Georgia’s Future Needs Your Attention

Today we have three bills for your consideration and for action. The future of our state, our young people, their health and education is at great risk. Our prosecutorial system faces a threat and a thwarting of the will of the people. These actions will take about 10 minutes each.

*Please be sure to indicate the bill number in your correspondence and phone calls.

Transgender Bills Will Harm Many Youth
The doctor’s office is too small for a doctor, parents, and a young patient – as well as the state of Georgia. The state has no business in your family’s medical decisions.

The Senate passed SB 140, which would severely restrict gender affirming care for transgender youth. It would prohibit doctors from prescribing hormone therapy or performing gender-affirming surgeries on transgender people under the age of 18. Another bill, SB 141, that would have outlawed the use of puberty blockers, did not meet the Crossover Day deadline, but there is concern that its contents could be added to SB 140 later in the session. The GOP is interfering in private medical decisions and harming vulnerable kids to pander to their extreme MAGA base.

SB 140 has been assigned to the House Committee on Health, chaired by Rep. Sharon Cooper. Please contact Chairwoman Cooper and politely encourage her to not allow the bill pass out of Committee, but that if it does get passed out of the Committee, it will not have the provisions of SB141, or any other dangerous provisions added to it. After sending your email to Rep. Cooper, please send a note to the rest of the public health committee as shown below to ask them to not pass this bill.

The new Speaker of the House, Jon Burns, at the beginning of the session said he wanted to avoid divisive bills and ask him to kill this one.  You can email him at jon.burns@house.ga.gov or call (404) 656-5020.

House Committee on Public Health
Dale Washburn, Vice Chairman dale.washburn@house.ga.gov
Mary Margaret Oliver mary.oliver@house.ga.gov
Teri Anulewicz teri.anulewicz@house.ga.gov
Michelle Au michelle.au@house.ga.gov
Karen Bennett karen.bennett@house.ga.gov
Mike Cheokas mike.cheokas@house.ga.gov
Katie Dempsey katie.dempsey@house.ga.gov
Karla Drenner karla.drenner@house.ga.gov
Barry Fleming barry.fleming@house.ga.gov
Spencer Frye spencer.frye@house.ga.gov
Houston Gaines houston.gaines@house.ga.gov
Lee Hawkins lee.hawkins@house.ga.gov
Scott Hilton scott.hilton@house.ga.gov
Penny Houston penny.houston@house.ga.gov
Karlton Howard karlton.howard@house.ga.gov
Shelly Hutchinson shelly.hutchinson@house.ga.gov
John LaHood john.lahood@house.ga.gov
Jodi Lott jodi.lott@house.ga.gov
Butch Parrish butch.parrish@house.ga.gov
Clay Pirkle clay.pirkle@house.ga.gov
Tremaine “Teddy” Reese tremaine.reese@house.ga.gov
Devan Seabaugh devan.seabaugh@house.ga.gov
Deborah Silcox deborah.silcox@house.ga.gov
Doug Stoner doug.stoner@house.ga.gov
Darlene Taylor darlene.taylor@house.ga.gov

School Voucher Bill Will Damage Public Schools, Small Town and Rural Schools Will Suffer The Most

SB 233, the school voucher passed the Senate and has been assigned to the House Education Committee.

This bill would allow students in “low performing” schools to be given $6000 annually to be used for private school or homeschooling.  In its current form the bill contains no means testing and no budget cap on vouchers.  This bill has been assigned to the House Education Committee.  Aside from the obvious result that public schools will receive less funding as a result of this bill, there are several other issues of concern.  There is little oversight of how recipients use the tax-payer money they receive.  There is no official analysis of the impact such vouchers would have on public school funding.  The bill also does not address any sort of methodology for assessing/measuring the impact of ways the tax-payer money can be used.  The bottom line is that tax-payers have absolutely no assurance that the money being transferred away from the public school system will be used in ways that actually enhance education of Georgia students. Instead of giving money away, our lawmakers need to use the money to make our schools the healthy learning environment that all of our children need. Rural and small town schools will suffer the consequences if this bill passes. Those who are in the business of building private academies win. For a deeper dive into vouchers and charter schools see this article from In the Public Interest.

