2017 Defending Our Religious Liberties Seminar — August 24, 2017

This one-day event is geared for people of faith so that “average” citizens can learn about the importance of defending our religious liberties. Workshops and breakout sessions focus on practical steps to push back against the continual erosion of these liberties and traditional values.

Check-in for the seminar begins at 12:30. Afternoon sessions run until 5:00. Break for dinner (VIP Dinner 5:15-6:45). Evening session begins at 7:00 p.m.

Judge Roy Moore is confirmed as the Keynote Speaker in the 7:00 evening session. Click here for his biographical information.

Click here for tickets to the seminar.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 2017 Defending Our Religious Liberties Seminar — August 24, 2017

Legislative Update – April 3, 2017

House Bill 340 — is an update to Georgia’s law regarding the taxation of vehicles (TAVT). It includes an exemption for churches and other non-profits from TAVT if the vehicle was donated to the church. Historically, churches have been exempt from vehicle ad valorem taxes, but when the TAVT law was implemented a few years ago churches were not exempted. Status: the version of this bill which passed the House and Senate did not include the correction for churches.

House Bill 118 — would expand gambling in Georgia as well. It legalizes Daily Fantasy Sports leagues. Click here for an excellent synopsis of this legislation. Status: passed the House and on 3/20/17 passed out of Senate Committee, and never received a vote in the full Senate, but likely will be taken up again in 2018.

Senate Bill 17 — expands the sales of alcohol on Sundays. In 2011 the General Assembly enacted a law that allowed local municipalities to vote to allow sales of alcohol on Sundays (prior to that, there was a state-wide ban). However, it prohibited alcohol sales on Sunday before 12:30 p.m. This new bill allows alcohol sales to begin at 10:30 on Sunday morning. It further allows this change to be made without requiring it to be on a ballot for the voters of the municipality to decide. Status: did not pass the Senate by Crossover Day, but could be considered in 2018.

Senate Bill 233 — adds the same provisions of the 1993 federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act to Georgia. Status: an effort was made to attach the language of this bill to another bill during one of the final days of the session. However, it failed to receive a vote.

House Bill 217 — raises the cap on the Tuition Tax Credit program from $58 million to $100 million. Status: passed the House on 2/28 and was voted down in the Senate on March 30.

Senate Bill 79 — would allow casino resorts in Georgia. It requires a change in the Georgia constitution. House Bill 158 is the companion House bill. The Senate bill is supposedly dead for 2017, fallen under the weight of reality. The reality that it will not be the economic windfall that is being promised. The reality that places like Atlantic City have acknowledged that they are not benefiting from casinos. The reality that selling casinos to voters requires a lot of smoke and mirrors and downright deception. The reality that it will bring crime, including more human trafficking, for which Atlanta has gained quite a reputation. The reality that changing the Georgia Constitution is not easy. The AJC reported that the casino bill sponsor, Sen. Brandon Beach said, “I will double down and plan to crisscross the state starting in April” to build support for the bill in 2018; which he is, of course, entitled to do. I will be crisscrossing the state, too, speaking in churches across Georgia, doing what I can to raise awareness, so that people of faith can continue to communicate to their legislators this message: “not in my state.” Status: neither the House or Senate version received a vote before the session ended on March 30, but will likely be taken up again in 2018.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Legislative Update – April 3, 2017

Legislative Update – March 20, 2017

House Bill 340 — is an update to Georgia’s law regarding the taxation of vehicles (TAVT). It includes an exemption for churches and other non-profits from TAVT if the vehicle was donated to the church. Historically, churches have been exempt from vehicle ad valorem taxes, but when theTAVT law was implemented a few years ago churches were not exempted. Status: passed the House and  on 3/20/17 passed out of the Senate Finance Committee, and is in Rules Committee and will go to the full Senate for a vote.

House Bill 118 — would expand gambling in Georgia as well. It legalizes Daily Fantasy Sports leagues. Click here for an excellent synopsis of this legislation. Status: passed the House and on 3/20/17 passed out of Committee, and is in Rules Committee and will go to the full Senate for a vote.

