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Gold Dome Report 2023 – Legislative Day 37
Tuesday, March 21, 2023

The “crush” is on! Last-minute committee meetings are being held as lawmakers take their final shots at pushing through their bills. While some efforts find success, there are also a few casualties and cases of forlorn measures being used as vehicles for stranded bills. But the fun and games in committees end on Wednesday, which is (at least ostensibly) the last day measures can pass out to have a chance on the House or Senate floor. Rest assured — there will be plenty of more shenanigans to share over the next week in the #GoldDomeReport.

Health bills were a major focus on Tuesday. In the House Health Committee, a new substitute was unveiled for SB 99, the proposal allows for a new certificate of need exemption for rural acute care hospitals (specifically aimed at Butts County, but with application more broadly). SB 99 was presented, but Chairman Lee Hawkins (R-Gainesville) did not allow action as the committee has a two-hour rule for any new substitutes, and the legislation arrived only moments before the meeting commenced. Thus, the issue remains in limbo. Also, the Senate worked late into the afternoon taking up the House’s amendment to the controversial SB 140. The legislation by Senator Carden Summers (R-Cordele) has caused a great deal of pushback from numerous groups as it seeks to address the medical treatment of transgender youth. The Senate ultimately voted 31-21 to give the measure final approval.

In this Report:

  • Floor Action

  • Committee Reports

  • New Legislation

  • What’s Next

Floor Action

The House took up the following measures on the floor on Legislative Day 37:

  • SB 1 - State Government; automatic repealer on the prohibition on state and local governments from requiring proof of COVID vaccination for government services; remove (Substitute)(PHth-25th) Dolezal-27th. The measure was POSTPONED until the next legislative day.

  • SB 20 - "Surprise Billing Consumer Protection Act"; ensure consumer access to quality healthcare by setting adequacy standards for network plans offered by an insurer (Substitute)(Ins-27th) Kirkpatrick-32nd. The measure was POSTPONED until the next legislative day.

  • SB 47 - Offenses Against Public Health And Morals; vaping in restricted areas is a misdemeanor punishable by fine; provide (Substitute)(PHth-45th) Hufstetler-52nd. The Committee Substitute passed by a vote of 152-14.

  • SB 64 - Birth Certificate; issuance of a copy of the original birth certificate to certain adult persons who were adopted; provide (Substitute)(Judy-135th) Robertson-29th. The measure was POSTPONED until the next legislative day.

  • SB 131 - Permanent Guardianship; service by publication; provide (Substitute)(JJ-32nd) Tillery-19th. The Committee Substitute passed by a vote of 165-5.

  • SB 135 - Paternity; Uniform Parentage Act of 2017; align evidentiary medical and genetic testing (Substitute)(JuvJ-23rd) Kirkpatrick-32nd. The Committee Substitute passed by a vote of 171-0.

  • SB 148 - Nonprofit Corporations; comprehensively revise, simplify, and modernize said chapter (Substitute)(Judy-123rd) Kennedy-18th. The Committee Substitute passed by a vote of 163-4.

  • SB 155 - Dangerous Instrumentalities and Practices; provisions relating to harming a law enforcement animal; revise (Substitute)(PS&HS-144th) Kirkpatrick-32nd. The measure was POSTPONED until the next legislative day.

  • SB 213 - Zoning Procedures; local governments from preventing the continuance of lawful nonconforming use of property; prohibit (Substitute)(GAff-144th) Burns-23rd. The Committee Substitute passed by a vote of 165-5.

  • SB 218 - Identification Cards; issuance of identification cards to persons completing a term of incarceration; provide (Substitute)(PS&HS-157th) Rhett-33rd. The Committee Substitute passed by a vote of 171-0.

The Senate took up the following measures on the floor on Legislative Day 37:

  • HB 120 - Motor vehicles; standards for issuance of limited driving permits for certain offenders; provide (Substitute)(MotV-174th) Albers-56th. The Committee Substitute passed with a vote of 48-0.

  • HB 138 - Revenue and taxation; update population bracket and census data for a certain property tax exemption for certain leased property (W&M-118th) Williams-25th. The bill passed by a vote of 48-0.

