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Sen. Ben Watson: Senate passes SB 233 to fund school choice
Ben Watson
Sen. Ben Watson

Sen. Ben Watson

Guest columnist

The Georgia General Assembly session for 2023 is coming to an end as we have completed 31 days of the 40-day session. We are scheduled to adjourn Sine Die on March 29. We have received the Fiscal Year 2024 Budget from the House of Representatives, also known as House Bill 19. The Senate will now offer changes to the budget as we see fit. Upon passage and signature of the Governor, the budget is scheduled go into effect on July 1 and is set at a revenue estimate of $32.4 billion.

During the final nine days of the session there will be several issues of major concern for many Georgians including Senate Bill 233, the Georgia Promise Scholarship. We believe students should not be trapped in underperforming schools. Georgia Promise Scholarships will allow parents to use state education funding of $6,000 towards the school of their choice. Senate Republicans provided this lifeline for students and now we need the House to follow through.

We also believe that Senate Bill 63 expands the list of serious offenses for which bail or surety is required, as well as require bail for many repeat offenders. This is legislation that will strengthen the process of bail bonds and will help make Georgians safer.

We passed Senate Bill 92 to provide oversight for prosecuting district attorneys, to ensure that district attorneys are prosecuting those who commit crimes, as intended. S.B. 92 creates an oversight commission for prosecutors, similar to judges. Most police are doing their job well throughout the state, but when criminals are right back on the streets due to lack of prosecution, it is dangerous and disheartening.

Senate Bill 140 has passed to put an end to gender reassignment surgeries for minors. With the massive increase in gender dysphoria diagnoses, Senate Republicans protected minors from irreversible surgeries & treatments. This allows for counseling & maturing before permanent physical damage occurs.

This is becoming a serious issue that in many cases has non-reversing consequences.

Finally, Senate Bill. 132 would stop communist China from making strategic land purchases within 25 miles of a U.S. military base. Many of us have read troubling reports of this occurring elsewhere, particularly regarding South Dakota, where the Chinese government bought farming land near one of our U.S. military bases that fly our nuclear bombers.

As we progress through the session, I will keep you updated on legislation.

Thank you for your continued interest in the General Assembly session. As your public servant, feel free to visit me at the Capitol or to reach out to me by phone or email. I am in 325-A Coverdell Legislative Office Building. My office phone number is (404) 656-7880, and my email is I look forward to continuing to serve you.

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