Under the Gold Dome – Crossover Day Updates
Monday marked Crossover Day 2023, the day by which a bill generally must pass out of its legislative chamber of origin to be considered by the other chamber this session. For the first time in several years, the House did not pass the full Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 budget before the Crossover Day deadline. However, the Amended Fiscal Year (AFY) 2023 did pass. The annual budget is the only piece of legislation that the General Assembly is constitutionally required to pass.
The Senate passed SB 233 along party lines. It now moves to the House. The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Greg Dolezal (R-Cumming), would create a new type of private school voucher—an Education Savings Account, or ESA—that would send $6,000 to each participating student every year. The program would join the state’s two existing voucher programs, which carry a combined price tag of about $150 million annually.
The Senate also passed SB 211 from Sen. Billy Hickman (R-Statesboro). This would establish the Georgia Council on Literacy to set new district improvement requirements and oversight mechanisms. The council would comprise 10 legislators, two teachers, two superintendents, two school board members, and two literacy advocates.
SB 140 passed, which would prohibit doctors from prescribing hormone therapy or performing gender-affirming surgeries on transgender people under the age of 18.
HB 520, this year’s most comprehensive mental health reform bill, passed the House last week 163-3 and is working its way through the Senate. The nearly 50-page bill calls for standardizing the state’s definition of “serious mental illness” to promote easier collaboration between state agencies, courts, law enforcement, and other stakeholder groups.
It would create incentives to help grow the state’s workforce of licensed mental health and treatment providers, including expanding a student loan-forgiveness program for providers and making it easier for state agencies to share information about patients in crisis. It would look at ways to more effectively help Georgia’s small group of so-called “familiar faces” — people struggling with serious mental illness who cycle between jails, homelessness, and institutions
Lawmakers did not pass any sports betting legislation in either chamber.
Stay tuned to our social media, newsletters, and this blog as we report on the final days of the 2023 session.