Gold Dome Report - Legislative Day 25 (2024)

The Georgia State Capitol hallways and hoppers continued to overflow on Thursday. Law Enforcement Day at the Capitol converged with an onslaught of hundreds of charter school students to fill the People’s House with Georgians big and small. But lawmakers were not just forced to wade through the masses of people — the pool of legislation to swim through continues to grow deeper, even as Crossover Day looms a week away. With plenty of propositions already on the table, lawmakers, and lobbyists are unified in their desire to make it stop.

The House and Senate each approved a number of measures on their floors after finding their way through the crowds. It was “Child Welfare Day” in the Senate, where several bills and resolutions affecting children were advanced. Meanwhile, the dance on the Amended FY24 Budget has begun, with each chamber appointing conferees that will work through the weekend to reach a compromise. A full recap of floor action and ensuing committee madness in this #GoldDomeReport.

In this Report:

Floor Notes

The House took up the following measures on Legislative Day 25:

The Senate took up the following measures on Legislative Day 25:

Committee Reports

Senate Regulated Industries Committee

Chairman Bill Cowsert (R-Athens) called the Regulated Industries Committee to order Thursday afternoon to discuss several measures:

Senator Frank Ginn (R-Danielsville) asks about the process for returning to compliance. Loss of funds is not permanent. Senator Gloria Butler (D-Stone Mountain) asked about the permissibility of holding back state funds. Tillery felt having a ‘stick’ is important. Senator Greg Dolezal (R-Cumming) asked what the impetus for this bill was. Compliance seems to be sporadic. This measure seeks to find out where the issue of compliance is.

LC 33 9619 received a DO PASS recommendation.

The measure received a DO PASS recommendation.

The substitute receives a DO PASS recommendation.

Roland Behn expressed support for the measure. The measure received a DO PASS recommendation as amended.

John Simpson, Newsmax, expressed support for the measure. Butler made a DO NOT PASS motion, which failed 4-5. Dolezal made the DO PASS recommendation with an amendment which passed 5-4.

Dolezal asked about varying standards of a degree in other countries. The measure requires the physician to pass certain boards before receiving these licenses.

This was the first hearing on the measure, so no action was taken. Cowsert commented there might be other measures that this could be added to.

Senate Economic Development Committee

Senator Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta) and the Economic Development Committee met late this afternoon on these measures:

Gerald Mitchell, with the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, supported the resolution with housing, healthcare, and education and viewed this as an economic development opportunity. There were discussions with the Mayor and Council, and the Mayor does support the Resolution. Carlotta Harrell, Henry County Board of Commissioners Chair, supported SR 538. Henry County is one of the fastest counties in the state, and it is home to the Atlanta Motor Speedway. $328.6 billion and 1.8 million jobs with all casinos across the country. It will provide a financial infusion to the state without raising taxes on citizens. Harrell asked that the voters be given the chance to decide. Justin Frazier, a county commissioner from Liberty County, supported the proposal. Casinos can serve as catalysts for economic growth, increasing tourism and providing other benefits.

Mike Griffin, the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, also rose to speak but opposed the Resolution. It is too dangerous. He urged the Committee to look at the detriments of gambling.

The committee was still debating this proposal as this report went to print.

House Ways and Means Committee

Chairman Shaw Blackmon (R-Bonaire) and the Ways and Means Committee met this afternoon and took up the following measures:

House Public Health Committee

Chairman Sharon Cooper (R-Marietta) and the House Public Health Committee took up these measures this afternoon:

House Education Committee

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

Carpenter presented the bill to the committee, which recommended the bill DO PASS and be sent to the Rules Committee.

Leverett presented the bill to the Committee as a Substitute passed in subcommittee that requires notice upon hiring, separation, and at least every five years (rather than all employees annually). The Committee recommended the bill DO PASS and be sent to the Rules Committee.

Ballard presented the bill to the committee, and Representative Scott Hilton (R-Peachtree Corners) offered an amendment to delete the provisions of the bill making the half-credit a graduation requirement (essentially amending the bill to require schools to offer computer science rather than require it for graduation). Ballard indicated that the amendment was unfriendly, noting that it was not offered as described to her earlier and schools must already offer computer science. After vigorous debate, the amendment failed unanimously. Representative David Wilkerson (D-Powder Springs) offered a second amendment to clarify the effective year on line 64, and the amendment was adopted.

The committee recommended the bill DO PASS as amended and be sent to the Rules Committee.

Hilton presented the bill to the committee, which recommended the bill DO PASS and be sent to the Rules Committee.

Hilton presented the bill to the committee, which recommended the bill DO PASS and be sent to the Rules Committee.

The bill we presented to the committee as a substitute (LC 49 1849S) by Representative Brent Cox (R-Dawsonville). The substitute, among other things, allows inter-district transfers and establishes an enrollment period between April 15 and June 15 each year, requires a standard method for calculating available capacity, authorizes local districts to decline to provide transportation to transferring students, ensures no discrimination in admissions, and limits tuition that may be charged (including no tuition for students eligible for free lunch). The substitute also removes the “penalty” requiring lower-performing resident school districts to contribute to the tuition of a transferring student in the receiving district from the original bill.

The committee recommended the bill DO PASS by Substitute and be sent to the Rules Committee.

New Legislation

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

H.B.1324Motor vehicles; ride share network services; liability for actions of drivers; provisionsRep. Rob Leverett (R-123)
H.B.1329State government; regulation and taxation of fantasy contests; authorize and provideRep. Ron Stephens (R-164)
H.B.1332No Patient Left Alone Act; enactRep. Mesha Mainor (R-056)
H.B.1335Health; personal care homes, assisted living communities, and memory care centers; revise staffing requirementsRep. John LaHood (R-175)
H.B.1340Professions and businesses; credentialing of qualified behavior analysts and qualified autism services practitioner-supervisors; provideRep. Scott Hilton (R-048)
H.B.1343Public assistance; provide Medicaid coverage for tobacco cessation treatmentsRep. Marvin Lim (D-098)
H.B.1344Behavioral Health Coordinating Council; allow for certain officials on to be represented by a delegate or agentRep. Katie Dempsey (R-013)
H.B.1349Attorney General; authorize and direct appointment of special prosecutor subject to certain criteriaRep. Darlene Taylor (R-173)
H.B.1350Education; students shall not be counted absent from school due to performing in certain productions; provisionsRep. Tremaine "Teddy" Reese (D-140)
H.B.1351Quality Basic Education Act; support for students living in poverty; provisionsRep. Lydia Glaize (D-067)
H.B.1352Pharmacists; prescribers provide certain information to patients or their representatives on Schedule II controlled substances or opioidsRep. Lydia Glaize (D-067)
H.B.1356Dietitian Licensure Compact Act; enactRep. Sharon Cooper (R-045)
H.B.1357Strategic Industrial Development Enhancement (SIDE) Tax Credit Act; enactRep. Rick Jasperse (R-011)
H.B.1360Controlled substances; possession of four grams or more of fentanyl; provisionsRep. Terry Cummings (D-039)
H.B.1361Crimes and offenses; distribution of computer generated obscene material depicting a child; prohibitRep. Brad Thomas (R-021)
H.B.1362Education; local five mill share funds; provide new deduction to be included in calculationsRep. Josh Bonner (R-073)
H.B.1363State employees' health insurance plan; drugs dispensed for self-administration; provisionsRep. Karen Mathiak (R-074)
H.B.1365Protecting Children's Mental Health of 2024; enactRep. Mitchell Horner (R-003)
H.B.1367Criminal procedure; expand definition of forensic medical examination to include evidence of strangulationRep. Karen Lupton (D-083)
H.B.1371Torts; clarify liability regarding third-party criminal activity; provisionsRep. James Burchett (R-176)
H.R.1164Honorable Richard H. Smith Memorial Interchange; Muscogee County; dedicateRep. Carolyn Hugley (D-141)
H.R.1165General Assembly; local school superintendents be elected by voters; provide - CARep. Tyler Smith (R-018)
H.R.1169House Study Committee on the Economic Advantages of Marijuana Legalization; createRep. Shelly Hutchinson (D-106)
H.R.1199Georgia special education teachers; commendRep. Mesha Mainor (R-056)
H.R.1214House Study Committee on the Affordability and Accessibility of Georgia's Legitimation Process; createRep. Tremaine "Teddy" Reese (D-140)
H.R.1215Speaker David E. Ralston Interstate Connector; Fannin County; dedicateRep. Rick Jasperse (R-011)

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

S.B.530"Quality Basic Education Act"; the placement of certificated professional personnel on the state minimum salary schedule; provideSen. Jason Anavitarte (R-031)
S.B.533Proceedings; jail-based competency restoration programs; provideSen. Brian Strickland (R-017)
S.B.541Department of Banking and Finance; financial Institutions; separate bidding for certain ad valorem tax foreclosure sales; provideSen. Nikki Merritt (D-009)
S.B.543Bingo; certain provisions relating to bingo games operated by nonprofit, tax-exempt organizations; changeSen. Matt Brass (R-028)
S.B.544"Georgia Women's CARE (Child Care Alternatives, Resources, and Education) Act"; enactSen. Ed Harbison (D-015)
S.B.545Child Custody Proceedings; judicial discretion in determining the right of a surviving parent to custody of a child; provideSen. Ed Harbison (D-015)
S.B.546Health; the practice of midwifery; repeal provisionsSen. Donzella James (D-035)
S.B.550Early Care and Education Programs; a minimum salary schedule for Georgia's Pre-K Program lead teachers, subject to appropriations; provideSen. Derek Mallow (D-002)
S.R.651Georgia Academy of Audiology; recognizeSen. Matt Brass (R-028)
S.R.657Peer Support and the Associated Certified Peer Specialists Workforce; recognizeSen. Kay Kirkpatrick (R-032)

What’s Next

The General Assembly is in adjournment on Friday and will reconvene for Legislative Day 26 on Monday, Feb. 26, 2024, at 10 a.m.

The House is expected to take up the following measures on Legislative Day 26:

The Senate is expected to take up the following measures on Legislative Day 26:

See our coverage of Day 1Day 2Day 3Day 4Day 5Day 6Day 7Day 8Day 9Day 10Day 11Day 12Day 13Day 14Day 15Day 16Day 17Day 18, Day 19, Day 20, Day 21, Day 22, Day 23, and Day 24

Copyright ©2024 Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP
National Law Review, Volumess XIV, Number 53