Georgia Conservation Voters is committed to informing you and helping you make legislative changes.
Knowing what a bill will do is great but making a difference on whether or not these bills become law is better. To be more than an observer on the sides, follow these few steps and become an involved citizen.
First, use this website to learn who your state representatives and senators are. These elected legislators are there to represent you and are responsible for addressing your concerns.
Next, find contact information for your legislators. Many, if not all, will have a webpage where you can find their contact information. Some will also have an area where you can email or message them directly. Don’t be intimidated to contact them. Remember that they work for you and other residents of your district.
Finally, email and/or call your legislator. Let them know that you are in favor or or opposition to a bill. Don’t forget to mention that you live in their district and emphasize what you would like them to do.
HB 150: Fossil Fuels Forever – OPPOSE
In the absence of state and federal leadership on climate, cities and counties are taking action. In Georgia Atlanta, Augusta, Athens, Clarkston, and Savannah have all passed 100% clean energy commitments. This bills seeks to prevent local counties and cities from banning new utility connections based on the type of energy. We understand that similar versions of this preemption effort are being proposed around the country, many in the South. This is no coincidence. HB 150 is an example of a coordinated effort by large utility companies to preserve their interests over Georgians. Ultimately, we must instead choose a path that encourages resiliency, offers financial savings for residents and protects the rights of local government.
HB 150 has been passed by both chambers and is heading to the Governor’s desk.
SB 102: Fossil Fuels Forever – OPPOSE
The Senate version of HB 150, this is another attempt by legislators to limit the ability of local governments from pursuing a climate friendly agenda. Read HB 150 for more information.
SB 102 did not crossover and will not progress further this year.
HB 531: Omnibus Bill of Voting Suppression – OPPOSE
HB 531 is an omnibus bill aimed at voting rights in Georgia. An omnibus bill is a very large bill that consists of several different measures or one that combines diverse subjects. This sheer size and scope of the bill often makes it difficult to scrutinize and debate. In HB 531’s case, the bill consists of multiple different voting limits previously introduced as other standalone bills. It would limit absentee voting, place stringent voter ID requirements on absentee ballots, remove voting on weekends and much more.
HB 531 is in the opposite chamber and awaiting a vote.
SB 241: Omnibus Bill of Voting Suppression – OPPOSE
Like HB 531, SB 241 is an omnibus bill aimed at voting rights in Georgia. SB 241 restricts the ability of election boards to make necessary changes and reduce voting access by ending no excuse absentee voting.
SB 241 is in the opposite chamber and awaiting a vote.
Priority House Bills
HR 70: 100% Clean by 2050 – SUPPORT
Climate change is doing more than affecting our environment. It’s affecting our jobs, our homes and our lives. HR 70 is a resolution aimed at laying the groundwork to tackle the issues of climate change and environmental harm head on. While it’s status as a House Resolution carries no binding action, it’s an important first step to acknowledge the dangers of climate change and recognize the potential prosperity that adapting to clean energy has. It’s time to accept the realities of climate change while also seeing the boundless possibilities of prosperity that a clean energy industry would bring.
HB 176: Safe Coal Ash Disposal – SUPPORT
Coal ash has been a problem in the state of Georgia for many years. It can cause severe health problems, including cancer, with prolonged exposure and is responsible for the health concerns in towns like Juliette, Georgia. HB 176 would help to address the ongoing problem with coal ash by requiring that it be disposed of in lined, permitted solid waste landfills.
HB 244: Flood Mitigation Project Funding – SUPPORT
Flooding remains a threat across our state, with areas including places on the coast as well as urban areas like Atlanta put at risk of flooding and its damages. HB 244 would help address these issues by allowing funding for flood risk reduction projects aimed at better preparing the communities at risk. This will not only protect families and lives but will help prepare homes and businesses to be more resilient against floods.
HB 285: Ranked Voting in Georgia – GCV is continuing to monitor the bill
Across most of the country, a simple balloting measure is used to determine who receives the votes of citizens. In a select few states, like Maine, an alternative method of voting is used: ranked ballots. Ranked ballots allow for voters to select multiple choices on their ballots, ranking them in order of preference. If a first preferred candidate cannot win the elections, the ballots are not tossed but tabulated so that the votes go on to the second choice, then third choice and so on until a winner is determined. HB 285 is an attempt to introduce ranked ballot voting into our state.
HB 339: Environmental Justice for All – SUPPORT
Majority-Minority and low-income communities are still at risk. Too often, these communities are the first to experience the devastation of climate change and environmental harm, and the last to receive relief from them. HB 339 is aimed at addressing and mitigating these problems that minority communities, particularly our Black and Brown communities, face. It prevents reckless actions from people and businesses in vulnerable communities unless they take steps to alleviate health risks and other collateral damage, as well as stipulating that no one in Georgia is to be prevented from receiving benefits from state programs or activities.