  • HB 163 - Georgia Board of Health Care Workforce; student loan repayment for medical examiners employed by the Division of Forensic Sciences of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation; provide (Substitute)(HEd-26th) Hodges-3rd. The Committee Substitute passed by a vote of 52-0.

  • HB 193 - Local government; increase dollar values of certain public works construction contracts exempt from bidding requirements (GAff-10th) Watson-11th. The measure passed with a vote of 47-4.

  • HB 221 - Insurance; filing review process for private passenger motor vehicle liability coverage providing the minimum limits offered by the carrier; revise (Substitute)(Ins-12th) Walker-20th. The Committee Substitute passed by a vote of 49-1.

  • HB 222 - Insurance, Department of; clarify, streamline, and make transparent the practices of the department (Ins-12th) Walker-20th. The bill passed by a vote of 50-0.

  • HB 273 - Board of Natural Resources; extend date by which rules and regulations must be in effect for purposes of establishing criminal violations (Substitute)(NR&E-167th) Hodges-3rd. The Committee Substitute passed by a vote 53-0.

  • HB 408 - Sales and use tax; exemption for competitive projects of regional significance; change sunset provision (W&M-112th) Hufstetler-52nd. The bill was TABLED.

  • HB 431 - Special purpose local option sales tax; counties; provisions (W&M-85th) Butler-55th. The bill passed by a vote of 48-4.

  • HB 541 - Motor vehicles; proper procedure for passing postal service vehicle; provide (Substitute)(MotV-12th) Robertson-29th. The Committee Substitute passed by a vote of 47-0.

The Senate also took up some special actions today. SB 140, authored by Summers, received final passage with the Senate agreeing to the House Substitute by a vote of 31-21 despite various attempts to table and adjourn were made. The Senate Democrats made several passionate pleas about the initiative. The legislation is the bill addressing Title 31 to prohibit certain surgical procedures for the treatment of gender dysphoria in minors from being performed in hospitals and other licensed healthcare facilities as well as prohibit hormone replacement therapy. Senator Nan Orrock (D-Atlanta) noted that the Senate was paving the way for more youth to engage in suicide and questioned whether some of her colleagues were in touch with reality. Senator Sally Harrell (D-Atlanta) also noted that passing the law was unconstitutional and would likely wind up in Georgia courts.

Other special actions today included:

  • SB 55, authored by Senator Elena Parent (D-Atlanta), is the Georgia Lemonade Stand Act which allows youth under the age of 18 to engage in businesses up to $5,000 annually without having to undergo obtaining various business permits.  The legislation adds a new Code section at O.C.G.A.  36-80-29 to allow these.  The Senate agreed to the House Substitute by a vote of 50-0.

  • SB 149, authored by Senator John Albers (R-Roswell), addresses door-to-door sales by adding language at O.C.G.A. 10-1-20 et seq.  The language requires sellers to furnish to buyers receipts and copies of any contracts and notice on how these contracts may be canceled.  It further provides restrictions on such door-to-door sales. The Senate agreed to the House Substitute by a vote of 47-2.

Committee Reports

House Education Committee

The House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Chris Erwin (R-Homer), met on Tuesday to consider the following measures:

  • SB 233, authored by Senator Greg Dolezal (R-Cumming), is the “Georgia Promise Scholarship Act.” The bill amends Title 20 to provide for the establishment of promise scholarship accounts to be funded by the state in the amount of $6,000.00 per school year for each participating student.

Dolezal presented an overview of the bill before turning the podium over to Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones (R-Milton), who presented a substitute to the bill alongside Representative Todd Jones (R-South Forsyth). Todd explained that the substitute (LC 49 1448S) includes the following changes:

  • Changing the scholarship amount from $6,000 to $6,500;

  • Adding a definition of “educationally disadvantaged students”;

  • Requiring that any coursework paid for at a participating school, accredited college, or online program be core or CTAE coursework;

  • Requiring parents to reside in Georgia for at least one year (with an exception for active military);

  • Requiring students to be enrolled in a public school for two consecutive enrollment counts;

  • Clarifying that voucher participants cannot also receive a Special Needs Scholarship;

  • Allowing access to CTAE courses in public schools for homeschool voucher participants on a space-available basis;

  • Clarifying that parents can still donate to a student scholarship organization but their children cannot receive an SSO scholarship;

  • Increases certain student-level data that will be reported (attendance rate and funding amount used);

  • Specifying that participating private schools must be in Georgia;

  • Clarifies that participating private schools are not agents of the State;

  • Providing that commission members will serve three-year terms that are staggered;

  • Requiring administration of a State assessment for comparability with public school students;

  • Excluding alternative schools from the calculation of the bottom 25% of schools for voucher eligibility purposes.

