Lawmakers took up a range of issues today and reacted to a controversial amendment to a bill.  

First, there was a special appearance in the Senate this morning by longtime Democratic House member and former speaker Larry Walker.

Walker was here as a guest of his son, Georgia state Sen. Larry Walker III. 

Then, the Georgia State Amateur Golf trophy was displayed to promote ‘Golf Day’ at the Capitol. The trophy was first won by famous Georgia golfer Bobby Jones in 1916 when he was just 14 years old. Sen. Mathew Brass (R—Newnan) made remarks about Georgia’s prominence as a popular golfing destination.

Next, the Senate moved on to the rules calendar, where seven House bills and resolutions were passed.

The bills encompassed everything from retirement fund management and creating the state’s high demand jobs list to maintaining state facilities. 

Sen. Max Burns (R – Sylvania) made remarks about House Bill 985, which will dissolve the Georgia Higher Education Assistance Corporation from the state ledger.  

And the Georgia Department of Motor Vehicles got some attention today: HB 1100 will allow the Georgia Department of Revenue to make many of its notifications to motor vehicle owners through electronic notifications, potentially saving the state millions of dollars.  In addition, HB 1303 creates five new license plates commemorating the Shepherd Center, the Gadsden flag, the Okefenokee swamp, Samford University alumni, and the Delta Sigma Theta sorority. 

Senator Ben Watson (R—Savannah) spoke to Lawmakers today about an amendment to HB 1170 which passed Monday in his committee. The unrelated amendment would ban puberty blockers for transgender minors. Critics, including Sen. Kim Jackson (D-Stone Mountain), said they were blindsided by the addition. 

The House also took up a laundry list of bills . 

Senate Bill 430 would keep Covid-19 liability laws in place for Georgia businesses but would remove the need for a sign.  The bill passed 146 to 27.  

Another bill aims to allow inter-state foster child placement in some situations. After remarks by Rep. Shelley Hutchinson (D–Snellville), SB 483 passed unanimously. 

And, a longtime member, Democratic Rep. Roger Bruce, announced his retirement today. He has represented Atlanta for over two decades.  

Later in the day, the 4th annual HBCU Heritage Day took place under the Gold Dome. Governor Brian Kemp spoke about the importance of Georgia’s nine historically black colleges and universities—not only for the state, but also the nation. 

Also, Democratic Sens Elena Parent and Sally Harrell held a press conference to advocate for ‘Donna’s Law.’ Named after a woman who died by suicide, Donna’s Law aims to prevent suicide by allowing people to place themselves on a voluntary no-buy list for firearms.

Lawmakers return to the Capitol tomorrow for day 35, where they will honor the late speaker David Ralston on his birthday.