First Slice 4-27-16: Bills, bills, bills

Rape Kit Testing Bill among new laws Gov. Deal OK'd Tuesday

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Yesterday Deal signed the rape kit testing bill, which nearly got axed at the end of the legislative session. The new law should help address the huge backlog of untested kits sitting on Georgia's shelves. Deal also signed into law Tuesday a tax credit bill that "could funnel nearly $200 million to the state's struggling rural hospitals over the next three years. ... Critics of the bill, primarily the state’s Democratic lawmakers, say the money would be better spent by expanding Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act."

Deal also legalized a state grant program that would funnel $2 million in public cash toward crisis pregnancy centers, biased care facilities for pregnant women that discourage abortions. "Georgia now joins at least 10 other states that specifically dedicate funding to anti-abortion efforts." Worth noting: Abortion is legal.

Gov. Nathan Deal is expected to sign a new round of criminal justice reforms today that would "expand the accountability court network, create new charter schools in prisons and shield some criminal records of first-time offenders. Deal casts them as a natural extension of his criminal justice reforms, which have left thousands fewer inmates in costly prison beds."

The James Beard Foundation held its journalism awards ceremony in New York City last night. Often referred to as the Oscars of the food world, Atlanta chef Virginia Willis won the Focus on Health award for her cookbook Lighten Up Y'all: Classic Southern Recipes made Healthy and Wholesome and the Bitter Southerner took home a medal in the Profile category for Wendell Brock's story "The Woman Who Ate Atlanta," about longtime Atlanta Food Critic Christiane Lauterbach.

RIP Tian Justman. The 33-year-old artist and fashion designer has died from cancer. She worked as the Goat Farm's aesthetic director, "creating the visual splendor of its many events over the past few years." Local creatives celebrate Justman in an Atlanta magazine remembrance.

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