ACLU of Georgia

LEGISLATIVE SESSION 2023

Welcome to the 2023 Georgia Legislative Session

Updated 4:15pm

We were at the Georgia Capital amid the excitement today as the 2023 Legislative Session opened and staff and legislators saw each other again and met new friends.

“We met with some of our partners last week (during the Georgia Urban-Rural Summit), but we haven’t seen a lot of these folks since last session, so we had a moment to catch up. Overall, I got the feeling that people were excited and hopeful for what’s to come in the months ahead,” McClure said.

Lawmakers assembled in the chambers, held the convocation, and performed a bit of business. All 40 legislative days were approved in today’s adjournment resolution, The Atlanta-Journal Constitution’s Maya T. Prabhu tweeted

Voter Access Project Fellow Evan Wayne Malbrough, Policy Advocate Sarah Hunt-Blackwell, Deputy Director of Policy and Advocacy Fallon McClure, and Policy Counsel Ben Lynde.

Rep. Jon Burns of Screven County was officially sworn in as the new Georgia House speaker. House members also reelected Rep. Jan Jones, of Milton, to continue as speaker pro tempore, the second-in-command position. Sen. John Kennedy, of Macon County, was elected Senate president pro tempore. 

It’s also worth noting that this session’s lawmakers come from a wide variety of backgrounds, including the first Palestinian American elected official in the state joining the House and a Bangladeshi American woman joining the Senate.

“As the leadership and composition of both houses of the General Assembly change, the ACLU of Georgia remains committed to the same values of fighting for the civil liberties of all Georgians. We look forward to partnering with new and returning members of both parties to upholding civil rights across the state,” said Policy & Advocacy Director Chris Bruce.

The assembly adjourned around noon, as many members are now flying cross-county to California to catch Georgia and TCU in the college football championship. Go Dawgs! A light schedule is expected as they fly home. Next week, the assembly will hash out what is allocated in the state’s budget, part of the aptly-named Budget Week.

Meet Our Team

Policy & Advocacy Director Chris Bruce welcomes back Fallon McClure to the ACLU of Georgia as the deputy director of policy and advocacy. Together they will lead an expanded Policy and Advocacy team that brings a wealth of experience to our work. 

  • Policy Counsel Ben Lynde has deep knowledge and experience in privacy and
    technology, and criminal justice reform.
  • Policy Advocate Sarah Hunt-Blackwell is our First Amendment expert.
  • Community Engagement Manager Cherrell Brown is whom you should talk to about
    getting involved.
  • Administrative Assistant Tiera Deering will help pull everything together and keep the
    department functioning.

Our Priorities for the Session

Privacy: The ACLU of Georgia will be a key challenger in fighting back on the normalization of mass surveillance, particularly advocating against the negative implications of such technology on communities of color.

Voter Rights: We will be relentless in the fight against voter suppression, and stand ready to challenge bills like those introduced last year to chill the vote. We were successful in fighting against nearly every provision of that bill, and look forward to doing the same if introduced again.

Reproductive Rights: Our attorneys will stand up for Georgians’ bodily autonomy and reproductive rights, while our legal team continues to litigate challenges to the state’s abortion ban.

Criminal Legal Reform: We will advocate for the legislature to reaffirm the bipartisan, evidence based reforms to the criminal legal system that were championed before Governor Deal took office. Our policy and advocacy team will work with lawmakers to stop any legislation that takes Georgia back to policies that drive mass incarceration and inequitable treatment of communities of color.

First Amendment: We won’t back down from defending First Amendment rights of students, teachers and parents in our schools. With restrictive laws such as HB 1084 and SB 226, we will advocate for LGBTQ+ students, fact-based curricula with historical truth, and school environments that invite the spectrum of human experiences. Our First Amendment policy advocate will be a champion for the right to free expression and safe protest for all Georgians.

How to get Involved

Here’s how you can follow our work during the 2023 session and take action to expand civil rights and liberties in Georgia:

  • Legislative Preview: Join us on Wednesday, January 11 at 7 pm ET for a virtual briefing on our 2023 legislative priorities. We will provide insight into the issues and bills we will prioritize this year. Registration for the Zoom event is required.
  • Legal Observer Training: Sign up for our first legal observer training for the season, Thursday, January 12 at 7 pm ET. 
  • Pledge to Take Action: Sign up so that we can contact you to participate in actions on important legislation. 

Visit www.acluga.org to learn all about the legislative process, and track our priority bills. You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to stay on top of breaking legislative news and know when to take action.