Across Georgia

House panel OKs local Sunday sales votes


ATLANTA --- A House panel quickly passed its own version of legislation Wednesday allowing local voters to approve Sunday beer, wine and liquor sales at stores.

House sponsors said they didn't want to wait on the Senate, which has for years been reluctant to consider Sunday sales bills, to act.

A Senate committee approved similar legislation last week, but initial talk of putting it to a full Senate vote this week evaporated.

Therefore, the House Regulated Industries Committee approved Sunday sales legislation with no opposition Wednesday.

House Regulated Industries Chairman Roger Williams, R-Dalton, said he will push for a vote of the full House on the legislation, House Bill 69, rather than wait for the Senate to act on the issue.

English-only driving test measure stalled

ATLANTA --- A move to require Georgia's driving test be given only in English stalled Wednesday after the House approved an amendment that effectively gutted the bill.

House Bill 72 would require the driver's license exam be given in English for permanent residents of the state.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. James Mills, R-Gainesville, said the issue was safety.

Rep. B.J. Pak, R-Lilburn, won over lawmakers, however, with his amendment, which required only that the state update its sign test to include the most common English words used on digital signs.

That would mean the driving exam could continue to be given in 14 different languages, but the sign portion would require a greater comprehension of English.

After Pak's amendment won approval, the House set aside the bill.

Gov. Nathan Deal gave his support for the proposal before Wednesday's vote.

"I have generally supported the idea of English-only because that is our language that is acknowledged," Deal said.

-- Georgia Newspaper Partnership

Police investigating double-homicide case

LAWRENCEVILLE, GA. --- Gwinnett County police say they are investigating a double homicide in a subdivision near Lawrenceville, where they found two children dead and one hurt.

Gwinnett police Cpl. Jake Smith told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the victims -- a father and his three children -- were either shot or stabbed in their home.

Smith said two of the children died and a 9-year-old was flown to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

The corporal said the father was being treated at Gwinnett Medical Center.

Authorities say the crime scene is in the Post Horn Run subdivision on Bridle Path Drive, across from the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds. Authorities say it is an unincorporated part of Gwinnett County.

-- Associated Press