Legislative Updates

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March 24, 2024

My House colleagues and I returned to the Gold Dome on Monday, March 18, 2024, to begin the eleventh week of the 2024 Legislative Session. This week, we convened in the House Chamber for three legislative days and continued to give passage to a number of Senate bills. There are now only two legislative days remaining in the session until we reach Sine Die on Thursday, March 28, 2024. These final legislative days are among the busiest days of the entire session as we finalize our legislative business for the year before the Sine Die deadline.

March 17, 2024

The House of Representatives got back to work on Monday, March 11 for the tenth week of the 2024 legislative session. Throughout the week, our focus remained on advancing pending Senate bills, with our committees convening frequently to review and refine proposed legislation from our Senate colleagues. With Sine Die approaching on March 28, 2024, there is growing anticipation as we near the conclusion of this session, marking the end of months of dedicated legislative work and decision making on behalf of the citizens of this state.

March 10, 2024

Following an eventful eighth week of session, during which we passed 72 bills on “Crossover Day” alone, the House got back to work on Monday, March 4 for another productive week under the Gold Dome. In the ninth week, our attention shifted to reviewing and voting on Senate Bills following the “Crossover Day” deadline last week. We also continued making progress by passing the House’s version of the Fiscal Year 2025 budget to send to our counterparts in the Senate. As we move forward in the final days of session, our work is more crucial than ever as we perfect legislation and ensure that the legislation we send to the governor reflects the best interests of our citizens.

March 3, 2024

The House kicked-off the eighth week of the 2024 legislative session on Monday, February 26 as my colleagues and I gathered in the House chamber for three long days of legislative work. The House also dedicated an entire day of work in our committees so that bills could have a chance to pass out of committee and make it to the House floor for a vote. Thursday was especially important as it marked Legislative Day 28, or "Crossover Day," the deadline for bills and resolutions to pass from their originating chamber to remain eligible for final consideration by Legislative Day 40, or "Sine Die." On Crossover Day alone, the House passed 72 bills. We worked long hours this week working late into the night as we tackled a range of pressing issues for the citizens of our great state.

February 25, 2024

On Tuesday, February 20, my House colleagues and I reconvened for another productive week of the 2024 legislative session. During week seven of the session, we met in the House Chamber for three days and continued to do the people’s business by voting on key legislation that aims to better the lives of Georgians. It was a short but packed week as we continued to prepare for the “Crossover Day” deadline on February 29, which is the last day that legislation can be passed out of its chamber of origin and remain eligible to be signed into law this year. With that in mind, we continued to make significant progress this week by voting on legislation to enhance public safety, behavioral healthcare and education in Georgia.

February 18, 2024

The Georgia House of Representatives kicked off the sixth week of the 2024 legislative session on Monday, February 12. We convened in the House Chamber for four days and made significant progress as we passed 34 bills and resolutions by the end of the week to send to our Senate counterparts. By Tuesday, we reached Legislative Day 20, which means we are now more than halfway through our 40-day session. With “Crossover Day” looming on Legislative Day 28, we are focused on perfecting legislation for consideration and advancing notable measures on the House floor.

February 11, 2024

The Georgia General Assembly returned to the State Capitol on Tuesday, February 6 for a busy fifth week of the 2024 legislative session. The House assembled for four days, and our days are certainly getting longer and busier as we move further along in the session. This week, we successfully gave passage to several bills and also continued our committee work each day. Some highlights of the week include the passage of the House’s version of the Amended Fiscal Year 2024 budget (AFY 2024), among other bills, as well as the convening of a joint legislative session for the annual State of the Judiciary address.

February 4, 2024

On Monday, January 29, the Georgia General Assembly reconvened at the State Capitol for the fourth week of the 2024 legislative session. This week, the House convened for four days and reached Legislative Day 14 by the end of our week, which means we are now more than a quarter of the way through the legislative session. Perhaps the most significant news this week came on Tuesday morning when my colleagues and I learned the heartbreaking news that we had lost one of our own, a dedicated statesman, the honorable House Rules Chairman, Richard Smith (R-Columbus). While we mourned the loss of our friend and colleague, we continued our legislative work as Chairman Smith would have wanted and gave passage to several bills this week and also saw Governor Kemp sign one of the first bills into law from this session.

