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Summary for April 5, 2021 Session

Summary for April 5, 2021 Session Summary for April 5, 2021 Session

The final two days of the 2021 legislative session began on Monday, March 29. The last day is referred to as “Sine Die” which is Latin for “without assigning a day for further meeting.” On Sine Die, the Georgia House of Representatives worked diligently until shortly after midnight to ensure that significant legislation had every chance to be considered this year.

During Legislative Day 39, we unanimously passed Senate Bill 117 to close a loophole in Georgia law by creating a new crime for certain entrusted individuals who engage in sexually explicit conduct with minors. This crime would specifically apply to a “person in a position of trust,” such as athletic coaches, educators or any other person whom a parent or guardian has trusted and entered into an agreement with to educate or supervise their child until the agreement has ended. The penalty for the first degree of the crime would be imprisonment between one to 25 years and a maximum fine of $100,000, and the punishment would increase depending on the age of the victim and the severity of the conduct The House also gave final passage to Senate Bill 105 to reform the probation system in Georgia and streamline the process for those who seek to terminate their probation sentences early as a result of good behavior. Under this bill, offenders may petition to end their probation early if they have fulfilled the state’s required behavioral incentives, including paying all restitution owed, not having probation revoked in the past two years and not being arrested for anything other than a nonserious traffic offense.

My colleagues and I also passed legislation this week to extend educational opportunities to vulnerable students in our state. Senate Bill 107 would allow homeless or foster students to qualify for in-state tuition at University System of Georgia (USG) institutions, as well as Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) for 10 years or until the student achieves a diploma, certificate or bachelor’s degree.

We passed Senate Bill 85, the “Max Gruver Act,” to expand how schools and state law address hazing among Georgia students. Under current Georgia law, it is illegal for anyone to haze a student in connection with gaining acceptance to a membership, office or other status in a school organization, and the penalty for this crime is a high and aggravated misdemeanor. However, this bill would expand Georgia’s hazing laws to include coercing a student through the use of social or physical pressure to consume any food, liquid, alcohol, drug or other substance that would cause the student to vomit, become intoxicated or unconscious.

Before adjourning Sine Die, the House fulfilled its only constitutional obligation by adopting the conference committee report on House Bill 81, the state’s Fiscal Year 2022 (FY 2022) budget. This budget for the next fiscal year begins July 1, 2021, and is set by a revenue estimate $27.2 billion, which is an increase of $1.34 billion, or 5.2 percent, over the original Fiscal Year 2021 budget that was passed last June. The state’s fiscal position has exceeded expectations since last year, and as a result, we were able to allocate approximately 90 percent of the new revenue for the FY 2022 budget to Georgia’s education and health and human services agencies.

Now that the 2021 legislative session has come to an end, Governor Kemp will begin reviewing all legislation that received final passage in the House and Senate. The governor can sign or veto legislation over the next 40 days, and any legislation that has not been signed or vetoed will automatically become law. With this session behind us, I will be spending more time in our district, where I look forward to continuing to serve you and your family. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions regarding bills that passed this session or suggestions for future legislation. You can reach me throughout the year at my Capitol office at 404-656-0116, or by email at As always, thank you for allowing me to serve as your representative and I look forward to seeing you soon.

As the State Representative for District 149, Robert Pruitt serves Dodge County, Telfair County, Wheeler County, Cadwell, and Hazlehurst. During the second week of the 2021 Legislative Session, Rep Pruitt was appointed to serve on the Industry and Trade, Economic Development, and Small Business committees for the next two years. Robert and his wife Kelly have been long time residents of Eastman.

By Rep. Robert Pruitt (District 149)

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