Public Policy for the People: Crossover Edition March 15, 2021
PPP 2021 Crossover Edition
- Catch our Public Policy Phone Calls at 12:00 noon every Friday. Join via zoom with meeting ID: 889 9004 7028 and passcode: 490274, or by phone at 646 876 9923.
- Join our Advocacy Network
- Find resources from this year's Advocacy Days
Be in the Know: Bills We Are Watching
Thank you for taking the time to read GCDD’s 2021 Crossover Edition of Public Policy for the People! We have had a busy couple of months with the 2021 legislative session, with Crossover Day taking place Monday, March 8th. What is Crossover Day? It is Day 28 of Georgia’s legislative session and represents the final opportunity that a bill has to pass at least one chamber (House or Senate) if the bill is to move on in the lawmaking process. If a bill does not pass one chamber before Crossover Day, that means it cannot pass and become law during the current legislative session.
Since we just made it through Crossover Day, and have a good idea of what bills are still active, we wanted to take the time to update you on all the details! Take a look at a few of the bills we are watching most closely, and the action steps you might take to make your voice heard:
House Bill 531
Description: This bill is the House version of a voting omnibus bill meaning it contains numerous proposals to change the way we vote in Georgia. GCDD opposes this bill as some of the proposals would make it harder to vote like restricting drop box locations, requiring additional ID for absentee ballots, and limiting early voting opportunities.
Location: This bill passed the House and is in the Senate Committee on Ethics. As of right now, the Committee is scheduled to meet Monday, March 15th at 3:30 pm and Wednesday, March 17th at 8:00 am. HB531 is on the agenda for the March 15th meeting as “hearing only”, meaning there will be no public testimony. You can livestream the committee meeting HERE.
Action: It is up to US to make sure we do not allow lawmakers to make it harder for us to vote! Contact your state senators and let them know what you think. Also, keep an eye out for any action alerts from GCDD as there might be future opportunities to provide public testimony on this bill.
Senate Bill 241
Description: This bill is the Senate version of a voting omnibus bill. It contains similar proposals as HB531 but also proposes to eliminate no-excuse absentee voting. GCDD opposes this bill and has serious concerns about the proposal to eliminate no-excuse absentee voting as approximately 75% of people with disabilities voted absentee in the previous election!
Location: This bill passed the Senate and is in the House Special Committee on Election Integrity. There are currently no future meetings of the Committee scheduled. You can keep an eye out for future meetings HERE.
Action: Again, it is up to US to make sure our elected officials do not make it harder for us to exercise our right to vote! Please contact your state representatives and let them know your thoughts. Also, stay tuned for future action alerts from GCDD as there might be future opportunities to provide public testimony.
House Bill 290
Description: This bill was originally a hospital visitation bill, but it was changed during its time in the House Committee on Human Relations and Aging to include a new “legal representative” who could make significant decisions on behalf of a patient, including managing financial matters and accessing medical or personal information of the patient’s. GCDD opposes this bill as we are concerned about the implications of expanding the abilities of a “legal representative” and what that might mean for the rights of people with disabilities in hospitals and long-term care facilities.
Location: This bill passed the House and is currently in the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services. The Committee is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, March 16th at 2:15 pm. There is not currently an agenda for the meeting.
Action: Let your state senator know your thoughts on the bill, and stay tuned to future action alerts from GCDD as there may be an opportunity for public testimony.
Description: GCDD has supported this bill since it was originally introduced in 2020. HB128 bill would prohibit discrimination of potential organ transplant recipients based on disability status. People with disabilities have been denied life-saving organ transplants due to discriminatory ideas of healthcare providers regarding the abilities and quality of life of people with disabilities.
Location: This bill passed the House and is currently in the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services. The Committee is next scheduled to meet on Tuesday, March 16th at 2:15 pm. However, there is not currently an agenda for that meeting so we do not know if this bill will be heard.
Action: Reach out to Chairman Ben Watson’s office to educate them on the issue and request that the bill be heard in the Committee. You can also reach out to your state senator and ask that they support this bill being heard in the Committee. Also, stay tuned for future GCDD action alerts as there might be an opportunity to provide public testimony.
If you do not know who your state representative and senator is, please enter your full home address HERE. And, as always, if you need additional assistance or have any questions, reach out to the members of GCDD’s Public Policy Team: Alyssa Miller, Public Policy Research Director and Charlie Miller, Legislative Advocacy Director.