By: Sen. Brian Strickland (R – McDonough)

This week, the Senate took up and passed 28 bills and with next week representing our biggest legislative deadline of the session so far, our work shows no signs of slowing down.

I was also honored this week to sponsor a comprehensive update on how our state tackles the issue of human trafficking. Senate Bill 158, or the “Anti-Human Trafficking Protective Response Act”, is designed to help our state identify victims or potential victims of human trafficking more quickly, increase the punishments for those who have been found guilty of human trafficking and make it easier for victims to find the justice they deserve. I want to thank our governor for recognizing the importance of this issue and making it a priority, as well as Georgia’s First Lady who joined us in the Senate Chamber to observe the vote. While human trafficking remains a concern for our state, the passage of this bill is a signal that the legislature, the governor and all relevant state agencies are committed to fighting this issue and bringing an end to this heinous crime.

We also passed another major priority for our state that will allow greater access to healthcare for all Georgians. Senate Bill 106, or the “Patients First Act,” would allow the Governor to request the 1115 and 1332 Medicaid waivers from the federal government. This would allow the state government some freedom and flexibility in how Medicaid funds are utilized in Georgia so that we can innovate health care access, meaning we can create Georgia solutions to Georgia problems.

This Wednesday, we continued our efforts to put our students first through the passage of the “Keeping Georgia’s Schools Safe Act.” This bill, Senate Bill 15, provides a comprehensive outline for improving school safety with a strong emphasis on communication. SB 15 would require schools to utilize a mobile app for reporting threats and would require each school to conduct a threat assessment every four years. It also increases the quantity and quality of communication between schools, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Georgia Department of Education and the Georgia Information Sharing and Analysis Center in order to ensure everyone is on the same page should an emergency occur.

Next Thursday is Crossover Day. This is the deadline for all Senate Bills to pass the Senate and “crossover” to the House for consideration. This means that the number of bills we will be hearing in committee and in chamber will increase drastically next week. If you have any questions about the bills we have already passed or bills that will come across my desk in the coming weeks, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office—our door is always open. It is a pleasure to serve the 17th Senate District, thank you for your trust in me.

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Sen. Brian Strickland serves as a Governor’s Administration Floor Leader. He represents the 17th Senate District, which includes portions of Henry, Rockdale and Newton counties. He may be reached by phone at 404.656.7454 or by email at brian.strickland@senate.ga.gov.