Please contact members of the House Education Committee to oppose this bill.

Chris Erwin, chris.erwin@house.ga.gov
Scott Hilton, scott.hilton@house.ga.gov
Lauren Daniel, lauren.daniel@house.ga.gov
Segun Adeyina, segun.adeyina@house.ga.gov
Bethany Ballard, bethany.ballard@house.ga.gov
Doreen Carter, doreen.carter@house.ga.gov
Mike Cheokas, mike.cheokas@house.ga.gov
David Clark, david.clark@house.ga.gov
Brent Cox, brent.cox@house.ga.gov
Matt Dubnik, matt.dubnik@house.ga.gov
Becky Evans, becky.evans@house.ga.gov
Lydia Glaize, lydia.glaize@house.ga.gov
Karlton Howard, karlton.howard@house.ga.gov
Rick Jasperse, rick.jasperse@house.ga.gov
Jan Jones, jan.jones@house.ga.gov
Todd Jones, todd.jones@house.ga.gov
Mesha Mainor, mesha.mainor@house.ga.gov
Miriam Paris, miriam.paris@house.ga.gov
Rick Townsend, rick.townsend@house.ga.gov
Will Wade, will.wade@house.ga.gov
David Wilkerson, david.wilkerson@house.ga.gov
Chris Erwin, chris.erwin@house.ga.gov

Prosecutorial Oversight Bill Gets National Attention

HB 231 would establish oversight boards that could remove District Attorneys and Solicitor Generals deemed to neglect select prosecutions.  There are multiple provisions in our Constitution and State Code that provide for oversight of our DAs and Solicitor Generals.  They can be reprimanded by the State Bar of GA, impeached or voted out in the next election.   This bill would require the Georgia Supreme Court to appoint five-member investigation panels and three-member hearing panels that will determine disciplinary consequences for prosecutors who decline to prosecute low-level offenses. It is a move by Republicans to remove liberal District Attorneys.  The sponsors have been open about who they were targeting – DAs who made blanket statements about not prosecuting certain crimes such as abortion or possession of small amounts of marijuana. During hours of testimony in front of the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee, DAs testified that they were exercising their prosecutorial discretion and prioritizing violent crimes over these other crimes. 

This isn’t about oversight. Republicans do not like Democrats winning elections. They have decided they know better than the voters who elected their DA. Subverting the will of the voters is dangerous and undemocratic.  In addition, this new and duplicative layer of government will cost taxpayers at least $1.5 million plus the cost of any recall elections that become necessary. When you are told that your taxes will be lowered, Do not be fooled. It may look like lower taxes, but the hidden costs that will be passed along to us, the taxpayers will be astronomical.

This bill is a recipe for politicizing the administration of justice and is a move taken directly from the authoritarian or authoritarian-wannabe playbook.  It should come as no surprise that Trump has taken to his social media platform to encourage the passage of this legislation.

HB 231 has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.  Please contact the members of that committee to oppose this bill.

Senate Judiciary:
Brian Strickland, brian.strickland@senate.ga.gov
Bill Cowsert, bill.cowsert@senate.ga.gov
Mike Hodges, mike.hodges@senate.ga.gov
Steve Gooch, steve.gooch@senate.ga.gov
Bo Hatchett, bo.hatchett@senate.ga.gov
Harold Jones II, harold.jones@senate.ga.gov
John Kennedy, john.kennedy@senate.ga.gov
Elena Parent, elena.parent@senate.ga.gov
Michael ‘Doc’ Rhett, michael.rhett@senate.ga.gov
Ed Setzler, ed.setzler@senate.ga.gov
Ben Watson, ben.watson@senate.ga.gov

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