So What Didn’t Make It Through on Crossover Day?

Baker Owens

Thursday, March 11th, 2021

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Despite a relatively early finish by the Senate on Crossover Day, the House stayed until well into the night on Monday and the flurry of activity from both chambers left many to wonder, “what the heck just happened?” (As a reminder, either Chamber is free to bring bills up for debate before Crossover Day, but for some reason many bills are left to find their way forward during the flurry.)

InsiderAdvantage reported yesterday on many of the bills that “crossed over,” including the Senate omnibus elections bill, the House bill on citizen’s arrest reform and a House bill on patient family rights during a public health emergency. 

There were numerous bills though that had gotten some attention that didn’t make the cut this year though and supporters will have to hope for another year to see passage. 

House Bill 358 was a bill particularly relevant at the moment but, perhaps, not relevant again for some time. The bill would have required that legislators renew an emergency powers provision for the governor after 30 days, and then every 90 days after that. Governor Brian Kemp has been operating under emergency powers for nearly a year now as part of the COVID-19 pandemic.

HB 120 had gotten the okay from committee but the bill that would have allowed for in-state tuition for qualifying “Dreamers” – the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program – never came up for a vote. Despite being sponsored by Dalton Republican Kasey Carpenter (R-45 Dalton), who called the bill part of a workforce development issue, the bill was expected to be met with intense opposition from other Republicans and slipped into the purgatory of committee passage but no floor vote. 

A proposal to build a “Let Freedom Ring” monument on top of Stone Mountain, SB 158, never saw a vote either. The bill did get a favorable report from the Economic Development and Tourism Committee but intense lobbying from the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and perhaps a desire to just steer clear of the issue altogether, left the bill hanging. 

The supporters of one of those bills were some lawmakers themselves. Two different bills would have given pay raises to state legislators and statewide elected officials but neither bill advanced forward. Lawmakers have not seen a raise since 1999 and critics contend that state legislating is now limited to either the already wealthy or those scraping by who may have a hard time working both a state legislative job and whatever work they do normally. Lawmakers may have gotten spooked at the possible public relations fallout of passing a pay hike during an economic crisis. 

Finally, though the potential for sports gambling is still on the table after a bill was approved that would allow for a vote in November, bills that would allow casino gambling or horse racing all withered on the vine in committee. Despite efforts to increase the pot for the HOPE Scholarship and other measures to make the proposals perhaps more palatable, casino goers will have to continue to drive out of state. 

To read all of InsiderAdvantage Georgia’s daily news, SUBSCRIBE HERE. *Subscription includes a complimentary subscription to JAMES Magazine.