Here are some suggestions as to what we can do in the remaining days of the Georgia General Assembly.
First, you can look up any bill or resolution directly on the State website. This excellent search tool lets you look up bills by number, topic, and even representative:
Special Interest groups follow legislation. You can find one that is of particular interest to you and look at the bills they are following. Here are a few of them that track Georgia legislation:
Find your State Representative and State Senator here and put their contact info in your phone. https://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/
Here are some of the bills that we are following in the 2021-2022 session. Click on the link in the bill number to be taken to the Georgia Legislature page for that bill where you can track progress, read the bill, find sponsors, etc. Realize that even if a bill doesn’t pass in 2021 it will remain alive and could be brought up again next session.
Crossover day this year is Monday, March 8th. Any bill that doesn’t pass the chamber where it was introduced (House for House Bills (HB), Senate for Senate Bills (SB)) is ‘dead’ for this session. We will try and update this after Crossover day.
Some of the bills we support that passed both chambers
HB 286 – Restrict ability of counties to reduce funding for county police departments
Prohibit cutting spending on police departments by more than 5% in a year.
Some limited exceptions such as revenue loss.
Passed the House 101 – 69
Passed the Senate 36 – 15
HB 511 – Make legislature use funds for collected purposes
In 2020 Georgia approved Constitutional Amendment to allow the legislature to direct collected fees. This bill forces funds collected from fees and taxes on specific activities to be used for the purpose collected.
Passed House 168 – 0
Passed the Senate 51 – 0
SB 100 – Observe standard time year-round
As modified, this bill would keep Georgia on Daylight Saving Time year-round, however, it will become effective “only if the United States Congress amends 15 U.S.C. Section 260a to authorize states to observe daylight savings time year round.”
Passed Senate 46 – 7
Passed House 111 – 48
SB 202 – Absentee Ballot Bill
Passed to House Rules on 3/22, heading to floor. Does not address Election Fraud, but it appears to tighten up absentee voting with some or all of the following provisions (waiting on final language analysis – its a 98-page bill):
- Verifying the accuracy of voter registration lists.
- Prohibiting private funding of election officials and government agencies which can lead to partisan election offices and corruption.
- Requiring voter ID verification for absentee ballot applications and voting absentee ballots, adding security over subjective signature matching.
- Protecting absentee ballots by banning automatic mailing of absentee ballots or absentee ballot request forms to all voters.
- Preventing interference with absentee ballots by limiting those who can return an absentee ballot on behalf of others.
- Ensuring drop boxes are located at government buildings and under supervision to protect against tampering with ballots that are dropped off. (we tried, they will not eliminate drop boxes, so this is the next best thing).
- Printing ballots on security paper to authenticate the validity of a ballot.
- Increasing transparency by allowing election observers complete access to the election process.
- Ensuring the counting of ballots continues without pause until all votes have been tabulated.
- Provides State Legislature with oversight of consent agreements, settlements, and consent orders proposed by the State Election Board or Secretary of State.
Passed Senate 34 – 20
Passed House 100 – 74
Signed by Governor 3/25/21
Some of the bills we support that made Crossover but didn’t pass the other chamber
HB 290 – Allow relatives to visit nursing home during pandemic
Prohibit hospitals and nursing homes from instituting any policy during a declared public health emergency that limits patients’ abilities to be visited by designated family members or friends
Passed the House 113 – 57
HB 531 – Elections Reform Bill
This 66-page bill (!) passed the Georgia House 97 – 72. Receiving the strongest Democrat condemnation of any bill. It is NOT a “voter suppression” bill. The bill does some good stuff, but the State is addressing voter fraud when what happened in November was election fraud. And this bill does nothing to address the real reason the election in Georgia was stolen.
Passed House 97 – 72
SB 67 – Elections Reform Bill
Requires submission of photocopies of voter identification documents for absentee ballot applications, provides for requesting of absentee ballot applications through a web portal. But again, this bill addresses Voter Fraud when it was Election Fraud that cost the Republicans elections in 2020.
