[May 1, 2023] - The legislative session for Georgia has finished. So now we wait; as the Governor has the power to sign a bill; or not sign, and it becomes law without his signature; or he can veto a bill that both chambers have passed. He has 40 business days to do that. As Governor Kemp signs them, I will try to keep you updated in these articles as to what really passed!!
The Governor hasn't signed the budget yet, so he may be thinking about using the line-item veto he has to not fund a few things ... we will see in the next week or two.
I will go over a few bills that were signed this past week or so that may interest you.
SB 44 will protect Georgia's children from being lured into a life of violent crime, and keep criminals off the street. SB 44 increases penalties for criminal gang activities, especially for those who recruit children. It also codifies judicial best practices and cuts down on the revolving door of criminal justice by ensuring judges consider an offenders' criminal record and history of returning to court before issuing a bond that frees an offender on their own recognizance.
HB 227 increases penalties for those who illegally damage critical infrastructure like our power or communications equipment.
SB 60 makes it harder for thieves to sell catalytic converters and other stolen materials.
HB 414 establishes a mental health support program grant for veterans and their families. Competitive matching grants will be awarded to nonprofit community behavioral health programs that ensure access to high-quality mental and behavioral healthcare.
SB 213 enables property owners to replace an existing manufactured home with a newly built manufactured home without running into bureaucratic restrictions.
HB 545 authorizes the creation of an Agricultural Commodity Commission for Citrus Fruits. The commission will have the ability to fund research, education, promotion, and marketing programs for the benefit of the growing citrus industry.
SB 246 provides for student loan repayment for certain nursing instructors. This will help address the big shortage of qualified nursing educators which will over time increase the number of nurses in the state.
HB 155 streamlines and creates a process to allow the issuance of occupational licenses by endorsement for new workers moving to Georgia - removing barriers for those moving to the state to continue to practice their trade. This is an issue for many military spouses that move to our state.
Lastly is HB 88, known as the Coleman-Baker Act. The bill is named after two murder victims - Rhonda Sue Coleman and Tara Louise Baker Coleman; Coleman was murdered in 1990 in Hazlehurst, and Baker was killed in 2001 in Athens. I became aware of the Coleman case on the podcast Foxhunters ... this would allow families of murder victims to request a review of a cold case by law enforcement agencies.
Hope this helps you look at how and what your government has done this winter to help keep Georgia the best place to live, work, and be free.
You are welcome to call me or email me call if you have any questions or concerns regarding the state budget bills, the legislative process, or any other measures considered under the Gold Dome. A number of you have done so, wondering about the status or details of a certain bill. My Capitol office number is 404-656-7153. My email is email@example.com.
As always, thank you for allowing me to serve as your State Representative.