Evans E-Bulletin End of Session Report

Below you will find an end of session report that lists bills of interest that made it through this year’s session.

Please make sure you are registered for our virtual town hall tomorrow at 7pm. See the details below.

Post-Session Town Hall Tomorrow! 

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.  

Budget Highlights 

You can read the governor’s budget report here


Amended Fiscal Year 2024

  • The amended budget totals $37.5 billion, which includes $5 billion in new spending. 
  • $102,542,821 for a midterm adjustment in the Quality Basic Education Program.
  • $28,513,994 for the State Commission Charter Schools supplement to recognize a 5.24 percent increase in enrollment at state charter schools.
  • $315,145,316 to provide a $1,000 one-time salary supplement for state employees, certificated K-12 employees, and Pre-K teachers and assistant teachers for recruitment and retention purposes.
  • $57,919,528 for the Department of Transportation to reflect updated FY 2024 motor fuel revenue projected collections.

Fiscal Year 2025

  • 4% cost of living increase for all state employees including legislators.
  • $10 million to expand dental services under Medicaid.
  • $2,500 one time bonus for K-12 certified teachers and employees as well as for Pre-K teachers and assistant teachers.
  • QBE for K-12 public education is fully funded.
  • HOPE Scholarship and Grant is fully funded.
  • $2.5 million for the Georgia Housing Voucher program.
  • $2 million for the GA Apex program to expand mental health services in schools.
  • $4.5 million for the State Housing Trust Fund.
  • $103 million for school security grants.
  • $200 million for bus driver operations to local school districts.
  • $250 million to provide low-cost loans to counties/cities for water improvement needs.
  • $15 to $20 million for local counties to get access to clean water.

Bills that passed both chambers on which I voted YES 



HB404 or the “Safe at Home Act”, would mandate that rental properties must meet certain standards for human habitation. The bill would prohibit landlords from shutting off a rental home’s utilities prior to an eviction. The bill would also limit security deposits to no more than two months’ rent and would require landlords to provide a three-business day notice before initiating eviction proceedings for unpaid rent or charges. Additionally, eviction notices would be required to be visibly posted on the renter’s door in a sealed envelope. Georgia renters have the right to live in homes that meet certain minimum health and safety standards, and overall, this bill would provide greater protections for tenants under state law and hold landlords accountable for keeping their properties safe for renters.


HB993 would impose criminal consequences on individuals who knowingly and intentionally use electronic means to groom minors, persuading, inducing, enticing, or coercing them into committing sexual offenses or acts of human trafficking. Perpetrators of this crime would face felony imprisonment ranging from one to five years. Importantly, these penalties would apply regardless of whether the crimes occur within our outside of Georgia, as long as it involves a minor residing in Georgia. 


SB10 would make it a misdemeanor offense to knowingly be present and facilitate a drag race, which would include using a vehicle to block a portion of the roadway nearest to the race. The bill would add the crime of reckless stunt driving to the list of charges that prevent progress from Class D to Class C license. 


HB926 or the “Second Chance Workforce Act,” allows a traffic court judge to reinstate an accused person’s license when it was suspended because of a failure to appear if the person has scheduled a new date to appear before the court; has appeared in court for a hearing, arraignment, or waiver of arraignment and entry of plea; or when the charge has been fully adjudicated.


SB414 would create the ‘Personal Privacy Protection Act.’ The bill would prohibit public agencies from collecting, publicizing, disclosing or requesting specified personal information related to donations to nonprofit organizations, but importantly this would not apply to any political donations, which must be disclosed under existing laws. The bill would create the misdemeanor crime of improper collection or disclosure of personal information.


HB827 provides police powers to the Agriculture Commissioner to enforce laws under the criminal code that fall under the Department of Agriculture’s jurisdiction. The bill also increases the penalty for livestock theft. Any individual convicted of livestock theft has committed a felony and must be sentenced to 2-15 years in prison and pay a fine of $10,000. Theft of livestock where the fair market value of such livestock is $100 or less would also be increased from a misdemeanor to an aggravated misdemeanor.



