7 bills to watch ahead of Sine Die in Georgia

Legislators celebrate the end of the 2021 legislative session, in the Senate chamber at the State Capitol late Wednesday, March 31, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Update Wednesday, April 5 at 8:11 a.m.

After three months of hearings, debates and tinkering with bill text – Sine Die has arrived.

“Sine die” is Latin and translates to “without days.” It’s the last day of the legislative session – with no more days remaining for lawmaking.

The Republican-controlled General Assembly has already passed a handful of their party’s priorities, like restricting how teachers talk about race in the classroom and allowing Georgians to carry handguns without a permit.

A bipartisan mental health overhaul also crossed the finish line last week – a big moment for House Speaker David Ralston and the many Georgians who struggle with mental health and addiction. 

With just a day left, there are still dozens and dozens of bills to vote on by midnight, so buckle up for a long day and a flurry of votes into the night.

The list of unfinished business includes some controversial bills. And while the fate of many bills in the legislature aren’t a surprise, there are still a few that will be genuinely unpredictable. 

Here are seven bills to watch. 


Republican legislators have been weighing more changes to election law, following the sweeping election overhaul passed last year.

Last week, a Senate committee abruptly scrapped the framework that had already passed the House and revised the bill down to only two pages. Efforts to make major election law changes in 2022 appeared to be dead.

Then, on Friday, the House Committee on Election Integrity scheduled a last-minute meeting for Monday at 8 a.m. Lawmakers gutted an old elections bill that already passed the Senate in 2021 and substituted in most of the election changes Republicans were attempting earlier this session.

This latest bill is slimmer than Republicans’ original wishlist. Lawmakers removed many of the proposed changes that election officials criticized most vehemently in public testimony last month – namely stringent chain of custody rules for ballots and restrictions on local election offices accepting non-profit funding.


A conference committee of six lawmakers is trying to hammer out a plan to get Georgia’s slow-moving medical cannabis program moving quicker. So far, the two chambers have disagreed on how to expand the number of licenses for providers, which has frustrated Georgians who need to access cannabis for medical reasons.

Medication AbortionFailed

Senate Bill 456 passed the House Health and Human Services Committee on Friday and awaits a vote before the full House.

The bill would prohibit people from receiving medication abortion, or abortion pills, through the mail. And it would require that they visit a doctor in person to prescribe the medication, not through telehealth. 

Transgender kids and school sportsPassed

This bill is maybe one of the most controversial of the session – and the one that may be in the most trouble heading into Sine Die.

SB 435 prohibits transgender kids from playing on the school sports team that matches their gender identity. Despite pushback, the bill has already passed the Senate, but has been stuck in a House committee for more than a month without a hearing. 

That committee, House Health and Human Services, does have a meeting scheduled for Monday, where it’s possible they could take up the bill. 

While Gov. Kemp listed such legislation as a priority in his State of the State address, conservative governors in Indiana and Utah have vetoed similar legislation.


The latest version of a voter referendum on gambling would narrowly focus on online sports betting, not casinos or horse racing. 

The legislation faces a higher bar than a typical bill because it’s setting into motion a  voter referendum to amend the state constitution. That requires a 2/3 majority in the House and Senate. Supporters are struggling to find enough votes.


After a week of negotiations, House and Senate budget writers have reached a deal on the 2023 budget, which they will present Monday morning. 

The $30.2 billion budget funds the state government starting July 1. 

The budget includes pay raises for teachers and state employees.

Tax CutPassed

Legislation to make significant changes to the state tax code is likely heading to a conference committee of six lawmakers. That bill may be running out of time for a deal.

Last month, the Georgia House passed a billion-dollar state income tax cut. That original bill called for scrapping existing tax brackets, where the rates go up the more someone makes. Instead, it created a flat 5.25 percent state income tax for everybody. The amount of income that’s exempt from state income taxes would also go up. 

Some Democrats opposed the framework, saying some middle-income people would actually pay more and many would see only small savings, while high-earners would benefit the most.

Rahul Bali contributed reporting.