SB 133: A bill that allows voters to create an Opportunity School District (OSD), a mechanism that allows the state to intervene in persistently failing schools through a new system of governance that would be controlled under the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement.
A4E OPPOSES this bill because we do not think the answer to troubled schools is a takeover by state bureaucrats who know nothing about the school or its children. Fortunately, the OSD can still be stopped at the polls during the next election!
SB 133 status: Signed into law.
HB 85: This bill re-defines “grocery store” to a retail establishment of at least 10,000 square feet.
A4E OPPOSES this bill because it may prevent Athens from ever getting a grocery store in our downtown area. We are very disappointed that one of our very own representatives, Senator Ginn, voted for this bill.
HB 85 status: Signed into law.
SB 139: This bill makes it illegal for any town or community in Georgia to place regulations on the use of plastic bags or styrofoam.
A4E OPPOSES this bill because we feel that this is a violation of our local rights. If residents in Athens decide to place a fee on single-use plastic bags, that should be our decision alone. If the State government prevents us from reducing waste going to our landfill, they should at the very least provide funding to offset this additional cost.
SB 139 status: Defeated in the House, 67-85!
HB 170: This is the main transportation funding bill.
A4E OPPOSES this bill. This was a difficult decision because transportation is such a high priority for us. There were many different versions of this bill, and the final version did not provide enough funding to public transportation in our opinion. The funding that it does provide, it collects through a complex system of various taxes (excise taxes on gasoline, sales taxes, hotel tax, and others) that could have been much simpler. Even more troubling, this bill not only does away with tax credits for electric cars and hybrids, but actually requires owners to get special license plates costing $200 extra every year!
HB 170 status: Signed into law.
HB 106: This bill allows for an additional transportation special purpose local option sales tax.
A4E SUPPORTS this bill. We support the right of local communities to fund their own projects, particularly in the area of transportation.
HB 106 status: Signed into law.
SB 76: This bill requires drivers to stop at crosswalks when beacons are flashing.
A4E SUPPORTS this bill because we believe it would enhance pedestrian safety along Prince Avenue and in other areas.
SB 76 status: VETO by Governor.
SB 129: This bill, also known as the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act”, says that “Governments should not substantially burden religious exercise without compelling justification.”
A4E OPPOSES this bill because we believe religious freedom is already protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution. “Freedoms” above and beyond the First Amendment may be abused by some as a legal excuse to discriminate against women or LGBT individuals.
SB 129 status: Never came up for a vote in the House, but will almost certainly come up again next year.
Let your legislators know what you think about their votes!
Senator Bill Cowsert (R): firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Frank Ginn (R): email@example.com
Representative Regina Quick (R): firstname.lastname@example.org
Representative Spencer Frye (D): email@example.com
Representative Chuck Williams (R): firstname.lastname@example.org