2019 Georgia Legislative Session


Given that lawmakers are in session for 40 days, a roughly $38,842 raise might be a tough sell, but that has not stopped Sen. Valencia Seay (D - 34) from proposing a bill in the state senate to give legislators a pay bump.



Georgia has a new tool to help those suffering from mental health issues.

Gov. Brian Kemp announced an app to go along with the Georgia Crisis and Access Line or GCAL. The hotline, which launched in 2006, receives almost 1,000 calls each day. Now, the state is adding a GCAL app.

Ted S. Warren / GPB News

Republicans in the Senate have filed a bill that would give Gov. Brian Kemp authorization to submit a pair of waivers for the state's Medicaid and Affordable Care Act plans next year. 

SB 106, also known as the Patients First Act, would provide the latitude for Kemp to submit what's known as an 1115 wavier to the Department of Health and Human Services for Medicaid and a 1332 waiver to HHS and the Treasury for the ACA by June 30 of 2020.

Bill McChesny / Flickr/CC

It's the fourteenth day of the legislative session, and the House and Senate have sent their first bill to Gov. Brian Kemp. 

SB 25 clarifies a law dealing with when it is allowed to pass a school bus.


Rep. Matt Barton (R Calhoun) called his first day as the newest member of the Georgia House “Lucky 13.”  That’s because he’s beginning his first term on the day 13 of the legislative session.

Evan Vucci / AP

On this edition of Political Rewind, a congressional conference committee reaches agreement on funding for border security that’s far short of the money President Trump has demanded. How will the compromise play among trump voters in Georgia?

Grant Blankenship | GPB News

The state House passed an amended budget for the current 2019 fiscal year.

The so-called “little budget” updates spending through June 30 and passed with only 8 "no" votes.

It’s been another busy week in Georgia politics.  Gov. Brian Kemp has just announced his intention to seek a Medicaid waiver from the federal government.  Meanwhile, legislators are a quarter of the way through the session.  They’re tackling issues ranging from the $27.5 billion budget to offshore drilling and its effect on the coast.

GPB Politics Reporter Stephen Fowler offered his weekly recap to “On Second Thought” listeners.

Offshore drilling and budget negotiations are taking top priority with state lawmakers this week. GPB politics reporter Stephen Fowler reflected on the last few days at the Georgia State Capitol. 

A new radio documentary will highlight the roots of gospel music during Black History Month. The four-part documentary is called "Gospel Roots of Rock and Soul," and Grammy Award-winning gospel musician, Cece Winans will host the program. Bob Marovich is a historian and founder of the Journal of Gospel Music. He spoke with "On Second Thought" host Virginia Prescott about his contributions to the project. 


Ross Terrell / Georgia Public Broadcasting

A group of Democratic lawmakers want to raise Georgia's minimum wage and stop employers from using salary history when making hiring decisions.

Legislation introduced this week would raise the state's minimum wage from $5.15 to $15 an hour over the next five years.


The Senate passed its first significant legislation Thursday to clarify a law about when vehicles must stop for school buses.

For years, Georgia law required motorists – on both sides of the road – to stop when a school bus extends its stop arm unless the way had a grassy or concrete median, and in that case, oncoming traffic could continue to move.

However, last year on the last day of the legislative session lawmakers passed a bill allowing vehicles to catch a school bus if the road had a turning lane.

GPB News

A move toward expanding school choice is expected to come up during this legislative session because both  Gov. Brian Kemp and Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan campaigned on the issue.

School choice can range from private to charters to magnet schools. Each are funded differently.

GPB News

Voters in Banks, Stephens, and Habersham counties are hoping three is the final number.

For the third time since December, voters will have to go to the polls to decide the race between incumbent Rep. Dan Gasaway and former Banks County School Superintendent Chris Erwin.

Connor Carey / Wikimedia Commons

On this edition of Political Rewind, Republican and Democratic women in the state legislature have declared a temporary truce to speak out about how they’ve been marginalized by male leaders. State Senator Jen Jordan joins us to talk about the issues driving their concerns.

Connor Carey / Wikimedia Commons

The third week of Georgia’s legislative session is now over. Lawmakers in the House and Senate have burned through seven out of 40 scheduled days.