Jan said that they took “as many suggestions and concerns” of stakeholders into account in drafting this substitute. Representative David Wilkerson (D-Powder Springs) asked whether the sponsors would be amenable to the reporting of other demographic data that factors into CCRPI. There was also substantial discussion about the accounting standard specified for auditing the program. Wilkerson also asked about willingness to amend the legislation to provide for funding that matches a student’s QBE earnings “up to $6,500”, to which Jan said she would not be open to such an amendment. Representative Brent Cox (R-Dawsonville) asked what happens if and when a school improves above the top 25 percent, to which Todd said it will not affect the eligibility of a student already receiving the voucher. Representative Miriam Paris (D-Macon) reminded committee members of the opposition testimony on the bill during Monday’s meeting and asked again if there is a fiscal note, to which Jan said no because there is no money being appropriated. Representative Becky Evans (D-Atlanta) asked about what other states have paid for these voucher programs, how outcomes will be measured, and whether the sponsors would entertain an amendment to make the voucher needs-based.

Erwin called the question, and a motion DO PASS by substitute was made and seconded. Todd proposed two amendments, one allowing parents contributing to student scholarship organizations to still receive the tax credit associated with those contributions and another setting the effective date as July 1, 2023, but making the program operational after July 1, 2024. The two amendments were adopted. Todd presented an additional amendment clarifying that qualifying students must be currently enrolled in public school and that State assessments will only be required of students in grades for which State assessments are required. The third amendment passed.

Erwin suspended any further debate and consideration of any further amendments. The committee recommended the bill DO PASS by committee substitute by unrecorded voice vote. A call for the yeas and nays was ruled out of order by the chair.

  • SR 175, authored by Senator Matt Brass (R-Newnan), creates the Joint Study Committee on Dual Enrollment for Highly Skilled Talent at Younger Ages. The study committee is aimed at examining Georgia's existing dual enrollment opportunities to develop highly skilled talent at younger ages and to identify potential solutions that will yield more dual enrollment highly skilled talent at younger ages at the request of students, families, communities, and employers.

Representative Rick Townsend (R-Brunswick) presented the resolution on behalf of Brass. House Majority Leader Chuck Efstration (R-Dacula) presented a substitute to the resolution that retains the content of SR 175 and adds the content of SR 214, which creates the Joint Study Committee on Local Option Sales Tax and Service Delivery Strategy. The committee recommended resolution bill DO PASS by committee substitute and be sent to the Rules Committee.

House Judiciary Committee

Chairman Stan Gunter (R-Blairsville) called the full committee to order to discuss the following measures:

  • SB 66, authored by Senator Billy Hickman (R-Statesboro), amends Code Section 15-6-2 of the O.C.G.A. to increase the number of superior court judges in the Atlantic Judicial Circuit. The measure quickly received a DO PASS recommendation.

  • SB 13, authored by Senator John Albers (R-Roswell), seeks to amend Code Sections 9-13-161, 44-14-162, and 48-4-1 of the O.C.G.A. relating to courthouse property sales. Section one allows sheriffs and courts to sell property online if they opt in. Bidders can only be Georgians or Georgia companies. Section two of the bill relating to advertising of foreclosure is to be on the first Tuesday of the month unless it falls on a holiday. Section three allows tax commissioners to use online sales for properties like sheriffs and courts if they opt in. Section four of the bill discusses the levying officer. Representative Soo Hong (R-Lawrenceville) asked how many other states did this. 20 states currently do this. The fee is limited to $250 on the property sold. Michael Mitchell expressed support for the measure. The measure passed with one no vote.

