Legislative Day 24: Budget, Solar Power And Social Issues

Feb 28, 2019

It's a week before Crossover Day, the last day a bill can survive this session without passing either the House or the Senate.

That means it's crunch time for bills that have been filed, as well as a slew of bills that are both new and controversial.

Here's some highlights:

-The House passed the record $27.5 billion FY 2020 budget, which adds a $2,775 raise for teachers - and other school staff. Also included is $150 million for new voting machines, training for local poll workers and other maintenance costs.

-Gov. Kemp announced 400 new jobs are coming to Early County in the solar power industry.

...Gov. Kemp also announced support for a bill that would effectively ban abortion in Georgia if the Roe v. Wade decision was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court

-There's also a version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in the Senate that the authors say would mirror federal law. Gov. Kemp has expressed support for this as well.

-Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on his belief that most Georgians support new ballot-marking devices over hand-marked paper ballots:

"You have to understand that a lot of people that support the touchscreen technology they don't show up at these meetings. They're out there and they're working their jobs. They're trying to, you know provide for their families and they feel really comfortable about it."

Hear my full conversation with him on Monday.

-Speaking of Raffensperger, the Senate Ethics Committee subcommittee on lections and voting heard a few hours of public testimony on the massive voting bill, HB 316. They asked him no questions.

-A rural transit bill is making its way through the House that could add around $60 million in funding by adding a small fee on ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft.