Claudia Rankine to Deliver Ellmann Lectures at Emory

Poet, playwright and essayist Claudia Rankine has been selected to deliver the next series of the Richard Ellmann Lectures in Modern Literature from Nov. 7 to 9. Rankine is a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, the Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry at Yale University (Conn.) and a recipient of the Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry and the Poets and Writers’ Jackson Poetry Prize. She will deliver two lectures titled “A History of Olympia’s Maid in Contemporary Poetry” and “Poets Engaged with Nationalism, Borders and Belonging.” She will also be holding a book reading and signing. The Ellmann Lectures, named after a former Emory professor, bring distinguished authors from around the world to speak about their work.

Federal Judge Blocks Georgia’s Abortion Ban

Georgia’s six-week abortion ban, House Bill 481, was temporarily blocked from becoming law by U.S. District Court Judge Steve C. Jones in Atlanta on Oct. 1. The ban was signed into law in May by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and was on track to take effect in January 2020. The law would prevent a doctor from performing an abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can occur as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, making it one of the strictest abortion laws in the country. Jones reasoned that the new law violated the right to an abortion about 24 weeks into pregnancy guaranteed under the Constitution, according to The New York Times. This decision follows a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood in June after the ban was signed. The current Georgia law restricts abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Georgia Representatives Plan to Introduce Bill to Crack Down on Vaping

Georgia state Reps. Gerald Greene (R-Cuthbert) and Bonnie Rich (R-Suwanee) announced on Thursday a plan to introduce a bill to limit the use of vapes in Georgia. Vape usage is tied to one death and several lung illnesses so far in the state. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, possible variations of the bill include banning the sale of flavored tobacco vaping products or restricting advertisements targeted at minors. Greene and Rich wanted to draw the legislature’s attention to the issue, and plan to talk with various health experts and community members before they introduce it at the start of the 2020 session in January.  

Congress, States Seek to Advance Player Pay

In the wake of the passage of California’s “Fair Pay to Play” act, several more states, as well as the U.S. Congress are interested in introducing bills that allow college athletes to receive compensation. These actions have added to the increasing pressure on the NCAA to improve its treatment of college athletes. The California law prevents the NCAA from not allowing college-level athletes to be paid by their school. According to college and university publication Inside Higher Ed, the NCAA may consider making changes to their protocol if they are nationally persuaded. The states that have announced that they will introduce legislation similar to California’s currently include Florida, Minnesota, Nevada, Pennsylvania and South Carolina.