Senate Bill 17 — expands the sales of alcohol on Sundays. In 2011 the General Assembly enacted a law that allowed local municipalities to vote to allow sales of alcohol on Sundays (prior to that, there was a state-wide ban). However, it prohibited alcohol sales on Sunday before 12:30 p.m. This new bill allows alcohol sales to begin at 10:30 on Sunday morning. It further allows this change to be made without requiring it to be on a ballot for the voters of the municipality to decide. Status: did not pass the Senate by Crossover Day, but could be attached to another bill which did “cross over”.

Senate Bill 233 — adds the same provisions of the 1993 federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act to Georgia. Status: not likely to get any movement this session.

House Bill 217 — raises the cap on the the Tuition Tax Credit program from $58 million to $100 million. Status: passed the House on 2/28 and is now in the Senate Finance Committee.

Senate Bill 79 — would allow casino resorts in Georgia. It requires a change in the Georgia constitution. House Bill 158 is the companion House bill. The Senate bill is supposedly dead for 2017, fallen under the weight of reality. The reality that it will not be the economic windfall that is being promised. The reality that places like Atlantic City have acknowledged that they are not benefiting from casinos. The reality that selling casinos to voters requires a lot of smoke and mirrors and downright deception. The reality that it will bring crime, including more human trafficking, for which Atlanta has gained quite a reputation. The reality that changing the Georgia Constitution is not easy. The AJC reported that the casino bill sponsor, Sen. Brandon Beach said, “I will double down and plan to crisscross the state starting in April” to build support for the bill in 2018; which he is, of course, entitled to do. I will be crisscrossing the state, too, speaking in churches across Georgia, doing what I can to raise awareness, so that people of faith can continue to communicate to their legislators this message: “not in my state.” Status: neither the House or Senate version received a vote before Crossover Day, but either could still be attached to another bill which did “cross over”

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Legislative Update – March 20, 2017

Legislative Update – March 13, 2017

House Bill 340 — is an update to Georgia’s law regarding the taxation of vehicles (TAVT). It includes an exemption for churches and other non-profits from TAVT if the vehicle was donated to the church. Historically, churches have been exempt from vehicle ad valorem taxes, but when theTAVT law was implemented a few years ago churches were not exempted. Status: passed the House and now in the Senate Finance Committee.

House Bill 118 — would expand gambling in Georgia as well. It legalizes Daily Fantasy Sports leagues. Click here for an excellent synopsis of this legislation. Status: passed the House and is now in the Senate Regulated Industries Committee.

Senate Bill 17 — expands the sales of alcohol on Sundays. In 2011 the General Assembly enacted a law that allowed local municipalities to vote to allow sales of alcohol on Sundays (prior to that, there was a state-wide ban). However, it prohibited alcohol sales on Sunday before 12:30 p.m. This new bill allows alcohol sales to begin at 10:30 on Sunday morning. It further allows this change to be made without requiring it to be on a ballot for the voters of the municipality to decide. Status: did not pass the Senate by Crossover Day, but could be attached to another bill which did “cross over”.

Senate Bill 233 — adds the same provisions of the 1993 federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act to Georgia. Status: not likely to get any movement this session.

House Bill 217 — raises the cap on the the Tuition Tax Credit program from $58 million to $100 million. Status: passed the House on 2/28 and is now in the Senate Finance Committee.

Senate Bill 79 — would allow casino resorts in Georgia. It requires a change in the Georgia constitution. House Bill 158 is the companion House bill. The Senate bill is supposedly dead for 2017, fallen under the weight of reality. The reality that it will not be the economic windfall that is being promised. The reality that places like Atlantic City have acknowledged that they are not benefiting from casinos. The reality that selling casinos to voters requires a lot of smoke and mirrors and downright deception. The reality that it will bring crime, including more human trafficking, for which Atlanta has gained quite a reputation. The reality that changing the Georgia Constitution is not easy. The AJC reported that the casino bill sponsor, Sen. Brandon Beach said, “I will double down and plan to crisscross the state starting in April” to build support for the bill in 2018; which he is, of course, entitled to do. I will be crisscrossing the state, too, speaking in churches across Georgia, doing what I can to raise awareness, so that people of faith can continue to communicate to their legislators this message: “not in my state.” Status: neither the House or Senate version got a vote before Crossover Day, but either could still be attached to another bill which did “cross over”

