Axios Atlanta

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It's just another manic Monday.

🌧️ Today's weather: Showers with possible thunderstorms after 3pm. High near 69.

Situational awareness: The GBI will hold a press conference at 2:30pm to discuss the arrest made last week in the 2001 killing of UGA law student Tara Louise Baker.

Today's newsletter is 928 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Real estate changes incoming

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The National Association of Realtors recently agreed to settle a big lawsuit that questions how real estate agents are paid — and who foots the bill.

The big picture: If approved, come summer, agents won't be able to make offers of compensation in the Multiple Listing Service, the database where real estate agents post homes for sale.

Why it matters: The seemingly small change, which a court preliminarily approved last month, is causing major confusion.

How it works (currently): Sellers and their broker negotiate a fee, and that broker decides how much profit they want to share with the buyers' agent.

  • That number is advertised in the MLS listing, and the seller pays both agents from the home sale earnings.
  • Many are concerned this causes buyers' agents to steer clients toward homes offering higher commissions.

Yes, but: Buyer agreement forms have been required in Georgia since the mid-1990s.

  • Generally, these forms help buyers better understand what services their agent will provide — and how much it'll cost.
  • According to the Georgia Association of Realtors' legal analysis, a written agreement between parties will now be required "before a house can be shown."

If the settlement is approved, offers of compensation will no longer be listed in MLS. Buyers and their broker will negotiate how much the broker should earn — and how they'll get paid, antitrust lawyer Brian Schneider says.

By the numbers: The median wage for Georgia real estate sales agents in 2023 was $48,580, according to BLS data. Georgia is one of several states with high rates of agents per 1,000 jobs.

Between the lines: Agents who can't communicate their value won't prosper.

Yes, but: Many are worried about cash-strapped, first-time buyers. Most can't pay their agent out of pocket, but they'll be "financially slaughtered" without representation, former Zillow exec and Tomo cofounder Greg Schwartz says.

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2. A reminder to check your voting info

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

👋🏽 Kristal here, with an awkward reminder that journalists are human, too.

While discussing our primary election coverage plans, I looked at my sample ballot to verify which Superior Court judges were up for re-election.

Why it matters: That's when I discovered that I had not only been moved from the 5th to the 6th congressional district, but I also vote at a different precinct!

  • It would have been embarrassing as a journalist not doing my due diligence if I showed up at my old precinct to vote on May 21.

So, don't be like me. Visit the My Voter Page on the Georgia Secretary of State website to check your information.

  • Just provide your first initial, last name, county where you're registered to vote, and date of birth.
  • You'll also see your precinct card, which shows your polling places and districts for City Council (if you live in an incorporated area), County Commission, Board of Education, congressional, state House and state Senate.

Were you surprised you're in new congressional or state House and Senate districts? Hit reply, and tell us!

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3. Pic du jour: Weekend light show

Credit: Thomas Wheatley/Axios

Northern Lights painted Georgia skies from the mountains to the coast on Friday (and less so Saturday) as the strongest solar storm in 20 years reached the Earth.

Zoom out: Extreme G5 geomagnetic conditions were observed reaching the Earth for the first time since 2003, creating spectacular views of the evening sky around the world, Axios' Kelly Tyko reported.

The intrigue: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Weather Prediction Center said on Saturday there were some "reports of power grid irregularities and degradation to high-frequency communications and GPS."

Thomas' thought bubble: My girlfriend and I caught a faint pink glow — a stronger glow when you use a longer exposure on your phone — around 11pm on Friday.

  • According to some reports, the higher the latitude, the better the view. Ours was A-OK.

View the Atlanta office of the National Weather Service's roundup of Georgia photos

4. Who doesn't e-like an e-bike?

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

City of Atlanta residents shopping for an e-bike, take note: the registration period for a lottery to award $1 million in e-bike rebates begins next month.

Why it matters: The city and Propel ATL's rebate program could save Atlantans more than $1,000 on a new e-bike, increase access to jobs and schools and take cars off the road.

Zoom in: 75% of the rebated funds are reserved for residents who earn at or below roughly $54,000 a year. They can receive a $1,500 rebate for a standard e-bike and $2,000 for a cargo e-bike.

  • For Atlantans who earn over that threshold, the rebates are $500 for a standard e-bike and $1,000 for a cargo e-bike.

How it works: The one-week lottery registration period opens on June 16. You must live in Atlanta to qualify (officials say people will have to submit proof that they live in the city limits).

Caveats: The ARC has a detailed FAQ that answers questions about e-bikes, rebate restrictions and more.

  • Sign up for emails to get updates and notifications.

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Become a newsroom insider

Illustration: Andrew Caress/Axios

Knowledge is power, and we believe in empowering our community through reliable, local journalism.

Join our membership program for just $50+ a year, and you can support our efforts to keep you in the know of what's happening around town.

  • You'll get insider notes and other perks as a thanks.

Together, we can ensure our neighbors stay informed.

5. Five-ish Points: Hawks win first pick in NBA draft

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

🚚 Atlanta City Council members are criticizing the proposed budget increase of 2% for the Transportation Department and the slow rollout of projects. (AJC)

🏀 The Atlanta Hawks earned the first overall pick in next month's NBA draft. (ESPN)

Two people were killed and four others were injured overnight Sunday in a shooting outside a Buckhead nightclub. (AJC)

🇨🇳 The U.S. House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party is investigating Georgia Tech's ties to a university in China. (WSB-TV)

Three police officers were shot Saturday evening while responding to a call about an armed man in southwest Atlanta. APD said the suspected shooter was killed. (Fox 5 Atlanta)

🤔 Kristal is curious to know when dogs start to "slow down" and if the high-energy ones will remain that way.

ğŸŽ§ Thomas enjoyed listening to the narrated version of a recent GQ story about Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

  • He was inspired by how the musicians said they work to "keep the kid" — meaning the joy in themselves — "alive."

🙏🏾 Wil hopes everyone has a good week.

This newsletter was edited by Jen Ashley and copy edited by Natasha Danielle Smith and Anjelica Tan.