Under the Gold Dome - 2020 Preview

With the 2020 Georgia Legislative Session set to commence, and the Toccoa-Stephens County Chamber of Commerce Pre-Legislative Coffee scheduled for this Thursday with Senator John Wilkinson and Representative Chris Erwin, ConnectLocal.News takes a look at the upcoming Georgia legislative session, including pre-filed Senate and House Bills, and some proposed legislation from 2019 expected to resurface in 2020.

The 155th Georgia General Assembly convened it’s first session on Jan. 14, 2019; it lasted 40 legislative days, as prescribed by the Georgia Constitution, and concluded on April 2.

The Second session of the 155th Georgia General Assembly will convene on Jan. 13 at 10 a.m., and will meet for 40 legislative days before concluding on April 3.

The two-year General Assembly schedule aligns with the 2-year term that all Georgia state legislators are elected to. The 56 Senators and 180 Representatives now serving in the Georgia Legislature were elected in 2018, and elections for the 156th Georgia General Assembly will take place this year.

The filing deadline for candidates for the legislative 2020 legislative election is March 6. The primary election for House Representatives and Senators will be held on May 19, with any primary runoff elections scheduled for July 21. The general election will be held Nov. 3, with any subsequent runoff elections to take place on Dec. 1. There are no term limits for Georgia legislators.

Salaries for Georgia legislators are set at $17,342/year, plus a $173 per diem for lodging and meals when the Legislature is in session and reimbursement for mileage, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Proposed legislation that did not make it through the legislative process during the 2019 Georgia Legislative Session, and is expected to be re-visited by legislators in the 2020 session, include:

*Legislation to allow state money to be used for private school tuition

*Casino regulations

*Legislation to bar domestic abusers from owning guns

*A law limiting the government’s ability to pass laws that conflict with religious beliefs

*Establishment of a tax on video streaming, e-books and music downloads

*Legislation that would allow a hunter on private property to use a silencer without obtaining permission from the property owner

*Several transportation issues, including creating a rural transit system, suspending some jet fuel taxes, creating Hartsfield -Jackson International Airport oversight, and instituting taxes on ride-share services.

Pre-filing of bills for the 2020 legislative session began on Nov. 15, 2019, and will continue through Jan. 13, when the session convenes.

Currently, the following legislation has been pre-filed in the Georgia House:

HB 11 - “...to provide that a parent or guardian may enroll a student in a school using the address of an individual residing in the school's attendance zone who has authorized such use.”

HB 18 - “...to provide for the automatic registration of voters who obtain, renew, or change their name or address on a driver's license or identification card issued by the Department of Driver Services.”

HB 742 - “...to provide for the suspension of compensation for certain public officers who are suspended because of indictment for a felony.”

HB 743 - “... to provide that student athletes participating in intercollegiate athletics at postsecondary educational institutions may receive compensation for the use of the student athlete's name, image, or likeness; to provide for application to athletic associations and athletic conferences; to allow for professional representation of such student athletes participating in intercollegiate athletics.”

HB 744 - “...to provide for limitations on prescribing opioids; to provide for definitions; to provide for exceptions; to provide for penalties.”

HB 745 - “...to enact the "Georgia Dignity in Pregnancy and Childbirth Act"; to provide for legislative findings and intent; to provide for definitions; to require perinatal facilities in this state to implement evidence based implicit bias programs for its health care professionals; to require certain components in such programs; to provide for initial and refresher training; to provide for the compilation and tracking of data on severe maternal morbidity and pregnancy related deaths.”

HB 746 - “...to authorize any female upon whom an abortion is to be performed to decide not to receive or review informational materials regarding an unborn child, certify that she received or reviewed such informational materials, view the fetal image, or hear the fetal heartbeat prior to obtaining an abortion; to provide for documentation of such decision.”

HB 747 - “...to provide that public and governmental facilities shall not be utilized for athletic competitions in which a person who is not a biological male is allowed to participate in athletic events conducted exclusively for males or a person who is not a biological female is allowed to participate in athletic events conducted exclusively for females.”

HR 874 - “...proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Georgia so as to provide for the suspension of the salary of certain suspended public officials.”

HR 875 - “...creating the House Study Committee on Financing Options for Cannabis-based Businesses.”

HR 876 - “...urging the United States Congress to enact legislation removing cannabis from the federal Controlled Substances Act, exempting certain activities related to marijuana, facilitating the full spectrum of private banking services for cannabis related business, and encouraging scientific research as related to cannabis products.

Currently, the following legislation has been pre-filed in the Georgia Senate:

SB 13 - “...as to revise the compensation of members and officers of the General Assembly.”

SB 280 - “...to prohibit the distribution of certain bags made of plastic film by certain retail establishments.”

SB 281 - “...to prohibit the possession of automatic and semi-automatic guns;to subject all transfers or purchases of firearms at gun shows to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System; to provide for facilitation by licensed dealers; to provide for requirements for the securing or storage of inventory firearms when a dealer is not open for business; to conform cross-references.”

SB 282 - “...to provide that designated research universities shall ensure that at least 90 percent of early action admissions are offered to Georgia resident students.”

SB 283 - “...to revise the number of holidays that are observed in Georgia; to designate the Tuesday next following the first Monday in November of each year as a state holiday.”

SB 284 - “... to provide that certain individuals who are 20 years old or older may be eligible to enroll in a charter school that provides instruction only for over-age students; to provide for an exception to the maximum age of eligibility for enrollment; to authorize local boards of education or the State Charter Schools Commission to approve charter schools that serve only an over-age population; to provide for funding for such charter schools.”

SB 285 - “...to provide for military spouses licensed in other states to practice certain professions and occupations without being required to obtain a license to practice in this state.”

SR 2 - “...to provide for the compensation of the President of the Senate and members of the General Assembly; to provide for the reimbursement of certain expenses by such persons.”

SR 537 - “...A RESOLUTION apologizing for slavery and Jim Crow and reaffirming this state's commitment to freedom.”

SR 538 - “...condemning the Congress of the United States for pursuing impeachment proceedings against President Donald J. Trump.”


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