Georgia Today: Secretary of State subpoenaed, open enrollment, AAA forecasts holiday travel
LISTEN: On the Tuesday Dec. 13 edition of Georgia Today: Georgia’s Secretary of State has been subpoenaed, the deadline for open market insurance enrollment nears, and AAA says people are going to do a lot of traveling this holiday season.
Peter Biello: Welcome to the new Georgia Today podcast from GPB News. Today is Tuesday, Dec. 13. I'm Peter Biello. Coming up on today's episode, Georgia's secretary of state is subpoenaed in the Department of Justice's investigation of former President Donald Trump. If you need to buy insurance on the open market, the deadline is Thursday and AAA says people are going to do a lot of traveling this holiday season. These stories and more are coming up on Georgia Today.
Peter Biello: Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has received a subpoena related to special counsel Jack Smith's investigation of former President Donald Trump. Smith was appointed last month to oversee the Justice Department's Mar a Lago investigation, as well as aspects of Trump's attempts to stay in power, including his efforts in Georgia. In a phone call in January 2021, Trump suggested that Raffensperger, quote, "find" the votes needed to give him a win in Georgia. The subpoena received by Raffensperger's office yesterday follows subpoenas served last week in other states and counties.
Peter Biello: The recommended deadline to sign up for 2023 Marketplace Insurance is Thursday. So far, more than five and a half million people nationwide have enrolled, with 1.2 million people signing up for the first time. GPB's Sofi Gratas has more on enrollment in Georgia.
Sofi Gratas: Over 335,000 Georgians have enrolled so far, according to recent data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. That puts Georgia on track to exceed marketplace enrollment from last year. Though premiums cost more, new subsidies under the Federal Inflation Reduction Act make $10-a-month plans possible, says Jessica Schubert, director of the Affordable Care Act.
Jessica Schubert: I know most folks are surprised to see how affordable it actually is.
Sofi Gratas: But that doesn't keep some people from falling into a coverage gap. A 2019 analysis estimated that more than half of uninsured adults in Georgia made too much to qualify for Medicaid, but too little to qualify for marketplace tax credits For GPB News, I'm Sofi Gratas.
Peter Biello: A scuba diving instructor in coastal Georgia, has been sentenced to prison for defrauding a federal program meant to provide education to veterans. GPB's Benjamin Payne reports.
Benjamin Payne: Prosecutors say Kenneth Meers orchestrated a scheme that defrauded $6 million from the Department of Veterans Affairs. He's now being ordered to pay that money back and serve more than four years in federal prison. Here's how the scheme worked: According to prosecutors, Meers and his five co-conspirators submitted false reimbursement claims to the VA under a GI Bill program. That program is meant to fund classes for veterans, in this case scuba diving lessons at two businesses, Scooba Shack in Savannah and Richmond Hill and Divers Den in St. Marys. But Meers and his associates vastly inflated the amount of education that these businesses actually provided. The defendants have all pleaded guilty to their involvement in the fraud scheme. For GPB News, I'm Benjamin Payne in Savannah.
Peter Biello: AAA estimates that more than three and a half million Georgians will travel 50 miles or more over the holidays. Of those, 3.2 million are forecasted to travel by car and more than 180,000 by plane. And good news for those paying for gas along the way: AAA says gas prices in Georgia continue to fall. Georgia drivers are now paying an average of $2.88 per gallon for regular unleaded gasoline. That is $0.29 less than a month ago and $0.27 less than this time last year. The most expensive Georgia metro markets are Atlanta, Hinesville, Fort Stewart and Brunswick. The least expensive include Columbus and Warner Robins. Georgians also have benefited from Gov. Kemp's suspension of the state gas tax since March. The suspension has saved Georgians about $0.29 per gallon. The gas tax will be reinstated after the holiday travel season on Jan. 10. For those of you who will be traveling by plane, there is good news if you're flying out of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The airport held a ribbon-cutting today for its newest addition to the facility. Airport and city officials celebrated the opening of its $320 million Concourse T extension. Mayor Andre Dickens says the airport remains the, quote, "crown jewel of Atlanta."
Mayor Andre Dickens: We seem to have a trend that we keep coming here for new announcements, for new ways to show people that this airport, while it's the world's busiest and most efficient, we're not going to let anybody catch up with us.
Janet Jackson (singing): No, my first name ain't "Baby." It's Janet. Ms. Jackson if you're nasty.
Peter Biello: Janet Jackson took to Instagram this morning to announce a new tour. And Georgians will have two opportunities next year to see the pop icon.
Janet Jackson: Hey, you guys, it's me. I'm here. I have a really big announcement to make. I'm going back on tour. And, yes, we will be together again very, very soon. And that's actually the name of the tour: Together Again. I miss you guys so much and I cannot wait to see you. Yes, there will be new music. My special guest will be Ludacris. I am so excited. I cannot wait to see all of you. If you want more information about all of this, visit my website, OK, you guys?
Janet Jackson (singing): Control. I like to have a lot...
Peter Biello: With Atlanta's own Ludacris as her special guest, Janet will make stops in Savannah at Enmarket Arena on April 21st in Atlanta on April 27th at State Farm Arena.
Janet Jackson (singing): That's the way love goes...
Peter Biello: The Atlanta Braves says the team has acquired catcher Sean Murphy from the Oakland Athletics. Last season, Murphy led the American League primary catchers in hits, doubles, RBIs and ranked second in home runs and run scored. He comes to Atlanta as part of a three-way trade with the A's and Milwaukee Brewers. Braves general manager Alex Athopoulos says it's always hard to make trades.
Alex Athopoulos: It's just a rare opportunity to get a premium defensive player at a premium position. But it's tough. I mean, we gave up a lot of really talented guys that we really like.
Peter Biello: Among those leaving the Braves are catcher William Contreras, who's off to Milwaukee and pitchers Kyle Muller and Freddie Tarnock, who head to Oakland. Athopoulos says there is plenty of playing time to go around between catcher Sean Murphy and Travis d'Arnaud. But who gets the start will be up to Braves manager Brian Snitker.
Peter Biello: And that is it for today's edition of Georgia Today. Thanks so much for tuning in. If you're new to the podcast, welcome. Find us again tomorrow by subscribing to Georgia Today in your podcast feed. And as always, we welcome your feedback. Send it to us by email. The address is GeorgiaToday@gpb.org. I'm Peter Biello. We'll see you tomorrow.