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Published on March 04, 2024
Georgia Senate Tackles Swatting and Foreign Land Ownership Amid Intense Crossover Day Legislative RushSource: Google Street View

The Georgia State Senate hit a significant legislative deadline with the completion of "Crossover Day" on February 29, a frenetic session deadline which required Senate bills to cross over to the House chamber, and vice versa. As reported by Senate Press, Republicans touted their success in passing every caucus priority into the House, further highlighted by a string of late-night legislative approvals last Thursday.

High on the agenda was the unanimous Senate approval for Senate Bill 421, which seeks to impose tougher penalties for swatting, a false public alarm that has been previously underestimated, now recognized as a serious and punishable offense. According to Senate Press, this bipartisan measure is set to bring swatters to full accountability. Additionally, the Senate's stance on foreign threats involved backing Senate Bill 420, which restricts certain foreign individuals and entities from owning land near military installations or key agricultural areas—a strategy to insulate the state from potential external threats.

The legislative sprint extended its reach to educational fronts as well. Sen. Walker championed Senate Bill 390, which crossed over along with other bills. This bill is set to obstruct the use of public funds by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia and certain other libraries for services from the American Library Association, headquartered in Chicago—a move that, as stated by Senate Press, will shield local libraries from this organization's "radically liberal" influence.

The week kicked off on a tragic note with the death of Laken Riley, a 22-year-old nursing student whose story underscored the broader debate around immigration policy. The supposed failure of federal immigration measures became the backdrop against which Senate Republicans, amongst them Walker, pledged to combat, to realize a safer state—a commitment that targets the current administration's handling of immigration and its repercussions within Georgia's borders. Riley's case, involving an illegal immigrant, spurred a collective state-level effort to secure Georgia against what is perceived as the fallout from a porous national border policy.