February 21, 2024

The Georgia Catholic Conference witnesses to spiritual values in public affairs, and provides an agency for corporate Catholic service to the statewide community. Under the direction of the Catholic bishops of Georgia, the Conference promotes public policy positions related to Georgia governmental programs, legislation and policies which affect the common good and interest of the Catholic Church.

          On February 22, the March for Life took place at the State Capitol. This event was supported by the Catholic Conference and the Office of Respect Life Ministry. Bishop Ned Shlesinger gave the invocation at the rally. About 500 pro-life supporters attended.

February 29, the 28th legislative day, is known as “Crossover Day”. This is when all bills that have not passed one house are not eligible for consideration in the other house during the current session. Nonetheless, it is possible that the language of an ineligible bill can be grafted on to an eligible bill and still be passed this session before the final day (March 28), when the General Assembly will adjourn, “sine die.”

The following is the status of current principal bills that the Conference is following:

School Choice
SB 233 https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/64762 (Sen Dolezal) passed the Senate in 2023 but failed in House. The bill would provide for a “Promise Scholarship Account” (Voucher) for each student. The bill remains active in 2024 and the Conference supports it. It is likely that no action will be taken on SB 233 until after Crossover Day.

In addition, we are continuing to follow legislation to increase the cap for Student Scholarship Organizations (SSO) such as G.R.A.C.E. Scholars to $150 million.

Death Penalty and Intellectual Disability
HB 1041 would set a procedure for determining whether a person accused of murder is intellectually disabled and, thus, should not be eligible for the death penalty. On February 15, the subcommittee was expected to give further consideration to the bill with some helpful amendments; however, negotiations over the language of the bill broke down and, at this point, prospects for passage are dim.

Human Trafficking
Several bills are intended to enhance investigation and prosecution of human trafficking.

SB 512 would establish a Victims of Human Trafficking Fund and the Victims of Human Trafficking Fund Commission to study the issues related to trafficking and make recommendations to the General Assembly and State agencies.

SB 514 would require training for hotel employees in ways to identify trafficking in the hospitality industry so they can report those activities.

SR 616 proposes additional penalties and assessments for those engaged in sex trafficking.

The Georgia Catholic Conference supports these efforts to end human trafficking in Georgia.

Post expires at 4:26pm on Monday March 2nd, 2026