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Legislative Update – March 13, 2017

Legislative Update March 1, 2017

Citizen Impact is working with members of the Ways & Means Committee to update Georgia’s law regarding the taxation of church vehicles. Historically, churches have been exempt from vehicle ad valorem taxes, but when the ad valorem tax law was changed a few years ago churches were not exempted. There is support to correct that, but there is no bill number right now.

Senate Bill 17 — expands the sales of alcohol on Sundays. In 2011 the General Assembly enacted a law that allowed local municipalities to vote to allow sales of alcohol on Sundays (prior to that, there was a state-wide ban). However, it prohibited alcohol sales on Sunday before 12:30 p.m. This new bill allows alcohol sales to begin at 10:30 on Sunday morning. It further allows this change to be made without requiring it to be on a ballot for the voters of the municipality to decide. It is in the Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee.

Senate Bill 233 — adds the same provisions of the 1993 federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act to Georgia. Unlikely to get any movement this session.

House Bill 217 — raises the cap on the the Tuition Tax Credit program from $58 million to $100 million. It passed the House on 2/28 and now goes to the Senate.

Senate Bill 79 — would allow casino resorts in Georgia. It requires a change in the Georgia constitution. House Bill 158 is the companion House bill. The Senate bill is supposedly dead for 2017, fallen under the weight of reality. The reality that it will not be the economic windfall that is being promised. The reality that places like Atlantic City have acknowledged that they are not benefiting from casinos. The reality that selling casinos to voters requires a lot of smoke and mirrors and downright deception. The reality that it will bring crime, including more human trafficking, for which Atlanta has gained quite a reputation. The reality that changing the Georgia Constitution is not easy. The AJC reported that the casino bill sponsor, Sen. Brandon Beach said, “I will double down and plan to crisscross the state starting in April” to build support for the bill in 2018; which he is, of course, entitled to do. I will be crisscrossing the state, too, speaking in churches across Georgia, doing what I can to raise awareness, so that people of faith can continue to communicate to their legislators this message: “not in my state.”

House Bill 118 would expand gambling in Georgia as well. It legalizes Daily Fantasy Sports leagues. Click here for an excellent synopsis of this legislation.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Legislative Update March 1, 2017

January Newsletter – Upcoming Events

  1. The Georgia Right to Life March for Life is Monday, January 23. This free event begins at Liberty Plaza in Atlanta (across from the State Capitol) and concludes with a silent march around downtown Atlanta. The Benham Brothers will speak at noon. For more information click here. This is NOT a Citizen Impact event.
  2. Tuesday, February 28 is the Citizen Impact Pastors & Ministry Leaders’ Day which is geared for pastors and leaders of Christian ministries, but is open to anyone interested in attending. Registration will be available soon.
  3. We Stand with God Rally – Friday, April 21 at Liberty Plaza. More details will be given at a later date, but please plan to attend.
  4. Thursday, August 24Defending Our Religious Liberties Seminar.

Prayer Requests:

  • The Georgia General Assembly convenes Monday, January 9. Pray that the ministry of Citizen Impact will be able to influence legislators effectively and in a God-honoring way.
  • Wisdom and guidance from the Lord to track all the important legislation, including which ones to focus on.
  • The events listed above.
  • Religious freedom legislation on the state and national levels.
Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on January Newsletter – Upcoming Events

2016 Voter Information

voter-guide-jpegFaith & Freedom Coalition has done a great job preparing non-partisan voter guides which you can use in your church. Click here for a printable PDF version that includes Georgia’s Senate race. Other states are available here

 

To find you voter information, like your polling place, and even get a sample ballot, click here (you must log in to see this information).

