Georgia State Capitol (File)

Lawmakers return to the State Capitol today, Jan. 10, for the 2022 Georgia General Assembly session.

A litany of bills easing restrictions on concealed firearms, cutting taxes, improving mental health care, doubling down on election laws, and legalizing sports betting are on the docket.  

According to Capitol Beat, the leaders who run the two legislative chambers – Georgia House Speaker David Ralston and Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan who presides over the Senate – are vowing not to let politics get in the way of addressing topics like mental health and crime.

No such vow is being made by the various politicians who are lobbying for the creation of Buckhead City, arguably the most high-profile issue of the session.

On the Senate side, Duncan is pushing a dollar-for-dollar state tax credit for individuals and corporations who contribute to their local police department or sheriff’s office through a law enforcement foundation.

Ralston has called for a $50 million budget appropriation to beef up law enforcement and mental health services. He said the House also will take up a comprehensive mental health bill that includes a provision aimed at addressing a shortage of mental health workers.

Also on the docket, Senate President Pro Tempore Butch Miller, R-Gainesville, who is running for lieutenant governor, pre-filed a bill last month that would eliminate Georgia’s income tax.

Sports betting, pari-mutuel betting on horse racing, and casino gambling could eventually make it to a referendum on November ballot.

While the state passed sweeping – and controversial – new election laws last year, Miller also wants to ban ballot boxes entirely because believes they are vulnerable to voter fraud.

Last week, Gov. Brian Kemp announced his support of a “constitutional carry” bill that would likely allow eligible Georgians to open or conceal carry a handgun without a permit. 

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.

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