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News From Georgia Watch

September 27, 2016
In This Issue
Annual Gala
Exciting Staff News
New Funding Announcement
Just Energy Summit
Amicus Brief
In the News
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Consumer Champion Awards Celebration October 13! Register now!
Please plan to join Georgia Watch for our 
on October  13, 2016 

Help us celebrate this year's award recipients at 

Turner Field in the 755 Club and Scout's Alley! Enjoy delicious food and favorite beverages, then test your hitting and pitching skills at Scout's Alley.

Exciting staff news!
Since joining Georgia Watch in January 2014, Beth Stephens has led our Health Access Program and significantly expanded our healthcare policy work. We are excited to announce Beth's new position as Sr. Director of Public Policy and Advocacy. She will continue leading our health access work, while providing increased leadership in our civil justice and financial protection areas.

Georgia Watch welcomes Trey Cason and Berneta Haynes to our team! 

Trey brings to Georgia Watch  7 years of experience working primarily in the human rights, justice, and poverty alleviation fields.  Most recently, Trey worked on program evaluation at The Joseph & Evelyn Lowery Institute and refugee and immigration policy at Lutheran Services of Georgia.  Trey also has work experience in the areas of conflict management, community development, and anti-human trafficking. He is experienced in program management and partnership building.  Trey has a Master of Divinity from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and a Master of Social Work with a concentration in Community Development and Partnerships from Georgia State University.

An attorney and champion of energy equity and environmental justice, Berneta has spent the past few years working on issues from diesel pollution reduction and energy efficiency to solar energy access.  She has engaged in this work in Chicago and Atlanta since graduating from the University of Iowa School of Law in 2013.  Her interest in environmental justice and equity stem from her liberal arts background at the University of Iowa, where she also completed a Master's thesis centered on intersections of race, class and gender in American literature and culture. Currently, Berneta works at Southern Environmental Law Center where she engages in policy work around expanding access to solar energy and energy efficiency to low-to-moderate income families and communities of color. She joins Georgia Watch on October 10.
New grants to fund consumer education initiatives
Georgia Watch recently received two new grant awards to support our financial empowerment and consumer education work.   A grant from Kaiser Permanente of Georgia will fund the development of the "Georgia Consumer Guide for Medical Bills and Debt," a comprehensive resource for Georgians on handling medical bills and related consumer debt.  Support from the Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment will enable the continuation of our work to educate and empower Georgia consumers to maintain a bank account, manage personal finances and avoid costly overdraft fees.
Just Energy Summit
Please join Georgia Watch and our partners in the Just Energy Circle at this regional forum to engage and equip ourselves with the critical knowledge and relationships to make a long-term, sustainable impact in our communities.  
Fri. September 30th and Sat. October 1st
Atlanta Metropolitan State College
Charles F. Easley Sr. Conference Pavilion 
1630 Metropolitan Parkway, S.W., Atlanta, GA 30310
Georgia Watch files amicus brief in hospital Open Records Act case
Georgia Watch filed an  amicus brief on September 20th  in support of the Petition for Writ of Certiorari in  Smith v. Northside , a case pending before the Georgia Supreme Court.  At issue is whether certain documents related to Northside's acquisition of four privately-owned physician practices should be available to the public under the Georgia Open Records Act.

"Georgia citizens have enjoyed access and transparency with regard to nonprofit organizations in lease agreements with hospital authorities for more than 20 years.  This case threatens to erode that access," said Beth Stephens of Georgia Watch.  "The outcome in this case also has broader implications for the multitude of private companies conducting public business in similar contract arrangements." 

In the News