Gold Dome Update 

Highlights from the House 

Week Ten

Monday, March 13 brought the 10th week of the 2023 legislative session. Following our Crossover Day, we have set our focus towards reviewing Senate legislation, now under consideration in the House. In addition to reviewing senate bills, the last days of session will be an ongoing to effort to ensure our legislative agenda passes the senate floor and reaches Governor Kemp for final consideration. 

Last week brought the passage of Senate Bill 3, also known as the “Reducing Barriers to State Employment Act of 2023.” This bill aims to attract more prospective state employees with varying educational and professional backgrounds. The bill removes certain requirements for state employment and reduces red tape for individuals to obtain a state government job. While the bill does not eliminate education requirements for state jobs, it would specifically work to reduce the number of job postings that require a four-year college degree as a condition of employment.

Our efforts to improve infant and maternal health outcomes continue through the passage of Senate Bill 46. If signed into law, the bill would expand prenatal syphilis and HIV testing to be administered throughout a pregnancy, not exclusively following birth. Sadly, pregnant mothers can pass syphilis and HIV to their unborn babies, which can cause serious complications if left untreated. This bill would ensure that providers across the state give pregnant mothers this optional testing at earlier stages of their pregnancy to protect their own health and the health of their baby.

Our efforts to protect our senior citizen community from financial exploitation continues through the passage of Senate Bill 84. This bill would require financial advisors or supervisors to notify the Secretary of State’s Office if they suspect a person over 65 years of age, suffering with mental or physical incapacitation, is being financially exploited. The advisor could also inform a victim’s designated contact if the person is not considered a suspect. Further, the investment advisor has the right delay/deny suspicious disbursement requests, while investigating the activity. Upon discovery, advisors have the option to report these findings to the state, within a certain period.

Georgia’s budding young entrepreneurs can now legally pursue their small business dreams as children will be allowed to set up lemonade stands in their neighborhoods without a permit. Senate Bill 55 would allow children to sell non-consumable goods, pre-packaged food items and non-alcoholic beverages, such as lemonade, without requiring permits, licenses or incurring taxes if the annual revenue is less than $5,000.

We are pleased to report that Governor Brian Kemp signed House Bill 18, the Amended Fiscal Year 2023 (AFY 2023) budget. Set at a revenue estimate of $32.56 billion, this amended budget includes many of our priorities to support economic development projects, public safety initiatives, as well as recruitment and retention efforts to benefit our public workforce. HB 18 immediately went into effect upon the governor’s signature and will direct our state spending through June 30, 2023.

Georgia taxpayers will find relief as Governor Kemp also signed House Bill 162 and House Bill 311 into law. HB 162 will provide a one-time income tax refund to those who filed returns for both the 2021 and 2022 tax years. Individual tax filers could receive a maximum refund of $250, and married individuals who file jointly could receive a maximum refund of $500. House Bill 311 will give local governments the option of a temporary tax relief for property damage incurred by a natural disaster. An assessment of the damage would be required before being eligible for the tax relief, and local governments would not be required to implement this temporary tax relief.

Last week, we also took a moment to remember our former colleague, House Speaker, David Ralston. It was an honor to have Speaker Ralston’s family join us on the House floor as we remembered him on what would have been his 69th birthday. As the longest-serving active speaker of any state house in the nation, Speaker Ralston was a steadfast champion for job creation and economic development, especially for our rural communities. He also cared deeply about improving the health and wellbeing of Georgians and led the fight for historic reforms to address mental health care, maternal mortality, and adoption procedures. There is no doubt that Speaker Ralston’s legacy will live on through his leadership, resulting in a better Georgia for all. 

Be on the lookout for future updates from under the Gold Dome. As your voice within the General Assembly, it is extremely important to hear from you on issues of concern. As always, thank you for allowing us the honor of serving our home as we continue our efforts in bringing about simple, smart & effective government. God bless you and God bless the great state of Georgia. 


Shaw Blackmon

Representative of Georgia's 146th House District


Representative Shaw Blackmon

District 146


Phone: 404-463-7583

Address: 133 State Capitol

Atlanta, Georgia 30334