At the end of a day longer than most, I watched something from the state House gallery that I had never seen before: the entire body rising amid cheers and thunderous applause to congratulate a single lawmaker for passing a simple bill.
By now you know the story: a bill submitted by Rep. Scott Holcomb (D-Atlanta) to clear the rape kit backlog had been stalled by Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford), who argued that a law wasn’t necessary. Proponents of Holcomb’s bill took action, urging Unterman to let the bill move forward. Better Georgia organized hundreds of Georgians just like you to call and email Unterman, asking her why she was holding up the legislation. We organized people to call Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, too, since the bill was stuck in the Senate.
With the help of Sen. Elena Parent (D-Atlanta), Holcomb bypassed the committee to go straight to the Senate floor. When the bill came up, Renee Unterman herself took to the well.
In a stunning reversal, Unterman expressed support for the legislation and urged her colleagues to support the bill — but not without bitterly taking a shot at Better Georgia first:
After the bill passed both chambers almost unanimously, the mood in the building was electric. There was clear agreement on all sides that something incredible had happened.
This type of victory is rare. The state legislature is run by lopsided conservative majorities in both chambers which push laws that are out-of-touch with most Georgians and put our state at odds with the rest of the country.
We have a lot of work to do, and the fight isn’t over — which is why we need your support now more than ever. But it should give every Georgian hope that sometimes our lawmakers can put aside their differences and do the right thing (even if they need a little nudge from us every once in awhile).
Thank you for everything you did to make this happen. We’re looking forward to celebrating plenty more victories with you for years to come.