As we all take precautions to minimize the spread of coronavirus, the General Assembly has suspended all non-emergency legislative action for the time being. Here’s what you need to know:
2020 Regular Session is SUSPENDED until further notice
In accordance with the guidance of public health experts, both the Georgia House and Senate have temporarily suspended the regular legislative session for 2020. Both chambers met for Crossover Day on Thursday and briefly gaveled-in for a much abbreviated Day 29. This allowed the House to assign all the bills that had passed out of the Senate to a House committee for consideration.
Technically, the Legislature may still convene for a maximum of 11 more days (40 days total) this year. Given the upcoming primary elections in May, that is unlikely. But, the truth is we simply do not know yet when we will reconvene for regular session and, once we do, for how long. As I learn more information, I will share it with you through email and social media channels.
In the meantime, I am in the midst of preparing an update for you about Crossover Day, noting which bills are “still alive” and which ones failed to pass at least one chamber. Stay tuned for what will surely be some great social-isolation reading!
Special Session to be held Monday to declare State of Emergency
As you have probably heard by now, Governor Kemp proclaimed a “public health emergency” effective today. This declaration provides him with much more expansive powers under Georgia law, designed to help him effectively mitigate the spread of coronavirus/COVID-19.
Georgia law requires the General Assembly meet on Monday to either ratify Gov. Kemp’s proclamation or terminate the state of emergency. During this special legislation session, the General Assembly will only be able to take up the Governor’s proclamation and not any other legislation.
Although this is the first time in Georgia’s history that a governor has declared a public health state of emergency, our state constitution and statutes provide great guidance on how to proceed. Rest assured, your state government is operating effectively and efficiently to address this current pandemic and minimize its impact here.
Stay up-to-date on COVID-19
As the pandemic evolves, information is changing by the minute. It can be easy to be overwhelmed by updates in your inbox, online, and in your newsfeeds. However, the following are official government websites where the most up-to-date information will be posted as developments occur.
- Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
- Georgia Department of Public Health
- DeKalb County
- DeKalb County Schools
- Fulton County
- Fulton County Schools
TOWN HALL POSTPONED: March 26 (Chamblee)
Senator Sally Harrell and I have postponed our town hall scheduled for March 26 at the Chamblee Civic Center. We are looking into virtual town hall capabilities and will reschedule the event once more information is available.
Things you can do during social isolation
Social isolation is an important step we must all take to flatten the curve as the outbreak spreads. But once your Netflix queue runs out, how do you avoid from going crazy?
- Complete the Census!
- Each household will receive a mailed letter containing your unique login ID. These letters began hitting mailboxes last week—be on the lookout for yours! Once you receive yours, you can go online and complete the Census in as little as 2 minutes.
- Early Vote!
- Early voting is still underway for the March 24, 2020 Presidential Preference Primary. Fulton and DeKalb voters each have additional ballot questions other than the presidential race. I have prepared Voter Guides for you to help you know when and where you can vote early and help you research the ballot questions before voting.
- If you’d prefer to vote by mail, you can still do so, as long as your county election office receives your completed ballot by 7pm on March 24, 2020—so don’t delay! Full directions on requesting an absentee ballot can be found here.