After midnight last evening one of the most emotion filled sessions of the Georgia General Assembly came to a fluttering end. Two of the major emotional issues were religious freedom and campus gun carry. Religious freedom as HB 757 was amended and passed both House and Senate and now rests with the Governor. The Governor has until May 6 to veto, sign, or allow the bill to become law. No one knows how much longer the media circus will continue before the Governor acts. Of equal emotional merit is HB 859, the campus gun carry bill that is to the Governor as well. He strongly suggested that the General Assembly “fix” the bill but the legislators wanted no part of that.
The legislature also approved the stun gun bill, HB 792, very late last night.
For educators it was a nail bitter down to the end to make sure the Senate approved the House changes to SB 364, the TKES/LKES/Testing bill. They agreed on Day 40 after 9:00 PM. The bill exited the General Assembly in the same format that has been reported to you previously. It lowers TKES to 30%, LKES to 40% student growth; requires 90% student attendance to be counted in the student growth calculation; reduces the number of mandated tests and makes SLOs local instruments; and finally places significant emphasis on K-5 literacy and math. There were only two votes against the bill in its entire travel through the General Assembly, Sen. Josh McKoon from Columbus and Sen. Mike Crane from Newnan. It now goes to the Governor.