On last day of Georgia legislative session, religious freedom and sports betting bills fail while others pass


ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia's two-year legislative session ended early Friday, after lawmakers stayed past midnight on Thursday pass some bills and reject others as the term ended. Lawmakers rejected legalizing sports betting, but agreed to tighten rules on law enforcement cooperation with immigration officials.

Some key proposals had already passed before Thursday, including a plan to cut income taxes and a bill that would loosen Georgia's rules for permitting new health care facilities.

Others failed, such as a proposal to expand Medicaid health insurance to more lower income adults and an effort to overhaul Georgia's tax incentives for movie and television production.

Gov. Brian Kemp will have 40 days to sign, veto, or allow legislation to become law without his signature after the session ends, and many lawmakers will turn their focus to reelection, with all 56 Senate seats and 180 House seats on the ballot this year.

Here's a look at some key measures:


PROPERTY TAXES: Future increases in a home’s taxable value could be limited under House Bill 581, while House Resolution 1022 is an accompanying constitutional amendment.

IMMIGRATION: House Bill 1105 would require local law enforcement to help federal agents enforce immigration law.

ELECTIONS: Senate Bill 189 would create new rules for challenging voter qualifications, possibly let more candidates qualify for Georgia's presidential ballot, and ban use of QR codes to count ballots after 2026. House Bill 1207 allows a reduced number of voting machines.

INCOME TAXES: An already-planned state income tax cut would be accelerated under House Bill 1015, giving the state a flat 5.39% income tax rate retroactive to Jan. 1.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Senate Bill 351 seeks to require social media companies to get parental permission before letting children younger than 16 create accounts. It also bans the use of social media using school computers and internet and creates new anti-bullying rules.

CASH BAIL: Senate Bill 63 would require cash bail for 30 additional crimes, including some misdemeanors, and would impose new rules on nonprofit bail funds.

UNION ORGANIZING: Companies receiving state economic incentives would be barred from recognizing labor unions without a secret ballot election under Senate Bill 362.

HEALTH CARE PERMITTING: Some health care facility expansions would be allowed without state permits under House Bill 1339.

FOREIGN-OWNED FARMLAND: Senate Bill 420 would ban agents of China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Russia from owning farmland in Georgia or any land within 10 miles (16 kilometers) of a military base.

WATER RIGHTS: House Bill 1172 would alter law about using Georgia’s waterways for boating, fishing and hunting. Proponents say it balances public use and private property rights.

LAWSUIT LIMITS: Senate Bill 426 would limit the ability to sue an insurance company directly after a truck wreck.


MEDICAID: The House and Senate discussed expanding Medicaid health insurance to more lower-income adults, but Republicans instead want to study the issue.

SPORTS BETTING Senate Bill 386 and Senate Resolution 579 would have legalized online sports betting.

SCHOOL POLICIES House Bill 1104 would have banned transgender girls from playing high school sports, banned sex education in fifth grade and below and required a system for notifying parents of every item a child obtained in a school library.

JUDGE PAY: Senate Bill 479 would have created guidelines to raise and standardize pay for judges.

LIBRARIES: Senate Bill 390 would have banned using public money for dues or programs associated with the American Library Association.

OKEFENOKEE MINING: Georgia would have paused future permits allowing an expansion of a mine near the Okefenokee Swamp for three years under Senate Bill 132.

FILM TAX CREDIT: House Bill 1180 would have required more use of Georgia-based employees and contractors to get the top 30% income tax credit on film production.

WRONGFUL CONVICTIONS: Senate Bill 429 would have created a commission that could recommend that people who are imprisoned and later cleared of wrongdoing be paid at least $60,000 for each year they were imprisoned.

RELIGIOUS LIBERTY: Proponents said Senate Bill 180 would have protected religious liberty, while opponents said it was a license to discriminate in the name of religion.


ANTISEMITISM: Kemp in January signed House Bill 30 defining antisemitism for use in hate crimes and anti-discrimination cases.

PROSECUTOR DISCIPLINE: Senate Bill 332 revived a commission with powers to discipline and remove prosecutors. Kemp signed the bill earlier this month.