Passed Senate 32 – 18
SB 241 – Elections and Voting; revise comprehensively
Among other excellent provisions, this bill would require that voters have a legitimate excuse to vote absentee, require a driver’s license number or state ID number to apply for an absentee ballot on paper, and require absentee voters to get their ballot envelope signed by a witness and enclose a copy of their photo ID with the ballot. It would also empower the state to prohibit the Secretary of State, and any of their attorneys or staff to enter into any consent agreement that limits, alters, or interprets any provision of this chapter without obtaining the approval of the General Assembly and limit the use of mobile voting facilities to emergencies. This might help avoid some of the problems we had with election fraud in 2020. This bill has 31 sponsors, so it should pass the Senate on Crossover Day. Unfortunately, the bill currently has no transparency provisions needed to prevent the election fraud that occurred in the November 2020 general election. It also allows removal of elected local election officials from their posts, replacing them with appointed ones – probably not a good idea, We will put up more about this bill after it heads to the House.
Passed Senate 29 – 20
Bills we support but failed to make Crossover this year (still alive for next year)
HB 1 – Forming Open and Robust University Minds
Provide for public forums at public institutions of higher education and prevent the creation of special “free speech zones”
HB 2 – Georgia Constitutional Carry Act of 2021
Defines “Lawful weapons carrier” as any person who is not prohibited by law from possessing a weapon or long gun or any person who is licensed. Lawful weapons carriers can carry a weapon anywhere that weapons are not prohibited without having to obtain a carry permit.
HB 60 – Georgia Educational Scholarship Act
Allows eligible families to access a portion of the education dollars that the state has allocated for their child and spend it on qualified educational expenses. Strongly opposed by liberal groups. Similar to a school voucher.
HB 228 – Changes illegal alien driver’s license
Illegal Alien driver’s licenses and identification cards shall not be proper identification for presentation to a poll worker. This bill would require the term “BEARER NOT A U.S. CITIZEN — NOT VOTER ID” on illegal alien licenses. Probably not going to pass because of stupid/corrupt/cowardly legislators.
HB 276 – Prohibit males from competing with females
Makes it unlawful for a public school or University to operate athletic programs or activities that permit a person whose gender is male to participate in an athletic program or activity that is designated for females. Permits lawsuits against schools that defy splitting up different-gendered student athletes.
HB 358 – Provide when a declaration of a state of emergency or disaster by the Governor shall expire
Forces the expiration of State of Emergency after 30 days and requires that the Legislature reconvene to continue it (currently the Governor can do it on his own). Unfortunately, this bill doesn’t look likely to pass because it limits the power of the Governor.
SB 245 – Right to keep and bear arms (no matter what the feds say)
This bill would prohibit public officers from ordering the enforcement of certain federal acts regarding the right to keep and bear arms. According to the text of the bill – “no federal executive order, agency order, law, statute, rule, or regulation … shall be knowingly or willfully ordered to be enforced by any public if contrary to Article I, Section I, Paragraph VIII of the Constitution of this state”
SB 266 – Save Girls Sports Act
This bill has very broad Republican support. It makes it unlawful for a public or private school whose students compete against a public school to “operate, sponsor, or facilitate athletic programs or activities that permit a person whose gender is male to participate in an athletic program or activity that is designated for females”
Some bills we DO NOT support
If you enjoy fighting against something instead of for it, here are just a few introduced by misguided legislators. None of these will pass as long as Republicans maintain control, but we can’t let our guard down! These issues will continue to be advanced, and if, God forbid, Democrats regain control they will become law. NOTE: We could have included many more, but our patience reading this dribble is limited.
HB 355 – Establish a carbon registry
Enable the creation and tracking of carbon credits that can be accrued and then sold by developers to companies looking to offset their carbon footprint.
HB 431 – Environmental Justice in Permitting
Applicant must first prepare an environmental justice impact statement, transmit the environmental justice impact statement to the department and to the local government in which the community is located, and organize and conduct a public hearing in the overburdened community.
HB 471 – Regulation of bows and arrows
Provide for the regulation of bows and arrows. I am not kidding. Here is text from the bill: “… a municipal corporation may regulate the transport, carrying, or possession of bows and arrows”
SB 46 – Allow release of medical records (without consent)
State-wide vaccination registry for children under age 18. Vaccination information can be kept and released with consent of child or parent.
SB 104 – Retail Distribution of Plastic “Grocery” Bags
Prohibit the distribution of plastic “grocery” bags by retail stores to customers.
SB 179 – Universal background checks
Require universal background checks in all manner of firearm transfers and purchases. Text from the bill – “… an unlicensed person shall not transfer a firearm to any other unlicensed person, unless a licensed firearms dealer has first taken possession of the firearm and completed the requirements of this Code 44 section”