HB 460: Direct Sales of Electric Vehicles – SUPPORT
The future of the automobile industry is in cleaner and more fuel efficient cars. Older combustion automobiles already finds itself being phased out by the automobile industry and will, in time, be relegated to a memory of the past. However, transitioning takes time and effort, and in Georgia, the state requires that electric vehicles (or EVs) be sold through a dealership. This is a difficult model for the EV industry, which limits their ability to make sales across the state. HB 460 faces this issue and would allow EV automakers to sell directly to consumers, streamlining the process and making EVs more available throughout the state.
HB 511: Trust Fund Honesty – SUPPORT
Too often, funds that were appropriated for a specific reason or task have been moved to address needs in other programs, usually at the detriment of the program it was originally meant for. HB 511 would stop this and ensure monies that are appropriated for specific programs remain with their designated program, programs like cleaning up tire waste and other environmental needs.
Priority Senate Bills
SR 20: Dismantling Gerrymandering – SUPPORT
Gerrymandering does more than rig elections. It affects everyone living in the state and prevents the fair representation of voters, weakening democracy in the process. SR 20 is an attempt to address this concern with redistricting around the corner. SR 20 asks legislators to support having an independent commission construct legislative and congressional districts, ensuring that everyone in Georgia has freer and fairer representation.
SB 67: Absentee Ballot Voter ID – OPPOSE
Since the previous elections in November 2020 and January 2021, new legislation have been introduced in an attempt to limit absentee ballot access under the guise of election protection. SB 67 would prevent voters from requesting absentee ballots without a copy of their ID, adding additional restraints and limits. In today’s society, where many people do not have access to a scanner or copier, this requirement adds undue burdens and hardships on voters.
SB 71: Limiting Absentee Ballot Access – OPPOSE
Absentee ballots do more than increase turnout. They provide access to the polls for countless Georgians across the state and outside of Georgia, allowing them an opportunity to partake in their civic rights. SB 71 would limit this access, narrowly defining the term of absentee elector to include only certain individuals. This would be particularly onerous to voters without a reliable method to get to the polls but cannot be included in the limited definitions.
SB 93: Limiting Voting Access – OPPOSE
With Georgians coming out to vote in record numbers in 2020 and 2021, a critical necessity for voters is access to voting machines. However, SB 93 would limit the ability of counties and other local governments to open new voting precincts, only allowing them to replace pre-existing precincts. This would harm the ability of voters in more difficult to reach areas and limit voting access to thousands of Georgians across the state.
SB 104: Limiting Plastic Bag Waste – SUPPORT
Plastic bags remain one of the largest sources of pollution across our state and the rest of the country. They don’t degrade safely, are easily trapped in difficult to reach locations and create thousands of tons of pollution each year. They don’t just make our streets filthy; they can affect plants and wildlife, killing countless animals every year. SB 104 is aimed at addressing this problem. It would limit the use of plastic bags by preventing most vendors from distributing them unless placed in an exempt category.
SB 186: Making Redistricting Visible and Transparent – SUPPORT
Redistricting in each state happens every ten years across the country upon the arrival of census data. During redistricting, the state legislature or an independent commission draws lines in the state to create fresh districts for legislators and Congressional Representatives. As is often the case, this is a prime opportunity for less scrupulous members of the state legislature to enact unfair district lines for the benefit of their political party. SB 186 is aimed at taking on this issue by opening up the redistricting process for the public. It would allow the public to see where the lines are drawn and why, down to the very houses.
GCV would like to show that we stand in solidarity with our partners and other progressive organizations striving to ensure a better and more equitable future for everyone. To that end, we’re highlighting some key bills that, while not environmentally focused, still matters to our mission of equity and justice for all.
Check out our enviro Twitter feed for the latest legislation on people and climate.
About the Georgia General Assembly
The Georgia General Assembly (a.k.a. the Georgia legislature) is the Legislative branch of Georgia’s State government. The main responsibility of the General Assembly is to pass a budget for the upcoming year. They also introduce and vote on legislation, and can pass constitutional amendments which are placed on ballots for voters to decide. A simple majority of legislators are needed to pass a bill (29 Senators, 91 Representatives), with a 2/3 majority needed to override the governor’s veto.
Every year state senators and state representatives meet for a 40 day legislative session. These sessions last for two years, during which hundreds of bills are introduced, debated, and amended. GCV works with a network of partner environmental and social justice organizations to help keep our legislators informed about bills that impact our air, water, and land. We help legislators and voters like you make educated decisions about supporting bills for a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future.
The Georgia General Assembly is made up of 56 State Senators and 180 House Representatives. They serve two year terms with no term limits and meet annually for a 40 day session.
Annual 40 day sessions usually take place from January to April. During these sessions, legislators can submit, vote to pass or revoke bills and resolutions that affect Georgia. Additionally, they create and pass the state’s budget for the next fiscal year.
As Georgia residents, it’s vital to get involved in your local politics. Everyone wants to improve the quality of our lives and our communities but it’s not easy. We need every potential voter to go out and make their voices heard.
Featured Legislative News
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