Yesterday in the Georgia Legislature – Feb. 1-2, 2022

Here’s what happened in the Georgia Legislature Day 9-10. (February 1 was Legislative Day 9. February 2 was Legislative Day 10)
This informal report on Georgia legislative activities does not include every action by the House & Senate.

House Committee Actions 

Education Committee

Both HB 60 and HB 885 passed out of Committee and now head to the House for a full vote. Here’s some background on both.

HB 60 – Rep. Wes Cantrell – ‘Georgia Promise Scholarship Act’ – This bill creates up to $6,000 in scholarships toward private school attendance.
It has garnered considerable criticism over whether or not it would allow undocumented individuals to take advantage of the scholarship funds.

HB 885 – Rep. Dave BeltonThis bill would allow a military student to attend any public school in their local school system (where they reside) beginning the 2022-2023 school year and allows them to stay for the remainder of the school year, even if their parent is transferred. Transportation is on the student/parent.

Motor Vehicles Committee

HB 1009 – Rep. Todd JonesThis bill would essentially legalize delivery by ‘personal delivery device’ or drone. It passed out of committee.  

Economic Development Committee

HB 1044 – Rep. Clay Pirkle Allows for the creation of more regional development authorities with 5 or more counties and provides a tax credit whenever jobs are created from these authorities. Approved by committee.

Creative Arts & Entertainment Committee

HB 1053 – Rep. Ron StephensThis bill extends the sunset on the tax credit for the Georgia Entertainment Industry Postproduction Investment Act by four years. (Was set for 2023) .

SB 157 – Sen. Bill CowsertSenate Bill 157 makes it unlawful for a person or group to advertise or conduct a vocal or instrumental performance or production in Georgia by using false, deceptive, or misleading affiliation between a performing group and a recording group without authorization.

Senate Committee Actions

Law Enforcement Legislation 

The Senate Finance committee gave approval to SB 361, the proposal to allow tax breaks for local police donations. Police departments would create ‘law enforcement foundations’ which could accept up to $5 million to go toward training and equipment. Individuals would receive a tax credit for donations up to $5,000 per year or 75% a corporation’s taxable income. Much like the private school scholarship program and the rural hospital tax credit, the overall program would be capped at $100 million. The bill is an initiative of Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan. 

New Bills Filed in the House

HB 1065 would require physicians who wish to involuntarily commit individuals for mental health treatment to attach an affidavit to the court documents, which must then stay with the Order and go with the individual to their place of treatment.

HB 1084 – Rep. Will Wade – addresses ‘divisive concepts’ and racial stereotyping in curriculum of public schools.

HB 1085Rep. Joseph Gullett – would allow local boards of elections to elect to use ‘instant runoff’ processes for their elections.

HB 1086 – Rep. Katie Dempsey – would require that healthcare workers offer a flu shot to any hospitalized patient over the age of 50 before they’re discharged from the hospital.

HB 1087 – Rep. Shelly Hutchinson – This is the “Undocumented Persons Family Violence Protection Act.” The bill would require that any person who is undocumented and who seeks assistance from law enforcement for a family violence matter, be immune from arrest due to immigration status.

HB 1092 – Rep. Sharon Cooper – would require every woman arrested to take a pregnancy test if not released on bond within 72 hours of arrest. Option to opt-out by woman.

Floor Votes in the Georgia Legislature Day 9-10

House Votes

HB 385 – Rep. Shaw Blackmon
The bill will allow retired members of the Teachers Retirement System of Georgia, who have obtained 30 years of creditable service, to return to work full-time, providing instruction as a certified teacher of pre kindergarten through grade 12, while receiving their full post-retirement benefit. Retired members can return to work in an “area of highest need,” as designated by the Department of Education in consultation with the Professional Standards Commission and this would only be allowed through 2026.
Passed 169-0. It now heads to the Senate.

HB 624 – Rep. Darlene Taylor
This bill adds an additional superior court judge to the South Georgia Judicial Circuit. The judge will be appointed by the Governor. Passed 169-0.

HB 478 – Rep. Bonnie Rich
This measure was filed last year but never made it to the floor for a vote. The bill addresses expert testimony in criminal cases. Currently, the evidentiary standard for testimony of expert witnesses in civil cases is lower than in criminal cases. This would make them the same by adjusting the criminal standard to match the civil standard.
Passed 138-25. It now heads to the Senate. 

HB 907 – Rep. Tyler Paul Smith
House Bill 907 specifies the date for a special election to present a question to voters on sales and use taxes, under certain circumstances, like a March election for a presidential preference primary.
Passed 137-29. It now heads to the Senate.

  • The vote on the Local Calendar for February 1 was mostly county redistricting measures resulting from the changes in the Census. They passed collectively 142-18.
  • The same is true for February 2. See the full list of local 2/2/22 bills that were voted on here. They passed 115-46.

Senate Votes 

SB 330 – Sen. John Albers
Donned the “Giving the Gift of Life Act,” this bill prohibits insurance companies from canceling or refusing to write health insurance policies because the applicant/insured person – as a living person and organ donor – donated all or part of a liver or all or part of a kidney. The bill also retroactively expands the state income tax deduction for actual donors and gives tax credits to companies that pay ‘donation compensation’ to organ donor employees.
This bill is a personal interest to Albers because he was recently gifted a kidney from his son.
Passed 51-0

SB 332- Sen. John Albers 
Donned the “Inform Consumers Act,” this bill addresses online marketplace sellers.
Passed 51-0

Amendment #1 to SB 369 – would have required that voters decide if the elections should be non-partisan. [Text of the amendment]
Failed 22-30, so the bill (voted on next) did not include the amendment.

SB 369 – Senator Clint Dixon
This bill makes the Gwinnett County Board of Education members nonpartisan positions.
Passed 32-21. It heads to the House for consideration. 

  • Local Calendar for 2/1/22 addressed Haralson County districts. Passed 48-1 (No vote Sen. Merritt)
  • No Local Calendar for 2/2/22.

Miss something from Georgia Legislature Day 9-10? Let us know.

Other Legislative Day Rundowns

Jessica Szilagyi

Jessica Szilagyi is Publisher of TGV News She focuses primarily on state and local politics as well as issues in law enforcement and corrections. She has a background in Political Science with a focus in local government and has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia.

Jessica is a "Like It Or Not" contributor for Fox5 in Atlanta and a commentator on the 'Let Me Tell You Why You're Wrong Podcast.'

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