  • SB 74, authored by Senator Blake Tillery (R-Vidalia), seeks to amend Titles 10, 15, and 51 of the O.C.G.A. to address lawyer advertising. Currently, the law allows bragging but Senator Tillery felt that once you move from the truth should be illegal. Lawyers cannot misrepresent what their practice area is, and who they are, nor misrepresent their clients. This creates a civil action anytime the advertisement is shown. Majority Whip James Burchett (R-Waycross) amended the bill by adding the APEX doctrine to the bill. The measure received a DO PASS recommendation as amended.

  • SB 103, authored by Senator Russ Goodman (R-Cogdell), amends Title 44 of the O.C.G.A. relating to unclaimed property. The measure has passed the House in previous years. Georgia has a 9% unclaimed property rate. It creates claimant representatives who have access to the database. There is a 30 percent cap on the bill. Representative Scott Holcomb (D-Decatur) asked about the amount and type of property. Josh Belifante explained it is a bit of everything from stock certificates, commercial paper, and cash. After three years, the Department of Revenue is expected to liquidate that. They estimate it is about $2.5 million every year. Representative Trey Kelley (R-Cedartown) explained that there are companies that handle this. Yes, the current law caps them at 10 percent, but this bill increases it to 30 percent. Representative Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur) asked about the statutory limit on the number of companies and what the other states do. Currently, Florida is at 30 percent. Florida is the gold standard with the amount of property returned. The measure received a DO PASS recommendation.

  • SB 168, authored by Senator Rick Williams (R-Milledgeville), amends Title 44 to allow a chiropractic practice to have a lien on a cause of action accruing to an injured person for the costs of care and treatment of injuries arising out of the cause of action. Williams presented the bill to the committee, and the Georgia Chiropractic Association appeared in support. These liens are already available for hospitals, nursing homes, physicians, and burn centers. A Senate Floor Amendment added a change at line 84 to address unreported insurance claims. This requires the insurance claim to be filed prior to the lien. Representative Debra Silcox (R-Sandy Springs) asked if chiropractors could write off bad debt. They cannot. The measure received a DO PASS recommendation.

  • SB 19, authored by Senator Kay Kirkpatrick (R-Marietta), amends Title 15 of the O.C.G.A. to address the collection of passport fees. LC 44 2382S was presented. The measure continues to require disclosure requirements. The new substitute splits the fees by a third for the county, clerk's office, and as a salary supplement, capped at 50 percent of the base salary. Probate Court Judge Ann Jackson from Fayette County and Clerk of Superior Court Tiana Gardner from Gwinnett County expressed support for the measure with some reservations. Todd Edwards with ACCG expressed support for the measure. Kelley offered the amendment after the word “discussion” on line 33 after “collected” added less postage. Oliver offered “shall not apply to a clerk of a superior court serving his or her term as of January 1, 2024” be inserted following line 54 as a new paragraph. Both amendments passed, and the measure passed with one no vote.

  • SB 259 was removed from the agenda.

House Judiciary Non-Civil - Hong Subcommittee

Chair Soo Hong (R-Lawrenceville) called the meeting to order to discuss the following measures:

  • SB 36, authored by Senator Randy Robertson (R-Cataula), amends Title 16 to increase the penalty provisions relating to pimping and pandering. Specifically, the bill elevates pimping and pandering to a felony in the first offense and requires a minimum of one-year imprisonment for second or subsequent offenses. Robertson presented the bill to the committee, explaining that the bill was passed by the Senate last year but failed to achieve final passage in the House.

Taylor Hawkins from Frontline Policy Action, Mike Griffin with the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, and Camila Zolfaghari from Street Grace expressed support for the measure. Brian Atkinson from the School of Law at the University of Georgia provided more context to the discussion. Mazie Lynn Guertin and Jason Sheffield with the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers expressed concern with the measure.

An amendment to strike on line 32 from “when” to “minimum”, on line 45 “when” to "minimum”, and again in line 63 “when” to “minimum” on line 64 to address the unintended consequences discussion which was had. The measure received a DO PASS recommendation as amended.

  • SB 83, authored by Senator Kim Jackson (D-Stone Mountain), seeks to amend Title 16 of the O.C.G.A. to address restraining orders. You can surveil except when there is a reasonable expectation of privacy. This measure would allow a temporary protective order. An example is when a relationship ends, and someone seeks some security from their partner when there is no violence. She called the police, but since there was no violence and they shared the same residence, nothing could be done. Once she created a “go-bag,” this spurred violence against her.

