It was a big week! I began the week by qualifying for the 2022 election on Monday, and I ended the week sitting in the House chamber well into the evening voting (and then stopping by the North Atlanta High School annual fundraiser to raise a toast to our teachers and students). Friday was legislative day 27, which Speaker Ralston affectionately calls Crossover Eve. It was our last legislative day before Crossover Day, which is scheduled for Tuesday. That’s legislative day 28, and it’s our last chance to pass bills out of the House chamber to give them enough time to “crossover” to the Senate. We expect that day to run long – we typically vote until close to midnight to squeeze in all of the bills we can.

Our brightest moment of celebration came on Wednesday, when the House passed HB 1013, the bipartisan Mental Health Parity Act. The bill could change mental health coverage, expand access to mental health resources, and provide better training for those first responders who encounter those with mental health challenges. Passage of the bill was met with a standing ovation and many hugs and handshakes.

Easily the most controversial bill of the week was the passage of HB 1358, the permitless carry bill. This bill, opposed by gun safety advocates and many in law enforcement, would allow Georgians to carry a concealed weapon without a permit.

I got a bit of ideological whiplash going from the joyful passage of HB1013 to the vote on HB1358. Georgia has some of the most lax gun laws in the nation, and there is a powerful link between rates of firearm ownership and suicides. Every year, an average of 909 people in Georgia die by gun suicides and 132 are wounded by gun suicide attempts—a rate of 8.5 suicides and 1.3 suicide attempts per 100,000 people. If we really cared about the mental health of Georgians, maybe we should make it a little harder to get a gun in this state. 


The Budget

On Friday, we passed the Fiscal Year 2023 State Budget – and it’s a big one! The budget assumes $30.2 billion in revenue to fund some significant investments in state government. Some highlights from the budget include:

  • A $5,000 cost of living increase for state employees, the first COLA increase in more than a decade.
  • A $2,000 increase in base pay for certified teachers and employees.
  • Funds to extend post-partum Medicaid coverage for new mothers from six months to one year, a step to address Georgia’s very high maternal mortality rate.
  • Funds to hire additional SWAT Unit troopers.
  • Increased funding for the GBI to hire 67 new positions to combat crime and support the criminal justice system.
  • Funds to add 10 new accountability courts and 27 accountability court officers, which includes mental health court and veterans’ court.

The Amended Fiscal Year 2022 State Budget passed overwhelming in the House yesterday. While I always hope for more robust funding of our state agencies than we get in the final budget, here are a few highlights to celebrate:

  • Restoring $1.3M for Judicial Branch funds.
  • Funding to replace 500+ vehicles for the Department of Public Safety, GBI and other public safety departments, funds to upgrade radio equipment, and funds to improve lab equipment at the GBI.
  • Restoring another $383M for K-12 education funding (the funding was severely cut in the 2020-21 budget due to COVID).
  • One-time supplemental funding for education professionals, including school nurses, custodians, bus drivers, instructional staff, specialists and more.
  • $10M to the Georgia Student Finance Commission to address workforce needs and provide student debt relief for mental health or substance use professionals.
  • Nearly $30M for the Department of Natural Resources Parks and Recreation program for repairs and renovations.

Qualifying for re-election!

My Voting Record

HB 1013, the Mental Health Parity Act. This bill addresses several key issues to improve access to mental health and substance abuse care in Georgia.  It adds enforcement mechanisms to ensure parity in insurance coverage, promotes workforce development in increase access to healthcare, improves treatment options for persons in crisis, and adds methods of data collection to promote best practices. It’s rare to see such bipartisan cooperation on the floor of the House, and it felt very good to vote Yes on this bill. 

HB 1358. Chairman John Meadows Act. This is the permitless carry act, that will let Georgians carry a concealed handgun without first getting a license from the state. I voted No on this bill. A similar bill has already passed the Senate.

HB1302. This bill provides a one-time income tax refund equal to the lesser of the taxpayer’s 2020 income tax liability or $250 for a taxpayer filing as single, $375 for a taxpayer filing as head of household, or $500 for a married couple filing a joint return. I voted Yes on this bill. 

HB 304. This bill suspends the 29.1 cents-a-gallon motor fuel tax through May 31. Based on previous years’ collections, the move would save drivers about $400 million in taxes. It will take some time before you a change in gas prices! But change is coming. I voted Yes on this bill. 

Bills to Watch

SB 393, ‘Common Carrier Non-Discrimination Act’. This bill would allow users to sue Facebook or Twitter if their posts are deleted based on the views they express. This bill passed the Senate, and now advances to the House. 

SB 171 would increase the penalties for crimes such as blocking a highway, assaulting someone or damaging property if it involves groups of two or more. The bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on a 4-3 party-line vote, with Republicans voting in support of the measure.

SB 377 would prevent schools from teaching that America is racist, and passed the Senate this week. This bill advances to the House. A similar bill has already passed the House.


It’s Listening Session time again!
We’re changing it up this time, with special guest Rep. Josh McLaurin. Join us to discuss all the bills coming our way for Crossover Day on Tuesday!
Register for the Zoom link here.
Facebook event link


What District Am I In?

On Monday, I qualified to run for re-election as State Representative for House District 54! However, due to redistricting that happened this November, District 54 looks very different now. I may not be on your ballot come November.

To find your district, log into the Georgia My Voter Page, where your new district is now listed. 

Roughly speaking, the new district has a southern boundary of E. Wesley Road, an eastern boundary of the county line between Fulton & Dekalb, a northern boundary of I-285, and a western boundary of Lake Forest Dr & Roswell Road. 

Here is a Google Maps version of the new district.
And a pdf version of the old district. 


If you haven’t already, please browse my website, betsyforgeorgia.com.

As your Representative, your concerns are important to me. Please contact me at betsy.holland@house.ga.gov 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.

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