SB395 or “Wesley’s Law,” would allow for visitors and school employees to possess and administer an opioid antagonist (such as Narcan) if the person believes someone is suffering from a drug overdose on school property or at a school-sponsored activity.


SB351 or the “Protecting Georgia’s Children on Social Media Act of 2024”, would add to the character education program relating to bullying a new requirement to teach “responsible digital citizenship and the safe and appropriate use of technology, the Internet and social media” beginning in the 2025-2026 school year. This bill would also would require the Department of Education to develop model programs regarding online safety for grades six through 12 and post on its website recommended curriculum and instructional materials.


HB995 would require the administration of a nationally recognized multiple-aptitude battery assessment that measures developed abilities and helps predict future academic and occupational success in the military to public school students in grades 11 and 12 who choose to participate. This would help address declining military recruitment numbers by guiding students towards military career paths best suited to their abilities and offering them a no-cost opportunity to make the most informed decision on where their abilities may be best matched in the armed forces.


Higher Education


SB399 would require the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) commissioner to collaborate with the University System of Georgia (USG) chancellor to provide a report on specified information related to courses, transfers, degree completion and the High-Demand Career List to the governor, lieutenant governor, speaker of the House of Representatives and certain legislative committee chairs. The bill would provide expectations to the Board of Regents, units of USG and local boards of education to enter into and amend agreements with TCSG related to transferability of credits. 


SB497 would redesignate the High-demand Career Initiatives Program as the High Demand Apprenticeship Program. The bill would lower the maximum contract completion award amount from $10,000 per apprentice to $5,000 per apprentice and increase the number of allowable apprentices from five per year to 10 per year. The bill would establish the Public Service Apprenticeship Program through the Office of Workforce Development in order to promote the creation and expansion of registered apprenticeship programs throughout the state. 


HB1231 would allow students who are concurrently seeking an undergrad and a masters degree to use HOPE hours toward classes taken as part of a masters degree program (though capping the cost of any class at an undergraduate level course cost) within 18 months of earning a baccalaureate degree to use the full number of hours of HOPE scholarship eligibility.




HB663 or the “No Patient Left Alone Act”, would require the presence of designated essential caregivers with patients in long-term care facilities during treatment. Under this bill, both minors and adult patients would have the right to have an essential caregiver to be physically present at all times while that patient remains in the hospital or facility. 


Public Health

HB1010 would increase the number of hours of annual paid parental leave for state employees from 120 to 240 hours, or six weeks, doubling the amount of paid leave that these workers currently receive. This extended leave could be used following the birth of a child or when a child is placed in a home following foster care placement or adoption.


SB198 would require pharmacy benefits managers in contracts with the state health benefit plan to reimburse independent pharmacies at a minimum of the average reimbursement for retail chain pharmacies for the same drug on the same day. Pharmacy benefit managers would also be required to provide annual compliance certification to the Department of Community Health and make records available to the department upon written demand.



HB451 would require a public entity to provide supplemental, illness-specific insurance to certain first responders diagnosed with occupational post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This coverage would be available once per an individual’s lifetime, and it would include a $3,000 cash benefit and an income replacement disability benefit provided 90 days after diagnosis, if needed. 


SB384 would create the Georgia as a Model Employer (GAME) Program, which would be developed and implemented by the state’s Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) coordinator. Notably, the GAME Program would include: technical assistance and training for state agency human resources personnel and hiring managers for the recruitment, hiring, advancement and retention of qualified individuals with disabilities; assistance with implementing plans for reasonable accommodations by state agencies under the ADA; and developing evaluation forms and reports for the purpose of data collection and analysis relating to individuals with disabilities employed by state agencies.



HB1021 would allow each taxpayer to deduct $4,000 from their Georgia taxable income for each dependent. The current allowable deduction per dependent is $3,000. 