January 28, 2024

The Georgia House of Representatives returned to the Gold Dome for the third week of the 2024 legislative session on Monday, January 22. It was an action-packed week as the House Rules Committee held its first meeting, we voted on our first set of bills of the session, and several House committees held meetings. As we are now in the second session of the 157th Georgia General Assembly, or the second year of the biennial, any bills that did not receive passage during the 2023 legislative session are still eligible for consideration. As such, we also gave final passage this week to an important measure that carried over from last session. House Bill 30 addresses antisemitism in our state and would add antisemitism as a category covered by our hate crimes law. Under HB 30, the internationally recognized definition of “antisemitism,” as adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), would become part of state law. The final passage of this bill is a victory for our friends in the Jewish community and was especially timely given the rise in antisemitic acts in our state and across the country. I was proud to vote in favor of this legislation and proud of the House for leading on this vital effort. HB 30 now heads to Governor Kemp’s desk to be signed into law.

January 21, 2024

On Tuesday, January 16, my legislative colleagues and I returned to the State Capitol to begin “budget week.” Each year, the Georgia General Assembly is tasked with one constitutional obligation which is to pass a balanced budget, and, as such, the second week of the legislative session is historically devoted to joint House and Senate Appropriations Committee hearings to begin the state budget process. To kick-off budget week, Governor Brian Kemp presented his formal recommendations to the joint committee for the current and upcoming fiscal year budgets, and the governor’s proposal will ultimately be incorporated into legislation that will guide how our state allocates its spending.

January 14, 2024

The 157th Georgia General Assembly convened for the 2024 legislative session on Monday, January 8, 2024. This marked the start of the second year of our biennial General Assembly. With only 40 legislative days to accomplish the people’s business, my colleagues and I did not waste any time at the State Capitol this week. In addition to convening in the House Chamber each day this week, our House committees also began holding meetings to consider legislation that carried over from the 2023 legislative session as well as new legislation that has been introduced. Also this week, many of my colleagues and I attended the Georgia Chamber’s annual Eggs & Issues legislative event, and Governor Brian Kemp presented his annual State of the State address before a joint session of the House and Senate. We ended the week by picking up our copies of The Governor's Budget Report to study over the weekend. On Tuesday, January 16 we will begin Budget Week and hear from the governor and all the agency heads as we begin the process of setting our state's budget.

March 27, 2023

On Monday, March 20, the Georgia House of Representatives reconvened under the Gold Dome for our last full week of the 2023 legislative session. The end of session is quickly approaching, and we will reach Legislative Day 40, also known as “Sine Die,” on March 29. While some might assume that our official business is winding down in these final days, we have actually ramped up our House efforts to perfect and pass legislation before the legislative session comes to an end next week.

March 21, 2023

The Georgia General Assembly reconvened for the 10th week of the 2023 legislative session on Monday, March 13. During these final days of session, my colleagues and I have turned our focus toward reviewing Senate legislation that passed before the Crossover Day deadline. As such, we were extremely busy considering Senate bills in our respective House committees, and we passed a number of these bills on the House floor this week.

March 19, 2023

The Georgia House of Representatives reconvened for the ninth week of session and Legislative Day 28, otherwise known as Crossover Day, on Monday, March 6, 2023. Crossover Day is a crucial deadline for the House and Senate as this is the last day for bills to pass out of their chamber of origin in order to remain eligible for consideration this session, and as a result, the House took up legislation well into the night to send to our Senate counterparts.

March 6, 2023

We passed legislation that would allow the state to return up to $1 billion in undesignated income tax revenue back into the pockets of Georgia taxpayers for a second year in a row. Similar to legislation from last year and proposed by Governor Brian Kemp, House Bill 162 would provide a one-time tax refund through the Amended Fiscal Year 2023 budget to every eligible taxpayer for the 2022 tax year. The one-time tax refunds would range from $250 for single filers, $375 for head-of-household filers and $500 for married couples filing jointly. Georgians will surely benefit from these extra state funds, and I look forward to examining other ways we can support families and individuals for the long run.

