This Week in the Senate - Feb 14 - 17, 2022

February 18, 2022

Approaching the Halfway Point

With Thursday’s adjournment signifying the end of our 18th legislative day, we are quickly approaching the halfway point of the 2022 Legislative Session. This week, a total of fifteen bills and resolutions passed on the Senate Floor, many of which carried bipartisan support. Now that the budget is in the Senate’s hands, that, too, has become one of the key fixtures of our work this week.

Early in the week, much of the Senate’s time was dedicated to subcommittee hearings of the Senate Appropriations Committee. These subcommittees hearings allow us to hear, from Georgia’s agencies themselves, what their budgetary needslook like for the remainder of the fiscal year and how those may differ from what was originally appropriated by the House. This way, we can true up any discrepancies between what we originally budgeted for, versus what funding was actually necessary. After our hearings, additional meetings were held to iron out the final details of the Senate’s proposed budget, which should be passed out of the full committee and on to the Senate floor inthe next week or two.

A major theme of our legislative calendars this week was public safety, as we passed several measures aimed at providing additional financial security for our officers and also imposing harsher penalties on those who carry out the most detestable of crimes. For instance, we passed Senate Bill 84, which would add communications officers to those eligible to enter into the Peace Officer’s Annuity and Benefit Fund. Senate Bill 461 would make it that much more difficult for someone convicted of human trafficking to be bailed out by elevating that authority to a superior court. Additionally, the Senate saw a need to address a growing issue in our schools: cyberbullying. Senate Bill 316 would require parents and students be notified that certain acts of cyberbullying may be considered stalking. This is such an important step to take to thwart the unsettling rise in mental health struggles among our student population. As a final bill dealing with public safety we took up this week, SB 360, known as “Colton’s Law,” would increase penalties against those who are convicted of cruelty against a disabled minor. Each of these bills have the ability tomake our state a safer place and one that is more supportive of our law enforcement.

This week, progress was also made on a number of priority bills for the Majority Caucus. Senate Bill 393, the “Common Carrier Non-Discrimination Act” received a lengthy hearing and was successfully voted out of the Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee. SB 393 would essentially prohibit big tech companies from censoring political language they find to be unfavorable on their platforms. After passing its assigned committee, the bill now rests in the Rules Committee where it may be selected for a vote on the Senate Floor as early as next week. Senate Bill 377, which would prohibit the teaching of certain divisive concepts in our schools, had anadditional several hearing in committee this week and we are continuing to gather input fromstudents, parents and educators to have a bill that addresses concerns raised from all sides of theissue before a final vote is taken.

Next week, we will convene for only two legislative days, but will have plenty of committee work to keep us occupied all throughout the week. If you have any questions about any of the bills we have discussed to this point, or about the budget, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office.

Senator Brian Strickland Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 14

Setting New Dates to Hold Transportation Ballot Questions

Sen. Jason Anavitarte (R - Dallas), carried House Bill 907 which wouldallow a special election to include a ballot referendum on the third Tuesday in March of an even numbered year, as long as there is no presidential primary, the election occurs prior to July 1, 2024, and the ballot question is on sales and use taxes. HB 907 passed with a vote of 43 to 11. - HB 907

Including Communications Officers in Peace Officers’ Annuity andBenefit Fund

Senate Bill 84, sponsored by Sen. John Albers (R - Roswell), would expand membership eligibility for the Peace Officers’ Annuity and Benefit Fund to certain certified communications officers. SB 84 passed with a vote of 52 to 2. - SB 84

Notification Requirements for Cyberbullying

Sen. Jason Anavitarte (R - Dallas), sponsored Senate Bill 316 which would require local boards of education to notify students and parents that certain acts of bullying or cyberbullying may be considered stalking. In addition, SB 316 specifiesthat any person who commits the crime of stalking against a minor is guilty of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. SB 316 passed by a vote of 33 to 21. - SB 316

Assisting Patients with Chronic Conditions

Senate Bill 341, sponsored by Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick (R - Marietta) would require that prior authorization of medication for patients withchronic conditions must be valid for a year. SB 341 passed with a vote of 52 to 0. - SB 341

Tackling Telemarketing Harassment

Sen. Blake Tillery (R - Vidalia), sponsored Senate Bill 364 which wouldallow individuals who have registered on the Georgia Do Not Call Listto seek damages for unwanted telephone solicitations. SB 364 would also expand this provision to include solicitations made “on behalf of anyperson or entity.” SB 364 passed by a vote of 52 to 2. - SB 364

