When We Fight, We Win: The 2018 Legislative Session

The 2018 session of the Georgia General Assembly didn’t bring a $15 minimum wage, a hate crimes bill or any gun control, but it did have some bright spots, mostly in the bills our members helped stop from becoming law.

We stopped legislation that targeted immigrants!

Eleanor Davis of A4E and Mary Hooks of Southerners on New Ground at the Georgia Capitol.

Senate Bill 452 would have mandated that local law enforcement cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It seemed sure to pass along party lines. Our local senators, Bill Cowsert and Frank Ginn voted for it, and it went as far as coming to the house floor for a vote, but we fought it every step of the way, and when the clock ran out, early in the morning on March 30, it didn’t pass. Our member coordinator, Eleanor Davis, went to stand in solidarity at the capitol on March 29 with Southerners on New Ground, and we sent out numerous Legislative Action Network Alerts, through email and on Facebook. You called and emailed! You stopped this bill that would have hurt our friends and neighbors!

SONG and allies standing in opposition to SB 452 at the State Capitol.

We also helped kill Senate Bill 161, sponsored by Frank Ginn, which called for a redesign of Georgia driver’s licenses and state IDs to distinguish noncitizens further from U.S. citizens, and House Bill 66, which would have raised fees on out-of-state wire transfers.

We started talking about Medicaid expansion!

Representative Deborah Gonzalez sponsored House Bill 669, which would have expanded Medicaid to cover 500,000 more Georgians. It didn’t make it through committee, but it pushed the conversation forward and is part of the reason we named her our 2018 Legislator of the Year.

We helped prevent voter suppression!

Senate Bill 309 would have closed the polls a full hour early in the city of Atlanta, preventing thousands of voters from expressing their will. We shone a light on it, and it didn’t pass the house (although, as you might expect, Cowsert and Ginn voted for it in the senate).

We helped stop discrimination against LGBTQ families!

Senate Bill 375 would have allowed private adoption agencies to discriminate against LGTBQ parents and children. It was an embarrassment to the state of Georgia. We sent out an alert on it and helped defeat it in the house after it passed the senate (where, you guessed it, Cowsert and Ginn both voted for it).

There’s work left to do, but we’re so proud of everything we accomplished, and we couldn’t have done any of it without your voices.

Athens for Everyone


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