Last week brought the conclusion of week 10 of our current legislative session. Much of the last week was focused on further securing child safety measures within our state. Below is a quick update of how we are working to protect our Georgia children. In addition to voting on legislation this week, we also took time to commemorate the life and legacy of the late House Speaker David Ralston on what would have been his birthday.

This Update:

House Action

Week Ten

Public Safety

In recent years the practice of “swatting” has become more common. Swatting refers to an unlawful or “made up” request for emergency service assistance when there is no reasonable ground for a request to be made. These scenarios often lead to forced entry with the intent to harm the individual being targeted. To curtail this trend we successfully passed Senate Bill 421 which outlines punishable offenses for swatting. The bill also delves further into offenses related to gang activity, such as shooting a firearm towards another vehicle or building with the intent to injure someone or cause damage to someone’s property. Stipulations of the bill are as follows:

  • Violations which occur at homes or places of worship would be classified as a felony.
  • 10 years imprisonment, a minimum $5,000 fine or both.
  • Repeat offenders subject to a sentence of 10 to 15 years imprisonment, a minimum $25,000 fine or both.
  • Offenders would be liable for damages, including property damage and expenses to treat bodily injuries.
  • Sadly, many of our elected officials have been victims of this dangerous practice and we are hopeful that harsher punishments will put an end to this trend.

We continued our efforts to protect Georgia’s children with the passage of Senate Bill 335, the Safeguarding Adopted Children from Sexual Violence Act. This bill expands the crime of incest to include adoption relationships. Georgia code currently defines incest to those who are blood related or by marriage and the expansion of this definition to include adoptive family members will ensure that those committing these crimes are held accountable to the full extent of the law.

We continue the fight against Human Trafficking through Senate Bill 370. This bill would expand education and create increased awareness on human trafficking. SB 370 works to expand current law of human trafficking hotline sign postings to add convenience stores, body art studios, manufacturing facilities and medical offices. Furthermore, the bill would require each board member of the Georgia Board of Massage Therapy to complete at least 30 minutes of training each year on human trafficking awareness. This bill ultimately brings more education and awareness to Georgia citizens.

Child Welfare

Sadly, the process for which adoptive and foster children are placed in homes across state lines is burdensome and lengthy for all involved. To streamline these efforts, we passed Senate Bill 483, which would enter Georgia into the updated version of the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children Act (ICPC). This bill will help to ensure that children are placed in safe homes in a more timely manner. This bill places Georgia into an agreement under the updated version of the compact. Notably, the compact would not go into effect until 35 states have enacted similar legislation. The purpose of this revised compact would be to streamline communication between states in regard to the placement of adopted and foster children across state lines. Improvements to the ICPC are as follows:

  • Evaluation of prospective parent placements
  • Provision of necessary support services to ensure parents are equipped to meet the needs of their adopted or foster child.
  • Specific time frames for completing the approval process for child placements.
  • Establishment of a clear rule-making authority.
  • Clarification of state responsibilities
  • Georgia joins 16 states which have entered into this agreement as we anxiously await our sister states to bring that total to the needed 35 to trigger the new compact.

Children between 14-17 would receive free state identification cards under the newly passed Senate Bill 387. This bill would enable children within the Department of Family and Childrens Services (DFCS) to apply for an identification card without requiring a parent, guardian, or adult to sign or verify the application. We are hopeful that providing this opportunity to children enrolled within DFCS, will assist them in obtaining jobs and thus allow and easier integration into our workforce.

Remembering Speaker Ralston

Also taking place last week was that of honoring our last Speaker of the House, David Ralston. Speaker Jon Burns and other leaders unveiled a portrait in Speaker Ralston’s honor, which will be displayed outside of Capitol House Chamber. Accompanied by his family and esteemed guests, we held a ceremony on the House floor to honor Speaker Ralston’s enduring legacy and impact on our state.

We also gave passage to the following Senate bills during week 10:

  • Senate Bill 50, which would require the State Board of Education to create content standards in lifeguard and aquatic safety beginning in the 2026-2027 school year. Local boards of education would adopt curriculum and provide instruction in lifeguarding and aquatic safety. The curriculum would have to provide sufficient training to allow students to successfully complete certification as a lifeguard upon course completion;
  • Senate Bill 171, which would require directors or members of the governing board or body of a development authority to complete ongoing training;
  • Senate Bill 205, which would explicitly state that the State Board of Funeral Service must reinstate the funeral director license of a licensee who has previously allowed a license to lapse for 10 years or less and who has applied for reinstatement;
  • Senate Bill 232, which would modify the types and dollar amounts of fees charged and collected by probate court judges and clerks. These fees would be charged for filings such as petitions, motions, claims and certificates, as well as for different applications, licenses and certified copies. Conforming language in other sections of the law relating to filing fees, license fees and fireworks applications are contained in the bill;
  • Senate Bill 233, which would create the Georgia Education Savings Authority and the Georgia Promise Scholarship Act. The bill would change program weights in the Quality Basic Education formula and would allow capital outlays funds to be used for pre-kindergarten programs. SB 233 would also cap tuition fees for out of district student transfers, revise grants to low-performing schools and amend the tax credit for qualified education donations. The bill would create the Georgia Education Savings Authority, which would establish and administer student assistance programs. The bill would also create the Georgia Promise Scholarship Act, which would provide $6,500 per student to families for qualified education-related expenses outside of the public school system;
  • Senate Bill 342, which would allow the Department of Human Services to use records of child abuse or neglect from the child abuse and neglect registry, or from another state, to locate, recover or provide services to a child who is determined by the department to be missing or a victim of sexual exploitation. It would also amend who can have reasonable access to records of child abuse to include the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children;
  • Senate Bill 348, which would change the timeframe from 180 days to 60 days for an individual to be considered unattended by a physician in an untimely or suspicious death circumstance. The bill would clarify that no individual would be deemed unattended by a physician while they are a resident of a long-term care facility;
  • Senate Bill 389, which would provide state-sponsored life insurance for members of the Georgia National Guard;
  • Senate Bill 430, which would repeal requirements for COVID-19 liability warning signs placed either at the entrances or premises or on entry tickets issued for public gatherings;
  • Senate Bill 436, which would revise the definition of “implement of husbandry” and would add a definition for “operator” as it relates to the operation of farm use vehicles;
  • Senate Bill 448, which is the annual Code revision bill to revise, modernize and correct errors or omissions to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated. The bill would reflect the work of the Code Revision Commission to repeal portions of the Code that are obsolete, declared unconstitutional or preempted or superseded by subsequent laws. Lastly, the bill would provide for other matters relating to revision, reenactment and publication of the Code;
  • Senate Bill 450, which would exclude certain probate court orders from the petition for review process, clarifying that state or superior courts do not have appellate jurisdiction over an order of a probate court that cannot be appealed. In certain orders, the notice of appeal filing would replace the petition for the review filing process.

If you have questions or concerns please feel free to reach out to us directly. As always, thank you for allowing me the honor of serving as your voice under the Gold Dome. May God bless you and keep you, may He continue to bless the great state of Georgia.


Stan Gunter

Representative of Georgia’s 8th District