News From Under the Gold Dome

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by REPRESENTATIVE BUTCH PARRISH, STATE HOUSE DISTRICT 158

On Monday, March 22, 2021, we kicked off the 11th and last full week of the 2021 legislative session. With only a few days remaining before we reach Legislative Day 40, or “Sine Die,” my colleagues and I spent many hours in the House Chamber last week voting on House and Senate legislation, including several measures that support educational opportunities, human trafficking victims, and economic growth.

The House unanimously passed legislation to ensure that Georgia students with disabilities do not miss out on HOPE Scholarship opportunities and funding. Senate Bill 187 would allow the Georgia Student Finance Commission to waive certain eligibility requirements for the HOPE Scholarship for students with disabilities.

We passed another legislative measure to study new educational opportunities for Georgians through alternative charter schools. Senate Bill 153 would direct the Georgia General Assembly to study alternative education models and funding that are focused on dropout prevention, high school credit recovery, and other education services of adult and incarcerated students for the next two years.

Senate Bill 6, or the “Tax Credit Return on Investment Act of 2021,” also received passage in the House this week to examine our state’s tax revenue structure, ensure taxpayer dollars are spent wisely and efficiently, as well as expand tax incentives to restore our economy.

SB 6 will:

  • Allow the chairs of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee to request up to five economic analyses on existing or proposed tax incentives from the Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts to determine the estimated fiscal impact of these incentives
  • Create the “2021 Special Council on Tax Reform and Fairness for Georgians,” a bipartisan group of state leaders and area experts who would conduct a study of the state’s current revenue structure ahead of the 2022 legislative session
  • Create the “Georgia Economic Renewal Act of 2021,” which would establish and change several tax credits to support renewal and recovery efforts for Georgia’s economy
  • Add $100 million in funding for the “Georgia Agribusiness and Rural Jobs Act”
  • Create a temporary state and local sales tax exemption for admission sales to fine art organizations and museums of cultural significance that advance the arts in Georgia

The House also gave unanimous passage to Senate Bill 33 to allow victims of human trafficking to seek justice from those who have exploited them.

SB 33 would:

  • Establish a civil cause of action for victims of human trafficking against a perpetrator
  • Allow victims to sue their perpetrator to recover damages and attorney’s fees within 10 years after the cause of action or within 10 years after the victim reaches the age of 18 if the victim was a minor at the time of the alleged violation
  • Allow the attorney general to seek a cause of action against human traffickers on behalf of the state under certain circumstances
  • We also passed the “Election Integrity Act of 2021,” which would make changes to areas of election process and administration.

SB 202  will:

  • Require two mandatory Saturday early voting dates and allowing communities the option of voting on up to two Sundays during early voting
  • Requiring a driver’s license or state ID card number to request and submit an absentee ballot
  • Regulating the use of absentee ballot drop boxes
  • Ban mobile polling locations and private funding for elections
  • Securing precinct areas against non-voting activities
  • Require shorter timelines for processing absentee ballots and certifying election results
  • Require security paper to allow for authentication of ballots
  • Authorize the State Election Board to make necessary changes and ensure legislative review of emergency rules

When we return, we will complete our final two legislative days before we adjourn “Sine Die,” which will mark the end of the 2021 legislative session. These two days will most certainly be some of our longest days on the House floor as we work to pass meaningful legislation before the clock runs out. Your thoughts and questions regarding legislation remain a top priority to me even though this session is coming to an end very soon.

I remain dedicated to serving your interests as your state representative, and I hope that you will contact me with any questions or concerns you may have regarding the legislative session or with any proposals or recommendations for future legislation.

You can also stay in touch by visiting our website at www.house.ga.gov to watch a live stream of the House in action, as well as archived committee meetings, and review legislation that we are considering. Follow me on Facebook for updates throughout the year.

Thank you for allowing me to be your representative.

Sincerely,

Representative Butch Parrish

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