Our big push this week was fighting against Senate Bill 63, which was ultimately passed in the House and is now headed to the governor’s desk to sign into law. This is a cruel bill that chips away at the progress the state has made in criminal justice reform.
We began the week outlining reasons for our opposition to the bill in Georgia’s Cash Bail Bill Criminalizing The Poor Will Not Make Our Communities Safer. We ended the week, committed to continue our fight against this illegal policy. Legal Director Cory Isaacson had this to say after the bill’s passage:
“Not only is SB 63 bad policy, it is illegal. It unconstitutionally criminalizes poverty and restricts conduct protected by the First Amendment, and the ACLU of Georgia will sue if the governor signs this bill into law. We can’t allow the state to enact a system in which a person’s freedom is determined by the color of their skin and the amount of money in their wallet.”
Normally, there’s a cadence to Georgia’s legislative session that’s somewhat familiar. Not this year. Since day one, lawmakers have been determined to introduce bills best described as deeply cruel to the state’s residents. We have some more good and bad news to share from this week. As always, we remain committed to stopping attacks on your civil rights and liberties.
Voter Access Bills
Rachel Lastinger, ACLU of Georgia’s Voter Access Project associate director, spoke before the Senate Ethics Committee about two bills:
- We support Senate Bill 411, which provides preferential access to the voting booth for voters with young children as well as for older and disabled Georgians. It’s a commonsense piece of legislation that should make it easier to vote.
- We oppose Senate Bill 367. It makes it more difficult to vote by doing away with ballot drop boxes. Following our testimony, the committee took no action.
Combatting Discriminatory Legislation in the House
Policy Counsel Ben Lynde testified Friday before the House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee, voicing our opposition to House Bill 1093, which aims to exclude certain non-citizens from buying agricultural land in Georgia. Watch Lynde’s full testimony below.
Young Professionals Lobby Day
On Thursday, we partnered with Urban League of Greater Atlanta Young Professionals for a lobby day. The group was introduced to Reps. Derrick Jackson and Roger Bruce; our staff attorneys provided a crash course on our priority bills so far this session, tips on visiting the capitol, and effective outreach to lawmakers. The league’s members also headed over to the House chambers, where they were honored with a special proclamation for their social activism. Check out the photo gallery below for a glimpse at the day's goings-on.
Our work advocating for all Georgians is getting attention beyond the capitol and courtrooms. This recognition is thanks to the ACLU of Georgia’s leaders, who have positioned the organization as a trusted voice for progress and justice statewide. For a fourth consecutive year, Atlanta Magazine selected Executive Director Andrea Young for its Atlanta 500 list, which the publication describes as “an anthology of the power that resides in Atlanta.” Young was honored for her lifelong advocacy for human rights and her reimagining of the work of our affiliate, reinvigorating the urgency of its efforts during a much-needed moment in American history.
Policy & Advocacy Director Christopher Bruce was awarded, too, as one of the Georgia State University Alumni Association’s 40 under 40 for 2024. Bruce said he was “grateful for the incredible support from my mentors, peers, and the GSU community. This recognition motivates me to continue making a positive impact.”
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