Georgia State Representative Noel Williams and State Senator Carden Summers presented highlights from the Georgia legislative session. Photo by Neil McGahee

By Neil B. McGahee, Editor

About 30 Republicans and two Democrats gathered at the Community Clubhouse on Tuesday to hear highlights from the Georgia General Assembly session from State Senator Carden Summers and State Representative Noel Williams.

“I’m happy to be here with my representative brother-in-arms Noel Williams,” Summers said. “We’re going to give you some highlights from this year’s legislative session.

“We are talking about women’s sports. The Georgia High School Association will decide whether transgender people will be able to participate in women’s sports. Personally, I want to see transgender people banned from playing women’s sports.

“As it stands, a girl can go out and work hard and get all these awards, and then a guy decides he can’t make it in a men’s sport, becomes a girl, and absolutely smashes the girl’s records.

“At the moment it’s pretty much irrelevant, but we’ll look for it in the next session.”

Williams said they almost pushed him last session and will definitely tackle it next year.

“You see what’s happening across the country,” he said. “Particularly in college like this swimmer who pretended he was a woman and then he walked all over the field.”

Another topic was constitutional carrying or the freedom to carry a gun without a license.

“A few weeks ago the governor signed the constitutional deferral bill into law,” Summers said. “Nothing has changed except you can now carry a gun without needing a permit. All that stuff like a background check is still in effect.”

Redistricting was another big topic under the Gold Dome. The process, a deeply political affair, is controlled by the majority party, which often draws the cards unfairly in its favor; a technique known as gerrymandering.

Both parties were guilty of gerrymandering. In fact, in 2001 Georgia Democrats, trying to protect their waning majority, redrew district lines in such tortured shapes that the 13th seat of Congress became known as the “Dead Cat District.”

On December 30, 2021, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law Georgia’s new congressional map, more than a month after it was passed by the state legislature. The Georgian constitution requires a new map to be drawn every 10 years. The new map gives the GOP a strong chance of capturing at least one Democratic-held seat in the state.

Georgia’s current congressional delegation has eight Republicans and six Democrats, but the map bumps the 6th District from a competitive D+1 seat to an R+24 district, making it all but certain to fall to Republicans.
Other highlights included:

  • Passing of the Right to Farm Act, a law that protects farmers and farm families from nuisance lawsuits.
  • Passage of HB213 or the Georgia Hemp Farming Act which legalized the cultivation of hemp and removed its description of marijuana.
  • Bans the teaching of CRP in Georgia schools
  • Passage of HB 1013, which requires people with mental health issues to be treated like everyone else.
  • Committed to expanding fiber optic program in southern Georgia
  • Said the state’s economy had exploded during the coronavirus pandemic, such that the state would give back about $1 billion, $300 million to Georgia taxpayers, $250 to single taxpayers and $500 to families.

Crisp Republican Party Chairman Don Cole said it was the first such meeting, but they plan to make it an annual event.