The Georgia House of Representatives reconvened for another impactful week of legislating on Monday, February 28. The House had a full schedule all week, and we are counting down the days until Crossover Day, which is the last legislative day that a bill can pass out of one chamber and still be eligible for consideration this year. As such, we worked diligently to pass dozens of bills on the House floor in preparation for this critical deadline.
- House Bill 1, or the Forming Open and Robust University Minds Act, which would establish that unrestricted outdoor areas of University System of Georgia and the Technical College System of Georgia campuses are public forums for their campus communities, and this bill would prohibit these institutions from restricting expressive activities in those areas or designating any campus areas as a “free speech zone;”
- House Bill 1084, or the Protect Students First Act, which would prevent the use of and reliance on curricula or training programs in state public schools that espouse “divisive concepts” that are specifically included in this bill, and the bill would require each local board of education to adopt a complaint resolution policy to address complaints or violations of this new policy, as well as establish an appeal process for violations through the State Board of Education;
- House Bill 1178, or the Parents’ Bill of Rights, which would codify a parent’s fundamental right to direct the upbringing and education of their minor children, create certain standards to prevent schools from infringing upon these fundamental rights, as well as require the school board or its governing body to consult with parents, teachers and administrators to develop and adopt policies that promote parental involvement in public schools;
The House unanimously passed another bill to keep more hard earned dollars in the pockets of Georgians and reinforce our standing as a military-friendly state. House Bill 1064 would exempt up to $17,500 in military retirement income from state income taxes for retired service members under 62 years old. If a military retiree continues to work and earns at least $17,500, the retiree would be eligible for an additional exemption up to $17,500 in state income taxes for a total exemption of $35,000. If HB 1064 is passed and signed into law, it would become effective on July 1, 2022, and subsequently applicable to all taxable years starting January 1, 2022. Currently, Georgia’s neighboring states have incentives in place to entice military retirees, and through this legislation, we hope to attract more military retirees to Georgia to put their skills to work in our state. We are honored that so many U.S. military retirees have already chosen to call Georgia home, and this legislation would greatly benefit these individuals, especially as the cost of living and inflation has increased recently.
In other news, we were joined by Kirby Smart, head football coach for the University of Georgia Bulldogs, in the House Chamber on Tuesday. It was an exciting moment as Coach Smart was the first special guest invited to join us on the House floor since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020. The House was proud to recognize Coach Smart for leading the Dawgs to their 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship victory, and we wish his team the best of luck as they defend their national championship title next season.
It is hard to believe that we are now in the final month of the 2022 legislative session. While I am legislating on behalf of our community over this next month, I hope you reach out to me with any questions or concerns you have about the legislative process or bills that may be pending. My Capitol office number is 404-656-0213, and my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, thank you for allowing me to serve as your State Representative for House District 20.