Monday was Crossover Day, one of the busiest and most stressful days of session. The day gets its moniker from the fact that it is the deadline day for bills to pass from one Chamber of our legislature to the other to continue moving forward.
It was an intense day of spiritual warfare, and we were excited to see many Frontline-endorsed bills move forward. However, our number one priority remains protecting children from mutilation, castration, and sterilization through so-called “gender reassignment” treatments. The only bill to that effect up for debate on crossover was SB 140, and as you will know if you have followed our email or social media updates, this bill falls far short of the mark.
We lobbied for changes to SB 140 throughout the day and up until its eventual passage, but due to the efforts of a few Senators protecting the weak language, no amendments could gain enough support to pass, and the Senate chose to vote it out as is. Again, as we have noted, most of the Senators are not distinctly supportive of the bad provisions in the bill.
As it stands, this is the weakest bill of its kind to move through any Chamber in the country. (To read Cole’s full breakdown of our position upon its passage unamended, CLICK HERE. And, here is Cole’s quote in the AJC…
“Cole Muzio, who runs the conservative Norcross-based Frontline Policy Action and worked with Dixon on SB 141, said he was disappointed senators passed the less restrictive bill. “It creates a false ‘medical necessity’ exception, allows for dangerous puberty blockers and bans mutilated children from suing the doctor who mutilated them,’ he said. ‘We now look to the House to take a strong stand.'”
But YOU have the opportunity to help us do something about it! Please take a moment and read Cole’s Action Alert urging you to stand with us for vulnerable children, and take action!
Now, on to the other legislation. Also passing the Senate on Crossover was a bill endorsed by our Conservative Business Alliance to expand the ability of Georgia servicemen and women to receive expedited professional licenses in their field – SB 195 by Senator Larry Walker. A similar bill which we support made its way through the house and is now in a Senate committee – HB 155.
One of the most significant things to happen on Monday was that the Georgia Promise Scholarship Act, SB 233 passed the senate! This is the first time an Educational Savings Account (ESA) bill has passed either chamber of the Georgia Legislature, and we are excited about the trajectory of the school choice movement. Here is what we said when that bill passed. This is, however, very much a compromise bill. It went from a universal school choice measure to something far more narrowly tailored in order to earn the support needed to pass. That said, it remains a big win, and we are committed to pursuing any measure that brings us closer to every child and every family benefitting from full and complete school choice opportunities.
HB 101 also passed the House, which would expand the State’s Student Scholarship Tax Credit program, which has been a game changer for many families and actually saves the state money for every child that takes advantage of the program. We thank Representative John Carson for his leadership on this issue.
On Tuesday, the Governor’s initiative to ensure pregnant moms can be eligible for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) benefits – HB 129 sponsored by our friend, Rep Soo Hong (Lawrenceville) – passed the Senate as well. (Note: for clarification, this bill does not expand welfare by a single dollar, only allows pregnant moms to access existing support.)
Much of the rest of the week was quiet, as we lobbied and worked for legislation that will soon come up for a hearing in either chamber. I do want to mention our fantastic lineup of FREE events coming up next week, which you are all invited to participate in! We want to share with you what God is doing at the Capitol and to equip you to engage for His glory, through events with leading experts and legislators that will bless and educate you on today’s most urgent issues. Space is filling up, so please register soon to be a part! To know more about these events and to register, click here.
On Thursday, Cole was invited on our friend Martha Zoller’s radio show to discuss the state of SB 140 and the fight to protect kids. He spoke clearly and thoroughly about where we stand and what is required moving forward. To listen to that, CLICK HERE.
Also on Thursday, Frontline Policy Director Scott McInnis had the opportunity to go to the North Georgia Freedom of Religion Round Table hosted by our partners at Alliance Defending Freedom. It was a beneficial discussion and one that included an urgent need for Georgia to pass a RFRA bill. (Note: SB 180, by Senator Ed Setzler has significant support but has not yet received a hearing).
That night, FCBA Director Mark Gonsalves spoke to the Berkeley Lake Conservative Republicans group, discussing Frontline’s rapidly growing Conservative Business Alliance, our fight to protect our children from mutilation & sterilization, and our broader efforts during this legislative session.
Our team craves your prayers and your support during the last few weeks of session. One thing is for certain… when you challenge the status quo and push back against wickedness, it truly is spiritual warfare. We have ruffled some feathers along the way. We ask that you pray for wisdom, boldness, clarity, grace, and humility as we fight for what truly matters. May we care about people, represent Christ well, and follow His lead.
Please also pray with us as we continue to fight; fight to protect God’s Design of male and female from the radical idea that sex is accidental, malleable, and determined by subjective feelings, and fight to protect vulnerable, confused children. Pray that our legislators would have wisdom, that the enemy’s plots to thwart and twist what we are trying to do would come to naught, and pray that HIS WILL would be done.
Relying on Him,
Director of Advocacy
SB 140 – Banning Gender surgeries & chemicals for minors – Passed committee; heading to Senate floor – TAKE ACTION!
SB 233 – School Choice for all students; Promise Scholarship Accounts – Assigned to Education and Youth Committee – TAKE ACTION!
HB 101 – Expansion of the Student Scholarships for private schools – Passed House; In Senate Committee: Finance
HB 129 – Expanding eligibility of TANF benefits for pregnant women – Passed Senate, awaiting Governor’s signature
HB 155 – Expedited licenses for healthcare and EMS spouses – Passed Senate Committee, awaiting floor vote
HB 162 – 2022 Income tax refund – Passed Senate Committee, awaiting floor vote
HB 188 – Georgia Dangerous Sexual Predator Prevention Act – Passed House; In Senate Committee: Public Saftey
HB 231 – Creating the Prosecuting Attorneys Oversight Commission to discipline lawless DA’s – Passed House; In Senate Committee: Judiciary
HB 338 – Student Technology Protection Act – Passed House; In Senate Committee: Education
SB 1 – Removing the repealer of the Covid vaccine passport ban in Georgia – Passed Senate, in House Committee: Public Health
SB 3 – “Reducing Barriers to State Employment Act of 2023” – Passed House Committee, awaiting floor vote
SB 36 – Raising penalties for buying and selling human beings – Passed Senate; In House Committee: Judiciary Non-Civil
SB 42 – Further incentivize posting of the Human Trafficking Hotline info – Passed Senate; In House Committee: Judiciary Non-Civil
SB 44 – Raising the penalties for crimes with a weapon & enticing minors to join a gang and/or commit crimes – Passed Senate; In House Committee: Judiciary Non-Civil
SB 69 – Honor Clarence Thomas with a capitol grounds statue – Passed Senate; In House Committee: Special Rules
SB 92 – Creating the Prosecuting Attorneys Oversight Commission to discipline lawless DA’s – Passed Senate; In House Committee: Judiciary Non-Civil
SB 93 – Banning TikTok on Gov’t devices – Passed Senate; In House Committee: Public Safety
SB 97 – Georgia Cyber Command Division under GEMA to monitor cyber threats – Passed Senate; In House Committee: Public Safety
SB 131 – Foster Care reform; simplification of hearing procedure – Passed Senate; In House Committee: Juvenile Justice
SB 133 – Foster Care reform; Uniform process to address custody of children – Passed Senate; In House Committee: Juvenile Justice
SB 134 – Foster Care reform; makes it easier for children to testify in proceedings – Passed Senate; In House Committee: Juvenile Justice
SB 135 – Foster Care reform; establishes standards for admissibility and authenticity of genetic testing – Passed Senate; In House Committee: Juvenile Justice
SB 195 – Expedited professional licenses for service members and their spouses – Passed Senate; In House Committee: Regulated Industries
SB 216 – Foster Care Reform: Longer respite care – Passed Senate; In House Committee: Juvenile Justice
SB 266 – Banning retirement investment by fiduciaries on the basis of social, political, or ideological motives – Passed Senate; In House Committee: Retirement
SB 222 – Prohibition on outside money influencing elections – Passed Senate; In House Committee: Governmental Affairs
SB 230 – Foster Care Reform: Update to the Foster Care Bill of Rights – Passed Senate; In House Committee: Juvenile Justice
*These are the bills alive this session, post crossover. Other Frontline-supported legislation that did not crossover this year, can be considered next year.