passing the president’s Build Back Better Act and his trillion-dollar infrastructure deal.

“We have a generational obligation, an historic obligation, to address climate change, and to move from our dependence on fossil fuels to clean and renewable energy,” Ossoff said. “The president has laid out an ambitious agenda to achieve a 40% solar mix by 2035. The solar tax credit inclusion will supercharge solar manufacturing in the U.S., because solar demand is skyrocketing in the nation.” 

Ossoff said his Solar Energy Manufacturing for America Act is designed to provide tax credits for American manufacturers at every stage of the solar manufacturing supply chain, from production of polysilicon, to solar cells, to fully assembled solar modules. He said the legislation would help boost domestic solar production, create good-paying American jobs, and reduce solar panel purchasing from China. 

Ossoff was joined by fellow Georgia Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock, as well as Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan. U.S. House Democrats participating in the news conference included Reps. Dan Kildee of Michigan and Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey.

Warnock said Dalton – a city internationally known for its carpet manufacturing industry — is already home to QCell, “the largest solar panel manufacturing facility in the Western Hemisphere.” 

“It would be a monumental mistake to trade demand on foreign oil for demand on foreign solar energy manufacturing supplies,” Wyden said.  

During a Monday press briefing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the president is facing “an inflection point” this week regarding his legislative packages. 

Psaki said Biden’s packages include plans to lower prescription drug costs, invest in roads and bridges, cut taxes on middle-income families, replace lead-contaminated drinking water pipes, give every American access to high-speed internet, reduce the costs of child care and address the devastating impacts of climate change.

 This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.