The Blog

This Week Under the Gold Dome

Posted on February 21, 2017

By Annefloor de Groot

With session being almost half-way complete, bills are making their way to the House floor to be voted on. New legislation is introduced every day, and as we will see, it can make direct impacts on the lives of Georgians. Continue reading below to learn about some of the important topics that have been coming up.

Casino Gambling

Legislation has been introduced this session introducing casinos to Georgia after previous unsuccessful attempts. House Bill 158, a bill which would allow for the creation of up to two “destination resorts,” or casinos, in the state of Georgia, has sparked quite some controversy in the general assembly. One of them would be located in Atlanta, and the other would be in either Savannah, Columbus or Augusta. The ‘resorts’ would be taxed quite heavily, and 70 percent of the proceeds would go toward the Hope Scholarship program, along with the other 30 percent going to a new needs-based scholarship program. Advocates for the bill argue that this bill will be extremely beneficial for the economy, as well as for students across the state. In contrast, opponents of the bill argue that the casinos could take away from other entertainment industries in Georgia, and that casinos are highly associated with increased levels of crime in the area where the casino is located. After several failed attempts to legalize the industry in past sessions, it is to be seen what happens this session under the dome.

Self-Driving Cars

The general assembly is paving the way for new technology that could change the lives of many Georgians. If passed, House Bill 248 would allow for self-driving cars to operate on public roads in the state. Georgia would be the sixth state to pass such legislation; however, it is unsure if such legislation would pass. Advocates state that legislation like House Bill 248 will largely advance technology and allow for more efficient transportation. However, companies like Uber, highly oppose this legislation, saying that the language of the bill is unacceptable. Additionally, opponents have expressed safety and liability concerns.

Campus Sexual Assault

House Bill 51 has been an extremely pressing issue in the House lately. If passed, this bill would ultimately change the way that Georgia colleges and universities investigate sexual assaults on campus. Generally, this bill would require that allegations of rape and other serious felonies on publicly funded Georgia campuses be reported to the police and go through the criminal justice system, as opposed to the school’s undertaking of the problem. Advocates for the legislation have argued that this will protect those who might be falsely accused, and will afford individuals their due process rights. Opponents of the bill argue that the legislation discourages reporting by survivors, and actively prevents schools from carrying out disciplinary action against perpetrators. It is unsure if this bill will be passed, or if it will struggle through the legislative process.

For more information on what’s happening at the Capitol, keep following Representative Frye and what he’s working to accomplish great things for you and the district under the Gold Dome each week.