GEORGIA LEGISLATIVE SESSION CONCLUDES AS ONE OF THE BEST
By MIKE GRIFFIN, Georgia Baptist Mission Board, April 5, 2022
This year we were monitoring at least 27 bills covering 18 legislative subjects. Out of those 18 subjects, we were supporting 13 of those areas of legislation. I think with all that has been going on in the past two years that this is BIG news!
Here are some of the top bills that were passed and supported by Georgia Baptists:
MATERNITY SUPPORTIVE HOUSING
This bill SB 116, known as “Betsy’s Law,” was authored by Sen. Randy Robertson. Building a culture of life means protecting life in the womb while promoting a society that empowers pregnant moms in crisis to confidently choose life for their unborn children as well as combating the high maternal mortality rate in our state. Betsy’s Law accomplishes that end by cutting through the cumbersome red tape and government regulations to allow non-profit organizations (including churches) to offer maternity supportive housing to pregnant and new mothers over the age of 18. This legislation would provide free maternity supportive housing for up to six pregnant moms and up to 18 months postpartum. This would help on our focus of Pre/Post Natal Care with Mission Georgia. It’s important that the church must step up to this challenge as we see the possibility of Roe vs Wade overturned!
APPEALS PROCESS FOR SCHOOL LIBRARY OBSCENITY
SB 226, authored by Sen. Jason Anavitarte, ensures that our children are protected from sexually explicit material. Georgia Baptists support legislation that allows a proper appeal process when parents see material that is obscene. We must have laws that provide more transparency for and power to parents while at the same time ridding our schools of obscene materials. This legislation ensures that parents’ complaints about obscene materials can no longer be hid by administrators or school officials. It shines the spotlight of transparency on the public school system. It is very important that we do all we can in protecting students from the sexualization of early exposure to obscene materials. The last thing we need is our school system participating in the grooming process of immorality, sexual predators, and human trafficking!
PARENTS BILL OF RIGHTS
SB 449 was one of two pieces of legislation that reinforced the rights of parents to inquire about activities in our public schools. Rep. Josh Bonner’s bill was passed during the legislative session. This bill codifies parental rights when it comes to their child’s education. The bill starts out with a very basic principle that all Christians would find in line with Scripture: “The General Assembly finds that it is a fundamental right of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their minor children. The General Assembly further finds that important information relating to a minor child should not be withheld, either inadvertently or purposefully, from his or her parent, including information relating to the minor child’s education …” One of the basics of this law includes the right of parents or guardians to have access to instructional material. The bill affirms a parent’s ability to request information from a principal or superintendent and requires that they provide the requested information within three working days. All Georgia Baptists can all be happy that this legislation passed the Georgia General Assembly!
BAN ON TEACHING DIVISIVE CONCEPTS
HB 1084 by Rep. Will Wade was one of two bills that was introduced to the legislature to ban the teaching on such things as Critical Race Theory in public schools. Georgia Baptists agree that it is important that our children know that they are all “image bearers,” and they should not be made to feel ashamed of who they are and be distrustful of their neighbor. Children do not need to feel as though they are inherently oppressed or inherently oppressors based on their race. This bill in no way discourages the teaching of historical facts and the truth related problems to our history that were wrong and related to racism and hatred. But no child should ever be taught that the color of their skin defines them. Children should not be limited to their race or made to feel guilty for the actions of others. We cannot allow indoctrination that divides our country, produces more racial strife, and teaches an anti-American worldview to our children.