After a 14 hour day on Tuesday, the House adjourned after passing 60 bills (I don’t think that’s a record but it certainly exceeds the total from any other year during my tenure). The day began with a powerful message from Pastor Andy Stanley reminding all of us to come to the middle to work together rather than leaning into divisiveness for political gain. As we begin the process of hearing Senate bills in our committees and moving them to the floor for a vote, let’s see if we can keep Pastor Stanley’s words in our heart.
HB 1443 allows food truck owners to use a single statewide operating permit rather than obtaining one in each county. I voted yes on this bill, which passed the House.
HR 842 would let voters set state lawmaker salaries at two-thirds of the median household income in Georgia. I do not think that lawmakers should be setting their own salaries. I voted yes on this bill, which passed the House.
HB 1425 would jumpstart the stalled medical cannabis oil program, by providing more licenses to providers. 23,000 Georgians are currently on the state’s registry, waiting for production to begin. I voted yes on this bill, which passed the House.
HB 1390 gives city & county employees in Georgia the right of action to protect against retaliation for sex discrimination from their employers. I voted yes on this bill, which passed the House.
HB 1335 was presented by Dean of the House Calvin Smyre, who is leaving the State House after 47 years to become ambassador to the Dominican Republic. HB 1335 allows Georgia to recognize the federal holiday of Juneteenth. The last time a federal holiday was adopted, MLK Day, was in 1984 – only two current representatives, Rep. Smyre & Rep. Gerald Greene, were in office at that time! I voted yes on this bill, which passed the House.
HB 1354, the Wrongful Conviction Compensation Act, would create a panel of political appointees — all subject matter experts in wrongful convictions or criminal justice — under the Claims Advisory Board to vet compensation claims. The panel would then recommend a dollar figure to the chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court, who would include that in his budget request to lawmakers. It would make it simpler and more consistent for wrongfully convicted persons to receive claims. I voted yes on this bill, which passed the House.
HB 1424 would allow stores with coin operated amusement machines to give out cash gift cards. Only 10% of the proceeds would go to the HOPE/Pre-K programs. Past versions of this bill required that 30% of proceeds went to those programs. I voted no on this bill, which passed the House, but if an amended version returns with the 30% provision, I would vote yes.
HB 937 provides for Medicaid coverage for annual mammograms, at no cost to the recipient. I voted yes on this bill, which passed the House.
The last bill of the very long day was HB 1464, another election bill trying to solve problems that do not exist. This measure empowers the GBI to investigate voting fraud, allows public ballot inspections and restricts nonprofit donations to county election offices. This bill places an enormous burden on local election boards. In addition, it opens the door to third-party audits, even enabling private citizens to inspect paper ballots without a court order and adds burdensome ballot custody requirements. I voted no on this bill, which passed the House.
On the Senate side…
SB 601, a school vouchers bill, failed in the Senate.
HB 304, the proposed Georgia gas tax suspension, passed out of the Senate, and is headed to the governor’s desk for his signature.
SB 171, legislation that would impose harsher penalties on people who commit crimes during protests, passed out of the Senate.
SR 131, a proposed constitutional amendment to allow horse racing in the state, failed in the Senate.
The day after Crossover, I joined Rep. Shea Roberts, Rep. Matthew Wilson, & Rep. Josh McLaurin for an in-person Sandy Springs Town Hall! We were tired, but the audience was engaged, with lots of great questions about everything that happened the previous day in the legislature.
Higher Education Committee Update
This week, the Higher Education Committee passed HR 898, a resolution condemning threats of violence against historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
Crossover Day may be over, but there’s still lots to talk about! Join me & special guest Rep. Stacey Evans on Sunday, March 27th, at 4 pm. Rep. Evans is running for the newly redistricted District 57, which includes part of the old District 54!
Pre-register here for the Zoom link
Facebook event page
What District Am I In?
Last week, 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.
If you haven’t already, please browse my website, betsyforgeorgia.com.
As your Representative, your concerns are important to me. Please contact me at email@example.com 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