Georgia lawmakers eye citizen’s arrest, gambling, vouchers

Georgia lawmakers eye citizen’s arrest, gambling, vouchers
Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta. (Source: WTOC)

ATLANTA (AP) — It’s going to be another weird pandemic session of the Georgia General Assembly. Members will be sworn in Monday for their two-year terms to a House and Senate still struggling to operate amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

As Georgia lawmakers open the 2021 session of the General Assembly, they could consider changes to Georgia’s citizens arrest law after the Ahmaud Arbery shooting. School voucher advocates could argue that the pandemic proves parents need more publicly financed choice in education. Gambling supporters could be back for another run at legalizing sports betting and other wagering. Hanging over the session will be the legislature’s once-a-decade responsibility to redraw lines for state and federal voting districts, likely coming in a special session later in 2021.

Republican Sen. Butch Miller of Gainesville says senators for the first time will be required to wear masks. Both chambers are requiring members and staff take twice-weekly tests to try to slow the virus’ spread.

With lawmakers awaiting committee assignments, the session could get off to an even slower start than usual. And many members were busy politicking during Georgia’s U.S. Senate runoffs and didn’t prepare for legislating.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Gray Media Group, Inc. contributed to this report.