Georgia Legislature Passes Tax Bill Sans Delta Tax Break

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed H.B. 918 Thursday after Georgia State Senate Republican leaders removed a provision to eliminate a $50 million sales tax exemption on jet fuel, which would have benefited Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines. Georgia Republicans sought to remove the provision because Delta had ended a discount for National Rifle Association (NRA) members after the Parkland, Fla., high school mass shooting that left 17 people dead. Delta is Georgia’s biggest private employer, with 33,000 employees statewide, and pays $300 million annually in Georgia taxes and fees, according to a Feb. 28 Delta press release. Governors of Virginia, Connecticut and New York have offered their states as new headquarters locations for the airline, according to The Associated Press.

Ehrhart to Retire

Georgia State Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs) announced on Monday that he is retiring from the legislature after 30 years, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Ehrhart, the longest-serving Republican in the Georgia State House, has stirred controversy in the past at Emory and other Georgia colleges. Students protested Ehrhart’s talk at Emory in March 2017 when he discussed his support for a bill that stripped funding from universities that did not comply with law enforcement regarding undocumented people and another bill that would have required a law-enforcement-led criminal investigation to take place before punishing someone for a crime committed on a college campus, including sexual assault. Ehrhart’s wife, Ginny McCormack Ehrhart, announced that she plans to run to take his seat.

Emory, CDC to Practice Active Threat Drills Over Spring Break

Emory University, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Atlanta Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) are set to hold a joint, large-scale active threat exercise on Emory’s campus from 6 a.m. to noon on March 14, according to a March 6 University statement. Federal and local emergency response personnel, including law enforcement, fire departments, 911 communications, emergency medical services and rescue teams will participate in the drill. White Hall is set to be the site of the active threat exercise, and Emory’s Briarcliff campus is set to be a staging and preparation area for emergency response personnel on March 14. The area immediately surrounding White Hall will be inaccessible to foot or bicycle traffic. The CDC campus will also have a drill on March 17 that is scheduled from 6 a.m. to noon.

Kimmel’s Oscars Monologue Reflects #MeToo Movement

Comedian Jimmy Kimmel, who hosted the 90th Academy Awards Sunday night, addressed the sexual harassment scandals that have roiled Hollywood and the #MeToo movement that went viral in October 2017 to raise awareness for sexual assault and harassment against women in workplaces. In his speech, Kimmel called out President Donald J. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, American film producer Harvey Weinstein and actor Mark Wahlberg. “A film that’s up for 13 Oscars is ‘The Shape of Water’ … and thanks to [Director] Guillermo [del Toro], we will always remember this year as the year men screwed up so badly, women started dating fish,” Kimmel said.

U.S. Senate Confirms Emory Alumna to U.S. Court of Appeals

The U.S. Senate confirmed Elizabeth L. Branch’s (94L) nomination to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit 73-23 on Feb. 28. Branch served previously on Georgia’s Court of Appeals since 2012, worked as an attorney at Smith, Gambrell and Russell and worked in a senior role in the George W. Bush administration. President Donald J. Trump nominated Branch last Fall, according to a Sept. 7, 2017, White House press release. Branch graduated with distinction from Emory’s School of Law, where she served as the notes and comments editor of the Emory Law Journal and was inducted into the Order of the Coif honor society.

Emory Performs First Georgia HIV-Positive Liver Transparent

Emory Transplant Center performed the first liver transplant between two HIV-positive patients in the Southeast, according to a March 1 Woodruff Health Sciences Center (WHSC) press release. The procedure comes after former President Barack Obama authorized the HIV Organ Policy Equity (HOPE) Act in 2013, which allowed “clinical trials of the use of organs from HIV-positive donors into HIV-positive transplant recipients,” according to the press release. Emory Transplant Center and 21 other centers nationwide are participating in the HOPE in Action clinical trial, which seeks to evaluate the safety of “HIV-positive deceased donor kidney and liver transplants in HIV-positive recipients” and examine potential complications from the transplants.

Storm Leaves East Coast Without Power, Kills At Least Eight

A powerful storm that swept through much of the East Coast killed at least eight people and left more than 2 million people without power on Friday, The New York Times reported. More than 1 million people were still without power Saturday evening, according to the Times. The storm’s fierce snow, wind and rains halted people’s travel plans, downed trees and caused major flooding in some states.