This Week in the Senate — February 20-24, 2023

March 1, 2023


As the seventh week of the 2023 Legislative Session comes to a close, the Senate is quickly approaching Legislative Day 28, also known as Crossover Day. With less than one full week of legislative days remaining, the Senate remains hard at work to properly vet and hear legislation. I am pleased to provide you with a brief update on a few bills.

On Tuesday, Senate Bill 61, legislation I was proud to sponsor, was brought to the Senate floor for a final vote. This legislation was first introduced during my service as a House member back in 2017 and was passed and extended in 2020. Current law requires employers that provide sick leave to allow employers up to five days each calendar year to care for immediate family members who have fallen ill. SB 61 repeals a sunset provision that was set in 2020. Repealing the sunset provision allows the law to remain as is, rather than removing provisions. When I first sponsored this bill as a House member, I had yet to start my own family. Years later as a father of two, providing sick leave for family members has become much more vital. It was an honor to sponsor this bill and am pleased to see this measure pass with bipartisan support.

Perhaps the most substantial measure discussed on the Senate floor this week was House Bill 18, the Amended Budget for the remainder of the fiscal year. Specifically, this amended budget adds $2 billion in revenue in state general funds, $1 billion in homeowner tax relief grants, $1 billion in property tax rebates, funding to end the practice of hoteling for foster kids and most importantly, increases to get money back into the hands of taxpayers. Upon its passage in the Senate, HB 18 will travel back to the House for consideration of the Senate’s revisions to the bill. I intend to provide you with updates as the amended budget inches closer towards the Governor’s desk to be signed into law.

The next several weeks will undoubtedly be packed with meetings, hearings, and votes; however, I am never too busy to hear any concerns from back home. Please don’t hesitate if you have any questions or concerns, or if I can be of any other assistance.

Senator Brian Strickland
Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary

Public Sales by Internet
Senate Bill 13, sponsored by Senator John Albers (R - Roswell), would allow for public sales of property taken under court order or for taxes due to be conducted through internet enabled technology and digital media. It provides that such sales may also take place at a time and place that is ordered by the court or the discretion of the sheriff or coroner. This bill says that any fee charged to a customer of a sale conducted online must be charged at the time of the sale and must not exceed $250. Additionally, this bill provides a levying officer appointed by a tax collector or commissioner is authorized to conduct sales through internet enabled technology and digital media. . SB 13 passed with a vote of 52 to 1.

Updating Regulations of Motor Carriers and Motor Vehicles
Senate Bill 120, sponsored by Senator Shelly Echols (R - Alto), would update the reference to federal regulation related to the safe operation of motor carriers and commercial motor vehicles to this year. SB 120 passed with a vote of 54 to 0.

The Amended Fiscal Year 2023 Budget
House Bill 18, carried by Senator Blake Tillery (R - Vidalia), is the Amended FY 2023 Budget. HB 18 passed by substitute with a vote of 54 to 1.

Sick Leave Sunset Repeal
Senate Bill 61, sponsored by Senator Brian Strickland (R - McDonough), would repeal the sunset provision relating to such sick leave requirements. It eliminates the automatic repeal of leave requirements for immediate family members' care. It removes the sunset provision set for July 1, 2023. SB 61 passed with a vote of 54 to 1.

Commercial Financing Transaction Disclosures
Senate Bill 90, sponsored by Senator Clint Dixon (R - Gwinnett), would require providers to disclose certain terms of commercial financial transactions, such as the total amount of funds disbursed to the business under the terms of said transaction. If the amount is less than described, as a result of any fees deducted or withheld at disbursement, any amount paid to the provider to satisfy a prior balance, and any amount paid to a third party on behalf of the business. The total amount paid to the provider under the terms of said transaction and the total dollar cost of the commercial financing transaction. It must have the manner, frequency, and amount of each payment. It provides certain limitations for brokers and allows for the Attorney General to enforce Compliance with these provisions. SB 90 passed by substitute with a vote of 52 to 1.

Creation of Lifeguard and Aquatic Safety Courses Act
Senate Bill 50, sponsored by Senator Max Burns (R - Sylvania), would allow each local board of education for grades  9 through 12 to provide lifeguarding and aquatic safety instruction beginning in the 2025-2026 school year. SB 50 does not require students in grades 9 through 12 to obtain a certification in lifeguarding and aquatic safety. SB 50 passed with a vote of 54 to 1.

