This Week Under the Gold Dome: Week Ten

With only two legislative days remaining, Rep. Frye is still working hard in the General Assembly to have a strong finish.  Keep reading to see what happened this week under the Gold Dome.

Religious Liberty Bill Passes

On Wednesday night, the religious freedom bill passed the Georgia state legislature. In order for the bill to become law, the governor will need to sign the bill into law, which he is yet to do.  He has made it clear that he will not sign a bill that allows discrimination in the state of Georgia.  The bill states that no pastor can be forced to perform a same-sex wedding.  It also grants faith-based organizations such as churches or religious schools the right to reject holding events for people who they object.  The faith-based groups also could not be forced to hire or retain an employee whose beliefs are opposed to the organization’s beliefs.  Although supporters of the bill claim that amendments addressing discrimination issues have solved the problem of discrimination, opponents maintain this would be a step in the wrong direction for equality in Georgia. Additionally, large numbers of major corporations in the state have taken a stance opposing the legislation and threatening that consequences will occur should the bill become law. Now, the state awaits the decision of the governor about this major issue that will have significant effects on the future of the state.

HB 910 Passes Senate

HB 910, sponsored by Rep. Frye was passed in the Senate this past week.  This bill addresses medical records and the costs associated with copying and mailing patient records in relation to psychiatric, psychological and other mental health records by closing loopholes. This piece of legislation ensures that Georgians are not being charged unreasonably for their medical records. The Senate amended the bill from the existing House version. Therefore, the new version will head back to the House for a vote to agree or disagree with the changes.

MARTA Bill Resurfaces

SB 369, formerly a bill concerning fireworks in the state, has now resurfaced with a new meaning as another attempt at a MARTA expansion. Changes like these are accomplished through amendments to bills that passed their chambers of origination before Crossover Day. The bill would allow for the city of Atlanta voters to decide on a half-percent sales tax to help expand the public transit system.  A previous MARTA expansion bill died in the state Senate after facing opposition from some leaders in North Fulton County.  The new bill separates Fulton County into two districts, isolating the city of Atlanta in one district, to levy the half-percent tax.  Money from the half-percent sales tax hike, if approved by voters, could be used to finance $2.5 billion for transit projects in the city.  These projects include improving local bus services, adding streetcars along the Beltline, and extending existing MARTA rails.  The House voted on the measure last week, and the bill passed 159-4.  

Thanks for staying in the loop on what is happening under the Gold Dome!  For more information, continue following Rep. Frye to see what he’s working to accomplish for you and the district this session.