It’s budget time at the capitol. State legislators have been hearing from state agencies that are pressing their needs for next year’s fiscal plan. GPB politics reporter Stephen Fowler has kept a close watch on the action under the Gold Dome.  He stopped by “On Second Thought” for an update.


Stephen Fowler / GPB News

A bipartisan group of Georgia lawmakers have reintroduced legislation that would ratify the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. 

Grant Blankenship / GPB News

As the hearings continue on the governor’s proposed budget, among the proposals gaining wide-ranging, bi-partisan support is the $69 million proposed for school safety.

In Fulton County Schools, thanks to voter support of SPLOST or the Special Purpose Local Options Sales Tax, the district is taking school security to the next level.

“The days of James Bond sci-fi is here in Fulton County Schools,” said Shannon Flounnory, the school system's executive director of safety and security.


A new front has opened in the ongoing "religious liberty" legislative battle, this time over religious expression in schools.

On Monday, State Rep. Kasey Carpenter, a Dalton Republican, filed House Bill 53 known as ‘The Student and Educator Faith Protection Act,’ the first religious liberty measure to be put forth during the 2019 state legislative session.

Georgia’s high-speed internet deserts in the rural areas of the state appear closer to getting help.

State House Committee on Economic Development and Tourism held a hearing Monday on two bills that would authorize telephone companies and Electric Membership Cooperatives to provide broadband.

Georgia Southern University Health Facebook

Georgia lawmakers are considering changes to the way the state approves new hospitals and medical facilities.

GPB’s Cindy Hill spoke with Charles Owens, professor of health policy and management at Georgia Southern University, to learn more about what this means for patients.

Screenshot | Governor's Office of Planning and Budget

Everyone has a budget, including the state government.

Over the course of three days and hours upon hours of hearings, the state house and senate appropriations committees heard from Gov. Brian Kemp and state agencies about the record $27.5 billion budget proposal which starts July 1.

On this edition of Political Rewind, the race for 2020 is well underway and Georgia is already a player.

Ezra Morris / GPB

The 2019 Session Joint Budget Hearings began at 10 a.m.

Lawmakers from the state house and state senate will hear from department heads and Gov. Brian Kemp about the proposed amended fiscal year 2019 budget and the fiscal year 2020 budget. 

It may not be the flashiest week at the state capitol, but it's one of the most important. 

Lawmakers will meet this week to go over the state's budget for the next fiscal year. 



It’s been a busy week in Georgia politics. The state has a new governor, and a new legislative session is underway in the state House and Senate. The 2018 “Year of the Woman” means the Georgia General Assembly now has a record number of female lawmakers, and they’re already making a splash. Female senators started the session by decrying their small number of committee chair assignments, most of which were doled out by male lawmakers.

GPB Politics Reporter Stephen Fowler has been under the gold dome covering the action and stopped by "On Second Thought" to provide a recap of the week.

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

Just four days into office, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp delivered a State of the State speech to outline his legislative and budgetary priorities for the year.

Next year’s proposed budget will include pay raises for teachers and state employees. Kemp also used his first address to ask for an increase in mental health funding and the creation of an anti-gang taskforce.

John Bazemore / AP Photo/File

Gov. Brian Kemp’s proposed budget for 2020 includes a $3,000 raise for certified Georgia teachers and a 2 percent merit raise for state employees. He made the announcement during his State of the State speech to legislators Thursday.


A bipartisan group of women in the state senate delivered blistering remarks Wednesday about the makeup of the chamber’s 27 standing committees, most of whom are led by men.

It’s the latest drama in the senate, which opened the week with a controversial rule change that limited the window someone could file a complaint about alleged sexual harassment from a senator or staffer.

Georgia Chamber

At the Georgia Chamber’s Eggs and Issues Breakfast Wednesday morning, state leaders signaled the upcoming legislative session would focus on economic issues like transit, education and developing rural Georgia.

Republican Gov. Brian Kemp said his first state budget would include a “historic and well-deserved pay raise” for teachers, following through on a campaign promise to boost the competitiveness of salaries for educators.

Hours after his swearing-in on Monday, Gov. Brian Kemp signed an executive order on sexual harassment.  The Senate also passed rules on the same issue for its members.

Among other things, Kemp's order combines the complaint system for sexual harassment into one system, rather than several departments handling the issues raised by employees.

The governor's order includes: