The Georgia legislature wrapped up the 2017 legislative session in the wee hours of Friday morning leaving the dust to settle on the nearly 400 votes cast. Where does that leave State Representative Butch Parrish, who represents Candler, Emanuel and a portion of Bulloch counties, with regard to voting measures?
At a 98.3% passage rate, Parrish was at the bottom of the list of those voting NO, often voting with the majority in favor of legislation that came to the House floor. Parrish voted NO 7 of 391 times over the last three months. A total of 431 votes were cast, though 40 were for attendance.
A few of the measures Parrish, who was elected in 1984, voted in favor of:
- House Bill 125 which gives a tax credit to anyone who has their yacht repaired in Georgia if the repairs are over $500,000
- House Bill 202 which increases the salary of the Governor to $175,000 annually
- House Bill 208 which increases hunting and fishing licensing fees
- House Bill 452 which was amended in the Senate during the final hours of the session. The bill allows for persons to be arrested and charged with domestic terrorism, though the language angered First Amendment activists who say the bill could target protesters – peaceful and otherwise – and the federal government already had such laws in place.
- House Bill 338 which is Governor Deal’s replacement bill for the failed Opportunity School District Amendment that flopped in November. The bill allows for takeovers for what the state deems as “failing schools.”
- House Bill 37 that suspends any funding from private universities in Georgia if they allow sanctuary safe havens for illegal immigrants on campus
- House Bill 199 which grants tax credits to persons/companies that invest in the entertainment industry
- House Bill 264 which doubles the state bond amount for the Georgia World Congress Center from $200 million to $400 million
- Senate Bill 193, known as the “Friends with Benefits Bill,” which allows patients diagnosed with venereal diseases like chlamydia and gonorrhea to obtain an extra antibiotic prescription for their sexual partner or partners.
- Senate Bill 70 which extends the Hospital Bed Tax for an additional 3 years
- Senate Bill 183 that allows state dollars to back bonds issued to private developers of the State Road and Tollway Authority
- House Bill 246 to repeal the 2019 sunset provision of the mandatory fitness evaluations in public schools
- House Bill 419 to change restrictions on fireworks, amending code section from the original passage
- House Bill 225 which adds a sales tax to rideshare purchases like Uber and Lyft as well as any other transaction which originates online — food delivery, Air B&B, etc.
- House Bill 142 which would have assessed late fees on businesses that do not provide employees with necessary tax paperwork in a timely manner [bill stalled in Senate]
Parrish voted against:
- House Bill 239 which would require continuing education for low-voltage contractors
- House Bill 280 – the campus carry legislation to allow lawful Weapons Carry Permit holders over the age of 21 to carry a concealed firearm on public university campuses (VOTED NO ON HB 280 TWICE)
- House Bill 353 relating to regulation of title pawnbrokers
- Senate Bill 201 which dictates that business owners must allow employees to use paid leave time to care for family members, despite company policy, if the employer already provides sick leave
- Senate Bill 152 which limits the number of semesters a student can be assigned to an alternative school (maximum 2 semesters) (VOTED NO ON SB 152 TWICE)
Parrish sponsored HB 130, which changed members of the Emanuel County Development Authority, HB 254, which makes Emanuel County Board of Education seats nonpartisan, and HB 551, which dissolves the Candler County Board of Elections.
Butch Parrish is chairman of a House Appropriations subcommittee and a member of the Banks & Banking, Economic Development & Tourism, and Rules committees. He reported $75,084.29 cash on hand in his campaign bank account. He is up for re-election in 2018.