With a high-profile national election less than a year away, there’s no telling what we might see during the 2016 state legislative session. Here’s what we’re watching.
RFRA – The so-called religious “freedom” bill, championed by state Sen. Josh McKoon (R-Columbus), has already failed in various versions two years in a row and is back for another push. This unnecessary legislation would grant businesses and individuals a right to discriminate against minority groups, and has no place in a thriving, multicultural state like Georgia. Major corporations and state leadership alike have already expressed no interest in accepting this proposal in any form, and Better Georgia will continue working to prove that RFRA has no place in our communities.
Medical Marijuana – The watered-down medical cannabis legislation passed last year left Georgia patients still unable to access the lifesaving medicine they desperately need. It is illegal to grow or produce cannabis in our state and federal law prohibits people from buying cannabis and transporting it across state lines. We’ll be keeping a close eye on HB 722, filed by state Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon), which seeks to allow controlled in-state marijuana cultivation and expand the number of qualifying conditions to include other serious ailments like glaucoma, autism, Tourette‘s and PTSD.
English-Only – Sen. McKoon is at it again, resurrecting a proposed amendment that has already failed to make it through the Assembly. SR 675 would amend the constitution to establish English as the official language of Georgia, despite the fact that a 1995 law already did just that. This proposal brings to mind the 2004 amendment banning same-sex marriage even though it was already illegal. Like the 2004 measure, SR 675 is a waste of time and money in a thinly-veiled attempt to boost right-wing turnout in a big election year.