2023 Legislative Session comes to an end as Ga. lawmakers approve $32.4 billion budget

ATLANTA — The final day of the Georgia General Assembly - also known as Sine Die - came to an end late Wednesday night after lawmakers approved the $32.4 billion budget.

Channel 2′s Richard Elliot spent the day at the State Capitol and said the big hurdle for lawmakers so far has been passing the $32 billion budget.

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Elliot said that he learned there was a tentative deal that had been reached that was hammered out Wednesday by a joint conference committee, but it still must pass both chambers.

Passing a budget is the only thing lawmakers are constitutionally mandated to do, though the House and Senate remained miles apart for most of the session.

Under the tentative agreement, law enforcement could get a raise of between $4,000 and $6,000, depending on which agency they worked for.

State employees and teachers would also get a $2,000 raise. The budget also fully funds the HOPE Scholarship.

It includes $1.25 million for a Georgia State Patrol post in Buckhead.

The budget also makes cuts to Georgia Public Broadcasting and the University System of Georgia, but not as deep as originally proposed.


Meanwhile, other bills are still up for debate including sports betting, medical cannabis oil commission reforms, and antisemitism.

The House voted to require judges at all levels to set cash bail for people accused of 31 different crimes, including rioting, inciting to riot, and street racing.

Athens Republican Houston Gaines said people are sick of accused criminals getting right back out on the street shortly after they are arrested.

“A lot of folks seem to be more worried about folks committing the crimes, but really we should be worried about the victims of those crimes,” Gaines said.

Democrats opposed the measure, saying cash bail means only people who can afford it can get out on bond. Those who can’t languish in jail until trial.

“SB 62 is just one more attempt to walk back Gov. Deal’s reforms, to walk back those reforms that had, in many cases, unanimous agreement in this chamber,” state Rep. Teri Anulewicz, D-Smyrna, said.

There are several laws that have already been passed this year.

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Gov. Brian Kemp signed a ban on gender-affirming care for minors into law last week. It’s now unlawful for doctors to treat children under 18 with hormone therapy, surgery or other irreversible medical procedures.

Georgia lawmakers passed a bill Wednesday limiting non-profit donations in county elections. Republicans proposed the law after a large donation in 2020 from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg.

State Bill 93 will also go to the governor for signing. It expands the ban on TikTok from government devices to other foreign-owned apps. The bill also forbids them on devices used by judicial branches and state K-12 schools.