Georgia 2024 Legislative Session Preview

Atlanta Georgia
On Monday, the Georgia General Assembly started the second 40-day session of its two-year legislative cycle. The assembly, one of the three largest in the United States, includes 236 lawmakers –  56 senators and 180 representatives.

During this session, lawmakers will consider a robust agenda, with Lieutenant Governor Burt Jones, Senate President Pro Tempore John F. Kennedy, and House Speaker Jon Burns tackling priorities such as the state budget, healthcare, education reform, and taxes.

Certificate of Need

Over the past year, both the Georgia House and Senate conducted study committees on Certificate of Need (CON) laws, with each body recommending changes to the existing system.

The Senate Certificate of Need Reform Study Committee recommended a complete repeal of all CON laws governing the creation and expansion of healthcare facilities and services in Georgia. According to the report, the state’s CON laws are counterproductive, stifle competition, and hinder healthcare advancements, particularly in rural areas. 

The House Certificate of Need Modernization Study Committee recommended various levels of reform measures. Committee Chairman Republican Butch Parrish stated that the report is “based on fact, evidence, and fairness,” and he hopes the report “can be helpful in drafting legislative remedies that encourage providers to offer preeminent health care…that is more affordable and increasingly accessible to all Georgians.”

Medicaid Expansion

One such deal under consideration by state lawmakers would expand Medicaid in exchange for rolling back CON regulations for hospitals. This would likely involve expanding eligibility for the Georgia Medicaid program to include more low-income adults, beyond its current coverage of low-income children. 

However, this may be challenging as Governor Kemp’s pilot program, which provides Medicaid coverage to adults who meet certain work requirements, launched in July and is already straining state health agencies.

Behavioral Health

The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities’ recent capacity study found that the state will need hundreds of additional crisis beds to meet the growing demand for behavioral health services. This need may surge further as the federal government begins promoting 988, the national mental health crisis hotline, potentially leading to more Georgians calling for help.

In 2023, state lawmakers attempted to address this escalating crisis but were unsuccessful in passing legislation aimed at expanding the behavioral health workforce and supporting individuals bouncing between hospitals and the prison system. This year, legislators will likely consider similar proposals, such as increasing payments to service providers and funding additional beds in crisis stabilization units.

Small Businesses

Legislative leadership has proposed several ways to help small businesses, including redefining the employee threshold for what constitutes a “small” business (from 100 to 300 employees) and streamlining the process for obtaining professional and occupational licenses. Education

School choice, including direct state subsidies and voucher funding (SB 233), and a proposal to make kindergarten mandatory by requiring students to start school at age 5 (SB 241), are also moving through legislative committees.

Gov. Kemp’s amended 2024 budget and fiscal year 2025 proposals call for an additional $1.4 billion investment in education.

He is also requesting $104 million for enhanced school security and safety, providing about $45,000 annually to each public school in Georgia.


Election laws have dominated early political chatter at the Capitol, reflecting ongoing debates since 2020. Initial proposals address voting security, absentee ballots, and runoffs. 

Notable measures include allowing public inspections of paper ballots, removing computer codes from ballots, ending “no-excuse” absentee voting, and empowering the State Election Board to conduct targeted investigations – specifically, of Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. 

Budget & Taxes

The only thing constitutionally required of the Georgia General Assembly is passing a budget – and this year, they have plenty of money to work with. Revenue growth slowed in 2023, but Georgia’s significant surplus – which includes about $16 billion in reserves and $11 billion in undesignated funds – will provide lawmakers with plenty of options for what to fund or cut in 2024.

Aside from funding a state budget that has grown 22% since 2021, Governor Brian Kemp has shared his intention to decrease Georgia’s state income tax to 5.39 percent. Kemp has also proposed expanding rebates and tax credits, such as the $1 billion film industry incentive program.

Social Issues & More

Other legislative considerations include legalizing sports betting, criminalizing antisemitic acts, offering stipends for teachers’ firearms training, and mandating that social media platforms better protect children by verifying users’ ages and removing potentially addictive features.

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