GEORGIA PRIMARY-BALLOT QUESTIONS
ATLANTA (AP) -- Ethics, abortion and casino gambling are among the issues Georgia's Republican and Democratic parties are asking their voters to weigh in on this primary election season.
The ballot questions don't carry the weight of law, but what voters say on these issues could give the parties leverage heading into the next legislative session. Both parties are asking how voters feel about unlimited gifts from lobbyists to lawmakers, with the GOP ballot asking if gifts should be capped at $100. The idea has been circulating at the Legislature, but lawmakers have lacked the political will to address the issue in recent sessions.
The ballot questions were chosen by party leaders from around the state during their annual conventions held earlier this year. Georgia's primary is July 31.
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) -- A 19-year-old man in Athens was arrested after he called attention to himself by joking with a police officer.
The Athens Banner-Herald reports Officer Jerry Johnson was starting a bicycle patrol Thursday when a man called out to him from a swing in a nearby playground, "Hey Johnson, let a young man have a bike."
Johnson recognized Dontavous Bernard Malcom and knew he had an outstanding arrest warrant.
Court records show Malcom last month violated his probation on drug and obstruction charges by not paying fees.
As the officer walked Malcom to his patrol car, a pill bottle fell from his pocket and he crushed it with his foot. Police say the bottle contained crack cocaine.
Malcom faces additional charges. It wasn't clear whether he had a lawyer.
TEEN MURDER CHARGE
COLUMBUS, Ga. (AP) -- A 15-year-old faces a murder charge after the body of a 21-year-old woman was found in the backyard of the home where he lives.
The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reports that the body of Marylul Poupart was found around 6 p.m. Thursday. Police Sgt. Frank Massa says one of the teen's parents found the body and called police.
The teen wasn't home at the time but was later found and charged with murder.
Police did not immediately release any details on a possible connection between the teen and Poupart.
Columbus State University officials say Poupart, who was from Greenville, was a junior at the school, where she was majoring in biology.
Under state law, people under 17 can be prosecuted as an adult for certain offenses, including murder.
POSSIBLE LIGHTNING STRIKE
PEACHTREE CITY, Ga. (AP) -- Authorities say one man died and another was injured in a possible lightning strike at Lake Peachtree.
Peachtree City Fire and Rescue Department battalion Commander Ron Mundy tells The Atlanta Journal-Constitution 52-year-old Burnette Hayes died after suffering a heart attack Friday. Mundy says another man with him was found unconscious but became slightly coherent after receiving medical treatment.
Mundy says emergency medical technicians arrived around 5:30 p.m. Friday but Hayes didn't respond to treatment. The second man was taken to Atlanta Medical Center. His condition wasn't immediately known Saturday.
Witnesses say a storm was in the area at the time and trees near where the men were believed to be standing showed evidence of a lightning strike.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- The commission tasked with representing South Carolina's interests when it comes to dredging the Savannah River has taken on a higher profile as it wades into several legal disputes over the $650 million project.
The Savannah River Maritime Commission was set up in 2007 as part of legislators' response to a lawsuit over a proposed port in Jasper County. That lawsuit was ultimately dismissed, but the panel stayed intact and is empowered to negotiate and enter into agreements on South Carolina's behalf.
The commission's 12 appointed members range from the chairmen of various legislative committees to a designee from the governor. It's currently involved in proceedings in South Carolina's Administrative Law Court and Supreme Court and recently also waded into a federal case over permitting for the project.
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