On Wednesday, November 29, 2023, the Georgia General Assembly returned to the Gold Dome and convened for a special legislative session. Article V, Section II, Paragraph VII of the Georgia Constitution grants the governor the power to convene a special session of the General Assembly, and my colleagues and I were called into this special session following a court ruling issued by U.S. District Judge Steve Jones instructing the General Assembly to redraw Georgia’s congressional and state district maps. The House of Representatives convened for seven days during this special session, adjourning on Thursday, December 7, 2023.
The House Committee on Reapportionment and Redistricting held several public hearings throughout the special session to hear public testimony on proposed remedial House, Senate and congressional maps before the legislation reached the House floor for a vote. To maximize our time under the Gold Dome during the special session, many other House committees also held hearings in preparation for the next regular legislative session, which will begin on Monday, January 8, 2024.
One of the first pieces of legislation that my colleagues and I voted on in the House was House Bill 1EX, or the “Georgia House of Representatives Redistricting Act of 2023,” the remedial House district map. This bill was passed in the House on Friday, December 1, 2023, and was then voted on by our counterparts in the Senate on Tuesday, December 5, 2023, where it received final passage. This legislation has now been sent to Governor Kemp for his consideration.
Additionally, the House gave final approval to Senate Bill 1EX, the “Georgia Senate Redistricting Act of 2023,” which is the remedial Senate district map, on Tuesday, December 5, 2023. After receiving final passage in the House, SB 1EX was also sent to the governor to be signed into law.
On the final day of the special session, the House voted on Senate Bill 3EX, the “Georgia Congressional Redistricting Act of 2023,” which would adjust the composition of Georgia’s congressional districts. SB 3EX received final passage on the House floor on Thursday, December 7, 2023, and was also sent to the governor’s desk.
In addition to our redistricting work during the special session, the governor’s proclamation also charged us with considering other necessary legislation. As such, my colleagues and I voted to adopt House Resolution 3EX on Friday, December 1, 2023. HR 3EX ratifies executive orders issued by Governor Kemp on September 12, 2023, October 6, 2023, and November 8, 2023, to suspend the collection of motor fuel and diesel fuel taxes due to inflation.
House Resolution 4EX was also adopted in the House on Monday, December 4, 2023. This resolution condemns Hamas terrorism, those who support their violence and hateful acts in both the United States and the State of Georgia and expresses support for the Jewish people.
Shortly before the House convened for the special legislative session, our state and the nation mourned the loss of Former First Lady, Rosalynn Carter. When my colleagues and I convened for the first day of the special session, we took time to honor the life and legacy of Rosalynn Carter with the adoption of House Resolution 6EX, which commends Mrs. Carter for her unwavering leadership and dedication to Georgia and the United States. My colleagues and I reflected on her life and offered a moment of silence for Rosalynn Carter and the Carter family. Mrs. Carter left behind a legacy of advocacy, resilience and partnership that has made an indelible mark on our state, the nation and the world.
Finally, while my colleagues and I were at the State Capitol for the special session, members of the House and Senate joined Governor Kemp for a press conference where the governor announced a legislative proposal for the upcoming regular legislative session that would accelerate a decrease in the state individual income tax rate. The governor’s proposal would amend House Bill 1437, legislation that was signed into law in 2022, which established a step down of 10 basis points in the income tax rate, starting in 2025 and for each taxable year thereafter until the rate reaches 4.99 percent. If the reduction was accelerated, the rate for Tax Year 2024 would decrease to 5.39 percent, rather than 5.49 percent previously set by HB 1437. This would mark a cut of 36 basis points from the Tax Year 2023 rate of 5.75 percent. It is estimated that Georgia taxpayers would see approximately $1.1 billion in savings in calendar year 2024 as a result of the proposed tax acceleration and the 26 basis-points reduction provided in HB 1437. I will be sure to update you on this proposal as it makes its way through the legislative process next session.
Now that the special legislative session is adjourned, I will be returning to our district for the holiday season before the General Assembly convenes for the 2024 regular legislative session on Monday, January 8, 2024. During my time back home, I will be looking ahead to the regular session, so I encourage you to contact me regarding legislative issues that are important to you, your family and our community. You can reach my Capitol office at 404-656-0178 or Lehman.Franklin@house.ga.gov. Since I will be spending more time in our district until after the New Year, you may also contact me locally at 912-764-8090.
I hope you and your family have a safe and happy holiday season. As always, thank you for allowing me to serve as your representative.