This week, legislators worked in session Monday through Thursday, days 11-14 (of 40). The schedule going forward was tweaked to accommodate Chairman Smith’s funeral. As such, we will be in session Tuesday through Friday. Crossover Day, the final day that all bills must pass from one chamber to the other to remain viable stand alone bills, continues to be set for Thursday, February 28th.
The state mourns the unexpected passing of Representative Richard Smith (R-Columbus). Chairman Smith was first elected in 2004, previously served as the Chairman of the Insurance Committee, and he had served as the Rules Committee Chairman since 2020. Chairman Smith was honorable, accessible, and humble. We appreciate his friendship and his service to both his district and the entire state.
The Governor signed HB30 into law this week. The bill creates a definition of antisemitism as a second part of the nearly four year effort to eliminate hate crimes. At the bill signing ceremony, Governor Kemp said, “…reaffiriming our commitment to a Georgia where all people can live, learn, and prosper in safety. Because there is no place for hate in our state.”
- Tax Relief: Support the accelerating of the state income tax reduction as well as SB 349 by Senator Chuck Hufstetler, a statewide floating homestead exemption.
- Tort Reform: Last year, Senate Republicans tested the waters looking for consensus opportunities to improve Georgia’s troublesome litigation environment. This year, at a minimum, we will pass legislation to limit direct-action lawsuits carried by Senator Blake Tillery.
- Education: Senate Republicans unanimously support Senator Greg Dolezal’s SB 233, which provides school choice for students in underperforming schools.
- Workforce: A recent Senate study committee addressed deficiencies in our workforce. As a result, our caucus prioritized improving career and credentialing pathways for veterans and military spouses seeking employment in Georgia’s healthcare system. Senator Larry Walker will lead the charge on this policy proposal.
- Public Safety: Limiting no-cash bail for violent offenders under the leadership of Senator Randy Robertson in an effort to crack down on gang activity and ensure public safety.
HB 1077 : This bill creates a grant program, the Behavioral Health Provider Student Load Repayment Program to repay a portion of eligible student loan expenses. Dollar amounts are based on the percentage of medicaid patients seen in the practice. Additionally, the bill provides for certain appropriated funds to be distributed to eligible institutions that sponsor certain clinical behavioral health training programs in an effort to increase the number of training positions.
HB1114 This bill, on behalf of the Governor, seeks to obtain data from insurers to understand the insurance landscape for tort reform. The initial report will be due November 2024.SB430: This bill removes the sign requirement for the covid liability protections.