Legislative Update – February 13, 2018

Bills introduced in 2018 Session:

Senate Bill 375 — “Keep Faith in Adoption and Foster Care Act” will allow a child-placing agency to decline to accept a referral from the state and decline to perform services not referred under a contract with the state based on the child-placing agency’s sincerely held religious beliefs. Essentially, this allows faith-based adoption agencies to continue to abide by their values when placing children in adoptive families. Status: was heard in subcommittee, and now will be taken up in full Senate Judiciary Committee.

House Bill 482 — “Georgia Educational Scholarship Act” allows the money provided by the state to educate a child to follow the child, if the parents choose private or faith-based schools. Various stipulations must be met. Status: has been heard in subcommittee.

House Bill 660 — Hate Crimes bill allows for a criminal to receive “enhanced sentencing” if a bias or prejudice is believed to have existed while committing a crime. What is troubling is the condition that it was the criminal’s “belief or perception” regarding the victim. This means someone could be prosecuted under this statute even if the victim is not in one of the protected classes, but law enforcement determines the perpetrator “thought” the victim was (in the protected classes). It also includes a private right of action, which means a civil suit could be brought by a private party. Protected classes include race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, mental disability, or physical disability. Status: Hearing only in subcommittee on Feb. 13, 2018.

Bills carried over from 2017 Session:

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. However, a new bill is scheduled to be introduced which does include the correction for churches.

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 11:00 on Sunday morning. Status: Senate voted in favor of it 38-18. Click here to see how your Senator voted. It must now pass the House before going to the Governor.

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 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. Status: in the Senate Rules Committee.

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.

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January 2018 Newsletter

If you live in Georgia, please mark your calendar for these events:

  1. The Georgia Right to Life March for Life is Friday, January 19. This free event begins at Liberty Plaza in Atlanta (across from the State Capitol) and concludes with a silent march around downtown Atlanta. Dr. James Merritt will speak at noon. For more information click here. This is NOT a Citizen Impact event.
  2. Citizen Impact Student Legislative Days are for high school juniors and seniors. Students will receive an introduction to the inner workings of state government. They will hear from legislators and see the legislative chamber(s). Choose from two options: February 15 or February 21. Click here for the Registration Form. Click here for a brochure.
  3. Tuesday, February 27 is the Citizen Impact Pastors & Ministry Leaders’ Day, which is geared for pastors and leaders of Christian ministries. However, it is open to anyone interested in attending. Click here to register.
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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.

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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”

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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”

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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.

 

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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.
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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.

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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)

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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.

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