Save the Date for my first Town Hall of the Session

Senator Elena Parent
The Parent Press

Want to find out more about what's going on during this year's legislative session? Come to my upcoming Town Hall meeting!

First Town Hall Meeting!
When Monday, February 5th, 2018 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
Where The Fellowship Hall at North Decatur Presbyterian Church, 611 Medlock Road, Decatur, Georgia 30030 (map)

HB159 Passes the Senate Despite Governor Deal's Concerns Over Added Language

Last Thursday, the Georgia Senate passed HB 159, aimed at overhauling Georgia's adoption laws which have not been updated in decades. This bill, which was vetoed last session after a "religious liberty" clause was added, resurfaced at the start of the session. The version of the bill presented this session was void of that religious liberty clause but included language from HB 359 that would allow a parent to sign over custody of a child to an individual or nonprofit organization, for a period of one-year, without any oversight. HB 359 was also vetoed last year, but the language of the bill found new life in HB 159. HB 159 passed despite Governor Deal's serious concerns over the additional language. Read more here. I want the adoption rewrite — an effort years in the making and long overdue, frankly — to pass this year, so I am hopeful that changes can be made to the HB 359 segment of HB 159 that will gain the Governor's approval (and mine). As it stands, I voted no on HB 159.

Updating Sexual Harassment Training Policies at the Capitol

The State Capitol should be a safe place to work and visit. SB 313 is a bill that I pre-filed in December, and it aims to ensure that a safe and welcoming environment exists by requiring lawmakers and department heads to undergo sexual harassment training every two years. Current law only requires this training to be administered on an as-needed basis (and I just had it for the first time ever). SB 313 would also expand current law to allow lobbyists and others report inappropriate interactions with lawmakers to a legislative ethics committee. With many people who make their living as lobbyists, it's a gaping hole to not have them covered in the legislature's policies. As we've seen in recent news and reporting, harassment so commonly goes unchecked. This is not acceptable. Everyone deserves to work in an environment where they feel safe and respected. SB 313' s education requirements will go a long way toward making that a reality.

Mental Health and the Rights to Purchase a Gun in Georgia

I have a bill, that I've been working on for 2 years, that would make it more difficult for people who have been adjudicated a danger to themselves or others to be able to buy guns. It is Senate Bill 99, and it is common-sense gun legislation. Currently, there is a gap in state law allowing a person who has been involuntarily hospitalized due to mental illness to be able to purchase a gun, despite federal laws which exist to prevent such a dangerous situation. SB99 would close this loophole, and protect the citizens of our state.

English-Only Constitutional Amendment Returns

Legislation has again been introduced in the Senate calling for an amendment to the Georgia Constitution to make English the only language that can be used in official state documents or publications. This is a Republican primary issue that passed the Senate a couple of years ago but never went anywhere in the House of Representatives. This legislation would make it more difficult for immigrants to assimilate and interface with their government and schools, etc. It is also a risky proposition because it sends a xenophobic message at the time the state is focused on attempting to lure Amazon's HQ2 to the Atlanta area.

As always, I value your input, your thoughts, and your ideas. I can't wait to discuss these issues and more at my Town Hall meeting. I hope to see you there!