Evans E-Bulletin Week Ten

This was the tenth week of session and our focus remained on Senate bills, with our committees convening frequently to review and refine proposed legislation from our Senate colleagues. With Sine Die approaching on March 28th, there is growing anticipation as we near the conclusion of this session.

Save the Date! Post-Session Town Hall

We will be having our last town hall of the 2024 Legislative Session on Tuesday, April 9th at 7pm. State Senator Sonya Halpern and I will bring you the latest news from the Gold Dome post-session and answer any of your questions. You can register here.  

Remembering Ralston

On Thursday, we unveiled the portrait of former Speaker of the House David Ralston. Speaker Ralston was a great public servant and I miss his voice in the Chamber. 

Special Visitors at the Capitol

Dr. Shannon Buff, principal at Newton High School, and her husband, Bart, who is a fellow education leader (he’s Assistant Principal at Eastside High School in Covington) visited the Capitol on Thursday. Dr. Buff is Georgia’s principal of the year!  I’m so glad the State House recognized the great work she is doing. Fun fact: Bart and Shannon are both friends of mine from Ringgold and because Bart’s sister married my uncle, we are also related. Go family!

Larry Walker visited on Wednesday. Mr. Walker served as the long-time Majority Leader when Democrats were last in the majority (ah, the good ‘ole days!). Mr. Walker is also a long-time lawyer in Perry, Georgia, and is a big supporter of the University of Georgia. So naturally I had to say hello!


We have a few members of the House that have decided to retire this year. I am fond of all of them and will greatly miss them in the chamber. 

Representative Roger Bruce, House District 61, was first elected in 2003 and has been reelected every two years since then. During his time in office, Rep. Bruce hasfocused on issues related to children with special needs, the aging, education, working families, economic development, voting rights and criminal justice. I will particularly miss sitting next to Roger in Judiciary Committee.  We got in a lot of good trouble together on that committee!

Representative Pedro Marin, House District 96, has been at the forefront in stopping gang violence and graffiti, expanding translation services in the courts, against racial profiling and fighting against legislation targeting specific communities. Pedro is the embodiment of leadership, character and strength. He is a person to be commended for his history of selfless sacrifice and service.

Representative Doug Stoner, House District 40, is no stranger to public service or to Smyrna, Vinings, or the Cobb County community. As a life-long resident of his community, Doug has always sought and found ways to put good ideas into action and improve the lives of his friends and neighbors. Doug has been a friend and ally since I represented a Cobb County district.  His experience and willingness to help is going to be missed in the House. 

Bad Voucher Bill

SB233 would allow public school money to be diverted to private schools in the form of a $6,500 voucher. The map below shows that the majority of private schools (black dots) are clustered in metro regions. The purple dots represent the schools performing in the bottom 25%, which is where the voucher money would be allocated. These school vouchers senselessly draw more money out of already struggling school systems while students have little to no reasonable options for quality private alternatives. There are other big issues with this bill such as private schools are not required to provide transportation to and from school, the tuition and extra costs of private school far exceeds the value of the voucher leaving more burden on the parents, and the bill does nothing to invest in the Georgia public school system. This bill barely passed with several House edits and now makes its way back to the Senate for an agree/disagree vote. 

Source: https://www.arcgis.com/apps/dashboards/44f07b78345a4d0389d98c5e7d3e9707

 Bills that Passed in the House


SB335 or the “Safeguarding Adopted Children from Sexual Violence Act” would expand the crime of incest to include those whose familial relationships are created by adoption. By updating the law, we could ensure that we are protecting every child in our state from such heinous acts, regardless of whether those children are related to their perpetrator by blood or adoption. The House’s passage of this bill represents final passage, sending the legislation to Governor Kemp to be signed into law. I voted yes.


SB421 would increase penalties for repeated unlawful emergency service requests, also known as “swatting.” Swatting refers to an unlawful request for emergency service assistance that an individual knowingly and intentionally makes to a public safety agency when there is no reasonable ground for such a request to be made. Initial violations of swatting instances that occur at homes or places of worship would be classified as felonies, punishable by one to 10 years imprisonment, a minimum $5,000 fine, or both. Further, the bill would introduce the separate offense of drive-by shooting crimes when a person who is in or close to a motor vehicle that they used to drive to the location discharges a firearm at another person, motor vehicle, or occupied dwelling with the intent to injure someone or cause damage to someone’s property; someone convicted of this crime would face a penalty of imprisonment between five and 20 years. I voted yes. 




SB348 would change the timeframe from 180 days to 60 days for an individual to be considered unattended by a physician in an untimely or suspicious death circumstance. The bill would clarify that no individual would be deemed unattended by a physician while they are a resident of a long-term care facility. I voted yes. 

Regulated Industries

SB370 would expand education and create increased awareness on human trafficking. In 2013, the governor signed a law requiring certain Georgia businesses to post notices regarding human trafficking and how victims can obtain help. This bill would expand this current law to add convenience stores, body art studios, manufacturing facilities, and medical offices to the list of establishments that would be required to post notices containing the human trafficking hotline information.  Furthermore, the bill would require each board member of the Georgia Board of Massage Therapy to complete at least 30 minutes of training each year on human trafficking awareness. This legislation would expand our ongoing efforts to combat human trafficking in our state and provide resources and support to human trafficking victims. I voted yes. 


Juvenile Justice

SB483 would enter Georgia into the updated version of the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children Act (ICPC) to help ensure that children are placed in safe homes in a timely manner. The ICPC has been in existence for several decades, but this bill would allow our state to enter into an agreement under the updated version of the compact, which 16 other states have currently joined. The purpose of this revised ICPC would be to streamline communication from one state to another in regards to the placement of adopted and foster children across state lines. Notably, even if the legislation is signed into law, the compact would not go into effect until 35 states have enacted similar legislation. The process for which children are transferred and placed across state boundaries can be burdensome and lengthy for agencies, states, children and parents. This revised compact would modernize this process and shorten the long waiting periods that these families often face and, ultimately, help place children in their forever homes quickly. I voted yes. 




SB342 would allow the Department of Human Services to use records of child abuse or neglect from the child abuse and neglect registry, or from another state, to locate, recover or provide services to a child who is determined by the department to be missing or a victim of sexual exploitation. It would also amend who can have reasonable access to records of child abuse to include the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. I voted yes. 

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