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After D.C. siege, SWAT team keeps watch as Georgia lawmakers meet in Atlanta

Georgia Capitol
Georgia Capitol(WRDW)
Published: Jan. 11, 2021 at 4:52 AM EST
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ATLANTA (AP) — A state police SWAT team patrolled Georgia’s Capitol as lawmakers gathered Monday for the first time since rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol in Washington and threatened to take their grievances to statehouses across the country.

Lawmakers may feel less secure under Georgia’s gold dome as they get sworn in for their new terms, and not just because coronavirus infections are soaring.

Gov. Brian Kemp and other state officials have been under withering pressure from President Donald Trump and a group of GOP state lawmakers who have questioned the legitimacy of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

Members are being sworn in Monday for their two-year terms to a House and Senate still struggling to operate amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

Republican Sen. Butch Miller of Gainesville says senators for the first time will be required to wear masks.

Both chambers are requiring members and staff take twice-weekly tests to try to slow the virus’ spread.

With lawmakers awaiting committee assignments, the session could get off to an even slower start than usual. And many members were busy politicking during Georgia’s U.S. Senate runoffs and didn’t prepare for legislating.

Key issues

As Georgia lawmakers open the 2021 session of the General Assembly, they could consider changes to Georgia’s citizens arrest law after the Ahmaud Arbery shooting.

School voucher advocates could argue that the pandemic proves parents need more publicly financed choice in education.

Gambling supporters could be back for another run at legalizing sports betting and other wagering.

Hanging over the session will be the Legislature’s once-a-decade responsibility to redraw lines for state and federal voting districts, likely coming in a special session later in 2021.

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