Learn the Bill before it hits Capitol Hill

Published by Cheri Pruitt-Bonner on

Learn the Bill before it hits Capitol Hill

Before the law affects you, you can affect the law through the state’s budget and discussion on social issues. The 155th Georgia General Assembly voted on several different state house bills regarding tax cuts, dual enrollment and many others that affect Georgians. This can be a harsh, overwhelming process with so many new updates appearing out of nowhere. 

The governor’s office is a place to start understanding the bills passed by the legislature. The bills go through the House, Senate and finally the governor. The state of the state addresses the bills up for the legislative process. As a party leader, Governor Kemp holds influence over some legislative bills by supporting legislative initiatives or regular meetings with legislative staff. 

Even with the governor’s influence, diving deeper into the bills themselves provides clarity on issues that could affect upcoming years. 

The Atlanta Press Club’s “Georgia General Assembly Unplugged” event provides an open discussion led by distinguished panelists from the Oconee Radio Group, WSB-TV, WABE, and Georgia Public Broadcasting. They suggested a few bills to monitor. 

The Atlanta Press Club hosts “Georgia General Assembly Unplugged.” Cheri Pruitt-Bonner | Avant-Youth

Bills like SB 166 (hate crimes) and SB 167 (fostercare) are hot topic social issues that can indirectly affect young adults. These bills could be mixed with a need for more bills to combat existing ones. 

Perhaps all the bills will be decided by the budget because the money holds significant weight in determining if the bills will become laws. Lawmakers have to decide between what is a higher priority: saving taxpayer dollars or giving educators a higher paycheck. Moderator Stephen Fowler talked about the dollar value of the lost revenue in regards to the tax cut during budget debates.

“If you look at the dollar amount, the amount the state would lose in revenue would be about the same, if not more than the cost of a teacher pay raise,” Fowler said. 

The budget issues become a problem not only in legislating policy, but in the gubernatorial sense as well. During the 2018 Georgia Governor election, the teacher pay raise was a part of Kemp’s campaign. As new social issues surface with few solutions to older ones, current issues lose priority because of the lack of income. Kemp just proposed a $900 million plan for the Georgia budget. 

Holding government leaders accountable becomes an uphill battle when there is little information about what they are voting on. A well-rounded understanding of Georgia’s law-making process can bring clarity to what should happen first.

The Georgia General Assembly enumerates more details about the various bills, the bill’s historical status and other information. Throughout the year, Avant-Youth will make efforts to publish “politicards” to provide better transparency on this matter and more for the 2020 election.  

Raul Bali, Oconee Radio Group, speaking to a attendee. Cheri Pruitt-Bonner | Avant-Youth

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