Across Georgia

Sickle-cell data will be given to couples


ATLANTA --- Couples getting married could learn if their future spouse has sickle cell anemia under legislation Gov. Sonny Perdue signed into law Friday.

House Bill 184 by Rep. Gloria Frazier, D-Hephzibah, means everyone getting married would get information on the importance of a blood test for the disease and recommending it when they see a probate judge for a marriage license. Blood tests are required before a license can be issued. The sickle-cell test would be voluntary.

Judges on military duty can remain in office

ATLANTA --- The experience of one Columbia County magistrate judge is clearing similar hurdles for others across the state after Gov. Sonny Perdue signed into law legislation Friday that will allow magistrate judges called to military duty to remain in office.

Bobby Christine, the new Columbia County chief magistrate, is a National Guard major and two-tour Iraq war veteran. In January when he was an associate magistrate, he was appointed magistrate after newly-re-elected magistrate Wage Padgett was picked by the governor as a new Augusta Judicial Circuit Superior Court judge.

Agency will get funding help

ATLANTA — A small state agency that operates an incubator for start-up companies received help Friday in the form of legislation signed into law by Gov. Sonny Perdue that provides new means for funding.

House Bill 93 comes just as the Augusta-based Georgia Medical Center Authority was facing severe financial challenges because of reduced state funding. The new measure allows the authority to establish a subsidiary that can apply for grants from foundations that would not give directly to government entities. It will also allow the authority to take stock in the start-ups it helps nurture.

The bill was sponsored by Rep. Barbara Sims, R-Augusta.