March 14, 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.

The 2024 session of the Georgia General Assembly is moving toward its 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 
Negotiations related to SB 233 https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/64762 (Sen Dolezal) have borne fruit. The House has adopted a revised “Promise Scholarship Account” (Voucher) bill which will make available a $6,500.00 voucher that may be used for educational purposes, including tuition, for each student in non-performing districts. The Conference has supported the bill. Before the end of the session, the Senate must agree to the revised bill or there will need to be a conference committee to resolve differences or further amend the bill. 

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. 

Georgia Religious Freedom Restoration Act 
SB 180 (Setzler R-37) proposes to provide that the Government cannot substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, except as provided in specified limited circumstances. The bill closely follows the language of federal law that has been in effect since 1993 but is being vocally challenged by the LGBT+ community and its allies who are concerned that it will be used to discriminate against them. The bill has passed the Senate and awaits action by the House Judiciary and the full House before the end of the session. 

Human Trafficking 
SR 616 (Still R) proposes a Georgia constitutional amendment to establish the Victims of Human Trafficking Fund. The proposed constitutional amendment also allocates additional penalties for perpetrators and rehabilitation services for victims. As a constitutional amendment, the resolution requires a two-thirds affirmative vote in both houses of the General Assembly and then it will be placed on the general election ballot in November. The resolution has passed the Senate and is awaiting action by the House Judiciary Non-Civil committee. 

SB 512 is a companion bill that implements the constitutional amendment if approved by voters. The bill would establish a Victims of Human Trafficking Fund Commission to study the issues related to trafficking and make recommendations to the General Assembly and State agencies. The resolution and bill have been approved by the Senate and is awaiting action in the Judiciary (non-Civil) committee. 

The Georgia Catholic Conference supports any measure which helps eradicate human trafficking or rehabilitation victims. 

HB  1105 (Patrea) proposes increased penalties for sheriffs who do not report non-citizens in their custody to federal immigration officers and sets forth procedures for detaining individuals who are believed to be undocumented foreign nationals. The bill has passed the House and is pending in the Senate Public Safety committee. 

We adhere to the USCCB position on caring for people of all nations as an expression of Christian charity and hospitality. Bishop Kevin Rhoads, chair of Bishops Committee for Religious Liberty has said: “It is hard to imagine what our country would look like without the good works that people of faith carry out in the public square.” 

If you have questions on other bills, please let me know. 

Post expires at 4:43pm on Monday March 23rd, 2026