Which bills are moving forward and which ones aren’t at Ga. Capitol
ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia lawmakers pushed through a flurry of bills before a key deadline Monday, the last day for legislation to pass either the House or Senate and advance to the other legislative chamber for consideration this year.
Proposals that didn’t pass Monday could still be resurrected later this year, but it becomes more difficult.
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Big winners, losers
SPORTS BETTING: Georgia lawmakers are again spurning plans to legalize sports betting. They’re rejecting an effort that had been pushed by Atlanta’s sports teams and business leaders. The state Senate on Monday rejected a constitutional amendment that would have allowed voters to decide whether to legalize sports gambling. The state House never took up a bill that would have authorized sports gambling without such an amendment. The measures in both houses failed to advance by a Monday deadline to pass out of their original chamber. That makes it unlikely any sports gambling measure will pass this year.
GENDER: The Georgia Senate has passed a bill to bar some kinds of gender-affirming care in the state for anyone younger than 18. All Republican senators voted for the bill. They’re overriding pleas against the measure from a Democratic senator who is the mother of a transgender son. The bill advances to the House for more debate. It would ban most gender-confirming surgeries and hormone replacement therapies for people under 18. However, unlike laws adopted in some states, it would still allow doctors to prescribe medicines to block puberty. It’s is part of a nationwide effort by conservatives to restrict transgender athletes, gender-affirming care and drag shows.
HATE CRIMES: Lawmakers in the Georgia House have voted to define antisemitism in state law, a move supporters say would help identify hate crimes and illegal discrimination targeting Jewish people. The measure was approved Monday, a few weeks after some suburban Atlanta residents found anti-Jewish flyers in their driveways. House Bill 30 would adopt as Georgia law the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism as a “perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews.” Lawmakers opposing the measure say they fear it would infringe on free speech rights. Democratic Rep. Esther Panitch, Georgia’s only Jewish legislator, says the definition is necessary because authorities aren’t always certain what constitutes antisemitism.
- PROSECUTOR OVERSIGHT: House Bill 231 and Senate Bill 92 would both create a commission to discipline or remove district attorneys and county solicitors general.
- VOUCHERS: Senate Bill 233 would give $6,000 educational vouchers to many students that could be used to pay for private school tuition, home schooling or other educational needs.
- LITERACY INSTRUCTION: House Bill 538 would mandate changes to how Georgia students are taught to read, while Senate Bill 211 would create a council to study changes.
- TRUCK WEIGHTS: House Bill 189 would allow trucks carrying logging, farming and mining commodities to weigh up to 88,000 pounds (40,000 kilograms), compared to the current 84,000 pounds (38,000 kilograms).
- JUVENILE CRIMES: House Bill 462 would raise the age for filing adult criminal charges against people from 17 to 18 for most crimes.
- TAX ON DOWNLOADS: House Bill 170 would impose sales tax on books, music, movies, pictures, games and other digital goods bought online, although it would not affect rental or subscription items.
- WRONGFUL CONVICTIONS: House Bill 364 would create a commission to decide how the state should compensate people who are wrongfully convicted, instead of letting lawmakers decide compensation on a case-by-case basis.
- MENTAL HEALTH: House Bill 520 seeks to recruit more mental health care workers and find ways to help people who bounce between hospitals, jails and homelessness.
- CASH BAIL: Senate Bill 63 adds 53 crimes, including some misdemeanors, for which suspects would be required to post cash or property bail before being released from pretrial detention.
- INCOME TAX: House Bill 162 would grant a second straight year of state income tax refunds between $250 and $500 for most taxpayers.
- GANGS: Senate Bill 44 would add a mandatory five years to prison sentences for anyone convicted of a gang crime and 10 years for anyone convicted of recruiting minors into a gang.
- RENTER RIGHTS: House Bill 404 would require rental properties to be fit for human habitation when a renter signs a lease and would require a tenant to have at least three business days after rent is due before a landlord could file for eviction.
- ELECTION FUNDING: Senate Bill 222 would make it a felony for local governments to accept money to fund elections from outside groups, except from the state or federal government.
- ELECTRIC VEHICLES: House Bill 406 would allow electric vehicle owners to purchase electricity to charge their vehicles by the amount of power they use instead of the amount of time spent charging.
- CRIMES AGAINST INFRASTRUCTURE: House Bill 227 would make it a crime to use electronic or physical means to attack systems providing electricity, water, sewer, internet, public transportation, emergency services and health care.
- FELONY RIOT: House Bill 505 would make the crime of rioting a felony instead of a misdemeanor, while House Bill 500 would create a new felony for setting fire to a police vehicle.
- WELFARE FOR PREGNANT MOMS: House Bill 129 would allow poor pregnant women to seek cash assistance under the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.
- SAFE SCHOOLS: House Bill 147 requires schools to submit their safety plans to the state annually, requires an annual active shooter drill at each school and creates a school safety and anti-gang training program for teachers.
- FOREIGN LAND OWNERSHIP: Senate Bill 132 would bar people and companies from certain foreign countries from buying farmland within 25 miles (40 kilometers) of any military base.
DID NOT ADVANCE
- LIMITING LAWSUITS: Senate Bill 186 would have made it difficult to sue property owners if someone is injured because of the misconduct of a third party on the property.
- BUCKHEAD CITY: Senate Bill 114 would have allowed residents of Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood to secede from the city of Atlanta and create a new city, but the Senate voted it down.
- PAPER BALLOTS: House Bill 426 would have let people inspect paper ballots after an election. Now, only electronic images are available.
- VOTER CHALLENGES: Senate Bill 221 would have made it easier to challenge whether people are qualified to vote because of residency issues. The full Senate declined to consider it.
- OKEFENOKEE PROTECTION: House Bill 71 would have barred mining near the Okefenokee Swamp in southeast Georgia. The bill did not advance out of committee.
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