2019-2020 Legislative Session

The Georgia Legislature is About to Pass Some Bills Again

We’re a little more than a week into the new 2019-2020 Georgia Legislative Session – the first in 8 years without Nathan Deal serving as governor. The election this past November saw Democrats gain a net total of 13 legislative seats, though Republicans still control both the House and Senate. Republican Brian Kemp will replace Nathan Deal as governor.

While most bills will be filed during the session, some bills were pre-filed and have been restlessly awaiting discussion. As usual, we’ll have a brief synopsis of interesting and relevant bills on our 2019-2020 Georgia Legislative Session page. We’ll also have longer articles throughout the session discussing specific bills or issues.

What Happened Last Year?

Before we dive into some of this year’s bills, let’s re-cap three of the laws that were enacted during this past session. As usual, transportation in Atlanta was a high-profile issue with legislators vowing to take significant action prior to the start of the session. In a strange turn of events, significant transit-oriented legislation actually passed with overwhelming bi-partisan support from urban, suburban, and rural legislators. HB-930 created a regional transportation system, known as “The ATL”, and allows each metro county to vote on whether it wants to join. Local sales tax will pay for projects, but a commission composed of county and state officials will decide which projects are funded throughout the region.

The Outdoor Stewardship Trust Fund, HB-332, passed which allowed the issue to go to voters in the form of a referendum this past November. By an overwhelming majority, voters approved of the legislation which allows sales tax from sporting goods stores to be moved into a trust fund that will pay for conservation efforts across the state.

Legislators also passed a law, HB-930, allowing victims of family violence to terminate their residential leases without penalty. For a full list of the bills that did and didn’t pass, please see the 2017-2018 Legislative Session page.

What’s New?

There’s only four items on our list so far for the 2019-2020 session, but more will be added each week on our 2019-2020 Legislative Session page as additional bills get filed.

Constitutional Carry Act

Surely one of the more controversial bills will be the Constitutional Carry Act of 2019, or HB-2, which expands the number of weapons allowed in state parks and historic sites. While fireworks, bows and arrows, and slingshots (in their usable forms) would still be banned, long guns and knives would be allowed.

Expand Prohibition on Housing Discrimination

Georgia law already prohibits housing and employment discrimination against people in classes protected by federal law, but HB-19 would go further to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and age. The bill would apply those protections not just in housing matters, but also in employment cases.

Establishment of Banking Improvement Zones

With approval from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, SB-20 would allow local governments may establish banking improvement zones for the purpose of increasing bank accessibility in under-served areas. Local governments could then designate a bank in the one as the holder of local government funds.

Mandatory Cybersecurity Training for Children

Senate Bill 21 would require local boards of education to prescribe mandatory cybersecurity education for children. The local board would have to set minimum coursework for each year during k-12 education, as well as provide education for pursuing careers in cybersecurity.

Things tend to get more exciting as the session moves along, so check our legislative session page for weekly updates.

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