Superior Court Judge Paige Whitaker, Karimah Dillard with the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and April Ross from the Georgia Family Commission on Family Violence expressed support for the measure. Thomas Weaver expressed concern over the measure.

Hong asked when it is someone's house they have paid for many years or lease, and now, because of the TPO, that person has to move out, do they just lose their property? When a person goes to the hearing, the judge will determine who has to leave based on the ability to move, financial investment, and other related circumstances. Representative Farooq Mughal (D-Dacula) asked if this included domestic violence. This bill solely relates to stalking inside the residence. Representative Tanya Miller (D-Atlanta) gave a hypothetical and asked about the reasonable expectation of privacy and disclosure of cameras and recording devices. Judge Whitaker explained that those actions would have to be shown to be stalking in nature and have no purpose.

No action was taken on this measure.

  • SB 12, authored by Albers (R-Roswell), seeks to amend Title 16 of the O.C.G.A. to create the "Protecting Victims and Dismantling Georgia Street Gangs Act." This measure passed to the House last year but did not make it through Sine Die. Section one creates the title. Section two increases the penalty for those on probation from 5 to 10 years found with a firearm. Section three is the declaration on gangs. Section four allows the local government to bring civil actions against bad actors. Section five focuses on repeat offenders. Section six improves venue options. Section seven addresses bonds in gang crimes in superior courts. Section eight focuses on elder and minor abuse by gangs. Section nine allows prior evidence and abuse to be admissible for cases involving elder and minor abuse by gangs. Representative Tanya Miller (D-Atlanta) asked about the statistic that gang members commit the majority of violent crimes. That is a statistic from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the DOJ from the national gang threat assessment.

No action was taken on this measure.

The subcommittee ran out of time discussing the measures and is expected to meet again at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow (Wednesday, March 22nd, 2023) to complete the agenda.

House Public Health Committee

Chairman Sharon Cooper (R-Marietta) and the House Public Health Committee this afternoon to take up a few matters. It was announced that today’s meeting would be the last for 2023. After struggling to get a quorum, the committee took up these measures (they did not take up a Department of Community Health’s discussion on sickle cell which had been posted):

  • HB 358, authored by Representative Debra Bazemore (D-South Fulton), was in a “hearing only” mode in the committee. The legislation seeks to amend Titles 20 and 31 to provide for instruction on the best practices for and risks associated with the use of tampons in a course of study in sex education and AIDS prevention instruction. As Bazemore was out, the bill was presented by Representative Jasmine Clark (D-Lilburn) noting that there is a rise in Georgia with the numbers of HIV cases. Toxic shock syndrome, while rare, is sometimes caused by the improper use of tampons. Clark gave some information to the committee about AIDS which is where immune cells have been depleted and individuals are infected with HIV. AIDS prevention is taught in schools now (but it is really about the use of abstinence); education does not address HIV information and interventions to decrease AIDS. The bill seeks to add a level of biology that is medically accurate to be provided in schools. Representative Shelly Hutchinson (D-Snellville) indicated she appreciates the information being shared and that it is important that girls understand the risks. Representative Michelle Au (D-Johns Creek) noted that the legislation modernizes the prevention and care of AIDS that individuals need to know as Georgia has the highest number of HIV cases in the country. Representative Teri Anulewicz (D-Smyrna) mentioned that the prior distribution of menstrual supplies prohibited the separation of information pamphlets so they could not distribute separate tampons without the actual instructional pamphlets. Her concern is the legislation could limit the giving of menstrual supplies. Representative Teddy Reese (D-Columbus) asked what toxic shock syndrome is. It is a bacterial infection caused by streptococcus or staphylococcus bacteria, causing the body to go into shock from the improper use of tampons. The onset of symptoms can occur quickly and generally occurs with a rash. Representative Darlene Taylor (R-Thomasville) asked to move the legislation forward even though it is post Crossover Day. The legislation received a DO PASS recommendation.

