As the week progressed, legislators achieved a significant milestone with the completion of “Crossover Day” on February 29th. This day marks the deadline for all Senate bills to cross over to the House chamber and vice versa. Throughout the 2024 Legislative Session, Senate Republicans have experienced considerable success, advancing every priority defined by our caucus on to the House of Representatives.
I had the privilege of standing alongside my fellow majority caucus members to support various pieces of legislation aimed at protecting Georgians from domestic swatting and foreign threats. Notably, Senate Bill 421, which enhances penalties for false public alarms, commonly known as swatting, received unanimous approval from the Senate this week. This bipartisan effort underscores our commitment to holding swatters accountable to the fullest extent of the law. I commend my colleagues from both sides of the aisle for their dedication to defending the interests of Georgians. Next, the bill will undergo further consideration by the House.
The Georgia Senate also took decisive action to safeguard Georgians from foreign adversaries, with a particular focus on protecting our farmers. I proudly supported Senate Bill 420, which prohibits certain foreign individuals and entities from acquiring possessory interests in specific land. Georgia’s agricultural sector is the backbone of our economy, generating $83.6 billion annually and sustaining countless livelihoods. Given the threats posed by foreign actors, it’s imperative that we take proactive measures to safeguard our farmlands and critical areas, such as military bases.
In addition to advocating for our majority caucus’ priorities, I continued working on my individual legislative priorities. Specifically, I am proud to announce that the Senate body passed Senate Bill 417, a bill designed to improve the reporting of accidents relative to elevators, escalators and the like. The bill would also remove the faulty equipment from service. I am thankful for the Senate’s bipartisan support on this measure and look forward to updating you on its journey through the Georgia House of Representatives.
I also was honored to author and vote for Senate Bill 473, titled the Georgia Consumer Privacy Protection Act. It is critical, in our online-oriented marketplace, to protect the privacy of Georgia consumers. Lastly, I am pleased that the Senate body has passed Senate Bill 472, titled the “Combating Organized Retail Crime Act.” This key legislation will take additional steps to protect Georgians from criminals online as we maintain our title as the number one state to do business.
Our week began on a somber note following the tragic passing of Laken Riley, a 22-year-old nursing student from Georgia. Laken’s untimely departure has left a void in the hearts of her family, friends and the Athens community. Laken was from the 56th District, and her parents currently reside there. What’s even more heartbreaking is that she was taken from us by an illegal immigrant who had been arrested and released back into our society multiple times. It’s alarming to think that, in Joe Biden’s America, every state has become vulnerable to crime, illegal substances and a lack of direction from federal leadership. Make no mistake, this tragedy could have been prevented had the Biden Administration not made reckless decisions to stop building a border wall and stop deporting illegal immigrants who wish us harm. The blood is on this presidential administration’s hands and it’s time for so-called leaders in Washington to stop making excuses and do their jobs. I will continue to fight against careless and dangerous immigration policies in the days ahead.
Please never hesitate to contact my office if I can assist with legislative matters. I hope to see you under the Gold Dome soon as the 2024 Legislative Session continues.
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Sen. John Albers serves as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Safety. He represents the 56th Senate District which includes portions of Cherokee, Cobb and North Fulton counties. He may be reached at his office at 404.463.8055 or by email at [email protected]