Crossover Day Preview
Today, the State Capitol will be filled with legislators, advocates, and stakeholders abuzz with activity late into the day taking part in the annual “Crossover Day” tradition. Crossover Day is a deadline for bills to pass out of their original chamber. In practice, all House bills that will become law must pass the House today. The same goes for Senate bills.
On Crossover Day, many legislators will be pushing for their bill to pass and receive consideration before time runs out. Below we will preview a few “bills to watch” today.
In 2019, the State Legislature legalized the growth of medical cannabis and set up a process for distribution licenses. However, after licenses were awarded, legal disputes from those who came up short in the process have threatened to tie up the legal distribution. A couple of bills are aimed at helping these losing parties and getting medical cannabis out to those who need it.
House Bill 1400 would seek to issue licenses to those companies who were denied a license by the commission, negating the need for further legal activity. This bill passed thorough committee 2 weeks ago, but has yet to be passed by the whole House. It’s fate will likely be tied to House Bill 1453, a different bill aimed at achieving the same ultimate result.
House Bill 1453 aims to equip the licensees to get their cannabis production up and running. It also passed committee, but will need to pass the full House by the end of today’s session.
In the Senate, Senator Jeff Mullis (R-Chickamauga) introduced SB 609 to change the scoring system and allow for new licenses to be issued to the appellees. It was read for a second time last week and will need to pass today.
The Governor made it a priority to pass “constitutional carry” legislation this session, which would allow Georgians to conceal carry without a license. While that legislation has already passed through its original chamber, a partner bill is still stuck in the House.
HB 1378, from Rep. Rick Jasperse, would remove “places of worship” from the list of unauthorized locations to carry a weapon. The bill passed committee on March 3rd and will try to pass the House today. Since Rep. Rick Jasperse is a close ally of the Speaker, it is likely this bill will pass through the House.
Although legislators have not been as focused on “election integrity” this session, two elections bills will need to pass the House today to have a chance at overall passage.
House Bill 1464 would open original paper ballots for public inspection and give the Georgia Bureau of Investigation original jurisdiction of election fraud and election crimes. These investigations are presently overseen by the Secretary of State’s Office. Many voting rights advocates and Democrats have panned the bill and county officials have raised concerns it may slow results.
House Bill 1085 is a bipartisan bill that would allow municipalities to use instant runoff voting for their local elections should they so choose. The bill passed committee back in February but has yet to see the House floor.