The chambers of the General Assembly.
Credit: Stephen Fowler, GPB

The panel:

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


The breakdown:

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.

HB 1013 passed today in both the Senate and the House. The “Mental Health Parity Act” will increase access, funding, and insurance coverage for Georgians needing mental healthcare. The bill is now awaiting the Governor to sign it into law.


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. 

GPB's Riley Bunch said changes to this session's election law bill followed pushback from election officials from across the state.

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.