2022 Legislative Session Wrap-Up
Last day to register to vote
Last day to request an absentee ballot
In-person early voting begins
The Georgia General Assembly adjourned Sine Die on Monday, April 4, marking the end of the 2022 legislative session. Governor Brian Kemp has 40 days from adjournment to sign or veto the legislation passed by the General Assembly. If he takes no action on a bill by May 14, the legislation will become law.
There were several bills of interest to the business community that were passed this year. One of those is SB 331, “Protecting Georgia Businesses and Workers Act,” which prevents local governments from enacting ordinances dictating employee hours, scheduling, or regulating employee output during work hours.
The legislature also made some policy changes related to the state’s income tax. HB 1064 allows for Georgians receiving military retirement income to have more or all income exempt from state tax. HB 1437 lowers the standard income tax rate from 5.75% to 4.99%, phased in over nine years. It also eliminates most deductions but raises the standard deduction to $12,000 per year for single filers and $24,000 for those filing jointly.
Education is always a popular topic at the General Assembly, and this year was no exception. SB 379 creates the Office of Workforce Development within the Technical College System of Georgia. The office will establish a program to promote the creation and expansion of registered apprenticeship programs in the state, with the goal of creating more programs to support the demands of our growing economy and current workforce challenges. Businesses that train up to five students will be eligible to receive compensation of up to $10,000 per student upon completion of the apprenticeship course.
Speaker Ralston personally took on the challenge of addressing the state’s mental health system by sponsoring HB 1013. “The Mental Health Parity Act” expands access to much-needed behavioral mental health services in Georgia and addresses alternative outcomes for mental health individuals to alleviate overcrowding in our criminal justice system. It also enhances resources for frontline responders, addresses parity for providers and clients, and provides solutions for individuals dealing with substance abuse. This bill was signed into law by Governor Kemp on April 4.
The General Assembly also showed their support for law enforcement by passing SB 361, the “Law Enforcement Strategic Support Act,” or “LESS Crime Act.” The act creates a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for private and corporate taxpayers choosing to invest in law enforcement organizations.
The focus now turns to the upcoming primary election on May 24. Early in-person voting starts on May 2, and the last day to request an absentee ballot is May 13. We will keep you updated on the results!
Your team at Joe Tanner & Associates
Georgia 2021 Legislative Update
Legislative Day 3
2020 Census Highlights
- GA Pop Growth +1 million
- White Pop Growth -1%
- Black Pop Growth 12.4%
- Hispanic Pop Growth 2%
- September +30.3%
Balance of Power
- 103 Republican
- 77 Democrat
- 34 Republican
- 22 Democrat
The Georgia General Assembly reconvened on Wednesday, November 3, 2021, for a special session to redraw Georgia's political maps. Your team at Joe Tanner & Associates will closely monitor all the action at the Capitol and report session developments back to you.
Background on Redistricting
The redistricting process will be based on the latest United States census figures, which are updated once every ten years. It might seem at first that redistricting, which is required in every state by the U.S. Constitution, would be a very mundane governmental exercise. But it is actually a hyper-political affair pitting political parties against each other and creating interparty battles as members of the same party fight for their political lives.
Federal law lays out the rules that the states must follow. However, the party in power in every state still has considerable influence on how the maps are drawn and will always redraw district maps to benefit themselves the most politically within the confines of the law.
Democrats in Georgia controlled both the House and Senate as well as the governor's office through the 2000 census. In the decades since Republicans have controlled both chambers of the legislature and the governor's office.
In Georgia, the process of redrawing every federal, state, and local political boundary is a function of the legislature as defined in Georgia law. Therefore, the process of redistricting can only begin once the U.S. Census Bureau releases the final numbers. The release of the 2020 numbers was delayed this year due to the pandemic. Now that the final numbers have been released, Governor Kemp has called for the special session to begin.
Now that the special session has begun, the state house and state senate will respectively draw their new districts. These maps then pass to the other chamber, usually as drawn. Congressional districts, however, are traditionally determined jointly, which takes more time and negotiation.
Newly redrawn political boundaries must reflect the latest census figures, and districts must have less than 1% deviation between districts. Congressional districts are even tighter where the deviation can be no more than two people between the largest and smallest districts. Redrawing the lines with such strict criteria is where things get interesting and creates the biggest challenge.
Metro areas around the state have had population growth, and therefore will gain new districts. However, rural areas have seen little change and even some population decline. That decline leads to districts being combined, putting incumbent legislators into districts with each other and forcing legislative colleagues to run against each other in the newly redrawn district.