At the Capitol: Week of January 8

Lawmakers returned to Atlanta this week to kick off the 40-day session on Monday. Here is a recap of the first week of the 2024 session:

– Gov. Brian Kemp delivered the 2024 State of the State address on Thursday. You can watch the speech here

– Earlier in the week at the Georgia Chamber’s annual Eggs and Issues breakfast, Kemp outlined his priorities for this session. He also announced that a significant tort reform push will not be happening this year.

– Lt. Gov. Burt Jones talked about school choice, specifically mentioning SB 233, the Georgia Promise Scholarship Act, as well as red tape reform.

– Speaker Jon Burns mentioned the House is exploring a private option for Medicaid expansion, which could be paired with changes to the state’s Certificate of Need program. In December, the Foundation published a policy brief that analyzed claims made by supporters of this approach.

– A sports betting bill cleared the Senate Regulated Industries & Utilities Committee this week. Senate Bill 172, sponsored by Sen. Bill Cowsert, R-Athens, would allow Georgians to vote on sports betting. 

House Bill 880, sponsored by Rep. Bethany Ballard, R-Warner Robins, would allow military spouses to use an existing occupational license in good standing from another state to obtain employment in Georgia.

– One issue gaining traction with lawmakers is a measure to tackle “swatting” following a spate of incidents targeting Georgia lawmakers. “It’s a sad commentary on where we are that you’re willing to put law enforcement’s lives in danger, your political opponents’ lives in danger, their neighbors,” Kyle Wingfield, president and CEO of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, said.

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