At the Capitol: Week of March 4

Since Crossover Day, lawmakers have been busy working on bills that passed the other chamber as we close in on Sine Die. Here is an update on what happened this week:

– This is qualifying week for members of the state legislature, as well as local county officials. Candidates have until the end of the day today to submit their paperwork. 

– Rep. Clay Pirkle, R-Asburn, announced last week he will not seek re-election this year. Pirkle has been in the House since 2015. 

– Georgia Public Policy Foundation President and CEO Kyle Wingfield testified before the Senate Finance Committee about tax reform and what Georgia needs to do to remain competitive in a low-tax region. In February, the Foundation partnered with the Buckeye Institute in publishing “Next Steps for Georgia” that models how several tax scenarios would impact Georgia’s economy. 

– The House adopted a $36.1 billion fiscal 2025 state budget this week that includes pay raises for teachers, state and university system employees and judges.

– The House gave final passage to the Prosecuting Attorneys Qualifications Commission, which is a follow up to legislation passed last year. SB 332, authored by Sen. Randy Robertson, R-Cataula, will give the panel power to remove prosecutors it deems guilty of a variety of offenses, including mental or physical incapacity, willful misconduct or failure to perform the duties of the office, conviction of a crime of moral turpitude, or conduct that brings the office into disrepute. It is now headed to the Governor. 

– The Senate amended the Georgia Development Impact Fee Act, which will allow local boards of education to collect fees from developers to be used for educational services in certain fast-growing counties. SB 208 is authored by Sen. Greg Dolezal, R-Cumming. This bill is limited to school districts that have experienced 20% growth in student enrollment over the past decade and have expenditures of more than $250 million on educational facilities during that same time period.

– The House adopted the Georgia Criminal Alien Track and Report Act, which would enact penalties on sheriffs who do not report that an inmate is in the country illegally to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. HB 1105 is authored by Rep. Jesse Petrea, R-Savannah. It now moves to the Senate.

– Following passage, Speaker Jon Burns, R-Newington, released the following statement: “While we continue to pray for Laken Riley and her family, the Georgia House took action today to strengthen public safety and security in our state, stand firmly against illegal immigration and for the rule of law – and I am proud of the passage of House Bill 1105.”

– The House also adopted the Squatter Reform Act, which would create the offense of unlawful squatting when someone enters and resides in a property without the owner’s “knowledge or consent.” HB 1017 is authored by Rep. Devan Seabaugh, R-Marietta. 

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