legislature

Should Georgia use daylight or standard time?

Should Georgia use daylight or standard time?

The Georgia House of Representatives and state Senate are at loggerheads over how Georgians should tell time. The House passed legislation last Friday calling for the Peach State to observe daylight saving time all year. That followed action the Senate took the week before to put Georgia on standard time permanently. The one thing both chambers agree on is that the state should stop switching from standard time to daylight every March and back again to standard each November. “There are some really serious health and safety reasons for eliminating time change,” Rep. Wes Cantrell, R-Woodstock, told his House colleagues…
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What is Crossover Day in Georgia?

What is Crossover Day in Georgia?

Crossover Day for the state legislature is today. It is one of the busiest days for lawmakers and they often remain in session late into the night and early morning hours. So, what exactly is Crossover Day, you ask? Read on. 40 Days: Unlike Congress, which meets year-round and takes frequent breaks, The Georgia General Assembly meets for 40 legislative days at the beginning of each year. You may have noticed that the General Assembly begins in January and ends sometime in April, so these obviously aren't 40 calendar days. A legislative day is a day that the legislature meets in…
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Curbside alcohol could become legal in Georgia

Curbside alcohol could become legal in Georgia

Cocktails-to-go edged closer to becoming a reality in Georgia with passage in the state Senate Friday of a measure allowing restaurants to sell curbside alcoholic beverages in tightly sealed containers with takeout food. Sponsored by Sen. Matt Brass, R-Newnan, the bill would permit Georgians ages 21 and older to buy up to two mixed drinks in to-go cups with a maximum 3 ounces of liquor in each, or about two shots-worth. Georgia already permits to-go sales of beer and wine. The drinks would have to be kept in cups without any holes for straws and sealed so securely it would…
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Georgia House halts horse racing

Georgia House halts horse racing

A legislative committee Thursday rejected a proposed statewide referendum to legalize pari-mutuel betting on horse racing in Georgia amid questions on both its wording and lack of details. Members of the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee questioned the last half of the wording of the proposed ballot question at the end of the constitutional amendment. After asking Georgia voters whether betting on horses should be legalized, the referendum went on to ask whether “to increase the minimum funding requirement for the educational shortfall reserves.” The language referred to a provision in the constitutional amendment developed by Rep. Stacey Evans,…
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Will this be the year the pecan becomes Georgia’s official nut?

Will this be the year the pecan becomes Georgia’s official nut?

The Pecan — will it be Georgia’s official nut?  Spare us the jokes — it’s too easy.  Senate Bill 222 is headed for a vote before Crossover Day on Monday, and that likely leaves it to the House and the governor to finish the work to officially declare the pecan as the official state nut. And for those of you who think we already have a state nut — the peanut — you’d be wrong. Peanuts are the official state crop. And they are legumes, and that’s another discussion.  The bill, which extols the heart-healthy benefits of the tree fruit and traces…
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Should transgender students be barred from girls sports in Georgia?

Should transgender students be barred from girls sports in Georgia?

Legislation aimed at separating Georgia school sports teams between children assigned male or female at birth advanced in the state Senate Wednesday amid criticism it discriminates against transgender persons. The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Marty Harbin, R-Tyrone, would bar “biological boys” from playing in school sports against “biological girls,” using language that transgender advocates say discriminates against LGBTQ persons. It is one of three bills before the General Assembly that would require similar school-sports gender separations in Georgia that define gender as biological sex and allow lawsuits against schools that defy splitting up different-gendered student athletes. Backers of Harbin’s bill and…
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Georgia House passes major voting overhaul

Georgia House passes major voting overhaul

Republican state lawmakers took a major step Monday toward overhauling voting by mail and other election procedures in Georgia with passage of an omnibus bill by the state House of Representatives along party lines. Sponsored by Rep. Barry Fleming, R-Harlem, the 66-page bill contains more than two dozen provisions including proposals to impose stricter identification requirements on absentee voters, a change the state Senate approved last week. Fleming’s bill would scrap Georgia’s current signature-verification process for absentee ballots and force voters seeking mail-in ballots to provide the number on their driver’s license or state identification card, or photocopies of other valid ID…
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Georgia lawmaker proposes ‘Netflix Tax’

Georgia lawmaker proposes ‘Netflix Tax’

There is a fresh push underway to tax Netflix and other streaming services, e-books, video game downloads and other digital products that are currently untaxed in Georgia. Similar attempts in the past, known usually as the “Netflix tax,” found pushback with unhappy constituents back home. But a north Georgia lawmaker said Tuesday that he thinks it is time to face the reality that these digital goods are well established now and should receive the same tax treatment as their hard-copy predecessors. “If I buy a book on my phone, I don’t pay tax on that book, but if I go…
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Will this be the year Georgia passes the ‘Hidden Predator’ bill?

