Second Town Hall in March and Other Updates from the Capitol

Senator Elena Parent
The Parent Press

Save the Date for a Town Hall!

I'll be hosting my second Town Hall Meeting of the legislative session on March 13th, at 6:30 pm at the Central DeKalb Senior Center, 1345 McConnell Dr. Decatur, GA 30033 (map)

I hope to see you there!

Want to know more about what's been going on at the Capitol over the past few weeks? Read on...

Religious Liberty Bill Threatens Adoption in Georgia

Today, the Georgia Senate passed SB 375, also known as the "Keep Faith in Adoption and Foster Care Act," which would extend legal protections to faith-based child placement agencies that refuse to engage with LGBT couples, as well as certain others they may have a religious objection to, on a straight party-line vote. The language of SB 375 had previously been added to HB 159, the bill that overhauls Georgia's adoption laws. That language was removed from HB 159 after Governor Deal voiced opposition. After HB 159 passed, this anti-LGBT language found new life in SB 375. Ultimately, this bill would put the beliefs of the agencies above the kids themselves and therefore I spoke against it during the committee hearing and in the well today. The focus of adoption agencies should be placing kids in loving homes, as soon as possible, above all. Read more about this bill here and here.

Advocates Flood the Capitol to Push for Stronger Gun Control Measures

On Wednesday, hundreds of advocates came to the Capitol to attend a rally organized by Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Everytown for Gun Safety, and to urge legislators to take much-needed measures to ensure that our citizens are safe from gun violence. These advocates pointed to several pieces of legislation that they would like to see passed including a bill that would ban "bump stocks," a bill that would keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, and my bill SB 99, which would close a loophole in the way Georgia restores the ability to purchase a handgun after an individual has been involuntarily hospitalized. Check out this AJC article about information on SB 99 here!

Voting Machines

Many of you are interested in Georgia getting rid of its outdated voting machines that leave no paper trail and do not allow for an audit of results. Bills HB 680 and SB 403 have been introduced to update and upgrade our voting machines. So far, there does not seem to be much forward momentum, but I am hopeful we will have the chance to vote on SB 403.

CASA Comes to the Capitol!

February 14th was CASA Day at the Capitol! CASA, which stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates, is a wonderful organization that is committed to ensuring that abused and neglected children involved in court proceedings have a strong advocate in their corner. CASA volunteers make a powerful difference in the lives of these children by helping to find permanent homes so as to avoid re-entry to foster care, providing the support and assistance necessary for children to succeed in school, and so much more. If you'd like to be a part of this amazing organization, I urge you to consider becoming a volunteer. You can find more information about CASA here.

Girl Scouts Advocating at the Capitol

Did you know, 76% of our current U.S. Senators and 52% of our U.S. House Representatives are Girl Scout Alumnae? I am grateful for organizations, such as the Girl Scouts of the USA, that help shape our future leaders. On February 6th, I had the privilege of meeting with some very industrious and ambitious Girl Scouts who came to the Capitol to advocate for SR 715. This resolution would change the name of the Savannah Bridge once known as the Talmadge Bridge, to honor Savannah native and founder of the Girl Scouts, Juliette Gordon Low. Read more about this resolution here.

With my colleagues Senators Valencia Seay, Nikema Williams and Gail Davenport being sworn into the "Capitol Girl Scout Troop"

Possible Change in DeKalb's Government...

Currently, DeKalb is the only county in Georgia that permits a system of government where voters elect the Chief Executive, in charge of running the government. HB 961 which was introduced just this week would change the structure of government in DeKalb by no longer allowing the current CEO form of government. There have been many concerns voiced on each side of this debate. As always, I value the input and voices of my constituents and would love to hear your opinions about this potential change. Check out this article discussing the possible implications of this bill.

As always — thank you for the opportunity to represent you in the State Senate! It is a great honor.