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Georgia lawmakers pass flurry of bills on Sine Die

General Assembly addresses transgender athletes, passes budget & election probes
In a frantic finish, the final day of the 2022 legislative session extended past midnight.
In a frantic finish, the final day of the 2022 legislative session extended past midnight.(CBS46 News)
Published: Apr. 5, 2022 at 1:22 AM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - In a frantic finish, the final day of the 2022 legislative session extended past midnight.

On Day 40, called “Sine Die,” lawmakers debated early into Tuesday morning on some of the most controversial topics of the session.

In one of the more dramatic moments, just before midnight, the House passed a bill that included a late insert around banning transgender children from competing in sports based on their gender identity.

According to House Speaker David Ralston, the bill gives the Georgia High School Association the authority to ban transgender children from participation.

The transgender motion was included in a bill that will ban divisive concepts around race and ethnicity to be taught in schools.

In more of a formality, both the House and Senate passed the 2023 budget.

The $30.2 billion budget includes a $2,000 raise for teachers and $5,000 raises for state workers.

Among the other noteworthy bills that passed includes a bill that gives the GBI authority to investigate election fraud.

Critical democrats challenged that the bill would give too much power to the governor, who has the hiring/firing power of the GBI director.

“What we’re doing here is we’re authorizing the executive branch of the state of Georgia to meddle in our elections,” said Rep. David Dryer (D- District 59).

In one of the strongest bipartisan efforts of the session, the governor signed the Mental Health Parity Act, which strengthens mental healthcare – including requiring insurance providers to cover mental healthcare needs in the same way they cover physical ailments.

“It is yet another reason people will talk about this session for years and possibly generations to come,” said Gov. Brian Kemp.

The House gave a standing ovation after Gov. Kemp’s remarks on the bill’s passage.

House and Senate leaders also agreed to a measure that would gradually cut the state’s income tax rate from 5.75% to 4.99%.

An effort to make medical cannabis more accessible passed through the House but failed in the Senate.