HB461 would update current law relating to the imposition of regulatory fees by local governments to require the proceeds of regulatory fees collected by a local government to be used for the related regulatory activity and not the general operations of the local government. This bill would eliminate the ability for a local government to impose a fee for construction projects classified as renovation based on the cost of the project and instead would require the use of square feet for the calculation of a fee for an “extensive renovation project,” which is defined as a project valued at $75,000 or more to renovate an existing structure.


HB1019 would increase the statewide homestead exemption for all ad valorem taxation for state, county and school purposes from $2,000 to $4,000. Individuals would be eligible for the exemption if they reside in the home as their primary residence.




SB212 would remove election activities and duties from the powers of probate judges. The bill would direct any county with a probate judge acting as the election superintendent to create a board of elections and registration. The bill would provide for the composition and administration of such boards. 



SB203 would make industry services training programs relating to the operation of commercial motor vehicles tuition free for honorably discharged veterans.


Regulated Industries

SB495 would stipulate that a registration card for low THC oil would be valid for five years from the date of issuance so long as the individual continues to remain eligible for a card based on the continued diagnosis of the condition. The Department of Public Health would deliver the registration cards through certified mail or by electronic means, such as email. 


SB449 would require the Department of Community Health, in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Service, to create a program in which military medical personnel could be certified as nurse aides, paramedics, cardiac technicians, emergency medical technicians or licensed practical nurses without having to meet certain additional requirements. The term “military medical personnel” would be added to the bill and relates to those who have relevant experience within the past 24 months prior to seeking certification or recertification as a medic, medical technician or corpsman within the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy or Coast Guard.


HB880 would allow the spouses of service members to continue practicing their jobs without a Georgia professional license in certain circumstances. To qualify, the spouse would be required to hold a current license from another state and be in good standing in that state, submit an expedited license by endorsement application along with the service member’s military orders, which could be filed prior to relocation to Georgia, as well as be employed by an in-state employer. If the license by endorsement is not granted within 30 days after the application is submitted, the spouse could still work for the in-state employer without being licensed. However, if the spouse is denied an expedited license by endorsement, he or she would no longer qualify to practice the occupation in this state.


HB300 would require solar power facility agreements to provide procedures for the decommissioning of a solar power facility.



SB105 would increase the benefit multiplier for Public School Employees Retirement System (PSERS) members from $16.50 to a minimum of $17.00 per month for each year of creditable service. This bill would also remove the benefit multiplier for members, including those members who retired after August 1, 2012. The bill has been certified by the Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts as a fiscal retirement bill. 


Public Safety

SB417 would require reports for accidents on elevators, dumbwaiters, escalators, manlifts or moving walks to be filed by the end of the next business day, reduced from seven days. The bill would create a new misdemeanor for detonating fireworks within 150 feet of an emergency medical technician, firefighter or law enforcement officer when detonation is for the purpose of hindering or disrupting that first responder’s duties.

Bills that passed both chambers on which I voted NO 


Public Safety

HB1105 would require that Georgia law enforcement officials contact and work with ICE when they arrest undocumented persons, and if they do not do so, then they lose their funding. I am against this bill because it attempts to tell law enforcement officials what to prioritize. I trust law enforcement to decide how to prioritize personnel time.



HB1172  would place in jeopardy the right to make use of river beds when passing through navigable waters to hunt or fish. This bill specifically carves out the public’s right to the water in navigable streams but not the stream bed, which is crucial to fishermen because you typically cannot fish a stream without making use of the stream bed.



SB233 would allow public school money to be diverted to private schools in the form of a $6,500 voucher. 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. 



SB189 had some positive aspects, but they did not outweigh the negatives in this bill. In particular, this bill would encourage citizen challenges to voter eligibility, which further strains our election workers. This is unnecessary and only serves to feed the conspiracy theorists among us. It is also an unfunded mandate.



HB1339 would loosen state regulations governing where healthcare facilities can operate, known as a certificate of need, and was passed to give the governors failing Pathways program more time to work. The Senate version was drastically different than the original House version that I voted yes on, this new version creates six new exemptions along with several other changes that I disagreed with.  

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