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Georgia Legislative Updates

Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates works to pass laws that advance access to the full range of reproductive health care services and information including comprehensive sex education. From town halls to the State Capitol, Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates ensures that everyone can access quality, affordable reproductive health care.

2020 Post-Session Recap

Legislative session is officially over in all three of our states! It was a whirlwind session, punctuated by starts and stops due to COVID-19, and shaped by the recent deaths of Black Americans at the hands of police and white supremacists. It wasn’t the legislative session we’d predicted or planned for, but nonetheless, we had some major wins we should all be proud of and we had some serious setbacks that cannot be ignored. One thing is certain: there is much work left to be done. 

In Georgia, we celebrated a number of victories that will help make Georgia a more safe and equitable place. We were part of a large coalition of maternal welfare advocates who worked to support House Bill (HB) 1114, which extends postpartum Medicaid coverage from 60 days to six months, helping to curb Georgia’s maternal mortality rate — which is among the worst in the country. We also celebrated the passage of HB 426, known as the Hate Crimes Bill, which stalled in the Senate last year, but was finally passed after the recent murders of unarmed Black people in Georgia and around the country. We also successfully stopped Senate Bill (SB) 463, a bill that would have increased the already rampant voter suppression we witnessed at the June 9th primary. It would have made it illegal for the Secretary of State and any local government to send out ballot applications, thereby making it even more difficult for already disenfranchised Georgia voters to cast their ballots in November. 

However, it wasn’t all wins in Georgia. The very same hour the legislature passed the Hate Crimes Bill, they also passed a bill making police officers a protected class, which allows police officers to sue individuals, groups, and organizations for violating their civil rights. This stands in contrast to a federal doctrine known as “Qualified Immunity” which makes it almost impossible for individuals to sue the police for the exact same grievances. Lawmakers also refused to repeal Georgia’s citizen’s arrest statute, despite the fact that that very law was cited in the murder of Ahmaud Arbery at the hands of two white supremacists. And predictably, Governor Kemp signed a budget with over $2.2 billion in cuts, targeting K-12 education, mental health services, adult education, substance abuse treatment centers, and public health services. As is too often the case, these cuts will disproportionately affect people of color and rural Georgians.

Our takeaway? Elections matter. 

Thus far, 2020 has been defined by two things: the COVID-19 pandemic and a national movement for racial justice. Nowhere are these two crises more obviously connected than at the ballot box. With this legislative session behind us, we must turn our focus to November and we must vote like our lives depend on it, because now more than ever, they do. 

Request your absentee ballot today.

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We #WontBePunished

In states across the country, ultraconservative lawmakers are cutting women off from care — and punishing them when they dare to fight back.

We won’t let it happen.

Latest News

Crossover Work

Feb. 21, 2020

Senate Bill 368: Legislation allowing faith-based adoption agencies to deny services in Georgia based on religious preferences was introduced Wednesday in the state Senate.  Senate Bill 368, is the latest push in Georgia for so-called “religious freedom” laws that permit businesses and churches to sidestep catering to same-sex couples or others who forgo traditional family arrangements.

BREAKING: Budget cuts could negatively impact state's most vulnerable

Atlanta - Feb. 6, 2020

The Governor has asked for a $200M budget cut this fiscal year and a $300M deduction for next year. 

This is one of the biggest cuts that the Georgia legislature has faced and has caused serious infighting primarily among the Republicans. Georgia’s economy is still growing, but state agencies will have to look for ways to cut their budgets, under a directive the Kemp administration sent out Tuesday.

It is the first time budget cut proposals have been requested from agencies since the state was hammered by the after-effects of the Great Recession nearly a decade ago.

 

Read More

Crossover Work

Feb. 25, 2020

HB 1114: (Sharon Cooper, R- Marietta) - Expands medicaid for new moms from 60 days to six months. This will empower new moms to seek medical treatment in those crucial postpartum months. While it isn’t the full year we would have wanted this is a step to help alleviate Georgia’s higher than normal maternal mortality rate.

Crossover Work

Feb. 24, 2020

House Bill 719: Modernization of HIV Laws - (Deborah Silcox, R-Sandy Springs) Updates the current crimes and offenses statutes related to HIV transmission. Specifically decriminalizes the unintentional transmission of HIV. [Passed the House Health & Human Services Committee]

Crossover Work

Feb. 26, 2020

HB 1060: (Ginny Ehrhart, R- Marietta) - Makes providing gender reassignment therapy to minors a felony. This bill would also strip physicians, nurses and other health care professionals of their licenses if they participate in reassignment surgeries and/or classify parents who sign off on the treatments as child abusers. 

Ways to get Involved

Get Involved!

Are you ready to join the fight to defend reproductive rights, expand access to health care, and protect those who rely on Planned Parenthood for care? 

There are many opportunities to get involved with Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates. You can make a donation, attend an event or rally, take action on reproductive health issues that matter to you, volunteer, and even work for us!

We count on members, activists, interns and supporters like you to help us organize outreach programs, host events, stop dangerous legislation from passing and advocate for the diverse communities that rely on Planned Parenthood. 

Check out all the ways you can make your voice heard and get involved with the issues that matter to you most!

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