Will this be the year Georgia passes the ‘Hidden Predator’ bill?

Legislation to extend the statute of limitations for Georgians who were sexually abused as children to sue their abusers years later as adults advanced in the state House of Representatives on Tuesday. Sponsored by Georgia Rep. Heath Clark, R-Warner Robins, the bill would extend the deadline for victims to bring suits against their childhood abusers to age 52, a steep increase from age 23 under current state law. The bill would let victims sue their alleged abusers up to a year after realizing that past abuse has led to present-day trauma. Research shows adults often tend to recognize the impacts of childhood…
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Voting changes draw fire under the Gold Dome

Voting changes draw fire under the Gold Dome

Lawmakers on a Georgia House panel are set to continue debating a sweeping election bill this week that is drawing fire from voting rights advocates and has sparked concerns among some of the state’s local election officials.  Election directors from across the state and representatives with voting rights organizations were among the witnesses who complained Friday before the House Special Committee on Election Integrity that the wide-ranging election bill filed this week by Republican Rep. Barry Fleming of Harlem will suppress voting if it passes. The committee has yet to vote on the bill, which was later modified.  House Bill…
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Georgia could allow in-state tuition for undocumented students

Georgia could allow in-state tuition for undocumented students

Georgia lawmakers have revived debate on a measure to let undocumented students pay in-state tuition for Georgia public colleges and universities that stalled in the General Assembly last year. A bill sponsored by state Rep. Kasey Carpenter, R-Dalton, would extend the lower-cost tuition rates to thousands of undocumented Georgians protected from deportation under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). It would cover DACA recipients who have lived continuously in Georgia since 2013 and are younger than 30, or about 9,000 potential students who would be newly eligible for in-state tuition, Carpenter said Friday at a Georgia House Higher Education…
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Will Georgia lawmakers reform citizen’s arrest and no-knock warrants?

Will Georgia lawmakers reform citizen’s arrest and no-knock warrants?

State lawmakers are working this year on legislation to change Georgia’s citizen’s arrest law, ban no-knock arrest warrants and lower employment barriers for residents on probation. But five weeks into the 2021 legislative session, reforming the citizen’s arrest statute appears the most likely criminal justice reform to gain passage. Democrats are pushing broad changes to policing techniques and Georgia’s criminal-justice system have filed dozens of bills in both legislative chambers. Their bills range from straight-forward changes such as more training for officers in de-escalation techniques and a ban on using choke holds during arrests, to more complicated overhauls including a citizen-led review…
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Stacey Abrams leads charge against Republican changes to voting

Stacey Abrams leads charge against Republican changes to voting

Prominent voting rights groups and a high-profile Democratic election attorney argued Monday that Georgia Republicans are trying to pass state laws to make it harder to vote simply because statewide GOP candidates suffered defeats at the ballot box in the 2020 cycle. Fair Fight founder Stacey Abrams, attorney Marc Elias and the Southern Poverty Law Center announced a joint effort to oppose GOP proposals to dismantle the state’s no-excuse absentee voting, eliminate absentee ballot drop boxes and add ID requirements to vote absentee, to name just a few proposed new barriers. The Republicans behind the proposals say more security will…
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Here’s how bills proposed by Republicans could change voting in Georgia

Here’s how bills proposed by Republicans could change voting in Georgia

Republican state senators have rolled out a legislative package aimed at overhauling Georgia’s election laws by limiting who can vote by mail, outlining how to prove identification and outlawing absentee-ballot drop boxes. The eight bills, filed late Monday by top Senate Republican leaders, mark the most sweeping attempt to change local voting laws after the 2020 election cycle stirred mistrust among many conservative Georgians over the state’s election integrity. The bills especially target absentee voting in Georgia after all three major elections in the 2020 cycle saw more than 1 million mail-in ballots cast amid the COVID-19 pandemic, helping Democrats carry Georgia…
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Is horse race betting on the horizon in Georgia?

Is horse race betting on the horizon in Georgia?

Proposals to legalize gambling in Georgia are now in the pipeline of both legislative chambers in the General Assembly. A bill introduced in the state Senate this week would allow pari-mutuel betting on horse racing in the Peach State subject to a statewide referendum. The Senate bill, sponsored by Sen. Brandon Beach, follows the introduction of two measures in the Georgia House of Representatives to legalize online sports betting and casino gambling. Beach’s 51-page bill calls for the construction of up to three mixed-use developments featuring a racetrack, hotels and restaurants. The facilities also could include convention space, entertainment venues…
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