Gold Dome Update- February 16, 2021

Today marks the 17th day of the legislative session within the Georgia General Assembly and already there are a number of proposed bills pertinent to the lives of the new Americans we welcome and the mission of our organization. Below is a comprehensive list of important legislation we are currently tracking, a brief overview of its significance, and where it currently is awaiting a vote. 

Our Civic Engagement team will be continuing to track these bills, along with any new, relevant bills throughout all forty days of the state legislative session this year. Check back every Tuesday for new updates on state policy developments and ways to take action, when necessary.

Positive Bills to Watch:

House

  1. HR 11: Creates House study committee to investigate ways to maximize foreign-born talent in the state’s economy; passed out of House Small Business Development Committee on February 9th and awaits a vote in the House Rules Committee
  1. HB 209: Creates Medicaid Expansion program in Georgia; House Health and Human Services Committee 
  1. HB 264: Replaces the phrase “illegal alien(s)” with “undocumented person(s)” in the Official Code of Georgia in matters of law enforcement, state agencies, and other legal contexts; House Judiciary Non-Civil
  1. HB 294: Provides income tax credit to eligible, low-income families to assist with high price of the naturalization application process; House Ways and Means 
  1. HB 295: Creates program aimed at issuing drivers’ cards to noncitizen residents who do not currently qualify for a drivers license in the state of Georgia; House Motor Vehicles 
  1. HB 297: Reduces barriers around language access for individuals with limited English proficiency in matters of state service provision and provides for greater access to resources such as interpreters, funds for translated materials, etc.; House Governmental Affairs
  1. HB 381: Allows for mothers of newborns women covered by Medicaid to retain Medicaid eligibility for up to one year; House Health and Human Services

Senate

  1. SB 26: Provides absentee drop boxes at every advanced voting location
  2. SB 83: Establishes a Medicaid public option program to provide healthcare coverage to individuals not currently eligible for Medicaid, Medicare, or the PeachCare for Kids program; Senate Appropriations 
  3. SB 173: Allows for mothers of newborns covered by the Medicaid program to retain Medicaid eligibility for up to one year to improve access to postpartum and lactation care. 

Harmful Bills to Watch:

House 

  1. HB 228: Changes policies around identification so that drivers licenses and state ID for noncitizens includes the term, “BEARER NOT A U.S. CITIZEN- NOT VOTER ID”; House Special Committee on Election Integrity 
  1. HB 270: Moves deadline for Georgia voters to request absentee ballots 10 days before any election, up from the current policy of 4 days prior; House Special Committee on Election Integrity 
  1. HB 276: Prohibits public schools, private schools, and certain universities from allowing transgender girls and women to play on women’s sports teams; House Education 
  1. HB 372: Changes legal language in Official Code of Georgia so that (in educational contexts specifically), the term “gender” references a person’s biological sex at the time of birth; House Education

Senate

While all slightly different in their approach, the following bills below all work to increase unnecessary barriers to voting in future elections. All of these bills are currently sitting in the Senate Ethics Committee

  1. SB 29: Requires voters to submit two copies of ID when requesting and submitting absentee ballot
  2. SB 67: Requires voters to submit copies of ID when requesting absentee ballot
  3. SB 68: Bans the use of 24/7 drop boxes for absentee ballots
  4. SB 69: Ends automatic voter registration that updates or creates a voter registration application any time someone interacts with the Department of Driver Services
  5. SB 70: Prohibit voters who participated in a November statewide general election outside of Georgia from being eligible to vote in a subsequent runoff election in Georgia
  6. SB 71: Eliminates current “no-excuse” absentee voting policy 
  7. SB 73:Prohibits nonprofit organizations from sending out absentee voting applications and educational information to clients and others in the community

New American Pathways stands in solidarity with all persecuted peoples and their right to pursue a life filled with purpose and dignity. Our advocacy work aims to affirm our commitment to promoting human rights, Democracy, and equitable access to services and resources that can materially improve the quality of life for refugees and all Georgians. 

For comments or questions about New AP’s policy and advocacy work, please contact Ashley Coleman at a.coleman@newamericanpathways.org 

Due to COVID-19, our services may be different than what is listed. Please contact us before coming to our office.

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