STATE IN BRIEF: Georgia Senate approves controversial gun carry law

Georgia Senate approves controversial gun carry law

ATLANTA — The controversial proposal to overhaul Georgia's gun carry law has been approved by the Senate.

Senators debated for nearly two hours before voting in favor of the bill 41-12. The measure would allow licensed gun owners to carry firearms onto college campuses and into churches and bars.

Bill sponsor Sen. Mitch Seabaugh said the bill clarifies the firearms carry law for the state's 300,000 gun owners with permits to carry weapons and leaves the decision up to private property owners as to whether to exclude people from carrying guns on their property.

The Board of Regents would determine the policy for the state's college campuses and has opposed the legislation.

The proposal would also transfer issuing of licenses from the state's 159 county probate judges to the Secretary of State's Office.

Perdue sets special election for Senate seat

ATLANTA — Gov. Sonny Perdue has set May 11 for a special election to fill a state Senate seat representing part of DeKalb County.

The seat is being vacated by David Adelman, a Democrat tapped by President Barack Obama as U.S. ambassador to Singapore.

Among the candidates running to replace Adelman is Jason Carter, grandson of former President Jimmy Carter.

The younger Carter is making his first bid for elected office.

Swine flu hospitalizations on the rise in Ga.

ATLANTA — Health officials said swine flu hospitalizations in Georgia are up to their highest level since the fall.

About 70 to 80 hospitalizations were reported in each of the past two weeks — the most since September, when a large wave of illnesses was hitting the South. The Georgia Department of Community Health released the new numbers Wednesday.

However, no significant increase in deaths or overall reports of flu-like illness has been reported in the state or nationally. And health officials said there's no evidence that the virus has mutated to a more dangerous form or that a new wave of swine flu cases is beginning.

Ga. detention officer charged in inmate abuse case

ATLANTA — A former Fulton County detention officer has been charged with pepper-spraying a handcuffed inmate and then writing a false incident report to cover it up.

Authorities indicted 31-year-old Lee M. Hutley on Tuesday on two felony counts of using excessive force against an inmate and one felony charge of writing a false incident report.

He was released on $20,000 bond on Wednesday and is scheduled to be arraigned on Friday.

Man kidnaps children, kills self after chase

SWAINSBORO — Three children are OK after authorities said their father took them from their mother's home and led police on a chase through Swainsboro before shooting himself to death Wednesday.

Police said 41-year-old Willie Scott Jr. took his child and two step-children about 1 a.m. He called their mother threatening to harm the children, and she called the police, who issued an Amber Alert.

Officers located his vehicle, began following Scott, who had a gun and began firing it out the window at police cruisers.

Authorities said shortly thereafter, he stopped the car and they heard a single gun shot. The children were uninjured.

— From wire reports