I’m not going to lie – a lot of days under the Gold Dome can be difficult or downright demoralizing. During this session in particular, there have been contentious battles over everything from redistricting maps to education policy to gun safety. That’s what makes a day like Wednesday so very special. On Wednesday afternoon, members of the House waited with bated breath while the Senate voted on an amended version of HB1013, the omnibus Mental Health Parity Act. We cheered when we heard it had passed. And then, we stayed in our seats – we were waiting for copies of the bill to hit our desk hot off the presses. The Speaker didn’t want to wait one more day before passing the bill. Late on Wednesday, the House voted unanimously to pass the new version of HB1013, a bill that will require insurers to cover mental health the same way they cover physical health. Hugs were shared and tears were shed – seasoned lawmakers say this will be the most important bill passed during their time in the General Assembly. It’s certainly the most important passed during my time here.
Of course, it’s not all good news – while there were several other great bills that passed out of the chambers, some others are more worrisome. Take a look below for a round-up of what happened during legislative days 36-39. If you need me over the weekend, I’ll be resting up – Sine Die (the last day of the legislative session) is on Monday, and it promises to be a long one.
My Voting Record
HB 1013, the Mental Health Parity Act. It passed with a unanimous vote!
SB 403, the Georgia Behavioral Health and Peace Officer Co-Responder Act. This bill helps to address the increasing need for trained mental or behavioral health professionals to accompany law enforcement. The bill creates a co-responder team framework across the state using local community boards. I voted YES on this bill and the bill passed the House.
SB 361, the Law Enforcement Strategic Support Act or LESS Crime Act. The LESS Crime Act allows taxpayers and corporations to directly support public safety initiatives through an affiliated law enforcement foundation. Agencies will be authorized to use the funds in one of five ways: increase officer salaries, hire additional officers, expand training programs, purchase or maintain department equipment and establish or maintain a co-responder program for de-escalating behavioral health emergencies. I voted YES on this bill and the bill passed the House.
SB 87, the Senator Jack Hill Veterans’ Act. This act allows voluntary contributions through income tax payments to disabled veterans for scholarships to the Technical System of Georgia. I voted YES on this bill and the bill passed the House.
SB 588. This is one of many unnecessary educational bills, duplicating a number of bills already on the books, and making it easier to protect unruly protestors at school board meetings. I voted NO on this bill, and the bill passed the House.
HB 586, Georgia Economic Recovery Act of 2021. I voted yes on the Senate substitute for this bill, which will extend the fine arts tax exemption.
Bills to Watch
HR 1126, which will create a House Study Committee on Motor Vehicle Equipment and Public Safety, was passed out of committee this week. The committee will look into what changes are needed to Georgia law in order to enforce excessive motor vehicle noise laws, and whether front of vehicle license plates will improve public safety. I am the second signer on this House Resolution.
SB 319, the permitless carry gun bill, passed the Senate on Friday. It would allow Georgians to carry a concealed handgun everywhere license holders currently are allowed to carry them. Guns would still be prohibited in the secured areas of airports, government buildings that have security at the entrance and other secured areas.
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.
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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