Top Legislation Being Watched (Updated 2/21/22)

(New Bill) Opposition: Exception to the 3-Tier System for Craft Breweries

SB 420, introduced by Sen. Chuck Hufstetler, allows an exemption to the 3-Tier system on the sale of alcohol. Georgia Baptists categorically opposes any loosening of restrictions on the sale of alcoholic beverages. The 3-Tier system since prohibition has maintained standards of public health and safety in the sale of alcohol.

Status: A hearing was held last week with no vote taken.

(New Bill) Support: Ban on Animal Fighting

SB 512, introduced by Sen. Chuck Payne, simply seeks to update the statute to include all animals, not just dogs. It was submitted to address the cock-fighting issue. It also makes it illegal to take a minor child to an animal fight. Animal fights are never just about the act of watching an animal fight to the death. They are always associated with other unsavory or illegal activities such as illegal gambling, drug trafficking, and other illicit crimes.

Status: The bill was heard in the Senate Agriculture Committee and no vote was taken.

(Bills Reintroduced) Opposition: The Expansion of Gambling

There are approx. nine bills leftover from the 2021 session that are available to be passed expanding gambling on Sports, Horse Racing and Casinos.

Status: This week, four Senate Horse Racing bills (by Sen Brandon Beach and Sen. Jeff Mullis) from 2021 were heard in the Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee. It was a hearing only. They will be heard again next week. Georgia Baptists were there to oppose them.

Support: “Saving Girls Sports Act”

We support SB 435 (Sen. Marty Harbin), which would ban any biological males from participating in biological female sports.

Status: It received a hearing a week ago and was voted out of committee last week to the Senate Rules Committee for consideration to go the floor for a vote.

Support: Appeals Process for School Library Obscenity

SB 226 (Sen. Jason Anavitarte) makes sure that our children are protected from sexually explicit material. Georgia Baptists support legislation that allows a proper appeal process, when parents see material that is obscene.

Status: Voted out of subcommittee to full committee for a vote.

Support: “The Women’s Health and Safety Act” (Ban on Mailing Abortion Pills)

We fully support SB 466: (Sen. Bruce Thompson) this legislation, which would reinstate the Obama/Trump era restrictions of delivering the abortion pill via telemedicine and direct mail in Georgia.

Status: The bill was voted out of committee and sent to Rules committee. Ready to be voted on by the Senate.

Support: The “Parents Bill of Rights” for Public Schools

SB 449 (Sen. Clint Dixon)/HB 1178 (Rep. Josh Bonner): These bills codify parental rights when it comes to their child’s education into law, including the right to access instructional material. The bills affirm a parent’s ability to request information from a principal or superintendent and requires that they provide the requested information within three working days.

Status: SB 449 received a hearing in the Senate is awaiting approval to go the Rules Committees.

Support: Ban on Teaching Critical Race Theory in Public Schools

SB 377 by Sen. Bo Hatchett; HB 1084 by Rep. Will Wade: It is important our children know that they are all “image bearers,” and they should not be made to feel ashamed of who they are and be distrustful of their neighbor. Children do not need to feel as though they are inherently oppressed or inherently oppressors based on their race.

Status: Both bills received hearings in the last 2 weeks. SB 377 is still in committee. HB 1084 has been voted out of a subcommittee and goes to the full committee for a vote.

Support: “Student Technology Protection Act”

HB 1217 by Chris Erwin: Requires specifications for technology to filter obscenity from students in public schools.

Status: It was voted out a subcommittee and on to the full committee for a vote. The full committee voted in favor of the bill this week. It now goes to the Rules Committee.

Support: The “Forum Act” (Forming Open and Robust University Minds)

HB 1 was introduced by Representative Josh Bonner. This bill protects students on our college campuses regarding their freedom of speech and freedom of association.

Status: The bill was voted out of the full committee and is now in the Rules committee for consideration to go to the floor for a vote.

Published February 21, 2022