Compiled by Laura Lenz

Laura Lenz reported that people over the age of 16 are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine as of March 25 in Georgia. Gov. Kemp announced the update late Tuesday during a press conference. 

Gov. Kemp has faced criticism for the vaccine rollout in Georgia, with the state ranking last in vaccine distribution in the country. According to NPR, 3.2 million vaccines had been administered in Georgia as of late Tuesday. 

Lenz reported that with just three days left in this year’s session, the Georgia State legislature is set to vote on a bill to protect legacy artists. Senate bill SB157 aims to eliminate the “deceptive practice of musical performance groups advertising and appearing as the recording group” if the group doesn’t have permission nor clarifies that they’re a tribute band. 

If passed, imposters will face civil liability when appropriating other artist’s likeness. 

According to state Sen. Bill Cowsert, this happens to older groups all the time. Cowsert said, “a lot of these older groups are having difficulty. Their music is being copied and hijacked.”

Thomas Ehlers reported that the Georgia House of Representatives looks to pass new voting measures today with a vote on SB202. The bill would limit the time period to request absentee ballots, restrict the absentee drop box locations and make it a crime to give food to those waiting in line to vote. The bill would also require a driver’s license or state ID to apply and return an absentee ballot as well as forbidding the secretary of state’s office from sending unsolicited absentee ballot applications. 

Ehlers explained that if passed, the runoff cycle would shrink to four weeks from nine weeks. Because the bill was amended in the House, it must be voted again in the Senate, where it had originally passed. 

Lenz reported that the UGA Health Center is preparing to vaccinate students, faculty and staff. The Health Center will first administer vaccines to those who have medical conditions that put them at a higher risk for COVID-19, then 35 to 55-year-olds, followed by anyone over 16-years-old. The Health Center will issue invitations so that faculty, staff and students will be able to schedule a vaccine appointment. 

Ehlers reported that the suspect accused in Monday’s shooting in Boulder, Colorado faced a courtroom on March 25. 

Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa faces 10 counts of first degree murder and one count of attempted murder after Monday’s shooting, with more charges likely to follow. Alissa was held without bail on Thursday as investigators continue to search for a motive. He killed 10 people, including a police officer, using a pistol bought less than a week before the shooting. 

Ehlers explained that the defense would like more time to study Alissa’s mental health. The judge ordered a status conference to be held in the next two to three months. No plea was entered today by the defendant.