LISTEN: GPB's Sarah Kallis delivers the Lawmakers Capitol Report for Feb. 6, 2024


Today, lawmakers debated several controversial bills about the criminal justice system in Georgia.  

The debate about the Prosecuting Attorneys Qualifications Commission made its way to the Senate floor again.  

Last year, the Senate passed Senate Bill 92, which would create a commission to oversee and potentially punish local district attorneys who fail to uphold Georgia law or  break it.  

That bill required the Georgia Supreme Court to set up the rules and guidelines for the oversight. 

But the Court rejected that idea, saying it didn’t have the authority to perform those duties. 

So, the bill was back in the Senate without that requirement, this time as SB 332. 

Those like Sen. Elena Parent who oppose the creation of the commission say it still is just a way to punish district attorneys whose policies don’t align with Republicans.  

Like last year’s bill, this one passed along party lines, 29 to 22. 

The Senate also took up SB 344. It would create a 5-day tax exemption each year on the sale of firearms, ammunition, gun safes and related items. 

Democrats objected to the bill, saying that it would increase the number of guns. 

Others pointed out the hypocrisy, citing that tax exemptions on other items would benefit far more Georgians than what this bill proposed. 

The bill was passed 30 to 22. 

Another bill, SB 189 was also debated on the floor.  

It would eliminate the QR code on ballots and print the voters’ choices instead. 

Despite Democrat objections, including the costs to implement a new ballot reading system, the bill was passed 31 to 22. 

In the House, lawmakers approved a bill that expands the number of crimes that require a cash bond – including more misdemeanors.

SB 63 also limits how many times you can bail somebody out of jail to three per year. 

Opponents say the bill is taking aim at low-income Georgians.

Supporters say the measure re-affirms Georgia’s commitment to law.  

The bill passed 97 to 69, and now advances to the governor’s desk. 

Also today, cancer survivors and oncologists from across the state advocated for expanded Medicaid.  

They said a coverage gap often delays diagnosis and reduces early treatment.

Tomorrow, lawmakers will come back to the Gold Dome for Day 16 and hear the Georgia Supreme Court justices deliver their state of the judiciary address.  

Join host Donna Lowry and capitol reporter Sarah Kallis at 7 p.m. on GPB-TV for the 54th season of GPB's Lawmakers.