February 26, 2021

The Georgia legislature has passed the midpoint of the legislative session. The House and Senate convened every day this week as well as managing a considerable number of committee meetings.  They will reconvene on Monday, March 1, which will be the 25th Day of the 40-day session.

The focus this week was on monitoring committee and subcommittee meetings as well as floor action.  After many hours of testimony, the House Special Committee on Election Integrity passed Chairman Fleming’s comprehensive election reform bill (HB 531) and it is on the House calendar for full floor action on March 1.  The House Appropriations Committee approved Governor-backed legislation that would create nine trust funds and require monies collected for certain purposes be used for those purposes (HB 511).  The House Ways &  Means Committee passed the “Tax Relief Act of 2021,” a bill that would cut state income taxes by increasing standard tax deductions (HB 593).

Legislation introduced this week includes Senate Majority Leader Dugan’s election reform bill (SB 241), pay increases for statewide and legislative office holders (SB 252) and increases in state retirement benefits for legislators (SB 251).  Legislation was also introduced on Tuesday to allow creation of “leadership committees” by the Governor, Lt. Governor, House and Senate leadership and party caucuses (SB 221).  Among other things, the bill states that contribution limits do not apply.   Earlier today, SB 221 passed the full Senate with a 30-21 vote along party lines.

The Magistrate pay increase bill (HB 488) overwhelmingly passed the House earlier today.  The Senate passed legislation calling for Georgia to observe standard time year round (SB 100) until Congress authorizes states to only observe daylight saving time, then we would switch to daylight saving time year round.

The sports betting bill (HB 86) was on the House calendar for full House action yesterday, but it has been postponed until a later date. The Senate Regulated Industries Committee passed Sen. Mullis’ constitutional amendment that would give voters the option to approve sports betting (SR 135) and the accompanying enabling legislation for sports betting (SB 142).

The House and Senate passed an adjournment resolution setting the schedule for the remainder of the session.  The legislature will convene on Monday, Wednesday and Friday next week with committee work days scheduled in between.  Cross-over Day, the deadline for a bill to pass one chamber and cross to the other chamber, will be Monday, March 8.


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