The Georgia Legislature tackled donations to election boards, district attorney oversight commissions and more on the penultimate day of the 2023 legislative session. 

Here's what passed on Day 39:


Elections board

Senate Bill 222 made it to the floor around 10pm as the last bill House members voted on before the end of the day. 

The bill bans outside donations to local elections boards. SB 222 been nicknamed the "Zuckerbucks" bill because of tech mogul Mark Zuckerberg's election donations. 

"This is a basic function of our government. We should not be seeing partisan outside interests, funneling money in the county, one particular party or another," Rep. Houston Gaines (R – Athens) said as he presented the bill to the House. 

"The real problem is cutting off lifelines to our chronically underfunded election offices. Honestly, I would look at this issue completely differently if we had adequate funding for our elections already. But we don't and we keep asking our counties to do more with less," she said. 

SB 222 passed the House 100 to 69. The House amended the bill, so it will need to go back to the Senate for final approval before heading to Governor Kemp's Desk. 


District attorney oversight

Senate Bill 92 cleared both chambers. The controversial measure would create an oversight commission for prosecuting attorneys. 

Supporters of SB 92 said it holds district attorneys accountable, and cite concerns over district attorneys refusing to prosecute certain crimes. 

Opponents say that the bill pressures district attorneys, and infringes on their right to use judicial discretion to decide what should and should not be prosecuted. 

"In a world of very limited public resources, all of us understand here in this chamber, it's very simple to understand that they cannot prosecute every single crime that occurs within their jurisdiction," Sen. Elena Parent (D-- Atlanta) said. 

SB 92 passed the House 97 to 77 and the Senate 32 to 24.



Day 39 was also a good day for literacy efforts. Two bills passed the Senate and the House to tackle 3rd grade literacy efforts:

  • Senate Bill 211 creates a council to examine childhood literacy in Georgia and provide recommendations to schools.
  • House Bill 538 implements reading and dyslexia screenings in schools, and creates an intervention program for students struggling with literacy. 

Both bills passed the Senate and the House overwhelmingly and now head to Kemp's desk to be signed into law. 


Public camping and homelessness

Senate Bill 62, which would mandate that cities and counties enforce public camping laws, passed both chambers. 

SB 62 also prohibits counties or cities from dropping off homeless individuals outside of their jurisdiction. Under Georgia law, camping on a sidewalk is a misdemeanor offense. Some cities or counties choose not to enforce the offense, as it primarily affects people experiencing homelessness. 

Another section of the bill creates an audit of homeless programs and services in Georgia

Republican supporters of the bill said that the bill can help the state understand the scope of the homelessness crisis in Georgia.

Democrats said that the bill criminalizes homeless individuals and does little to help them receive support. 

The House passed SB 62 in a 99 to 76 vote with an amendment, and the Senate passed the bill 36 to 20. 


Electric vehicles

Senate Bill 146, which makes changes to electric vehicle charging stations also passed both chambers overwhelmingly. The bill gives jurisdiction of electric vehicle charging station regulations to the Commissioner of Agriculture. It would also lay out taxation of electricity for electric vehicle charging stations, and allow stations to charge for electricity at the kilowatt hour. 

Lawmakers passed over a dozen other bills on Day 39 and will convene one more time before the end of the session.

Watch GPB's Lawmakers here: