Georgia 2024 Legislative Session Recap

Atlanta Georgia

Georgia’s 2024 legislative session concluded on Thursday, March 28. Lawmakers tackled key priorities such as Certificate of Need, tort reform, state employee salaries, and election security. However, they did not resolve high-profile bills about Medicaid expansion and sports gambling, which may return for consideration next year. Measures passed by both chambers will go to Governor Brian Kemp for approval or veto.

Certificate of Need (CON)

Legislators approved HB 1339 on April 1, which will relax CON requirements across the state, signaling a shift toward a more competitive healthcare environment. In counties with less than 50,000 residents, the bill will allow the construction of new hospitals if they are designated as a teaching hospital or trauma center within 36 months AND they provide all of the following services and types of care: 

  • Psychiatric and behavioral health
  • 24/7 emergency department
  • Medicaid care
  • Uncompensated indigent and charity care equivalent to at least 3% of AGI

Medicaid Expansion & Access to Care

Lawmakers considered but nixed a deal to expand Medicaid in exchange for rolling back CON regulations for hospitals. Although talks did not culminate in Medicaid expansion this year, the passage of HB 1339 introduced the Comprehensive Health Coverage Commission, tasked with advising state leaders on healthcare access and quality issues affecting low-income and uninsured populations. The Commission will look for ways to improve service delivery and better coordinate healthcare services across state agencies, including the reimbursement and funding of healthcare providers. 

Tort Reform & Small Businesses

Last summer, Governor Kemp referred to tort reform as one of his top priorities, pointing to 2005’s historic but ultimately overturned $350,000 cap on non-economic damages as a problem for lawmakers to solve in 2024. They did just that by passing SB 426 with little opposition. Aiming to reduce insurance premiums, the bill will shield small businesses from frivolous lawsuits and limit truck crash suits against insurance companies.

HB 1409 would create a heightened liability standard for inpatient psychiatric and substance use disorder hospitals. Similar to the current standard applied to health care services provided in the emergency department, the bill requires a claimant to prove gross negligence on the part of a mental health provider in order to recover damages. The House Rules committee narrowed the bill to focus more closely on crisis situations. The substitute bill was then passed by the House, passed by the Senate, and sent to the governor for consideration. 


Lawmakers passed several school choice initiatives, including direct state subsidies and voucher funding (SB 233). Sent to Gov. Kemp on April 2, this bill will create the Georgia Promise Scholarship, providing qualified K-12 students with $6,500 each year until they graduate from high school or turn 20 years old, whichever comes first. To qualify, students must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Georgia resident for at least one year
  • Previously enrolled in Georgia public schools for at least two years
  • Agree not to enroll their students in Georgia public schools while receiving a scholarship
  • Parental income doesn’t exceed 400% of the federal poverty level
  • Does not receive state education funds through other programs, such as the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Act (i.e. no “double dipping” from state education funds)

SB 395 also passed the legislature and awaits action by the governor. It requires schools to make a reasonable effort to stock opioid antagonists, such as Narcan/naloxone, in every classroom.

A proposal to mandate kindergarten attendance for all five-year-olds (SB 241) did not advance this year.


Several election law changes were combined into SB 189 and approved on the session’s last day. The subject of ongoing debates since the 2016 presidential election, these measures include changing requirements to encourage third-party candidacy, streamlining voter registration challenges, and revising registration requirements for unhoused individuals.

Budget & Taxes

The approved $36.1 billion state budget, a $3.7 billion increase over last year, includes $20 million to raise healthcare providers’ reimbursement rates, part of a $248 million package to solidify the State Health Benefit Plan. 

Fueled by Georgia’s significant surplus, the budget also reduces personal and corporate income taxes (expected to cost the state an estimated $512 million in FY 2025), includes raises for state employees, public school teachers, and bus drivers, and provides special funding for high-turnover jobs like law enforcement, welfare, and prison workers. An eleventh-hour provision allotted $50 million from the state’s lottery to fund a pre-kindergarten program.

Governor Kemp is not expected to sign the budget until early May.

Social Issues & More

Lawmakers passed SB 351 over strong opposition from Big Tech. The bill, which will require social media platforms to verify users’ ages and remove potentially addictive features that might be harmful to children, passed both chambers and is headed to the governor’s desk. If signed into law by Gov. Kemp, the bill will require parental permission for children younger than 16 to create social media accounts, ban social media sites on school devices or while using school internet on personal devices, and add age verification for adult content online.

However, a high-profile legislative proposal to legalize sports betting failed after lawmakers disagreed on how to spend the funds. SB 386 passed the Senate but stalled in the House when the clock ran out.

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