HCPOA PUBLIC MEETING 5-17-21
State Representative, Alan Powell was the speaker at our May meeting, addressing three issues of special importance to HCPOA members.
1. Reducing a portion of the homestead tax for senior citizens. HCPOA has been attempting to work with the Board of Education on this issue for some time. Mr. Powell has also talked with the BOE and school superintendent but has had no response from them. Mr. Powell said the governor would want a resolution from the BOE and the County Commissioners in order for him to sign it. Although our school system is currently awash in money the BOE apparently will not consider any senior tax reduction. Approximately 75% of citizens’ county taxes go to the schools, and HCPOA will continue to work on this issue.
2. Casino gambling in Georgia was brought up in last year’s legislature. Gambling takes a constitutional amendment and it takes a two-thirds vote from both the house and the senate to put it on a Georgia ballot for citizens to vote on it. A poll showed that 69 to 71% of Georgians want to vote on this and a state economic committee determined that they preferred a “destination resort casino” type of gambling. A constitutional amendment would decide where money from gambling would be spent. This produced enough disagreement among the legislators that the bill was removed from the floor and is a dead issue at this point.
3. Election reform. Mr. Powell was Vice-chairman of the special committee working on election reform and he worked diligently on the Election Integrity Act of 2021. The final bill passed (Georgia Senate Bill 202) was 98 pages long and Mr. Powell said 80 to 85 of those pages made law of many rules and regulations that were being “bent like a sweetgum switch” in several areas of Georgia. The new law covers voter identification and absentee ballot procedures as well as rules for early voting, use of drop boxes, transparency in the voting process and vote tabulation. Georgia’s final bill was one of the first election reform bills passed after the election and was used as a model for similar bills in many other states.