Amending GDOT Notice Provisions
House Bill 52, carried by Senator Greg Dolezal (R - Cumming), would amend Georgia Department of Transportation notice provisions for meetings to elect board members so that notice to affected members of the General Assembly busy be sent by email. It deems certain records or data of the State Road and Tollway Authority (SRTA) or GDOT exempt from public disclosure requirements. It provides negotiations to Public-Private Partnerships that may include, but must not be limited to, one-on-one meetings or requests for proposal revisions. The bill adds the procurement procedures found in GDOT's rules and regulations to appropriate procedures for alternative contracting methods. It expands the overall length of modular unit transporters and provides permit fees. Says that the coroner or county medical examiner may delegate power to medical personnel under certain conditions. HB 52 passed by substitute with a vote of 53 to 1.

Setting of Bonds and Scheduling of Bails
Senate Bill 63, sponsored by Senator Randy Robertson (R - Cataula), revises a number of provisions relating to the setting of bonds and bails, the release of individuals on bail for misdemeanor charges and unsecured judicial releases. SB 63 passed by substitute with a vote of 31 to 23.

Back the Blue Act
Senate Bill 110, sponsored by Senator Larry Walker (R - Perry), known as "Back the Blue Act," would provide financial support for Georgia's sheriff departments by establishing a voluntary "check off" on auto insurance premium invoices to allow Georgians to conveniently donate $3 to local law enforcement. SB 110 passed with a vote of 52 to 0.

Child Safety Training Programs on State Managed Property
Senate Resolution 76, sponsored by Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick (R - Marietta), would encourage organizations that conduct high risk activities for children under the age of 14 on property managed by the state of Georgia to provide access to training programs. This legislation aims to focus on the guidance offered for injury treatment and prevention. SR 76 passed with a vote of 51 to 0.

Stop Local Governments from Denying Drilling
Senate Bill 121, sponsored by Senator Lee Anderson (R - Brunswick), would prohibit local governments from denying the drilling, servicing, or repair of new or existing wells on single-family residential and farm properties. It would also prohibit local governments from precluding or denying the installation of new water wells on single-family residential and farm properties situated on one acre of property or more. SB 121 passed by substitute with a vote of 53 to 0.

Senator Larry Walker (R - Perry) recognized February 21, 2023, as FFA Day at the state capitol. The Georgia FFA has more than 77,000 members and aims to make a difference in the lives of students by developing leadership, personal growth and success through agricultural education.

On Tuesday, Senator Nan Orrock (D - Atlanta) introduced Senate Resolution 166 to the Senate floor which recognizes February 21, 2023, at Clark Atlanta University Day at the state capitol. Clark Atlanta University was founded in 1865 and was the nation's first four-year liberal arts college to serve primarily African American student population. The school offers 40 academic programs to the 3,920 students who attend annually.

Senate Resolution 163, sponsored by Senator Tonya Anderson (D - Lithonia) recognizes February 20, 2023, as Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. Day at the state capitol. Founded at Howard University, AKA hosts approximately 50 chapters in Georgia. AKA is committed to community service and actively contributes to the educational, civic, health and socioeconomic life of Georgia's citizens.

Barbara Andrews Landreth Retirement
Senate Resolution 151, sponsored by Senator Matt Brass (R - Newnan) and others commends Barbara Andrews Landreth for her years of service as a teacher in Georgia as she retires. Landreth served as an English teacher for 59 years at Newnan High School in Coweta County. She has been recognized four times as a STAR Teacher and was selected as a Georgia School of Excellence three times. During her tenure, Landreth taught thousands of students and is considered instrumental to Newnan High School.

Charlie Flemming's Outstanding Service and Retirement
Senate Resolution 114, sponsored by Senator Gail Davenport (D - Jonesboro) and others recognize Charlie Flemming for his leadership and deep personal commitment to the welfare of the citizens of Georgia upon his retirement. For more than 11 years, Flemming has served as President of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations.

Bryce Leatherwood
On Wednesday, Senator Max Burns (R - Sylvania) helped recognize Senate Resolution 41 which commends Bryce Leatherwood for being the winner of the 22nd season of "The Voice" television singing competition.  Leatherwood is a native of Woodstock, Georgia and graduated from Georgia Southern University in 2022. Using his southern charm and natural talent, Leatherwood soared to the top of the competition by singing country music.

In the spirit of Black History Month, Senator Michael 'Doc' Rhett (D - Marietta) used his point of personal privilege throughout the week to uplift Senators Horacena Tate (D - Atlanta),  Donzella James (D - Atlanta) for their individual contributions to the State of Georgia and for being influential Black leaders. Senator Sonya Halpern (D - Atlanta) also used her point of personal privilege to highlight Reverend Joseph E. Boone and Senator Nikki Merritt (D - Grayson) uplifted civil rights leader Dorothy Height.

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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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