On the next-to-last day of the session, Georgia Sen. Valencia Seay (D-Riverdale) took a moment before the chamber’s mad dash began to say farewell as she retires from the Senate. 

The Senate then took up the business of passing bills, with 82 pieces of legislation on its rules calendar.  

Most notable from the morning session was House Bill 916, the Senate’s version of the fiscal year 2025 budget, which goes into effect July 1, 2024. 

Besides the publicized raises for teachers and state employees, the Senate version also targeted other agencies and increased funding for school safety. The bill was passed 53 to 1. 

More controversial was HB 1104. It was originally written to help student athletes deal with mental health issues, but the Senate changed the bill, combining four other contentious Senate school bills. The bill also will mandate that school libraries inform parents about the content of any materials their child checks out. But Democrats pushed back. The bill passed 33 to 21, along party lines. 

In the House, the day started with honoring some local heroes: Rep. Houston Gaines (R-Athens) sponsored a resolution honoring five University of Georgia students who saved a family from a submerged vehicle.  

Then, it was straight to business.  


In their next-to-last day of legislating, the House passed SB 132. Originally written to prohibit undocumented immigrants from owning certain land, the bill was gutted and replaced. The new version places a three-year moratorium on surface mining in the Okefenokee swamp.

Credit: GPB

The House overwhelmingly approved Senate Bill 132, a moratorium on new mining projects. 

Democrats supported the bill, but some said they wished the Legislature was doing more to protect the Okefenokee Swamp. That bill has to go back to the Senate for final approval since the House made significant changes. 

House members also gave final approval to HB 404. That bill requires that landlords keep rental properties in habitable conditions for tenants. It passed 168 to 1.  

SB 417, which creates a new criminal charge for detonating a firework near an emergency responder, passed 157 to 2.  

House Minority Leader James Beverly announced his retirement to his colleagues this afternoon.  

Sine Die is Thursday.