February 22, 2023

Last week, we reached Legislative Day 20, marking the halfway point of the session. We only have 20 legislative days left to complete our business, and the “Crossover Day” deadline is rapidly approaching.

February 14, 2023

Protecting Critical Infrastructure

The Georgia House of Representatives kicked off the fifth week of the 2023 legislative session on Monday, February 6, and the pace is picking up!

My colleagues and I overwhelmingly passed bipartisan legislation last week to protect our critical infrastructure overseen by the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA), including the Port of Savannah. House Bill 35 would give the GPA’s security employees the ability to preserve and protect its properties, projects, and certain areas surrounding its coastal campuses. Specifically, GPA security personnel and peace officers would have the authority to investigate criminal incidents and handle traffic offenses within one mile of their properties, including making arrests and controlling and investigating pedestrian and motor vehicle accidents. This legislation would also support the surrounding communities by allowing local law enforcement to dedicate fewer resources to this state authority’s operations and easing some of the burden on local law enforcement that comes with having such a successful port system along our coast. Local municipalities impacted by the port system have also expressed their support for HB 35, and this legislation has been sent to the Senate for its consideration. You can read it



February 7, 2023

Each session, the Georgia General Assembly is constitutionally required to pass a balanced state budget, and on Thursday, we passed House Bill 18, or the Amended Fiscal Year (AFY) 2023 budget. Due to revenue collections being higher than expected, the AFY 2023 budget recognizes approximately $2.36 billion in additional revenue, or 7.8 percent more than the initial FY 2023 budget, and brings the total appropriation for the AFY 2023 budget to $32.56 billion. Below are some highlights from the AFY2023 budget. You can find the full AFY2023 budget

January 24, 2023

During the second week of the legislative session, the Appropriations Committee met for Budget Week hearings. We began the evaluation process of the Amended 2023 FY and the 2024 FY budgets. We heard from all the heads of the state agencies and read Governor Kemp's budget document outlining his priorities for Georgia's $32 billion budget. Among the governor's priorities are educating Georgia's children, improving healthcare access and affordability, and keeping Georgian's safe. You can read the entire budget document
here. Over the next few weeks, the Appropriations subcommittees will delve into this budget and determine the best way to put your tax dollars to work to improve the lives of all Georgia's citizens.

JANUARY 17, 2023

On Monday, January 9, 2023, the Georgia General Assembly convened for the first day of the 157th Legislative Session. We had the honor of being sworn in by Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael Boggs. Our first order of business was to elect a Speaker of the House and Speaker Pro Tempore who will guide our chamber over the next two years, and we also voted on legislation (SR 6) that sets our legislative calendar for this session.

JANUARY 9, 2023

I’m excited to serve the people of Georgia - and most especially my neighbors in House District 147. For the next three to four months, I’ll be spending much of my time in Atlanta and away from my home and family as I work to make decisions about how to best protect the prosperity of our state. There is a lot of work to be done.

Georgia House District 147

About Bethany

Bethany and her husband, Mike, chose to make Warner Robins their home over a decade ago when he was transferred to Robins Air Force Base. She received a BA in English Literature from the University of North Carolina and an MA in English from the University of Central Arkansas. Before becoming active in politics, she taught high school English at her husband’s various duty stations.

Bethany and her husband Mike were married in 1996 and have two children, Braden and Preston, who attend Houston County Public Schools. They attend Perry United Methodist Church and are all active in the various ministries of the church. Bethany is the Acolyte Coordinator and serves on the church’s scholarship committee.

Bethany Ballard for State House

2929 Watson Blvd, Suite 2, Box 208

Warner Robins, GA 31093


18 Capitol Square SW

612 -C Coverdell Legislative Office Building

Atlanta, GA 30334