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 15

Intention to Rename ShortlineTrail

Senate Resolution 345, sponsored by Sen. Bo Hatchett (R - Cornelia),would indicate the Senate’s support in renaming the ShortlineTrail tothe Bill and Dustie MacKayTrail. The Shortline Trail is a three-milepaved trail at Tallulah Gorge State Park that is frequented by hikers, bikers, skaters and more. SR 345 passed with a vote of 52 to 0. - SR 345

Establishing GADC as a Universal Agent

Sen. Blake Tillery (R - Vidalia), sponsored Senate Bill 374, which would establish the Georgia Data Analytic Center as an agent for all executivestate agencies with regards to sharing government information.SB 374 passed by a vote of 53 to 0. - SB 37

Guidelines for Payment Retention of Water and Sewer Facilities

Senate Bill 438, sponsored by Sen. Lindsay Tippins (R - Marietta),would lower the percentage of payment retention allowable from 10to 5 percent of the progress payment to contractors, subcontractors,and lower tier subcontractors for water or sewage facilities. SB 438 passed with a vote of 52 to 0. - SB 438

Revising Penalties for Housing Standards

Senate Bill 445, sponsored by Sen. Max Burns (R - Sylvania), wouldalign civil penalties established under state law related to the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act to beconsistent with federal law. SB 44 passed with a vote of 53 to 0. - SB 445

Restricting When Human Trafficking Crimes are Bailable

Sen. Clint Dixon (R - Buford) sponsored Senate Bill 461, which would revise the list of offenses bailable only before a superior court to include human trafficking. SB 461 passed with a vote of 54 to 0. - SB 461

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 17

Protecting Georgia Businesses and Workers Act

Senate Bill 331, Sponsored by Sen. John Albers (R - Roswell), would enact limits on the extent of which local governments may regulate the work hours, scheduling and output of their employees. SB 331 passed by a vote of 31 to 21. - SB 331

Prohibiting Georgia Agencies from Entering into Contracts with China

Sen. Jeff Mullis (R - Chickamauga) sponsored Senate Bill 346, which would prohibit a state agency of Georgia from enteringinto a contract with any company owned or operated by the Government of China and would require any company which bids on a satte contract to certify they are not owned or operated by the Government of China. SB 346 passed with a vote of32 to 20. - SB 346

Increased Penalties for Certain Convicted Individuals

Sen. Sheila McNeill (R - Brunswick) Senate Bill 360, known as “Colton’s Law,” which would increase penalties against a person convicted of cruelty to a disabled minor in the first or second degree to a minimum of ten years. SB 360 passed witha vote of 49 to 0. - SB 360

Allowing for the Collection of Fingerprints from EMTs

Sen. John Albers (R - Roswell) sponsored Senate Bill 404, which would allow both the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Federal Bureau of Investigation to retain the fingerments of emergency medical technicians, under specific circumstances. SB 404 passed with a vote of 53 to 0. - SB 404

Calling for the Establishment of the City of Lost Mountain

House Bill 826, carried by Sen. Lindsay Tippins (R - Marietta), would establish the charter of the City of Lost Mountain, if approved by qualified voters of the proposed city area. HB 826 would outline the city government structure of the proposed City of Lost Mountain and label its corporate limits. HB 826 passed with a vote of 33 to 19. - HB 826

Congresswoman Majorie Taylor Greene Visit Senate

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA - 14) visited the Senate Floor. Rep. Greene represents Georgia’s 14th District inthe United States House of Representatives. She assumed office to begin her first term on Janaury 3, 2021.

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In 2023 the Georgia State Senate District 17 will encompass parts of Walton, Newton, Henry, and Morgan with over 150,000 registered voters. Brian Strickland entered his third full term in the Georgia Senate in 2021. Brian, his wife Lindsay, and their two children reside in McDonough, GA. Through Brian’s leadership position at the capitol where he fights for District 17, and all of Georgia, he has impacted Georgia for the better through various executed actions.  Not only did Brian support the First Responder bill which aids police, firefighter, and EMS personnel but he was a key player in the passing of the Georgia Criminal Justice reform bills and Georgia Surprise Medical bills. Above and beyond that, Brian labored to bring funding to Southern Crescent Technical College making it one of the top technical schools in Georgia and is constantly raising the bar in the fight against human trafficking.

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