3/29/2021 - As you can imagine, it's busy at the General Assembly with just a few days left in the 2021 session. House members are presenting their bills in Senate committees and Senators to our House committees. Voting on bills that will change how Georgians are educated, get healthcare, and vote were on tap to name a few. I have talked a lot this session about how quiet the building has been with so many fewer people visiting us and letting us know how they feel about bills, due to Covid. Well, it was a lot better this week; when I walked in the building at some point Tuesday it was loud, and it was good to hear everyone. Some of the bills we passed are below.
Senate Bill 6, or the “Tax Credit Return on Investment Act of 2021,” passed the House this week to examine our state’s tax revenue structure, ensuring taxpayer dollars are spent wisely and efficiently. Additionally, this bill would create the “2021 Special Council on Tax Reform and Fairness for Georgians,” and this bipartisan group of state leaders and area experts would conduct a study of the state’s current revenue structure ahead of the 2022 legislative session. This legislation also includes the “Georgia Economic Renewal Act of 2021,” which would establish and change several tax credits to support renewal and recovery efforts for Georgia’s economy, such as creating an additional tax credit for jobs created by a medical equipment and supplies manufacturer or a pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturer. It would also improve a tax credit to incentivize high-impact aerospace defense projects throughout the state (think Lockheed) and add $100 million in funding for the Georgia Agribusiness and Rural Jobs Act.
The House also gave unanimous passage to Senate Bill 33 to allow victims of human trafficking to seek justice from those who have exploited them. SB 33 would establish a civil cause of action for victims of human trafficking against a perpetrator, such as a person and/or entity that knowingly benefited financially or gained anything of value from exploiting these individuals.
Before this week ended, we passed Senate Bill 195 to increase the responsibilities of the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission. This legislation would allow the commission to review new treatment and delivery methods of low THC oil and products that result from medical research. In addition, SB 195 would allow local jurisdictions to use their zoning powers to allow additional dispensary locations and allow licenses to be issued.
The longest debate of the week was on Senate Bill 202, the “Election Integrity Act of 2021.” This bill would make changes to areas of election process and administration, such as requiring two mandatory Saturday early voting dates and allowing communities the option of voting on up to two Sundays during early voting; requiring a driver’s license or state ID card number to request and submit an absentee ballot; regulating the use of absentee ballot drop boxes; banning mobile polling locations and private funding for elections; securing precinct areas against non-voting activities; requiring shorter timelines for processing absentee ballots and certifying election results; requiring security paper to allow for authentication of ballots; authorizing the State Election Board to make necessary changes and ensuring legislative review of emergency rules.
The debate on SB 202 was two hours, and I will have a link to it on my Facebook page, or I can send it to you so you can watch it for yourself. If you would like a summary of the bill and what it does, please contact me and I will send it to you.
I greatly appreciate any feedback I receive from my constituents, and I welcome you to contact my office for questions or concerns about the legislative session. My Capitol office number is 404-656-7153, my home 770-893-2039, and my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Please contact me anytime.