Below are links to short videos by GA Senator Josh McKoon explaining the questions which are on the Georgia ballot:

Question #1 – Opportunity School District
Question #2 – 
Safe Harbor Act (authorize tax on adult entertainment industry to fund programs for exploited children),
Question #3  – 
Abolishing Judicial Qualifications Commission
Question #4 – 
Dedicates revenue from existing taxes on fireworks to trauma care, etc.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 2016 Voter Information

Defending Our Religious Liberties Seminar – August 25, 2016

Religious freedoms are eroding at a fast pace and people of faith need to be equipped. Most want to do something, but don’t know what to do or where to get reliable information. This seminar is for you!

In addition to “regular” citizens, pastors and ministry leaders (Christian school principals, Christian college administrators, and directors of Christian ministries) will also benefit hearing from speakers like Attorney Matt Sharp with Alliance Defending Freedom. He has defended clients in religious freedom cases and dealt with the transgender bathroom issues. Maureen VanDenBerg is flying in from Washington to provide an update on religious liberty legislation, and discuss the assault on Christian colleges in California. Georgia Rep. Ed Setzler is a talented speaker and strong defender of religious freedoms.

You will really enjoy hearing Rafael Cruz speak and other engaging speakers. We are excited to have Todd Starnes as our VIP Dinner speaker (separate ticket purchase). As a special treat, a representative from the Museum of the Bible will tell us about the newest museum in Washington, D.C. Click here to register.

Flyer snapshot(3)

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Defending Our Religious Liberties Seminar – August 25, 2016

We Stand with God Rally – April 22, 11:00-1:00 at Liberty Plaza

WSWG flyer FINAL low res Don’t miss the We Stand with God Rally on Friday, April 22, from 11:00-1:00 at Liberty Plaza next to the state capitol in Atlanta. Join thousands of people of faith to stand for God and His Word. Speakers for the Georgia Rally include Congressman Jody Hice, GA Senator Josh McKoon, Dr. Gerald Harris, Pastor Rusty Smith, Pastor Garland Hunt, and Pastor Kenny Kuykendall. Please arrive early, bring a lawn chair, and bottle of water, and your Bible. The Rally will go on RAIN or SHINE.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on We Stand with God Rally – April 22, 11:00-1:00 at Liberty Plaza

Legislative Update – March 17, 2016

On March 16, 2016 the Georgia House of Representatives amended the Senate version of HB 757 sending back to the Senate a broad-based religious freedom bill which protects all Georgians from unnecessary government coercion. The current version of HB 757, which passed both the House and Senate, includes the language of the 1993 federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. It also includes protections for clergy, houses of worship, and faith-based ministries which hold to the traditional view of marriage.  Language from the Senate version that would protect businesses like Hobby Lobby or a wedding photographer, was stripped out. Also, language was added assuring that this bill would not discrimination based on current federal and state law. This RFRA portion of this bill is very basic protections for which all Georgians should be grateful. The First Amendment protection is limited, but it is an important start in assuring the free exercise of religion. Gov. Deal has until May 3 to sign or veto HB 757.

This bill is now called, The Free Exercise Protection Act. Here are some highlights:

  • Ministers and other religious officials cannot be compelled by government to perform marriages and other ceremonies in violation of their beliefs. 
  • Businesses which operate on Saturday or Sunday shall make all reasonable accommodations for employees whose day of worship is one of those days. 
  • Faith based organizations qualified as 501(c)(3) exempt religious organizations are not required to: a) lease property to be used for an event which is objectionable to that organization; b) provide services that violate the organization’s sincerely held religious beliefs; or c) hire or retain an employee whose own religious beliefs, lack thereof, or practices are not in accord with the organization’s sincerely held religious beliefs.
  • Government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion unless it can demonstrate (1) compelling government interest; and (2) the burden is the least restrictive means of furthering that interest. Violation may be asserted as a claim or defense in a lawsuit against the government.
  • The bill specifically does not permit discrimination on any grounds prohibited by federal or state law, or allow a public officer or employee to fail to perform his or her official duties.
Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Legislative Update – March 17, 2016