The GOP War on Unions Uteri Everything, Georgia Edition

[Content note: This post contains discussion of anti-union measures, infringements on reproductive rights, anti-immigrant legislation, anti-poor legislation, and drug testing.]

Is Georgia jealous of Indiana getting all the attention from Liss for being a "conservative legislation lab"? Looks like it. Because in the last few days, the Georgia Senate skipped building a bridge and constructed a freaking transporter to the 19th century.

So suck it, Hoosier State! Georgia is catching up in the GOP War on...

Unions: SB 469 limits "mass picketing outside private residences and fine[s] individuals $1,000 a day -- and organizations as much as $10,000 as day -- if they ignore court orders to stop their protests." This bill, clear retaliation for February protests outside AT&T HQ, makes many non-violent protests a felony. Way to celebrate MLK's birthplace, Georgia GOP! Not surprisingly, Martin Luther King III protested the bill, noting that the measure would have criminalized the entire civil rights movement.

Uteri: Female Senators walked out in protest over two bills restricting reproductive health access. SB 438 prevents the insurance plans for state employees from covering abortion. SB 460 exempts religiously-affiliated employers from covering contraception--despite the fact that a 1999 Georgia law already mandates contraception coverage. I especially love (hint: I do NOT love) that this combination of bills manages to hit uteri-bearers who are public AND private sector employees! Way to cover all the bases, GOP!

Unemployed and Low-Income People: If you need public assistance, there's nothing like a little mandatory drug testing to help you get back on your feet, says the GOP. Georgia's Senate voted last week to follow Florida in requiring TANF applicants to pay for their own drug tests; if they pass, recipients will be reimbursed, but if they fail, they will be ineligible for benefits. This bill was joined this week by another that mandates "personal growth" activities for those who receive public assistance. Apparently, in a state with a 9.2 % unemployment rate, mandatory "self-development" classes are all that's needed to get people off of public assistance. Because education is great! Unless, of course, you are one of those...

Undocumented Immigrants: SB 458 bars undocumented immigrants from attending Georgia's 60 public colleges and universities. As if that wasn't neat enough:
Monday's 34-19 vote makes SB 458 the biggest measure concerning illegal immigration to advance in this legislative session. It follows up on House Bill 87, a sweeping piece of legislation that Gov. Nathan Deal signed into law last year and is considered one of the toughest laws passed by a state legislature in recent years targeting illegal immigration. Parts of that law are now being reviewed by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Whoooops your legal problems! I eagerly await the GOP's defense of these crappy laws as "job bills," since they create so many opportunities for lawyers.

These bills will now go to the GOP-dominated House for consideration. If you are a Georgia resident and wish to contact your Representative, you can find hir here. A public protest specifically concerning women's health issues called "Walk In My Shoes" will be held Monday; if this is of interest to you, details can be found here. Feel free to leave information about other protests, including social media campaigns, in comments.

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