Harvey Soto, Policy Analyst Legislative Wrap-Up
GALEO Publishes List of Bills Followed During the 2019 Legislative Sessions
HB 202: Criminalizing Immigrants and reporting from the DOC.
This bill would have required the Department of Corrections officers report how many inmates at their facility are immigrants. This is an attempt to produce information that is not fully clear on the status of said immigrants and also it would have continued a false narrative that immigrants are criminals and this would feed into an anti-immigrant narrative in the state. The bill failed to pass the Rules Committee.
HB 270/400: Both of these bills were designed to change the orientation and look of Driver’s licenses and their use if you are a non-citizen. Essentially this would be similar to previous scarlet letter licenses we have seen in the past. The language would also limit the types of IDs accepted as a Voter ID and would have limited newly naturalized citizens the ease to vote with their valid Driver’s licenses creating a potential poll tax. Both bills failed to pass the House Chamber.
HB 316: This bill was an omnibus Voting bill that changed and updated a lot of the methods and processes around voting and elections. GALEO and other partners found serious problems with the list purges and the notification sent to voters, and “Exact Match” language that would make it harder for Latinos and newly naturalized citizens to be able to get on the Voter Rolls. Through our efforts with community partners we were able to get most of the language removed from the bill and allow for easier access to get on the voter roles for our eligible members in the community. The Bill passed both houses and was signed by the governor.
SB 52 Democracy act: This Senate bill was the work of voting rights organizations including GALEO to try and end partisan gerrymandering and establish a method to not have legislatures draw districts in their favor. This bill is hoped to pass before the 2021 redistricting process. The bill did not pass out of the Senate.
HB426 Hate Crimes Bill: Georgia is one of five states that does not have any Hate Crimes legislation. GALEO supported a bipartisan bill that would put penalties in place for those who committed such crimes. For the first time in many years it has passed either chamber of the Georgia General Assembly. Unfortunately it stalled in Senate committee this year and failed to pass.
SB200 MARTA delay language included: The Gwinnett Republican House delegation tried to sneak language onto an amendment to a bill in an attempt to delay another MARTA referendum and transit expansion in general until 2026. The amendment was removed alter after heavy pushback from Gwinnett citizens and the business community.
HB564: This redistricting attempt that was short lived this legislative session. Two representatives from Gwinnett County attempted to draw themselves safer districts by moving voters of color around. This sparked GALEO and community partners to speak out against the bill and any other gerrymandering efforts. The bill did not move after the sponsors removed themselves from the bill.