Georgia’s 2017 legislative session doesn’t officially kick off until January 9th, but some legislators have already been hard at work pre-filing bills.  Often pre-filing is used to ‘feel out’ public opinion on a topic, the bill itself is only an early version of an idea that needs more refinement.  Other times it’s a way for legislators to get a jump on an issue that they hope to push through over the upcoming months.  Let’s take a look at some of the 12 pieces of legislation that have already been introduced in preparation for January’s session.

Rep. Jason Spencer (R) found his name in headlines when he pre-filed HB3, which added on to the state’s pre-existing anti-mask law which prohibits individuals from covering their faces in public.  Additional language in the bill added a ‘she’ to, “a person is guilty of a misdemeanor when he or she wears a mask, hood …” and also made it illegal to cover one’s face while driving or in a driver’s license photo.  The bill was met with quick and intense backlash by those saying that it discriminated against Muslim women, many of whom wear hijabs, niqabs, or burqas in public, all of which cover the face.  Following a media blow-up that went national, Spencer withdrew the bill, despite arguing that it, “does not contain language that specifically targets any group”. 

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