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Week 10 Session Update

Week 10 Session Update
Henry Hagan and Speaker of the House Jon Burns.
Week 10 Session Update
Henry Hagan and Speaker of the House Jon Burns.

The Ho u s e of Representa-tives got back to work Mar c h 11 for the tenth week of the legislative session. Throughout the week, our focus remained on advancing pending Senate bills, with our committees meeting frequently to review and refine proposed legislation. With Sine Die approaching on March 28, there is growing anticipation as we near the conclusion of this session.


My House colleagues and I, with bipartisan effort, bolstered public safety by passing Senate Bill 421. This legislation aims to combat criminal activities such as “swatting” and gang-related offenses by imposing stricter penalties. Swatting refers to a fake request for emergency assistance that an individual knowingly and intentionally makes to a law enforcement agency when there is no reasonable ground for such a request to be made. It puts both the family at the home and law enforcement officers at risk. SB 421 increases punishments for swatting. By deterring illicit behaviors and supporting law enforcement, we strengthen community safety in Georgia and address concerns shared by elected officials statewide. This bill subsequently received an agree vote in the Senate and heads to the Governor for his signature. Protecting Vulnerable Children The House reiterated our commitment to Georgia’s children with the passage of SB 335, or the Safeguarding Adopted Children from Sexual Violence Act. This legislation would expand the crime of incest to include those who have been adopted. Currently, state law defines the crime of incest to be amongst those who are related by blood or by marriage. This bill would update the definition of incest to include those who are related to the perpetrator by adoption. By updating the law, we ensure that every child is protected from such heinous acts. I am proud of the House for swiftly passing this bill and, consequentially, making it easier to prosecute those who commit this terrible crime against vulnerable children. The House’s passage of this bill is final, and it now goes to Governor Kemp to be signed into law.

The House gave final passage to SB 483, which will place Georgia into the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children Act (ICPC) to help ensure that children are placed in safe homes in a timely manner. The ICPC has existed for several decades, but this bill would allow our state to enter into an agreement under the updated version of the compact. The revised ICPC will streamline communication from one state to another in regard to the placement of adopted and foster children across state lines. Specifically, the improvements to the ICPC include evaluating the suitability of prospective parent placements to ensure that children are placed in homes that are safe and conducive to their growth and wellbeing, providing the necessary support services to these families to guarantee parents are able to meet the needs of their adopted or foster child, and developing specific time frames for completing the approval process for child placements. Notably, the compact does not go into effect until 35 states have enacted similar legislation. Currently, 16 states have done so. The process by which children are transferred and placed across state lines can be burdensome and lengthy for children and parents. This revised compact would modernize this process and shorten the long waiting periods these families often face and place children in their permanent homes more quickly.

Combating Human Trafficking We also passed legislation this week to aid in the fight against human trafficking. SB 370 would expand education and create increased awareness of human trafficking. Since 2013 certain Georgia businesses are required to post notices regarding how victims of trafficking can receive help. SB 370 would expand current law to include more establishments where human trafficking occurs at greater rates. These include convenience stores, body art studios, manufacturing facilities, and medical offices. This legislation would expand our ongoing efforts to combat human trafficking in our state and provide support for trafficking victims.

Other Bills Passed Include

Senate Bill 50, which I sponsored in the House, requires the State Board of Education to create content standards in lifeguard and aquatic safety by January, 2026. Beginning the 2026 school year, local boards of education will have the option to adopt curriculum and provide instruction in lifeguarding and aquatic safety for high school students. The curriculum must provide sufficient training to allow students to meet lifeguard certification requirements upon course completion.

Senate Bill 233, creates the Georgia Education Savings Authority and the Georgia Promise Scholarship Act. The bill would change program weights in the Quality Basic Education formula and would allow capital outlay funds to be used for pre-kindergarten programs. SB 233 would also cap tuition fees for out of district student transfers and amend the tax credit for qualified education donations. The bill would also provide $6,500 per student to families for qualified education-related expenses outside of the public school system. This bill goes back to the Senate for an agree vote. I’ll write more about it on my website once a final version has passed and is signed by the governor.

Senate Bill 342, which would allow the Department of Human Services to use records from the child abuse and neglect registry or from another state to locate, recover, or provide services to a child who is determined to be missing or a victim of sexual exploitation. This bill goes to the governor for his signature. Visitors to the Capitol

Members of the Vidalia High School Game Day Cheerleading Team, winners of the GHSA Division AA-A State Championship last fall, along with their coach, Ann Michele Toole, visited the Capitol for a special recognition.

Henry Hagan spent his spring break at the Gold Dome as my shadow for the week. He was able to speak with many legislators, staffers, and lobbyist about the different roles they play in the legislative process.


Now that the tenth week of session has ended, we only have five legislative days remaining. The pace is expected to intensify under the Gold Dome as we work to address outstanding issues and finalize pending legislation before the clock runs out. Despite the significant progress we have made thus far, there is still much work that lies ahead before Day 40. I urge you arrange a visit to the State Capitol to discuss any matters of importance to you or contact me via email at Leesa.Hagan@house. I thank you for allowing me to serve as your representative.

L to R: Coach Ann Michele Toole; VHS Cheerleading Team members Braylie Davis, Alexis Head, Reagan Burton, and Annabeth Martin; and Rep. Leesa Hagan.

By Leesa Hagan R-Vidalia (District 156, Georgia House of Representatives)

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