Crossover Day 2024: Here's what bills passed at the Georgia Capitol

Georgia lawmakers pushed through dozens of bills while facing a key legislative deadline at the Capitol on Thursday. Crossover Day is the last day for legislation to pass either the state House or Senate and advance to the other legislative chamber for consideration this year. 

Among the bills that survived was a new push at tightening rules on how law enforcement agencies handle undocumented immigrants, which received a wave of support after the brutal murder of Laken Riley and the arrest of Jose Ibarra.

The law would move Georgia closer to states with more aggressive immigration laws like Texas, which starting in March will allow police to arrest migrants who enter the state illegally and give local judges the authority to order them out of the country.

Georgia itself passed a prior harsh law cracking down on immigration in 2011, although it later backed away from parts of it. That measure let officers stop anyone deemed "suspicious" in order to check their documents, required governments and large businesses to use a federal database called E-Verify to check the immigration status of new hires, required applicants for public benefits to prove citizenship, and created a board to punish local governments that didn’t crack down.

In the state Senate, lawmakers approved a controversial bill that would limit the government's ability to pass or enforce laws that conflict with religious beliefs. The bill has support from Christian conservatives, but critics say it would provide a legal shield for people and groups to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people in the name of religion.

Proposals that don’t pass by the end of Thursday could still be resurrected later this year, but it becomes more difficult. Because this is the second year of a two-year session, most measures that don’t pass on Thursday are effectively dead.

Here are some of the high-profile issues that made the Crossover Day deadline and are advancing to the next step.

Bills that have advanced at the Georgia Capitol

IMMIGRATION: House Bill 1105 would require local law enforcement to apply to help federal agents enforce immigration laws and enact criminal penalties for sheriffs who don’t contact federal officials to check prisoners’ immigration status.

RELIGIOUS LIBERTY: Proponents say Senate Bill 180 would protect religious liberty from being trampled by state and local governments, while opponents say it’s a license for people and groups to discriminate against LGBTQ+ in the name of religion.

AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION: Senate Bill 390 bars state and local governments from giving money to the American Library Association. The sponsor says the group’s ideology is harmful. Valdosta State University could still use private money to maintain accreditation for its library science degree.

FILM TAX CREDIT: House Bill 1180 would require more use of Georgia-based employees and contractors to get the top 30% income tax credit on film production, and would cap credits eligible to be sold to third parties to 2.5% of the state’s annual budget, or about $900 million.

SPORTS BETTING: Georgians could get a chance in November to vote on a state constitutional amendment authorizing sports gambling after the Senate passed Senate Resolution 579.

PROPERTY TAXES: Senators want to limit future increases in a home’s taxable value to 3% a year under Senate Bill 349, while House members want to increase the statewide homestead tax exemption from $2,000 to $4,000 under House Bill 1019. School districts could cut property tax rates and still get state aid under House Bill 987.

INCOME TAXES: An already-planned state income tax cut would be accelerated under House Bill 1015, giving the state a flat 5.39% income tax rate retroactive to Jan. 1.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Senate Bill 351 seeks to require social media companies to get parental permission before letting children younger than 16 create accounts. It also bans the use of social media using school computers and the internet and creates new anti-bullying rules.

CASH BAIL: Senate Bill 63 would require cash bail for 30 additional crimes, including some misdemeanors, and would impose new rules on nonprofit bail funds. It awaits Gov. Brian Kemp’s signature.

ANTISEMITISM: Gov. Brian Kemp in January signed House Bill 30 defining antisemitism for use in hate crimes and antidiscrimination cases. Opponents warn it will be used to censor free speech and equate criticism of Israel to hatred of Jewish people.

GUN TAX BREAKS: Senate Bill 344 would let people buy guns, ammunition and gun safes without paying sales taxes for five days each fall, while House Bill 971 would give a $300 tax credit to people buying gun safes, gun locks or taking firearms safety training.

ELECTIONS: Senate Bill 358 would give the state’s appointed election board the power to investigate Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s handling of elections. Senate Bill 189 would mandate that barcodes can’t be used to count ballots and House Bill 976 would require watermarks on ballots. Senate Bill 355 would ban ranked-choice voting in Georgia.

PROSECUTOR DISCIPLINE: House Bill 881 and Senate Bill 332 would revive a commission with powers to discipline and remove prosecutors, a move Democrats warn is aimed at Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ prosecution of former President Donald Trump.

JUDGE PAY: House Bill 947 would create guidelines to raise and standardize pay for judges.

TRAFFIC CITATIONS: Officers would no longer have to arrest people who refuse to sign traffic tickets under House Bill 1054.

LAWSUIT LIMITS: Senate Bill 426 would limit the ability to sue an insurance company directly after a truck wreck, while House Bill 1114 would seek data for a future push to limit lawsuits.

UNION ORGANIZING: Companies receiving state economic incentives would be barred from recognizing labor unions without a secret ballot election under Senate Bill 362.

HEALTHCARE PERMITTING: Some additional healthcare expansions would be allowed without state permits under House Bill 1339, but that bill wouldn’t go as far as the Senate proposal to remove certificate of need rules.

WATER RIGHTS: House Bill 1172 would alter the law about using Georgia’s waterways for boating, fishing and hunting. Proponents say it balances public use and private property rights. Opponents say that measure and Senate Bill 542 would limit access.

Bills that did not advance from Crossover Day

MEDICAID: House leaders had discussed expanding Medicaid to more lower-income adults, but instead want to study the issue.

SEX EDUCATION: School districts could drop sex education and students would only be enrolled if parents specifically opt in under Senate Bill 532. The measure would ban all sex education in fifth grade and below.

SCHOOL LIBRARIES: Senate Bill 394 sought to restrict materials depicting sex acts in school libraries while Senate Bill 154 would have subjected K-12 librarians to criminal penalties if they violated state obscenity laws.

GENDER IDENTITY IN SCHOOLS: Senate Bill 88 would have limited how public and private schools could talk to students about gender identity.

VOTER CHALLENGES: Senate Bill 221 would have stopped Georgia’s system of automatic voter registration and made it easier to challenge whether people are qualified to vote because of residency issues.

FOREIGN-OWNED FARMLAND: People and companies from certain foreign countries would be barred from buying farmland within 25 miles (40 kilometers) of any military base under Senate Bill 420 and House Bill 452.

OKEFENOKEE MINING: Georgia would pause future permits allowing an expansion of a mine near the Okefenokee Swamp for three years under House Bill 1338, although opponents who want an outright ban on any expansion say the moratorium would be ineffective.

SCHOOL REPORT CARDS: House Bill 1186 would require state education officials to resume assigning a single 100-point score to describe a school’s academic performance.

SPEEDING TICKET CAMERAS: House Bill 1126 would repeal authorization for automated cameras to issue speeding tickets in school zones.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.