Lawmakers hear from Gov. Kemp as end of session deadline passes for bills to cross finish line

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Lawmakers rushed around the State Capitol trying to get their bills passed before the end of the session around 1 a.m. Friday morning.

They were under pressure, working to get their bills across the finish line.

Overnight, the Senate passed a controversial bill prohibiting doctors from prescribing puberty blockers.

Channel 2′s Richard Elliot was live at the State Capitol on WSB Tonight at 11 p.m. where they heard from Governor Brian Kemp.

Lawmakers welcomed the governor to the Georgia House where he thanked them for delivering many of his legislative priorities, including the acceleration of the tax cuts.

“Together, as you know, we delivered the tax acceleration that Speaker Burns and Lieutenant Governor and I promised last December which will save taxpayers $3 billion over the next ten years,” said Gov. Kemp.

Nearly two weeks of intense negotiations ended early Friday morning when lawmakers finally voted on the $36 billion budget. The budget gives pay raises and enhancements to teachers, state employees, and law enforcement.

A few hours earlier, a group of people gathered around the monitor outside the Georgia Senate as senators debated a bill that would prohibit doctors from prescribing puberty blockers for transgender children.

“So I think we’ve done the right thing,” said Ben Watson Savannah State Senator.

The bill’s sponsor, Watson, himself a doctor, insists puberty blockers can be harmful to children.

“I’ve had so many parents come to me in private and say, ‘Wow, I wish that law had been in effect before,’ and I think that’s so important,” said Watson.

Georgia’s first openly gay state senator, Stone Mountain’s Kim Jackson, pushed back saying the bill would hurt transgender children by denying them needed medication.

“I want to be clear, the damage has been done,” said Jackson.

She accused senate republicans of using those children for election-year politics.

“I think every election year children are always at risk, particularly trans children. They’re easy, vulnerable targets, and I pray for the day that, that is no longer true,” said Jackson.

Sports betting and bills regarded transgender children did not pass but a new election bill did.

The general assembly approved the bill that wrapped a number of controversial election bills up into one, including a measure on who can challenge voters and when.

And one that will ban the use of QR codes on ballots starting in 2026.

The ACLU is already threatening to sue the state of Georgia if the governor signs that controversial election bill into law.

One bill that passed earlier Thursday targeted the “Stop Cop City” protestors. Meanwhile, other lawmakers are keeping their fingers crossed that their bills cross the finish line.

Some Georgia lawmakers say they got tired of seeing videos of a burned-out police car, targeted, they say, by “Stop Cop City” protestors as they demonstrate against the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center.

Roswell Republican state Sen. John Albers used to be a firefighter and he admits, his bill to enhance penalties for committing crimes like this targets those protestors.

“We’re targeting them and anybody else in this state who’s going to continue to create chaos and anarchy. They’re breaking the law, and if you want to break the law go somewhere else than Georgia. We’re not having it,” Albers said.

Arson is already a felony in Georgia, but under Albers’ bill, the penalties would be enhanced to a $100,000 fine and up to 20 years in prison.

TRENDING STORIES:

“We want to make sure that people are held accountable because we have to protect both life and property here at the state of Georgia,” Albers said.

His bill passed both chambers and is now in the governor’s office for signing.

For Covington Democrat Sharon Henderson, the wait continues.

After getting a bill passed last year requiring insurance companies to alert women over 40 to get a mammogram, her new bill does the same thing for men of 40 to get a prostate exam.

“I already advocated for women. Now, I’m advocating for men,” Henderson said.

She’s keeping her fingers crossed that the Senate will vote on it.

“Did they give you any indication if it’s going to make it?” Elliot asked Henderson.

“I have faith that it will make it before Sine Die tonight,” Henderson said.

[SIGN UP: WSB-TV Daily Headlines Newsletter]

IN OTHER NEWS: