<There are still forces in this country that want to take us back to another period but we are not going back. We have come too far to go back.>
Tha's Georgia congressman John Lewis today... On the supreme Court's decision to challenge the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
We'll have more On what's up for consideration In just a few moments.
But first... Good evening and thanks for joining us...
I'm Leah Johnson.
Our top story story tonight... Some new options may be coming to Central Georgia for travel by air.... or by rail.
That's right, Leah.
Hello, Everyone. I'm Frank Malloy.
This afternoon, 13WMAZ learned that Silver Airways of Fort Lauderdale, Florida will soon be making daily flights from Macon to Atlanta and Orlando.
Macon Mayor Robert Reichert says it'll cost $44 dollars to fly from Macon to Atlanta and $116 to fly from Macon to Atlanta and then Orlando.
Reichert says one of the 34-seat aircrafts they plan to use will be at the Macon Regional Airport Friday... for a formal announcement about the deal.
The mayor says he learned about the new airline this morning.
< Robert Reichert, Macon Mayor: The U.S. Department of Transportation announced this morning that they had selected Silver Airways to provide the essential air service to Silver Airways for Macon.>
The airline will receive 2 million dollars a year in federal subsidy each year....because the government considers it...essential air service.
That's not the only pathway that could be opening up for Central Georgia travelers.
An Atlanta state representative....Keisha Waites... Today filed a bill that would clear the tracks for rail service between Macon...and Clayton County.
The Piedmont Altamaha Rail Authority would have the power to build.. Operate.. And maintain passenger rail service to that county...Just south of Atlanta.
Reichert welcomed the proposal.
Reichert said a train to Atlanta would give people more travel options...and reduce traffic on Interstate 75.
Tonight... Neighbors are gathering at a house on James Street... where makeshift memorials of stuffed animals... and goodbye notes... already stand in tribute to three children killed in a weekend fire.
Judy Le is there for the vigil which will start in about an hour.
She also talked with the children's mother earlier today.
Judy, what did you find out?
Judy...thank you... We'll talk to you again a little later tonight.
In other news, the Supreme Court today will decide whether to throw out a landmark civil rights law that changed American politics.
Today, the nation's highest court heard arguments in a challenge to the1965 Voting Rights Act.
At the heart of it... Shelby County, Alabama is challenging.
It allows the justice department... Or a court... to review...and reject changes to voting laws that they find discriminatory.
Section 5 covers only certain states...mostly in the south.
Alabama is one of those... So is Georgia.
As recently as 2006, President Bush and Congress decided to renew the law.
But some in Shelby... The site of civil rights protests.. .and an infamous church bombing that killed four young black girls in the 60s... Say section five has outlived it's usefulness.
Frank Ellis is the Shelby County Attorney.
<"The south is not the same it was in 1964, the whole country has changed. We are a dynamic society.">
Civil rights leaders say... while that may be true... Altering the Voting Rights Act would be a setback rather than a step forward.
<There are still forces in this country that want to take us back to another period but we are not going back. We have come too far. We have made too much progress to go back. The literacy tests may be gone. Raising questions like how many bubbles in a bar of soap; how many jelly beans in a jar may be gone but people are using other means, other tactics and techniques. So we still need section five and that is why we are here today standing up for the voting rights of all Americans. >
Section 5 is the same provision that subjects any change related to elections... to get the justice department's stamp of approval.
For example...a new state law that would do away with partisan elections in Bibb County....needs approval from the feds.
And another echo of the civil rights era....as the woman that sparked the Montgomery bus boycott...as honored in our nation's capital today.