The Representative Rundown: Updates from the State Capitol

An update from Georgia Rep. Bruce Williamson, 112th House District

We are now through Day 27 of the legislative session. Tomorrow is Crossover Day—the day in which all legislation must be passed out of its original chamber to be considered and enacted into law—so we will be working late in order to get as much passed as possible. Please read below for some updates on bills that recently passed out of the chamber over the previous week:

HB986: This legislation addresses election interference via artificial intelligence, specifically deep fake technology used to deceive voters. Known colloquially as the “AI Transparency Protection Act,” this bill introduces felony offenses for both the creation of and solicitation of deep fake content through AI-generated campaign advertisements. “Deep-fake” refers to a video recording, sound recording, electronic image or photograph, or video/sound file that is created through technological means that does not depict a person’s speech or conduct that occurred in reality. If found guilty of committing this offense, the individual is subject to imprisonment between one and five years and a fine of up to $50,000. This bill does not outlaw the use of AI in campaigns, but if AI is used, it must be properly disclosed to the public. This bill advances the security of our elections and is now headed to the Senate to be voted on.

HB1001: We also passed HB1001 last week. This bill provides an alternative for individuals who are pulled over in a traffic stop. Under current law, you must present your physical Georgia driver’s license to the officer. However, with this law, individuals can present their mobile Georgia driver’s license on a wireless telecommunication device instead of having to present their physically printed-out Georgia license. This bill is now headed to the Senate to be voted on before it is enacted into law.

HB993: This bill introduces new criminal penalties for individuals who knowingly and intentionally groom minors and use electronic means to coerce them into committing sexual offenses or acts of human tracking. If convicted of this crime, perpetrators would face felony imprisonment ranging from one to five years and could be charged whether they committed the crime within the state or not if it involves a minor who lives in Georgia. This bill passed unanimously and provides another measure to combat human tracking in Georgia.

Visitors at the Capitol

We had a couple of constituents stop by the Capitol this week. It is always a pleasure to have visitors from home. Please read below to see who came by.

Erin Spiers came by and visited with me and fellow Walton County Representative, Rey Martinez. Erin serves as the secretary of the Walton County Republican Party and has been a loyal constituent and public servant, always advocating for the best interests of Walton County citizens. It was great to meet with her here at the Capitol.

Ashlyn McGarity is a local student in Walton County that got to serve as my page last week during one of the legislative days. Ashlyn had the opportunity to watch the daily proceedings of the Capitol and to assist in legislative tasks alongside students from all around the state.

Every session, students aged 12-18 can apply to the Page program through their representative’s office. If selected to participate in the program, pages come to the Capitol for a legislative day and have the opportunity to watch the session, assist members with work on the House floor, and get a photo with the Speaker of the House. This program has provided students interested in government and politics with a way to get involved. If you would like additional information about this program, click here.

If you have a group that would like to visit the Capitol, please reach out to our office ahead of time so we can ensure it is a smooth visit. We are always excited to welcome individuals from home to the Capitol.

Fun Facts from the Capitol

When one thinks about the most important governors in Georgia history, their minds go to Jimmy Carter, Zell Miller, among others. However, many don’t know about Governor William Yates Atkinson. His legacy can be felt even today.

In 1897 a UGA football player died from a concussion sustained during a game, and the General Assembly voted to completely ban football from being played at all state schools. The player’s mother requested that football not be banned so as to not take away the “most cherished object of his life.” Governor Atkinson refused to sign the bill, and because of him, we still have football today.

As always, if we can ever be of any assistance, please call our office and we will do our best to accommodate you. Thank you for allowing me to serve as your state representative.

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