Mar 15, 2022 - News

Crossover Day comes to Georgia

Illustration of a scale on top of a stack of paperwork and files.
Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

Today is March 15 or Crossover Day at the state Capitol. It’s a marathon of votes that often goes well into the evening.

Expect lots of Jimmy John’s and pizza deliveries to the seat of your state government.

Why it matters: It’s a deadline lawmakers set for themselves, to get most bills through one chamber in time to become law before the end of the legislative session in a few weeks.

Yes, but: State representatives and senators can get around this deadline down the road by cutting and pasting bills into others that did pass.

Here are some of the bills we’ll be watching for votes:

  • Wrongful Conviction Compensation Act: Georgia is one of 12 states without a way for wrongfully convicted people to receive compensation for their unjust time behind bars. This bipartisan proposal would change that. More background here from the Georgia Recorder.
  • Another elections bill: This controversial Republican proposal would give the Georgia Bureau of Investigation original jurisdiction to investigate election-related activity, allow anyone to inspect paper ballots, and (less controversially) make threatening an elections worker a felony.
  • Protecting government employees from retaliation: A bipartisan bill to protect local government employees from being retaliated against if they report sexual harassment or testify in a sexual harassment proceeding. These employees would be able to file a civil action if such retaliation happens.
  • Expanding the state’s Medical Cannabis Commission: Multiple House and Senate bills seek to jumpstart Georgia’s stalled medical marijuana program. It’s been legal to use medical marijuana oil in Georgia for seven years, but citizens have had no legal way to buy it.
  • “Don’t Say Gay” bill: A bill that’s drawn comparisons to a controversial Florida measure would prohibit discussions of gender identity and sexual orientation in private school classrooms at the primary grade level.
  • State Senators’ terms: A bill to extend state Senators’ terms to four years from two, starting in 2024.
  • Granting public safety officers’ families compensation in case of suicide: The bipartisan proposal would classify suicide as comparable to being killed in the line of duty for members of law enforcement, firefighters, emergency responders, state prison guards and state highway employees.
  • Legalizing horse racing: A proposed constitutional amendment to legalize horse racing in Georgia is set for a vote in the state Senate. A similar proposal has passed the Senate before, but stalled in the House.
  • Honoring Georgia’s Original 33: The bill would create a monument on the capitol grounds to honor the Original 33 Black lawmakers who were expelled from the General Assembly at the end of Reconstruction.

A question for our Gold Dome inhabitants: How late do you think tonight's votes will go?

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