First Fruits - Pro-Life Legislative Update January 16, 2016

Mike Griffin, Joshua Edmonds, Julie Pawlik, and Johnny Crist

First Fruits - Legislative Days 1-5

Georgia Right to Life has had a consistent full-time presence at the Capitol for decades. This team of activists works to lobby for pro-life legislation and helps influence their passage as well as against pro-death legislation that would turn Georgia backward in our pursuit to create a culture of life. In 2016, our lobbyists are myself, Joshua Edmonds, Director of Education & Legislation, and Johnny Crist, Mayor of Lilburn and our Government Affairs Administrator. 
For the last 8 years, Mike Griffin has served as our lobbyist. This year, he has followed his heart to serve full time for the Georgia Baptist Missions Board and we thank him for his many years of dedication. We have a robust legislative agenda that we are working to pass this year. Each week, we will pen a pro-life legislative update so you know what we have been up to, how we are representing you, and how you can be involved to help pass pro-life legislation in Georgia.
The Bullet Points
  • Week 1 of the 2016 legislative session was a complete success.
  • HB 713 was formally introduced and conferred to the Juvenile Justice committee and will have a hearing soon.
  • The Personhood Amendment will be introduced next week.
  • We spent time working on a very important bill that should be introduced next week.
  • Be on the lookout for action alerts to call committee members and ask for yes votes and hearings.
  • Be sure to come to the Georgia March for Life on Friday, January 22.
  • Be sure to come to the Pro-Life Lobby Day at the Capitol on January 26.
The Details
Johnny and I spent much of this week in meetings with legislators from both chambers on ideas for new legislation, refining goals and language of legislation, and building relationships with key members of the legislature. Our good friends Julie Pawlik and Sarah Hughes both came down to the Capitol this week to provide invaluable assistance.
The biggest note of the week is that HB 713, the legislation dealing with the termination of rapists' parental rights authored by Representative Brad Raffensperger, was formally introduced and conferred to the Juvenile Justice committee. This is a very important, pro-life committee that works tirelessly to protect innocent and vulnerable children in our state; the perfect committee to handle this bill. We spoke with the Chairman of the committee, Representative Tom Weldon, and he assured us that our bill would receive a hearing. Be sure to watch for an email alert in the coming week or two asking you to call the committee members and request they vote yes to protect women and children from violent sexual offenders.
The Personhood Amendment received a long list of signatures this week and will be formally filed next week in the House by Representative Brad Raffensperger. This amendment is our flagship piece of legislation and the ultimate policy objective of GRTL. It would require 2/3 majority votes in both chambers to pass and we craft all of our legislation to match the philosophy behind the amendment. Watch for alerts next week when it goes public.
We had another very important meeting on Wednesday about a key piece of legislation that GRTL has been working on since last year. It took form and has turned out to be a much more aggressive piece of legislation than we planned, but it will address a critical loophole in Georgia law regarding protection of innocent persons. This bill should be introduced next week; be sure to be on the lookout for an email alert.
There will be a portion of our Georgia March for Life on Friday, January 22, where we recognize our pro-life legislators who stand with us on a daily basis and help make our pro-life legislation happen. It is good to be able to see and meet them in person. We will also announce more of our legislative agenda so you know what we are working on at the Capitol.
You will have a chance to directly influence the passage of all of this pro-life legislation with your elected officials on January 26th. We will host our Pro-Life Lobby Day at the Capitol from 10a-1p. We'll meet in room 122 of the Capitol for lobbyist training and to hear from some of the most influential pro-life legislators in Georgia, then take a tour of the Capitol and engage your legislators, followed by lunch. This is the best opportunity to meet your elected officials and influence their perspective on pro-life legislation. We hope you'll join us!
That's all for this week. If you have any questions, email Joshua or Johnny at!
Joshua & Johnny