As we all spring forward this week, big things are happening here in Athens. Georgia’s Senate passed Bill 859 which will allow people with carry permits to legally bring weapons on college campuses. Georgia’s Labor department reports Athens unemployment rate has slightly increased in the past month. UGA’s basketball team didn’t make the cut for the NCAA Tournament, but will play in the National Invitation Tournament.
After passing Georgia’s House in late February, Georgia’s Senate passed Bill 859 by a 37-17 vote. The proposed bill will allow anyone over 21 with a weapons carry permit to legally carry guns on college campuses, with the exception of residence halls, sorority and fraternity houses, and sporting venues. The bill awaits Governor Nathan Deal’s signature, who has shown support for the bill in the past.
Several people have spoken out about opposing House Bill 859, including University of Georgia’s President Jere Morehead. In an email sent out to all UGA students last Wednesday, President Morehead stated that he agreed with Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby who testified against the bill. Huckaby stated “allowing students to have firearms on campus makes [police officers] jobs extremely challenging, particularly if an extreme emergency were to occur.
In January, Athens saw its unemployment rate increase to 4.8 percent, up slightly since the prior month. The rise in unemployment is due to seasonal hiring, followed by the layoffs and fewer jobs available once the holiday season ends. This small increase in unemployment is no cause for worry. Over the past year, Athens added 4,000 new jobs (4.5 percent growth), mostly coming from the trade, transportation, hospitality and leisure sectors.
UGA’s basketball team just missed the cut for the NCAA tournament, but the Bulldogs aren’t done playing ball just yet. Sunday night, UGA accepted a bid to be the number 3 seed in the National Invitation Tournament. This is UGA’s second time competing in the NIT in the past three years, losing to Louisiana Tech two years ago.
The Dawgs will start off the NIT by hosting the Belmont Bears in Stegeman Coliseum this Wednesday at 7 PM. There’s no word on if star guard Jordan Frazier will be able to play in this Wednesday’s game. Frazier sprained his ankle in Saturday’s game against Kentucky, and is walking with a boot.