It’s hard to believe, but with legislative days 17 through 19 complete this week, we’re almost at the halfway point of the 2021 legislative session! Nearing the mid-point of session is marked by frequent committee meetings and more votes on the floor of the House. Take a look below for some updates about the good, the bad and the ugly this week.
My Voting Record
This week, I was proud to vote on three bills that will make a real difference in the lives of Georgians:
1) HB 146, which establishes three weeks of paid parental leave for eligible state employees (other countries may scoff at this, but hey, it’s a start!),
2) HB 163, which automatically enrolls eligible children in Medicaid if they are already enrolled in SNAP, and
3) HB 128, which prohibits providers from discriminating against potential organ transplant recipients due to physical or mental disabilities.
Bills to Watch
HB 531 is an omnibus bill, that was presented to the House Special Committee on Election Integrity on Thursday, and debated on Friday. This 48-page piece of legislation was delivered to the members of the committee about an hour before the meeting, and was not made available online until today.
It includes the following voter suppression initiatives:
- Ballot drop boxes would be located inside early voting locations, and accessed only during working hours.
- Sunday voting would be canceled (71,000 voters voted on Sundays in the last presidential election).
- It would be illegal to give food and drinks to voters waiting in line.
- Provisional ballots cast by voters in the wrong district would be disqualified altogether.
- It sets a more limited timeframe for voters to request absentee ballots.
- It requires a driver’s license number, state ID number, or copy of a photo ID on absentee ballot applications (over 1.3 million voters voted absentee in the last presidential election).
Email addresses for Speaker Ralston and members of the committee: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
HB 276 would ban transgender girls from competing in single-gender sporting events if it doesn’t align with their gender identified at birth. This bill forces an already vulnerable group of children onto the sidelines, and goes against existing national sport guidelines on trans athlete inclusion.
Please contact members of the Education committee to voice your opposition to this harmful bill.
Higher Education Committee Meetings
It was a busy week for the Higher Education committee, as we met twice for hearings on several bills. Rep. Stacy Evans presented three bills dealing with Hope grant and Zell Miller Scholarship eligibility – HB 87, 88, and 89. I am a co-sponsor on HB 89, which gives students a second chance to qualify for the Zell Miller Scholarship while they are in college.
We also heard testimony from many students who would be affected by HB 120, the Georgia Resident In-State Tuition Act. This bill would allow DACA recipients to pay in-state tuition, helping us retain some of our best and brightest in the state of Georgia.
HB 1 was also presented. Calling itself a free speech bill, in actuality, it provides protections for religious, political, and ideological student organizations at Georgia’s public colleges and universities that discriminate in their membership and/or their leadership. I oppose this bill.
Georgia has released a new vaccination scheduling website, My Vaccine Georgia. If you are eligible for Phase 1A of the vaccine rollout, you may pre-register on the site. If you are not yet eligible, you can fill out a form to receive updates and learn when you will be eligible for the vaccine.
Join me this Sunday at 4 pm for another Listening Session!
I will be holding Listening Sessions most Sundays at 4 pm over Zoom until the end of the Legislative Session. The next sessions are scheduled for February 28th, March 7th, March 14th, and March 21st.
Registering once will automatically register you for every Zoom, but feel free to only attend the ones you want!
If you haven’t already, please browse my website, betsyforgeorgia.com.
As your Representative, your concerns are important to me. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 404-656-0116 with questions, concerns, or solutions you may have regarding legislation or other happenings in District 54.
To stay updated, follow me on Twitter and Facebook, and follow the Georgia House of Representatives @GAHouseHub on Twitter. Additionally, in-depth information regarding current bills, Georgia’s annual and supplemental budgets, committee meetings, and livestreams from the General Assembly can be accessed via www.legis.ga.gov.
When this is all over, I encourage you and your family to visit our State Capitol and my office, where all constituents are welcome. I look forward to connecting with you!
My office is located at:
18 Capitol Square, SW
409-B, Coverdell Legislative Office Building
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
Thank you for allowing me to serve as your representative.
Representative Betsy Holland
GA House District 54