New Immigration Laws, Power Company Rules and Tribute to State White Shrimp • Georgia Recorder

Georgia lawmakers voted on dozens of bills Thursday as a key legislative deadline passed.

They named the white shrimp the state's official crustacean and introduced a GOP bill that would require a license plate that read “America First,” but only after a Democrat tried to change it to a license plate that read “Donald Trump First.” ” to change.

“I think what I really want to accomplish here is just the core and spirit of the legislation,” said Sen. Josh McLaurin, a Democrat from Sandy Springs.

The legislature ended just before midnight on Crossover Day. Ross Williams/Georgia recorder

But the marathon voting day also brought some tense debates as lawmakers struggled to get their bills out of at least one chamber by the end of the crossover day to the governor's desk.

The house passed a bill This would force local law enforcement to work with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement following the killing of an Augusta University nursing student made immigration a political flashpoint.

And the Senate agreed a controversial law on religious freedom What some say is a license to discriminate and will be enforced The invoice Let Georgia withdraw from the American Library Association.

And several closely watched bills failed to pass the vote at all. For example, a suggestion to impose a three-year moratorium new permit applications for dragline mining never received a vote in the House of Representatives, even after it was fast-tracked through the committee process. The bill was introduced as public pressure mounted on lawmakers to block a mining proposal near the Okefenokee Wildlife National Refuge.

The Senate wants to revive the Consumer Council

A measure that would reinstate a consumer utility board that was abolished in 2008 during the Great Recession passed the Senate on Thursday.

The The invoicesponsored by Republican Sen. Chuck Hufstetler of Rome, would establish the Office of Consumers' Utility Council with an independent director under the Georgia Public Service Commission, which regulates utilities in the state.

The final measure to clear the Senate on Thursday passed unanimously without much discussion. It will now go before the House of Representatives for consideration.

The bill recognizes that the commission represents the public interest, but states that commissioners “shall be provided with all available information on the impact of their decisions in collective bargaining cases and proceedings before it.”

In recent years, the PSC has approved several electric bill increases requested by Georgia Power.

Another proposal aimed at forcing Georgia Power to provide customers more information about their fuel costs passed the committee this week but didn't make it to a vote by Thursday.

The late-filed bill's sponsor, Rep. Don Parsons, expressed his frustration with the powerful utility during a discussion on Tuesday. The Marietta Republican is chairman of the House Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications Committee.

The House of Representatives is supporting a bill to eliminate the subminimum wage for people with disabilities

A proposal to phase out Georgia's participation in a federal program that allows employers to pay people with disabilities below the minimum wage easily passed the House of Representatives.

There are currently eight community rehabilitation providers in Georgia legally pay a minimum wage to 245 workers with disabilities under a U.S. Department of Labor program. The national average wage for workers under this disability plan is $3.34 per hour.

The The invoiceThe bill, sponsored by Republican Rep. Sharon Cooper of Marietta, would require employers to pay at least half the minimum wage in the first year of the phaseout and then pay the minimum wage through July 2026.

In Georgia, participation in the program has declined. Cooper referred to the remaining eight participants as “refusers” and said federal grants were available to help them exit the program.

“We will send the message to people with disabilities across our state that we value them, that they have much to give to their communities, that they can be employed and that they are very valuable employees,” Cooper said Thursday.

The bill now goes to the Senate.

The proposed new housing program approves the House of Representatives

The House of Representatives has signed a bill that would establish a structured program to support homeless people through accountability court.

The The invoice is called the State Housing Trust Fund for the Homeless Act and would be funded by local private companies like QuikTrip, which supports the bill.

Participants in the program would be there for a maximum of 18 months and would have work and therapy options. The aim is for homeless people to be able to find a permanent job and earn a living after they leave.

Republican Majority Leader Chuck Efstration said the program is entirely voluntary and not tied to criminal convictions or other qualifications.

“If we could allow homeless people to voluntarily participate in these programs, we think we would have great success,” Efstration said.

The bill creates a commission for the program, whose members will be hand-picked by the governor, lieutenant governor and the speaker of the House of Representatives.

If successful, the application will be published on the Department of Community Affairs website early next year.

Age verification for porn watchers

Georgians trying to open their favorite pornographic website may be faced with an unexpected sight: a window asking them to prove they are over 18.

The House approved a plan by Jasper Republican Rick Jasperse to require age verification for adult websites 165-1, with Stonecrest Democrat Angela Moore the lone no vote.

If the bill comes into force and more than a third of a website's content is found to be harmful to minors, website owners would be required to take measures to verify the age of users. This could mean requiring users to provide a driver's license or other identification, or using cell phone records or credit reporting agency databases.

“I'm just trying to understand your legislation for someone who isn't a porn watcher,” said Butler Democratic Rep. Patty Marie Stinson. “I’m trying – really, this is a serious question. I'm trying to understand how this legislation actually impacts people in rural Georgia. You say you have to have a driver’s license to watch porn?”

“Yes,” said Jasperse.

“I'm sure there are other alternatives, but if you are on a site that contains 33% pornographic material, you need to verify that you are over 18, just as you need to verify that you are an adult “Visited a bookstore, bought alcohol or something similar,” he added.