Georgia General Assembly week 3 roundup: Bills, amnesty and tax breaks

Kay Kirkpatrick chairs the Senate Study Committee on Foster Care and Adoption. (Credit: Georgia Senate)

Kay Kirkpatrick chairs the Senate Study Committee on Foster Care and Adoption. (Credit: Georgia Senate)

Jan 26, 2024

Lawmakers closed week three of their legislative session with a flurry of announcements and proposed legislation.

Here’s a look at some of the biggest news items:

  • House Speaker Jon Burns unveiled a package of four bills intended to provide major tax relief for Georgians. Two of the bills would increase the child tax deduction to $4,000 from $3,000, while the homestead exemption would double to $4,000. Rep. Lauren Daniel, R-Locust Grove, will sponsor the child tax deduction bill, and Rep. Matt Reeves, R-Duluth, will sponsor the homestead exemption bill.
  • The Senate Committee on Children and Families sent SB 342 to the Rules committee. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Randy Robertson, would require Georgia state agencies to share child abuse records and other pertinent documents with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. The change brings Georgia in line with federal mandates that require states to share such information with the center. Georgia law currently does not allow those records to be shared.

“Recent federal law changes occurred, and as part of it, [Georgia] state law needed to be adjusted so that we can more freely share information about children in our custody with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children,” Department of Human Services Commissioner Candice Broce told State Affairs. “So this bill makes sure that we are compliant. But it also is a tremendous tool to better work with [the national center] and recover more of our kids who are missing or are runaways.”

Broce said, “We’re probably around 130 kids that are in foster care, but they're missing or on runaway status. They are a foster child, and they have either run away from their last placement or they’re missing and we’re searching for them. So this is why this tool is so tremendous.”

The committee chair, Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick, said the bill would “improve communications” with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children “and help track down missing children.” 

  • After 22 years in the Legislature, Rep. Pedro “Pete” Marin, D-Duluth, announced he’s retiring and won’t seek reelection.

On Friday, the Georgia Right to Life Committee will host its Georgia Stand for Life Memorial Service & Rally at 11:30 a.m. at Liberty Plaza, directly across the street from the state Capitol in Atlanta. The rally comes as the landmark federal Roe v. Wade decision — which made abortion a constitutional right — marks its 51st anniversary this month.

Have questions? Contact Tammy Joyner on X @lvjoyner or at [email protected].

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