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Local News

‘Lawmakers’: Legislators tackle child tax deduction, school district maps on Day 8


Sarah Kallis, GPB News

Republicans and Democrats gave press conferences on Day 8 to address some of their top priorities this session.

Speaker of the House Jon Burns announced major tax legislation aimed at helping Georgians’ pocketbooks.

One of the new bills he proposed increases the child tax deduction from $3,000 to $4,000.

Another would double the homestead tax exemption from $2,000 to $4,000. Burns said he hopes the increase will make it easier for Georgians to become homeowners.

A third bill would remove the cap on revenue shortfall reserves. Burns said Gov. Brian Kemp requested the legislation.

And a final bill would affirm Kemp’s proposed state income tax cut. The new flat rate tax would be 5.39 percent, down from 5.49.

Democrats also held a press conference to push for a committee hearing on legislation for reproductive rights. Democrats filed bills in both the House and the Senate. In both chambers, the bills were assigned to Republican-led committees and have not received a hearing.

In the House, Rep. Katie Dempsey (R-Rome) unveiled a new mental health crisis hotline promotion, featuring a familiar face from around the Capitol, first lady Marty Kemp.

In the Senate, Cobb county’s embattled school district map was debated when Senate Bill 338, featuring a new Republican-drawn map, was brought to the floor.

The district map has been in litigation for the past two years, after the first map was challenged by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the ACLU, and residents, with claims of “packing” people of color into three districts.   

Fighting between the Cobb County Board of Education and the Cobb Board of Commissioners further complicated the issue.  

But a recent federal court decision ordered the Legislature to draw a new map. 

Sens. Ed Setlzer (R-Acworth) and Jason Esteves (D-Atlanta) represented their sides of the issue before the bill passed 32 to 19 along party lines.   

On Day 8, Sen. Ed Setzler (R-Acworth) introduced SB 338, a bill that would create a new Cobb County School District map. The previous was litigated in court for two years. Democrats objected to the bill, saying that it still disenfranchises Black and Hispanic voters.

Finally, today a group of younger lawmakers, calling themselves the ‘Future Caucus’ –– made up of legislators under age 45— said they will work in a more bipartisan fashion on issues that affect their generations.

Join host Donna Lowry and capitol reporter Sarah Kallis at 7 p.m. on GPB-TV for the 54th season of GPB’s Lawmakers

This story comes to Cobb News through a reporting partnership with GPB News, a non-profit newsroom covering the state of Georgia.