An Update From Under the Gold Dome, President Pro Tempore Sen. John F. Kennedy: Week Nine

Sen. John F. Kennedy

Tuesday, March 14th, 2023

The ninth week of the 2023 Georgia Legislative Session brought forth a combination of committee meetings, visiting advocacy groups, and items of legislation to the Senate chamber as we entered into the final weeks of our time under the Gold Dome. There were 50 measures passed during Crossover Day on Monday, and five House Bills passed on the Senate floor this week. The Senate body carefully considered each work of legislation presented this week, with a few measures of note.  

Senate Bill 203, sponsored by Senator Jason Anavitarte (R – Dallas), would create tuition-free programs for veterans seeking the operation of commercial motor vehicles. Also known as the “Trucking Opportunity Act of 2023,” would further provide for standards of service hours for motor carriers and hiring standards for commercial driver’s license holders during this process. I was proud to support this bipartisan legislation which will encourage veterans who are attempting to join the transportation industry. 

Senate Bill 146, sponsored by Senator Steve Gooch (R - Dahlonega), would impose regulation and taxation for the provisions of certain electricity used as a motor fuel in electric vehicles. The measure would also bestow authority to the Department of Agriculture over electric vehicle charging stations and provides for a collection of a motor fuel excise tax upon the sale and use of certain electricity. The future of the electric vehicle industry is bright, and it is imperative that the Georgia General Assembly makes every effort to ensure that Georgians are able to safely operate these vehicles under sound regulations. 

In addition, Senate Bill 193, also sponsored by Sen. Steve Gooch, would allow the Department of Community Affairs to determine locations that are eligible for state or federal funding programs administered by the state improved broadband services. Access to broadband is a priority for the legislative body, and this is a positive step as we work to build up Georgia’s technological infrastructure. This bipartisan legislation passed unanimously and has now been referred to the House Committee on Energy, Utilities, and Telecommunications to be heard in the coming days.

I’d also like to note that my legislation, Senate Bill 148, has been assigned to the House Committee on Judiciary. The measure would update and modernize the nonprofit corporate code for the state to bring it more in line with the Model Nonprofit Corporation Act and the Georgia Business Corporation Code.

Further, Senate Bill 272 passed the Senate unanimously and has now been assigned to the House Committee on Judiciary Non-Civil. This bipartisan legislation would reestablish the Criminal Case Data Exchange Board within the state. This entity would serve as an advisory board for the benefit of the judicial and executive branches of Georgia’s government. Both of these bills will be heard in their respective House committees in the coming days and I look forward to updating you on their progress through the legislative process. 

The Senate welcomed many visitors to the State Capitol this week. I was honored to recognize the Ambassador of Greece to the United States, Alexandra Papadopoulou, for her service with Senate Resolution 240. She has played a vital role in leadership to Greece and devoted innumerable hours of her time towards the betterment of her country. I look forward to continuing the strong relationship that Georgia has with the people of Greece. 

It was also a pleasure to celebrate Scouts Day at the State Capitol on Thursday by presenting the Boy Scouts of Georgia with Senate Resolution 242. This organization is dedicated to training youth in responsible citizenship, character development, and self-reliance through a wide range of outdoor educational programs. I wish these young people the best as they strive to make our state – and the world – a better place.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office if you have any questions or concerns regarding legislative matters. My door is always open, and it is an honor to serve Georgia’s 18th senate district as the 2023 Legislative Session enters its final days.