Representative Butch Parrish, District 158
The Georgia House of Representatives reconvened for Legislative Day 28, otherwise known as “Crossover Day”, on Tuesday, March 15, 2022.
Crossover Day is always one of the longest days of the entire session as it is the last day for legislation to pass out of its chamber of origin and still be eligible to become law this year. In preparation, we dedicated the day before as a committee work day to ensure that legislation had ample opportunity to be considered ahead of this deadline.
During Crossover Day, we spent the entire day in the House Chamber debating and voting on legislation, and we passed almost 60 bills and resolutions by the time we adjourned around 11 p.m.
My colleagues and I passed House Bill 1354, the Wrongful Conviction Compensation Act, to help streamline and standardize the compensation process for wrongful convictions in our state. While we can’t give people back the time that they served for their wrongful conviction, this measure would provide a pathway for a standardized process and reparations for these individuals, which is long overdue in our state.
The House also passed legislation on Crossover Day to help low-income Georgia students access financial aid to complete their undergraduate degrees. House Bill 1435 would allow part-time and full-time college students to apply for a needs-based financial aid program to fill an outstanding financial aid gap. Students who are close to earning their college degrees should not miss out on this opportunity to cross the finish line due to a lack of financial assistance, and I believe that this legislation could help thousands of Georgia college students reach their graduation day.
Late in the evening on Crossover Day, we also passed legislation to expand grant funding opportunities to low-wealth K-12 school systems that need help building and maintaining their schools. Currently, 44 school systems, mostly in rural areas with low populations, desperately need access to this funding. With low SPLOST revenues, these schools cannot afford to build new facilities in today’s expensive construction market, but these grants would help these systems replace their aging buildings to offer better learning environments for our students.
We passed two more bills that would support students as they make their way through their K-12 education. For high school students, House Bill 1184 would allow local school systems, charter schools, special chartered schools and the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice to administer nationally recognized college entrance exams, to 11th grade students who choose to participate. Additionally, the House passed House Bill 1283 to ensure that our elementary schools students have a chance to enjoy recess every day, which we believe is a crucial part of a child’s learning experience. My colleagues and I recognize that an excellent education is well-rounded, and these bills would ensure their success in the classroom, as well as assist them as they prepare for college.
As many of us know, the state has experienced challenges in hiring and retaining workers, especially nurses and doctors, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only exasperated this issue. House Bill 1184 and House Bill 1283 are two bills we passed which aim to address two serious challenges that our health care system is facing these day by providing direct support to both the health care entities and their workers.
In 2019, the Georgia House passed legislation to allow limited in-state licensing, production and distribution of low-THC oil for Georgians suffering from certain chronic or terminal illnesses. This program has launched, but, production has not started, and thousands of eligible Georgians have been left without access to this alternative medicine. We passed House Bill 1425 this week to ensure that we get this medicine into the hands of those who desperately need it.
Gas tax suspension
A very bright spot from last week, I am pleased to announce is the gas tax suspension we passed has been signed by the governor. Hopefully we will begin to see gas prices falling soon!
A look ahead
After Crossover Day, the House convened for three more legislative days this week, and our committees began considering legislation that passed in the State Senate before the Crossover deadline, and the Senate began reviewing House bills before the week ended. We will spend the remainder of the session meeting in our respective committees and on the House floor to consider these Senate bills, as well as give final approval to House legislation that could undergo changes by the Senate. I encourage you to contact me regarding bills that may be up for consideration during these final weeks of the session.
I remain dedicated to serving your interests as your state representative, and I hope that you will contact me with any questions or concerns you may have regarding the legislative session or with any proposals or recommendations for future legislation.
You can also stay in touch by visiting our website at www.house.ga.gov to watch a live stream of the House in action, as well as archived committee meetings, and review legislation that we are considering.
Follow me on Facebook at facebook.com/butch.parrish.7 for updates throughout the year.
Thank you for allowing me to be your representative.