ATLANTA -- Gov. Roy Barnes said Sunday he will veto legislation that would make ticket scalping legal in Georgia.
A bill that passed overwhelmingly in the House and unanimously in the Senate requires ticket scalpers to obtain business licenses and provide refunds for canceled events.
But in a statement Sunday, the governor said the bill would force higher prices on some consumers. He said he could not support legislation that would "inevitably restrict our state's first-class sports and cultural events to a privileged few."
Mr. Barnes said the Southeastern Conference, the NFL, the NCAA and Major League Baseball all had urged him not to sign the bill.
Legislators have said the bill protects consumers by regulating scalping.
Mr. Barnes said he would sign the veto today. Gov. Zell Miller, who left office in January 1999, twice vetoed similar bills.
Police charge man with assault
A Hephzibah man has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault in what police say was an attempt to run over two sheriff's deputies during a traffic stop on Sandbar Ferry Road on Saturday.
Richmond County sheriff's deputies stopped Quentin Kirk Queen, 31, of Bennock Mill Road, after he ran a stop sign at the intersection of Sandbar Ferry Road and Fairhope Street at about 8:30 p.m., sheriff's Investigator Jim Gordon said. When the two deputies left their squad car and approached Mr. Queen's 1993 Ford Tempo, the car reversed toward the officers, who jumped out of its path, police reports said. Neither officer was hurt.
The car sped away with deputies in pursuit at speeds in excess of 100 mph before Mr. Queen crashed into a guardrail on Bobby Jones Expressway, Investigator Gordon said.
Mr. Queen also faces charges of fleeing and attempting to elude police, no proof of insurance, reckless driving and driving under the influence.
Fire chars subdivision property
A brush fire that ignited in south Augusta's Rose Hill subdivision Sunday afternoon consumed between two and three acres of trees and pine straw in a wooded area near Rambling Rose Circle.
Residents of nearby homes reported smoke coming from the woods at 3:41 p.m., fire dispatchers said. Recent rain and low winds helped contain the fire to a relatively small area, Battalion Chief Tommy Whitener said.
Two brush fire trucks responded to the fire initially, and firefighters later called the forestry commission for backup. The fire took about 30 minutes to contain, Chief Whitener said. Forestry officials used a bulldozer to form a break around the fire, which was expected to smolder for 24 hours before dying out.
The wooded area has several paths that often are used by bike riders, officials said. The fire likely was started by a cigarette or some other small incendiary device, although deliberate arson is not suspected, Chief Whitener said. No residential homes were affected by the fire.
Tests due today in office fire
Test results from the state crime lab are expected as early as today in a suspicious fire that swept through the offices of James Brown Enterprises on Friday night.
The west Augusta headquarters for soul legend James Brown contained music memorabilia collected by the singer during his 40-year recording career. A fire investigator said Saturday that a fire accelerant that appeared to be petroleum-based was found in several spots throughout the building.
Samples of the substance were shipped to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation crime lab in Atlanta. Results of those tests will help investigators determine if the fire was set intentionally. Fire investigators had no suspects Sunday, said Augusta-Richmond County Fire Department Investigator G.B. Hannan.
Fire department will test hydrants
Augusta-Richmond County Fire Rescue will test hydrants this week. The hydrant program is scheduled to last approximately 2' months. Battalions will be in the posted areas today through Friday, and they will move to another area in their respective battalions on a weekly basis. The areas are:
Vineland Road area, Washington Road from I-20 to Lakemont Drive ending at River Watch Parkway, Deans Bridge Road, Wheeless Road to I-520, Lumpkin Road, Old McDuffie, Milledgeville Road, Glenn Hills Drive to Barton Chapel Road, Augusta Tech Drive, Highland Avenue, Walton Way, Glenn Avenue, Monte Sano Avenue, Schley Street, Windsor Court, Barrett Lane, Martin Lane, Whitehead Road, Deans Bridge Road, Gordon Highway, Milledgeville Road, Kissingbower to Lakewood and Edwards.
Ridge Road, Terrace Manor, Belle Meade, Augusta Tech, Lumpkin Park, Dover Street, Lyman Street Breeze Hill, Glenn Hills, Tara Heights, Emory Hills Highland Park.
Driver shot in car chase dies
LITCHFIELD BEACH -- A Georgetown County man has died a day after a sheriff's deputy shot him after a car chase.
Matthew Martin, 23, died Saturday from a gunshot to the head, Coroner Kenny Johnson said.
Mr. Martin was chased by three patrol cars from a sheriff's checkpoint near Pawleys Island on Friday. When Mr. Martin was cornered near Litchfield Beach, he rammed one of the patrol cars three times with his truck, Mr. Johnson said.
Mr. Johnson said Mr. Martin also drove toward one deputy as he got out of his car. That's when all three deputies fired shots, though two of the them fired at Mr. Martin's tires, he said.
Georgetown County Sheriff's Capt. Daniel Blackman said the officer, whose name was not released, would not be disciplined pending the standard investigation by the State Law Enforcement Division.
Mr. Johnson said he was waiting for test results from an autopsy Sunday to talk about what motivated Mr. Martin's behavior.
The following is a list of Shepeard Community Blood Center blood drives for this week:
Today: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., State Farm Insurance Company, 3961 Columbia Road; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Shepeard's Aiken Community Blood Center, Rich Plaza, corner of Whiskey and Pine Log roads.
Tuesday: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., J.B. White, Whiskey Road, Aiken; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Our Lady of Peach Strawberry Festival, 856 Old Edgefield Road.
Wednesday: 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Wesley United Methodist Church, 825 N. Belair Road, Evans; 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, 402 Aumond Road.
Thursday: 12:30-4 p.m., International Paper, Highway 56.
Friday: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Savannah River Site (H-Main Gate); 1-4 p.m., Garrett General Aviation, 1550 Hangar Road.
Saturday: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Greenbrier High School, 5114 Riverwood Parkway; noon to 3 p.m., University Hospital, 1350 Walton Way.
Sunday: 8 a.m to 3 p.m., SRS (F-Area); 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Mother's Day Drive with Lite 96, Shepeard Community Blood Center, 1533 Wrightsboro Road.
North Augusta City Council, 7 p.m., Municipal Building, Buena Vista Avenue.
Edgefield Town Council, 7 p.m., Town Hall, Main Street.
Barnwell City Council, 6:30 p.m., City Hall, Burr Street.
Aiken County Council, 7 p.m., County Council Annex, Richland Avenue.
Edgefield County Council, 6 p.m., County Building, Jeter Street.
Barnwell County Council, 7 p.m., Agriculture Building, Courthouse Circle.
McCormick Town Council, 7 p.m., Town Hall, Augusta Street.
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