  • SB 109, authored by Senator Shelly Echols (R-Alto), was before the committee in the form of a new substitute. The underlying legislation seeks to require the Department of Community Health to include continuous glucose monitors as a pharmacy benefit for Medicaid recipients in Chapter 4 of Title 49. A bill was attached to this legislation which was important to Representative Mandi Ballinger (R-Canton). Echols explained Section 2 which was a companion to HB 143, moving the glucose monitors from DME to a pharmacy benefit originally. After consulting with the governor’s office, the language was changed at lines 121-124. It allows DCH the most cost-effective and convenient approach to get a continuous glucose monitor to its enrollees. Section 1 addresses “white bagging” which is mainly medications used with cancer patients. The white bagging language is from HB 417.  Anna Adams, with the Georgia Hospital Association, spoke in favor of the amendment. Last summer, the hospitals worked with the Department of Insurance to see if the issue could be addressed via regulation but it was determined that legislation was needed. Representative Clay Pirkle (R-) asked about the costs of medications as he has seen studies showing that drugs shipped to hospitals can be more expensive for administration (up to $7,000 more)  He asked why it could not be done via a cheaper route by sending from an insurer-owned specialty pharmacy directly to the patient to take to an infusion center. It was stressed that with this bill patients will have the choice to opt for white bagging. The legislation is only for in-network providers according to Adams which is dealt with at the front end of negotiations of a contract. Representative Penny Houston (R-Nashville) inquired if the legislation was in the correct code section, questioning whether the legislation should have been addressed by the Insurance Committee. Representative Darlene Taylor (R-Thomasville) asked to amend the legislation to address costs by moving it to the acquisition cost of the medication. Cooper rejected Taylor’s amendment. Abigail Thompson, with the Shepherd Center, also supported the legislation. Pirkle pointed out insurers are vertically integrated and his concern was around costs for hospitals and what was passed to the patient. Jesse Weathington, with the Georgia Association of Health Plans, spoke to the white bagging language, mentioning that insurers have to make difficult decisions on costs. Weathington advocated moving the language to use acquisition price for the medication. Representative Teddy Reese (D-Columbus) moved DO PASS on the substitute. The committee gave a DO PASS recommendation to the legislation as amended by the addition of the white bagging language. The legislation moves to the House Rules Committee.

Senate Education & Youth Committee

The Senate Education & Youth Committee, chaired by Senator Clint Dixon (R-Gwinnett), met to consider the following measures on Tuesday:

  • HB 51, authored by Pirkle (R-Abbeville), amends Title 20  to authorize local boards of education to use vehicles other than school buses for the transport of all students to and from school and school-related activities. The committee recommended the bill DO PASS and be sent to the Rules Committee.

  • HB 87, authored by Representative Chris Erwin (R-Homer), amends Title 20  to revise and repeal certain provisions for alternative charter schools. The bill also provides for the continued operation of state-chartered special schools until no later than the expiration of each such school's current charter with the State Board of Education. The committee recommended the bill DO PASS and be sent to the Rules Committee.

  • HB 306, authored by Representative Tim Fleming (R-Covington), amends Title 20 to allow for guaranteed energy savings performance contracting in schools. The Committee recommended the bill DO PASS and be sent to the Rules Committee.

  • HB 318, authored by Representative Scott Hilton (R-Peachtree Corners), amends Title 20 to provide for the reestablishment of the Office of Charter School Compliance under the State Charter Schools Commission. The committee recommended the bill DO PASS and be sent to the Rules Committee.

  • HB 338, authored by Erwin (R-Homer), is the Student Technology Protection Act. The bill amends Title 20 to provide for the inclusion of methods for the promotion of the safe and appropriate use of technology and responsible digital citizenship in the comprehensive character education program. The committee recommended the bill DO PASS by Committee Substitute and be sent to the Rules Committee.

  • HB 538, authored by Representative Bethany Ballard (R-Warner Robins), is the Georgia Early Literacy Act. The bill amends Title 20 to require the State Board of Education to approve high-quality instructional materials to be used for teaching students in kindergarten through third grade. The committee recommended the bill DO PASS by Committee Substitute and be sent to the Rules Committee.

House Government Operations

Chair John LaHood (R-Valdosta) first announced that SB 145 will be heard on Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. It is the Landscape Equipment and Agricultural Affairs Act by Senator Shawn Still (R-Norcross). The bill is awaiting other amendments that were not ready this afternoon.

