Latest Georgia news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. EDT


University System of Georgia: No tuition hikes next year

ATLANTA (AP) — Students attending schools in the University System of Georgia will see no tuition increases next school year if the board approves the recommendation. Students would pay the same rates at all 26 institutions as they do now for the current 2019-20 academic year, under the proposal announced Thursday. The Board of Regents is scheduled to meet Tuesday to sign off on no tuition changes for the 2020-21 academic year.


Georgia sees unemployment claims triple in virus lockdown

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Unemployment continues to surge in Georgia during the coronavirus pandemic, with state officials saying they processed more unemployment claims in the latest full week than they saw during all of 2019. The Georgia Department of Labor reported Thursday that it processed more than 390,000 claims from jobless workers during the week-long period that ended Saturday. That's almost triple the record-breaking 133,800 claims seen a week earlier. State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler says his agency paid out more than $41 million in unemployment benefits to Georgia residents last week. Most of the latest claims were from workers who lost jobs in the food service and travel lodging sectors.


Georgia postpones primaries again because of coronavirus

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia has pushed back primary elections for the second time this year because of the coronavirus. The decision to postpone primaries until June 9 was announced by Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Thursday. It comes after Wisconsin went ahead with elections on Tuesday, forcing thousands of voters to stand in hourslong lines amid the pandemic. Raffensperger had already moved the state’s presidential primaries from March 24 to May 19. Primaries were already scheduled for that day for a U.S. Senate seat, U.S. House members and members of the state House and Senate.


Some churches confront virus restrictions on Easter services

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — At the holiest time of year for Christians, churches are wrestling with how to hold services amid the coronavirus outbreak. In some cases, that has set up showdowns between pastors and local officials over restrictions that forbid large gatherings. Many churches are offering parishioners livestreaming options to observe Good Friday and Easter services on TVs, phones and computers. Others are sending worshippers to drive-in movie theaters for services. Governors in several states have deemed church an “essential service,” allowing Easter worship to proceed even as public health officials warn that large gatherings could be a major setback amid a pandemic that has killed more than 14,000 people in the U.S.


Lawsuit: Georgia mail-in ballot postage is unconstitutional

ATLANTA (AP) — A federal lawsuit says that by requiring Georgia voters to provide their own stamps for mail-in ballots, the state is effectively imposing a poll tax. The lawsuit filed Wednesday says that's an unconstitutional barrier to the right to vote. It was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and its Georgia chapter on behalf of an organization that seeks to empower communities of color and an individual voter. The secretary of state's office did not immediately have a comment.


Kemp extends Georgia stay-at-home order as cases pass 10,000

ATLANTA (AP) — Gov. Brian Kemp is extending his order that Georgia residents shelter at home through the end of April as coronavirus infections passed 10,000 in the state. Kemp told a news conference Wednesday he's also prohibiting short-term vacation rentals to ease fears among some local officials that tourists trying to flee states with some of the worst infection rates will flock to Georgia. Kemp said he's also ordering new requirements for nursing homes and other long-term care facilities after 81 deaths in those facilities. Confirmed deaths statewide rose to 370.


Man who said he found girlfriend dead charged with murder

SNELLVILLE, Ga. (AP) — A Georgia man has been charged with murder in his girlfriend's death two days after he told police he found her dead in their backyard. News outlets report Gwinnett police discovered 36-year-old Natasha Smith dead on Monday after her boyfriend called to report her shooting. Police say 35-year-old Antoine McFarlane told them he found Smith shot dead when he got to the couple’s Snellville home on Monday. Police say they issued a warrant for his arrest after speaking to witnesses and collecting evidence at the scene. McFarlane was booked into county jail Wednesday.


Sen. Loeffler to sell stock holdings after trading scrutiny

WASHINGTON (AP) — Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler is selling off her stock holdings after coming under scrutiny for trades amid the coronavirus. The Republican on Wednesday announced she will liquidate her stock portfolio and move the money to investment funds. The sales and purchases came as Congress was receiving briefings on the seriousness of the then-burgeoning epidemic. Loeffler has said she had no involvement in the trades and that they were managed by third-party advisers. Loeffler was appointed to the Senate this year and faces a competitive primary challenge from Republican Rep. Doug Collins.