At the Capitol: Week of February 13

Here is your recap of the sixth week of the 2023 legislative session in Georgia.

– Legislative activity has continued to gain momentum as lawmakers hit the halfway point in the 40-day session on Thursday.

– The Senate voted to place a monument of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, a native of Pin Point, Georgia, at the Capitol.

– Sen. Brian Strickland, R-McDonough, introduced Senate Bill 157 to clarify the standards for licensure eligibility for a person with a criminal record. Specifically, it removes vague “moral turpitude” licensing criteria, while allowing licensure denial only if there is a direct relationship between a criminal record and the licensed occupation. A number of Southern states, including Mississippi, Louisiana, North Carolina, Kentucky, Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, have enacted similar legislation to allow ex-offenders to receive an occupational license.

– House Bill 203, sponsored by Rep. Mark Newton, R-Augusta, would amend telemedicine laws to include eye examinations. This measure cleared the House Public Health Committee.

– The Senate Economic Development & Tourism Committee began debate on sports betting in Georgia this week. Senate Bill 57, sponsored by Sen. Billy Hickman, R-Statesboro, would allow sports betting both online and in person at kiosks that could be located inside a range of businesses, including sports venues. This bill would also legalize horse racing.

– House Bill 32, sponsored by Rep. Demetrius Douglas, D-Stockbridge, would require that high school football championship games have instant replay for review of calls. This bill was discussed in a House Education Subcommittee this week. The Georgia High School Association says it has already voted to implement instant replay and is in the process of working out details. It was noted in the discussion that Alabama already has instant replay for high school football.

– Gas-powered leaf blowers would be protected against local ordinances under a new Senate bill. Senate Bill 145, known as the LEAF Act, is sponsored by Sen. Shawn Still, R-Norcross.

– Legislation that would bar the use of TikTok on government-owned devices has advanced in the Senate. Senate Bill 93 was introduced by Sen. Jason Anavitarte, R-Dallas.

The Babylon Bee’s Seth Dillon will be the keynote speaker for our upcoming Georgia Freedom Dinner on April 25. You don’t want to miss this! Get your tickets now.

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