Political Rewind: Lawmakers achieve mental health reform; Movement on bills in final days of session
Kevin Riley — Editor, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Riley Bunch — Public policy reporter, GPB News
Margaret Coker — Editor-in-chief, The Current
Maya Prabhu — Politics reporter, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
1. State lawmakers pass sweeping mental health reform in the final days of the legislative session.
- House Bill 1013 is a bipartisan effort to expand mental health services in Georgia, expanding the requirements for coverage.
- House Speaker David Ralston, a top Republican legislative leader, named mental health legislation as a top priority earlier in the session.
2. Controversial measures in election bill removed heading into Sine Die.
- HB 1464 saw several complaints from voting rights advocates, election officials and poll workers.
- The bill was stripped of proposals to allow the public to inspect ballots and plans from GBI fraud allegations.
- The bill kept a measure that would require businesses to give workers more time off for early voting.
- The deadline to pass legislation in both chambers this session, known as Sine Die, is on Monday.
3. COVID-related measure signed into law, another passes state House.
- Senate Bill 514 allows parents to opt their children out of mask mandates put in place by school districts.
- The law takes effect immediately until June 2027.
- As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, a recent study found lower rates of infection in schools that mandated masks for everyone compared to schools without universal mask requirements.
- Meanwhile, SB 345, a ban on vaccine passports, passed the state House on Wednesday.
- The bill saw a party-line vote in the House and now returns to the Senate for approval.
- If signed into law, the bill would ban any state or local agency, government or school in Georgia from requiring proof of vaccination.
Tomorrow on Political Rewind:
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Patricia Murphy joins our panel for our final televised show of the season.