The final progressive victory of this year’s legislative session came yesterday with a veto of the disastrous “Campus Carry” bill, which would have legalized guns on college campuses throughout the state.
Gov. Deal’s veto announcement came just before his deadline to sign or veto bills passed during the surprisingly successful 2016 session, which ended in March. Here are a few of the biggest progressive victories of the year (so far):
Campus Carry (VETOED). Gov. Deal seemed open to allowing guns on college campuses earlier in the year, but after asking for modifications to the bill, GOP lawmakers refused to make any changes. This set up a months-long showdown that ended last night with the governor’s veto of the controversial measure.
Religious “Freedom” bill (VETOED). One of this year’s biggest fights erupted over several bills designed to permit discrimination against members of the LGBT community, among others, and were finally consolidated into a single measure that was rammed through both chambers. Gov. Deal vetoed the legislation in March.
Rape Kit Bill (SIGNED). A common-sense bill from Rep. Scott Holcomb (D-Atlanta) requiring the testing of backlogged rape kits appeared to be sailing through the General Assembly without much fanfare until it was blocked by GOP Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford). After outcry from both sides of the aisle and a late push from Sen. Elena Parent (D-Atlanta), the bill was passed and signed into law by Gov. Deal.
MARTA Funding (SIGNED). With the legislature failing to address crucial transportation woes statewide, transit advocates placed their faith in a measure allowing MARTA to expand in the metro area, but the bill died in February. Fortunately, Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones (R-Milton) resuscitated the bill at the last minute, giving Atlanta the ability to levy a sales tax for new MARTA projects.