Both chambers of the Georgia legislature took up several bills dealing with immigrants and foreign nationals on Day 38. 

The House got straight to business today and passed a bill aiming to increase opportunities for workforce development. 

House members also approved a bill that limits campaign donations from foreign residents. That bill passed 161 to 2.  

Just before lunch, the House debated a contentious bill that prohibits certain foreign nationals from buying farm land near military bases. Republicans supporting Senate Bill 420 , including Rep. Charles Cannon (R–Moultrie)  said it will help keep Georgians safe. 

But Democrats like Rep. Sam Park (D–Lawrenceville) who oppose the bill, said SB 420 opens the door for racial profiling. The bill passed 97 to 67 in a party-line vote. 

Another day, another trophy for the Senate to hoist into the air and receive their accolades: This time it was for their livestock showing skills, as they beat the house in the annual event. 

Then it was on to business, with 34 bills listed on the Senate rules calendar. 

Two of the more contentious bills dealt with illegal immigration. 

House Bill 301 was originally written to increase punishments for illegally passing a school bus and speeding in school zones. 

But Senate Republicans substituted the bill with new legislation that will punish city and county governments that don’t cooperate with immigration officials or follow federal immigration laws. Sen. Randy Robertson (R– Cataula) spoke in favor of the bill.

Democratic Sens Josh McLaurin and Jason Esteves objected, claiming that this bill was the “nuclear option” in dealing with illegal immigration, one that would allow individuals to take legal action against local governing bodies, costing taxpayers potentially millions of dollars in lawsuits. They said school districts could also be affected. 

The bill passed 33 to 18.  

Along the same lines, House Bill 1105 would make it mandatory for law enforcement to check a person’s immigration status when they are detained and pass that information along to federal immigration authorities. Democrats once again objected. The bill passed 34 to 19.  



Senate Minority Leader Gloria Butler led a press conference this afternoon with a message of perseverance for PeachCare Plus, Medicaid expansion in Georgia. Republicans voted “nay” in committee, but Sen. Butler said the Democratic caucus “will keep fighting” to pass the plan.

Credit: GPB

This afternoon, Senate Democrats gave a press conference to say their efforts to expand Medicaid were stalled again by Republicans in committee this morning. 

Senate Minority Leader Gloria Butler thanked Senator David Lucas for his efforts to close the coverage gap and offered a justification for the program, known as PeachCare Plus. Minority Leader Butler expressed the caucus's commitment to get the plan on the books, whatever it takes.

 "We will keep fighting, if it takes 14 more years," Butler said.

The House also passed a bill dealing with Certificate of Need.  

The legislature returns on Tuesday for Day 39.

Join host Donna Lowry and capitol reporter Sarah Kallis for GPB's Lawmakers at 7 p.m. EDT.