2024 Session: - Hagan Re-Introduces Soapbox Derby Bill in Week 3
The third week of the 2024 legislative session brought an array of activities as the Georgia House of Representatives reconvened at the Gold Dome on Monday, January 22. During this busy week, the House Rules Committee held its initial meeting of the year, setting the first group of bills to come up for a full House vote. In this second session of the 157th Georgia General Assembly, bills unresolved from the 2023 legislative session remain eligible for consideration, resulting in the final passage of measures carried over from the last session.
This past week, I filed a new bill that you’ll probably remember from last year: House Bill 1026 — As many of you may remember, last year I sponsored a bill which would have named the Southeast Georgia Soapbox Derby in Lyons as Georgia’s official soapbox derby. Because of certain decisions made in the Senate committee to which it was assigned, the bill which passed the House unanimously twice last year never received a vote in the full Senate. Last week I filed a new bill, House Bill 1026, which aims to do exactly what last year’s bill would have done. I am thankful for House leadership and many other House members who are co-sponsoring this bill with me. I am hopeful it will make it to the floor for a full vote in the next couple of weeks.
I co-sponsored a few bills last week recognizing important traditions and groups in Georgia: House Bill 1034 — It establishes a “National Sugarcane Syrup Day” in Georgia. It would help preserve the art of making sugarcane syrup by honoring those who continue with this longstanding family farm tradition and by raising public awareness of the differences between natural sugarcane syrup and artificial syrups. Cane syrup production is alive and well in House district 156, and I’m happy to support it.
HR 829 recognizes February 20 as Georgia FFA (Future Farmers of America) Day at the Capitol. The Georgia FFA Association ranks as the third largest state FFA association in the nation with more than 89,000 current members in 390 local chapters across the state.
HR 911 recognizes February 7, 2024, as Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs) of Georgia Day. CACs provide a childfriendly setting and a multidisciplinary approach to investigate and address child abuse. They offer free forensic, medical, and therapeutic services to reduce trauma and support healing for hundreds of victims every year. Antisemitism Defined
The House voted on the much-awaited final passage of House Bill 30, addressing antisemitism. Previously introduced and passed in the 2023 legislative session, this bill adds antisemitism as a category covered by hate crimes law while preserving Georgian’s freedom of speech. Aligning with the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition, the bill requires state agencies enforcing discrimination laws to consider this definition in their enforcement efforts. The passage of HB 30, with its internationally recognized definition, is a significant victory against antisemitic acts. It is particularly timely given the recent surge in such incidents across the nation since Hamas invaded Israel in October. I was proud to vote in favor of this legislation and proud of the House for leading on this vital effort. HB 30 now heads to Governor Kemp’s desk to be signed into law.
License Plates for Ambulances & Hearses Unanimous victory was secured for the passage of House Bill 804, calling for distinct license plates for ambulances and hearses. The bill mandates the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue separate plates, clearly indicating “Ambulance” and “Hearse” for their respective vehicles. The current practice of combining both on a single plate will be replaced, aligning with the specialized roles these vehicles play. This bill now moves over to the Senate.
House Bill 434, focusing on the licensure of radiologist assistants, also gained significant support with a vote of 152-2. The bill empowers the Georgia Composite Medical Board to establish criteria for licensure, renewal, and regulations concerning qualifications, scope of practice, and supervision. Radiologist assistants play a crucial role in enhancing efficiency and productivity for radiologists, and this licensure aims to strengthen Georgia’s healthcare workforce to improve patient care. This bill now moves over to the Senate.
On another note, last week I was awarded CPAC’s Award for Conservative Excellence based on my 2023 voting record. According to their scorecard, I had the most conservative record in the Georgia House last year. Overall, House Republicans received an average of 80% on the scorecard. Senate Republicans received an average of 87%.
As we enter the fourth week of the session on Monday, January 29, my colleagues and I will continue working to make sure the legislation we consider serves the best interests of Georgians. Your input is valuable, and I encourage you to reach out with your questions or concerns. Whether by email or a visit to the State Capitol, I am here to discuss matters significant to you and our community. Contact me via email at Leesa.Hagan@house.ga.gov. Thank you for allowing me to represent you.
By Leesa Hagan R-Vidalia (District 156, Georgia House of Representatives)