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Unpacking the Impact: What This Latest Legislative Session Means for You

Updated: Apr 5

By Mya Johnson-Dunn




Sports Betting Revolution Stalled in Georgia

Boom! Georgia's dreams of legal sports betting hit a wall—again. The 2024 legislative session dropped in with a bang, throwing out bills left and right aiming to shake up the game with new laws and constitutional tweaks. The climax? SB 386 and SR 547 smashed through committees... but fizzled out before hitting the House floor. No dice this time, but the vibe? Unstoppable. Stay tuned.



Senator Bill Cowsert in front of flag.

  

A bill sponsored by Senator Bill Cowsert (R-46th) proposes the legalization of sports betting in Georgia through a constitutional amendment under the Georgia Lottery Corporation.

 

Overall, the bill aims to legalize and regulate sports betting in Georgia while ensuring that the generated revenue benefits educational programs, addresses gambling addiction, and promotes tourism in the state. The downside of this bill is there is no clear definition or separation of sports betting from Fantasy Sports. Sports Betting often holds the negative connotation for a person to bet without knowledge or skill that is very risky while fantasy sports focus on the skill of the party forming their team when playing the game. These efforts gained significant momentum in both the House and Senate, yet they fell short of receiving the governor’s endorsement.

  



Senator Clint Dixon (R-45th)

A bill sponsored by Senator Clint Dixon (R- 45th) that outlines regulations and taxation for Sports Betting under the Georgia Lottery Corporation, known as the Georgia Lottery Game of Sports Betting Act. Under this legislation, sports betting corporations must obtain either a tier one or tier two license from the state of Georgia. Age verification is required for participants, who must be over 21 years old. Betting is allowed on collegiate sports, restrictions on Special Olympics and teams with a majority of players under the age of 18. Additionally, it outlines fines and consequences for corporations facilitating wagers from minors. While the bill provides comprehensive regulation for sports betting, it also emphasizes stringent penalties for violations and does not explicitly define Fantasy Sports to maintain a clear distinction from traditional sports betting.

 


Sex Education

 

Initiatives to fundamentally reform sex education in primary schools have emerged strongly. Comprehensive legislative proposals, often referred to as "Christmas Tree" bills, sought to preserve the integrity of high school sports by excluding transgender youth, maintaining age-appropriate sex education exclusively in elementary schools, and challenging the use of puberty blockers. These efforts gained significant momentum in both the House and Senate, yet they fell short of receiving the governor’s endorsement, which was necessary for their enactment.

 



Rep. Brent Cox (R-28TH


A bill sponsored by Representative Brent Cox (R-28TH) that addresses the regulation of sex education and transgender youth participation in schools' sports and gym classes. The bill mandates notification to parents or legal guardians when their child accesses library materials deemed potentially harmful to minors in Georgia's public school system. It also prohibits sex education for students before the sixth grade under the No Indoctrinating Children (NICE) Act, requiring parental approval for participation in such classes. The bill, effective from the 2024-2025 school year, permits public schools to offer multi-gender restrooms for transgender students. However, it imposes restrictions on transgender youth participating in sports competitions, requiring them to compete according to their biological sex. This legislation has sparked controversy due to its inclusion of sex education, a topic often considered taboo in many households. Critics express concern about limiting access to valuable information regarding children's bodily changes, citing medical reports indicating that girls may begin menstruating between the ages of nine and fifteen. Without adequate sex education, young girls transitioning into womanhood may experience confusion and uncertainty. Sex education is valuable to the mission of Planned Parenthood and the restrictive access on this information can be harmful..

  




Representative Lee Hawkins (R-Gainesville)

A bill sponsored by Representative Lee Hawkins (R-Gainesville) to regulate health practices and provide protections for both minors and adults. The bill mandates that government entities install external defibrillators and opioid antagonists inside buildings for emergency medical situations. Additionally, it prohibits licensed physicians from administering hormonal blockers and gender-affirming procedures to minors seeking to alter their physical appearance to match their gender identity perception. Individuals seeking these medications or procedures must reach the legal age of adulthood to access them. The bill has sparked diverse opinions, with proponents and opponents expressing varying perspectives. Critics argue that restricting access to puberty blockers and gender-affirming surgeries may compel medical professionals to navigate complex ethical dilemmas regarding patient care and compliance with state law. Conversely, advocates emphasize the importance of gender-affirming care as a crucial step in enabling individuals to align their psychological and physical identities.

 

Tort Reform

 

At the Georgia Chamber's Eggs & Issues Breakfast, expectations were shattered when the 2024 Georgia General Assembly, led by Governor Kemp, announced a pivot from the anticipated comprehensive tort reform to a more deliberate approach. Governor Kemp's suggestion for a study committee on tort reform was a masterstroke, signaling a strategic shift in tackling the issue.




Rep. Will Wade (R-Dawsonville)

Enter HB 1114, spearheaded by Rep. Will Wade (R-Dawsonville), dubbed the Data Analysis for Tort Reform Act, which marks a significant departure from conventional methods by adopting a data-driven strategy to overhaul tort claims and liability insurance.


The essence of HB1114 lies in its innovative approach:


  1. The formation of a commission tasked with an in-depth analysis of tort claims and insurance data, serving as the bedrock for intelligent legal reform.


  1. Grounded in the General Assembly's findings, the bill addresses the detrimental impact of unchecked tort litigation on economic progress and employment opportunities.


  1. Empowering the Commissioner of Insurance with unprecedented authority to compile data essential for crafting impactful reports, thereby informing policy decisions directly.


  1. Notably, the act is designed with a finite lifespan—set to expire on January 1, 2030, ensuring its immediate implementation upon the Governor's approval.


HB1114 represents a strategic, data-centric approach to reforming tort claims and insurance policies, emphasizing efficiency and accountability.


Governor Kemp's endorsement of this bill underscores a commitment to reducing insurance costs and fostering economic vitality in Georgia. Furthermore, the Georgia Trial Law Attorneys' position on HB1114 acknowledges its potential to demystify the relationship between Georgian citizens and insurance magnates.



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