Ga. Capitol roundup: Senators vote to extend COVID-19 legal shield for businesses
ATLANTA - Georgia’s state Senate has voted to extend a law protecting businesses from being sued by a person who blames the business after they contract COVID-19.
The bill passed 36-17 Wednesday, with Republicans in support and most Democrats opposed.
It now heads to Gov. Brian Kemp’s desk.
Protections are currently set to expire July 14. The legislation would extend them another year through July 14, 2022. Democrats tried to amend the bill to increase protections for workers who are sickened, but the amendment failed to muster enough support.
Georgia bill for new leadership money heads to governor
ATLANTA - The Georgia state House has passed legislation that would allow for the creation of new leadership committees that could raise campaign funds without limits.
The committees could coordinate directly with individual candidates, including during a legislative session.
Senate Bill 221 passed by a vote of 96-69 with Republicans generally in support and Democrats opposed.
It now goes to Republican Gov. Brian Kemp for consideration. The bill would allow for leadership committees controlled by the governor, lieutenant governor and a political party’s nominee for governor or lieutenant governor.
It would also allow for committees controlled by the Republican and Democratic caucuses in the state House and Senate.
GOP lawmaker’s joke leads Dems to file harassment complaints
ATLANTA - More than a dozen Democratic lawmakers said they are filing sexual harassment complaints, saying a male lawmaker’s joke on the House floor typifies a General Assembly that is hostile to women.
The lawmakers, mostly women, want the House Ethics Committee to review the matter.
Rep. Kasey Carpenter, a Dalton Republican, made remarks Monday about rapper Cardi B. He apologized on the House floor Tuesday. Some Democratic House members said they often hear sexist comments in the 236-member General Assembly. One-third of members, or 78 are female.
The General Assembly’s sexual harassment policy prohibits verbal harassment, including “sexually related comments or jokes.” All lawmakers are required to complete sexual harassment training.
State’s elections chief touts reports of no foreign interference
ATLANTA - The U.S. National Intelligence Council, made up of the United States’ intelligence and security agencies, found “no indications that any foreign actor attempted to alter any technical aspect of the voting process in the 2020 elections,” according to a news release from Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
Another report from the U.S. attorney general and the Department of Homeland Security found “no evidence that any foreign government-affiliated actor prevented voting, changed votes … or otherwise compromised the integrity of voter registration information of any ballots cast during 2020 federal elections,” according to Raffensperger, the Peach State’s elections chief.
“These unqualified reports from America’s intelligence community are yet more confirmation, from independent, objective intelligence professionals that the elections here in Georgia and across the country were secure and accurate,” Raffensperger said. “The reports found no evidence foreign governments penetrated the safeguards of our election system or altered election outcomes.”
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