Mobile haircuts and official crustaceans: The lesser-known bills of Georgia's 2024 legislative session

Georgia's 2024 legislative session has seen a unique array of bills, ranging from creating an official "America First" state license plate to making shrimp the state's official crustacean. (Matthew Pearson/WABE)

With the passing of Crossover Day, Georgia legislation is hurriedly bustling through the Gold Dome for the final sprint to the end of this year’s legislative session on March 28. There are plenty of bills getting the headlines this session, but what about the quirkier, lesser-known measures making their way through the process?

Here are a few that could become law this year:

Breaking bread and peeling tails

House Bill 1048, sponsored by Republican Reps. Kasey Carpenter, David Huddleston, Mike Cameron and Kenneth Vance, would make cornbread the official state bread of Georgia.

“The colorful history and traditions of the State of Georgia are inextricably associated with the food traditions of corn, and among the many legacies of this proud heritage is the delicious bread known as cornbread,” the bill reads. “Establishing cornbread as the official Georgia state bread is necessary to fully recognize the importance of this product.”

The House passed the bill on Feb. 9 and it is now under consideration in the Senate.

The Gold Dome was served with other food-based legislation with HB 1341 and SB 489.

HB 1341, which the House passed unanimously on Crossover Day, would designate white shrimp as the official state crustacean.

“South Georgia shrimp is the fruit of the sea,” said Republican Rep. Steven Sainz, one of the bill’s sponsors, to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “This is just one small way to recognize that Georgia white shrimp are by far the best choice for Georgia consumers and all consumers across our nation.”

HB 1341 is now under consideration in the Senate.

A bill to make blueberries the official state berry was not so lucky though. SB 489 didn’t pass in the Senate before Crossover Day, but language from the bill could still get attached to a different bill before the end of the session.

Mobile cuts

Designed to advocate for Georgia barbers and cosmetologists, HB 349 would allow master barbers to run a mobile barber shop under strict guidelines.

“All this bill does is it lets Georgia move into the 21st century, after poodles have been able to get mobile service — I mean just fluffed up, blowdried, everything,” the bill’s chief sponsor Rep. Al Williams said on the House floor to laughter from his fellow lawmakers.

“You’ve been able to buy food of any description in a mobile food truck. You can get a tooth pulled, a root canal, X-ray, give blood. I think there are even a few mobile nightclubs — you can do it all! Finally Georgia, for those of you who still need it, you can get a haircut.”

According to Williams, the bill would reorganize, modernize and clarify the practice of barbering, esthetics, hair design, cosmetology and nail care through the State Board of Cosmetology and Barbers.

The House passed the bill on Crossover Day and it is now in the Senate.

Debating the plate

SB 507 would offer Georgia residents specialty license plates that say “America First.”

Some Democrats tried to amend the tagline to say “Donald Trump First.”

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Senate Majority Leader Steve Gooch, insisted that the bill was not inspired by Trump.

“It’s not about a person … It’s about our nation and our country and the state of Georgia,” Gooch told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The Senate passed SB 507 on Crossover Day by a 34-19 party-line vote. It is now in the House.