How did Athens’ state representatives vote?
• Red rows indicate a bill sponsored by Republicans only.
• Purple rows indicate a bill with sponsors from both parties.
• Votes (yes or no) colored red indicate that most people who voted that way were Republicans, with few or no Democrats voting with them.
• Votes colored blue indicate that most people who voted that way were Democrats, with few or no Republicans voting with them.
• Votes colored purple indicate that many members from both parties voted that way.
Thumbs up means APN supports the bill.
Thumbs down means APN opposes the bill.
Athens’ legislative delegation
State House District 117 – Houston Gaines (R)
State House District 118 – Spencer Frye (D)
State House District 119 – Marcus Wiedower (R)
State Senate District 46 – Bill Cowsert (R)
State Senate District 47 – Frank Ginn (R)
A closer look: 2021 legislation in Georgia
The Georgia legislature has failed to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act for yet another year. Legislators, if they reference this failure at all, give the excuse that so doing would negatively impact the state’s budget, even though the cost in many states has been much lower than expected and in some has even been a net positive. Furthermore, the Biden administration has been providing additional incentives for holdout states to expand Medicaid.
Low-Income Property Tax Freeze
Last year, Commissioner Tim Denson asked the state legislature to provide low-income Athenians with some tax relief by allowing a low-income property tax freeze. This year, our local legislative delegation started to act on this request through HB 797. The bill even passed the house, with Gaines and Wiedower voting yes and Frye voting no.
You might be asking yourself, why did Representative Frye vote no?
There was a catch — the bill also greatly increased Athens’ homestead exemption and would have drained the local government of badly-needed revenue. The bill was also opposed by Mayor Kelly Girtz, whose dissent may have been instrumental in stopping the measure in the Senate. Gaines and Wiedower could have removed the offending provision and allowed a vote solely on the tax freeze itself, but they declined.
Well, there’s always next year.