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Gold Dome Report – Legislative Day 20 (2024)
Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Amidst the madness of the legislative session, it is important to pause and appreciate the melting pot that is the Georgia General Assembly. For example, already this week, there has been legislation introduced to designate the blueberry as Georgia’s official state berry (SB 489) and a resolution honoring Usher and his latest album, described as “an homage to his deep connection” with Atlanta (SR 585). Even amongst the hustle and bustle, there’s obviously still time to acknowledge what Georgians really care about under the Gold Dome.

Tuesday marked the nominal halfway point of the 2024 Legislative Session. But veteran lawmakers and lobbyists know that the race to adjournment sine die has just begun. It’s hard to imagine the already breakneck pace quickening, but we’ll try to keep up with the pack with the #GoldDomeReport.

In this Report:

  • Floor Notes
  • Committee Reports
  • New Legislation
  • What’s Next

Floor Notes

The House took up the following measures on Legislative Day 20:

  • HB 814 - Income tax credit; certain manufacturing and telecommunications facilities; qualified investment property; revise definition — PASSED 162-1
  • HB 873 - Courts; juvenile treatment court divisions; create — PASSED 152-0
  • HB 909 - Georgia Bureau of Investigation; restriction and seal of First Offenders Act; provide — PASSED 155-0
  • HB 925 - Protecting Religious Assembly in States of Emergency (PRAISE) Act; enact — PASSED 112-50
  • HB 991 - Hospital Medicaid Financing Program; extend sunset provision — PASSED 157-1
  • HB 1010 - Public officers and employees; increase number of hours permitted for paid parental leave — POSTPONED
  • HB 1037 - Georgia Commission on Maternal and Infant Health; create — PASSED 160-0
  • HB 1083 - Community Health, Department of; adult residential mental health services licensing; extend grace periods — PASSED 161-0
  • HB 1162 - Internal Revenue Code and Internal Revenue Code of 1986; revise terms and incorporate certain provisions of federal law into Georgia law — PASSED 161-0
  • HR 804 - Local government; temporary loans are payable from end of calendar year to 12 months of initial funding date; change date — PASSED 161-0
  • HR 1019 - America's borders; support increased protections — PASSED 98-71

The Senate took up the following measures on Legislative Day 20:

  • SB 412 - Professions and Businesses; administrative and civil sanctions against charitable organizations, paid solicitors, and solicitor agents for certain violations; change provisions — PASSED 47-1
  • SB 424 - West Georgia Judicial Circuit; create — PASSED 47-1
  • SB 389 - Georgia National Guard; adjutant general to be the official sponsor of the state-sponsored life insurance program; provide — PASSED 47-0
  • SB 334 - "Helping Firefighters Beat Cancer Act"; enact — PASSED 48-0
  • SB 340 - Sales and Use Taxes; firearm safes and firearm safety devices; exempt — PASSED 46-1
  • SB 426 - Motor Vehicles and Traffic; requirements for joining of a motor carrier and motor carrier's insurer to a cause of action; revise — PASSED 46-2
  • HB 63 - Insurance; insurers providing policies for groups of 20 or more to furnish claims experience at the request of a group policyholder; require — PASSED 45-0

Committee Reports

Senate Children and Families Committee

Chair Kay Kirkpartick (R-Marietta) called the Senate Children and Families Committee to order Tuesday afternoon to discuss the following measures:

  • SB 401, authored by Kirkpatrick, amends Title 15 to require juvenile courts to collect data and send it to the Administrative Office of the Court and be incorporated into the Georgia Juvenile Data Exchange.

Senator Jason Esteves (D-Atlanta) asked about the vendor and the systems and was concerned with explicitly including a specific system name. Senator Kim Jackson (D-Stone Mountain) asked about line 77, which requires data uploads once per week, and the potential burden. Kirkpatrick explained there would be a learning curve. The only time constraint is data being submitted to the General Assembly. Senator Chuck Payne (R-Dalton) needed clarification on the privacy of these systems.

The measure received a DO PASS recommendation.

Senate Education and Youth Committee

Chairman Clint Dixon (R-Gwinnett) called the Senate Education and Youth Committee to order Tuesday afternoon to discuss the following:

  • SB 88, authored by Senator Carden Summers (R-Cordele), amends Title 19 to create the “Parents and Children Protection Act of 2023”. The measure seeks to prevent any adult operating in ‘in loco parentis’ of a minor from discussing sex education or information regarding a child's sexual orientation or gender identification if different from the minor's biological sex. To have such a discussion, the adult would need written consent from the parent.

The measure received a DO PASS recommendation after hearing public testimony. 

  • SB 440, authored by Senator Matt Brass (R-Newnan), amends Title 20 relating to dual enrollment programs. Brass explained the history of dual enrollment and recent legislation. This measure builds on that progress. This measure seeks to consolidate the high-demand career lists with certain instructional courses to better align with Pathway programs. The sunset is also extended in this bill.

The measure received a DO PASS recommendation.

  • SB 351, authored by Senator Jason Anavitarte (R-Dallas), amends Titles 20 and 39 to update the definitions of bullying and cyberbullying. It requires commercial platforms to check ages and prohibits them from allowing minors under 16 to use their platform without parental consent. The Attorney General's Office will enforce the measure.

Mike Griffin of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board and Taylor Hawkins of the Frontline Policy Action spoke in favor of the measure.

The measure received a DO PASS recommendation.

  • SB 464, authored by Dixon, amends Title 20 to establish a program for school supplies. This would be subject to appropriation by the General Assembly. The measure received a DO PASS recommendation.
  • SB 147, authored by Senator Shawn Still (R-Norcross), amends Title 20 to create the "Boundless Opportunities For Georgia's Students Act". This measure seeks to allow students in one public school system to take virtual courses in another system. The measure would only allow a student's QBE funds to travel with the student, not equalization or federal funds. The substitute removes section two of the measure. No action was taken on the measure.

Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee

Chairman Bill Cowsert (R-Athens) called the Senate Committee to order Tuesday to discuss the following measures:

  • SB 429, authored by Senator Greg Dolezal (R-Cumming), amends Titles 28, 31, and 50 to create the “Small Business Protection Act of 2024”. The measure requires agencies to complete an economic analysis for rulemaking and the probable effect on individuals and businesses.

Taylor Hawkins of Frontline Policy Council and Tony West of Americans For Prosperity spoke in favor of the measure. State Auditor Greg Griffin expressed concern over the measure and provided some suggestions.

LC 55 0151 received a DO PASS recommendation.

  • SR 579, authored by Cowsert, is the constitutional amendment to create a referendum for sports betting. The measure would contribute 80% of revenue to the educational opportunity fund, which funds HOPE and pre-K programs. It will first contribute to pre-K and then HOPE. 15% of revenue will support a Responsible Gaming Program, with 5% of revenue for a Sports Promotion Fund.

The committee was hearing testimony as this report went to print.

New Legislation

The following new legislation of interest has been introduced in the House:

H.B.1231 Postsecondary education; allow academically successful students to use the full number of hours of HOPE scholarship eligibility Rep. Scott Holcomb (D-081) https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/66923
H.B.1234 Motor vehicles; conditions, procedures, and limitations for issuance of temporary operating permits; provide Rep. John Corbett (R-174) https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/66926
H.B.1240 Uniform Commercial Code Modernization Act of 2024; enact Rep. Matt Reeves (R-099) https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/66939
H.B.1244 Georgia Intellectual Property Protection Act; enact Rep. Todd Jones (R-025) https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/66949
H.B.1245 Law enforcement officers and agencies; facial recognition technology; provisions Rep. Terry Cummings (D-039) https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/66950
H.B.1251 The Council of Superior Court Judges of Georgia; duties related to review and approval for travel expenses; transfer from state auditor Rep. Rob Leverett (R-123) https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/66961
H.B.1252 Health; prohibit smoking and vaping inside any motor vehicle when a person who is under 18 years of age is present Rep. Sandra Scott (D-076) https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/66962
H.B.1255 The Terry Act; enact Rep. Sheila Jones (D-060) https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/66965
H.B.1257 Seed-Capital Fund; businesses in which state may invest fund moneys; revise Rep. Dar'shun Kendrick (D-095) https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/66970
H.B.1259 Trademarks; streaming services to comply with certain provisions of federal copyright law; provide Rep. Martin Momtahan (R-017) https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/66972
H.B.1260 Georgia Nicotine Vapor Products Directory Act; enact Rep. Houston Gaines (R-120) https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/66973
H.R.1099 Sex Trafficking Awareness Day at the state capitol; February 27, 2024; recognize Rep. Chuck Efstration (R-104) https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/66987

The following new legislation of interest has been introduced in the Senate:

S.B.487 Medical Assistance; Medicaid expansion; provide Sen. David Lucas (D-026) https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/66943
S.B.489 State Symbols; blueberry as the official state berry; designate Sen. Russell "Russ" Goodman (R-008) https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/66945
S.B.490 Motor Vehicles and Traffic; felony offense of fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer; provide Sen. Bill Cowsert (R-046) https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/66954
S.B.491 Licensed Pharmacist; Georgia State Board of Pharmacy to increase the maximum ratio of pharmacists; authorize Sen. Matt Brass (R-028) https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/66968
S.B.492 "Addy's Law"; enact Sen. Rick "Ricky" Williams (R-025) https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/66969
S.B.493 Sexual Offender Risk Review Board; additional penalties for registered sexual offenders; provide Sen. Bo Hatchett (R-050) https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/67000
S.R.585 Raymond IV, Usher; honor Sen. Sonya Halpern (D-039) https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/66920
S.R.594 Georgia Career and Technical Student Organizations Day; recognize February 2024 as Career and Technical Education Month and February 22, 2024 Sen. Chuck Payne (R-054) https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/66946

What’s Next

The General Assembly is in adjournment on Wednesday, Feb. 14, and will reconvene for Legislative Day 21 on Thursday, Feb.15, 2024, at 10 a.m.

The House is expected to take up the following measures on Legislative Day 21:

  • HB 53 - State Board of Registration for Foresters; independent state agency; provisions
  • HB 409 - Local government; authorize local authorities to dispose of real property in the same manner as county governing authorities
  • HB 424 - Courts; office of sheriff; revise qualification requirements
  • HB 912 - Motor vehicles; define multipurpose off-highway vehicle; subclassify for ad valorem tax purposes
  • HR 449 - Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Awareness Day; fourth Wednesday in February; designate

The Senate is expected to take up the following measures on Legislative Day 21:

  • SB 349 - Ad Valorem Taxation of Property; setting of millage rates; revise provisions
  • SB 430 - COVID-19 Pandemic Business Safety; provisions for rebuttable presumptions of risk by claimants in certain COVID-19 liability claims; revise
  • SB 443 - Abatement of Nuisances; inclusion of claims against promoters and organizers for costs incurred by local governments due to unpermitted events: provide
  • SR 470 - Senate Study Committee on the Preservation of Georgia's Farmlands; create

See our coverage of Day 1Day 2Day 3Day 4Day 5Day 6Day 7Day 8Day 9Day 10Day 11Day 12Day 13Day 14Day 15Day 16Day 17Day 18, and Day 19.

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