Georgia Senate committees to probe safe firearm storage, artificial intelligence

(The Center Square) — A series of Georgia Senate study committees will probe hot-button issues, ranging from safe firearm storage to preserving Georgia’s farmlands to artificial intelligence.

Lt. Governor Burt Jones appointed members to seven 2024 Senate Study Committees. The committees will make recommendations that could guide lawmakers’ actions during next year’s legislative session.

“Each of these study committees will review current policies and practices within their specific topics,” Jones said in a statement. “The appointees are experts on these issues and bring their unique experience and knowledge to each of the committees.”

Jones appointed Sen. Brian Strickland, R-McDonough, to chair the Senate Study Committee on Access to Affordable Child Care, which includes Sens. Matt Brass, R-Newnan; Clint Dixon, R-Gwinnett; Bo Hatchett, R-Cornelia; Derek Mallow, D-Savannah; Elena Parent, D-Atlanta; and Michael “Doc” Rhett, D-Marietta.

The lieutenant governor appointed Senator Billy Hickman, R-Statesboro, to chair the Senate Study Committee on the Preservation of Georgia’s Farmlands. It also includes Sens. Jason Anavitarte, R-Dallas; Brandon Beach, R-Alpharetta; Jason Esteves, D-Atlanta; Russ Goodman, R-Homerville; Freddie Powell Sims, D-Dawson; and Sam Watson, R-Moultrie.

Sen. Chuck Payne, R-Dalton, will chair the Senate Study Committee on Veterans’ Mental Health and Housing. Jones also appointed Sens. Ed Harbison, D-Columbus; Josh McLaurin, D-Sandy Springs; Shawn Still, R-Norcross; and Rick Williams, R-Milledgeville, to the committee.

Sen. Randy Robertson, R-Cataula, will chair the Senate Supporting Safety and Welfare of All Individuals in Department of Corrections Facilities Study Committee. Jones also named Beach and Sens. John Albers, R-Roswell, Tonya Anderson, D-Lithonia; Timothy Bearden, R-Carrollton; Steve Gooch, R-Dahlonega; and Kim Jackson, D-Stone Mountain, to the committee.

Senate President Pro Tempore John F. Kennedy, R-Macon, will chair the Senate Advancing Forest Innovation in Georgia Study Committee. Gooch and Sens. Frank Ginn, R-Danielsville; Russ Goodman, R-Homerville; Sonya Halpern, D-Atlanta; and Larry Walker, R-Perry, will also serve on the committee.

Jones named Albers as chairman of the Senate Study Committee on Artificial Intelligence. The committee includes Esteves, Still and Sens. Max Burns, R-Sylvania; Senator Sheikh Rahman, D-Lawrenceville; and Ed Setzler, R-Acworth.

During this year’s session, lawmakers considered House Bill 988, which would have required the Georgia Technology Authority to audit state agencies’ use of artificial intelligence.

Sen. Emanuel Jones, D-Decatur, will chair the Senate Safe Firearm Storage Study Committee, which also includes Ginn and Sens. Marty Harbin, R-Tyrone; David Lucas, D-Macon; and Ben Watson, R-Savannah.

By T.A. DeFeo | The Center Square contributor

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