The committee then debated SB 222, by Senator Max Burns (R-Sylvania), which amends Title 21 of the O.C.G.A. to make further amendments to the election laws he has championed for numerous years.  It amends Chapter 2 of title 21 relating to elections and deals with cities and counties paying additional costs for certain election choices made by county election officials. The bill passed on a party line vote by substitute, with further amendments expected in floor action before sine die.

Senator Brass (R-Newnan) presented his SB 215, amending O.C.G.A. 50-18-72 of the O.C.G.A. relating to public records, to add law enforcement officers to the permission to delete their names and addresses from certain public online databases, as elected public officials can now do, to protect them from protests or picketing at their homes. Brass has championed these efforts for multiple years, and the members of the committee thanked him for these efforts. The bill passed unanimously.

New Legislation

The following legislation of interest has been introduced. Since the General Assembly is beyond Crossover Day, new legislation requiring action in both chambers is not eligible to achieve final passage by both chambers during this legislative session, but it will be available for consideration during the 2024 Legislative Session.


Professional counselors; authorize applicants enrolled in a master's degree program to take the master's social work licensing exam; provisions

Rep. Matt Barton (R-005)



Crimes and offenses; criminal abortion; immaculate conception clause; enact

Rep. Viola Davis (D-087)



Crimes and offenses; restrictions on performance of abortions; medical oath protection clause; enact

Rep. Viola Davis (D-087)



Public Health, Department of; Low THC Oil Patient Registry; revise provisions

Rep. Long Tran (D-080)



House Study Committee on Rural Medical Personnel Recruitment; create

Rep. Karen Mathiak (R-074)



State Board of Education; election of members by members of the House of Representatives and Senate; provide - CA

Rep. Matt Dubnik (R-029)



House Study Committee on Georgia's COVID-19 Response and Future Pandemic Preparedness; create

Rep. Scott Hilton (R-048)



House Study Committee on Workforce Innovation and Development; create

Rep. Brad Thomas (R-021)



Education; minimum salaries of special education teachers who meet certain criteria shall be 110 percent of the minimum salary; provide

Sen. Ed Setzler (R-037)



Sentencing and Imposition of Punishment; time frames for HIV testing; provide

Sen. Michael "Doc" Rhett (D-033)


What’s Next

The General Assembly is in adjournment on Wednesday for a Committee Workday and will reconvene for Legislative Day 38 on Thursday, March 23. 

The House is expected to consider the following measures on Legislative Day 38:

  • SB 45 - Education; care of students being treated for epilepsy or a seizure disorder; provide (Substitute)(Ed-13th) Anavitarte-31st

  • SB 65 - Commissioner of Insurance; general provisions; establishing an advisory committee; provisions; authorize (Substitute)(Ins-12th) Watson-1st

  • SB 86 - Education; eligible students participating in the Dual Enrollment program to access HOPE career grant funds for certain CTAE courses; allow (Substitute)(HEd-179th) Brass-28th

  • SB 91 - Workers' Compensation; the time period for the dissolution of the Subsequent Injury Trust Fund; extend (Substitute)(I&L-120th) Dixon-45th

  • SB 95 - Solid Waste Trust Fund; specify the manner in which funds appropriated shall be used (Substitute)(NR&E-166th) Robertson-29

  • SB 129 - Primaries and Elections; time off for employees to advance vote; provide (Substitute)(GAff-123rd) Williams-25th

  • SB 158 - Property Insurance; insurance premium discount or rate reduction for property owners; tornado, hurricane, or other catastrophic windstorm events; provide (Ins-15th) Robertson-29th

  • SB 197 - "Health Care Practitioners Truth and Transparency Act"; enact (Substitute)(Hth-127th) Hufstetler-52nd

  • SB 199 - State's Employee Benefit Plan Council; council to establish health savings accounts; require (Substitute)(Hth-49th) Dolezal-27th

  • SB 204 - Education Accountability; recognition of certain accrediting agencies as evaluators of the quality of education offered in public schools in this state; provide (Substitute)(Ed-36th) Dolezal-27th

The Senate Rules Committee did not yet meet to create a calendar for Legislative Day 37.

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