Winners, Losers from This Year’s Legislative Session

As we began 2020, lawmakers had high hopes for the regular session. The economy was booming, state revenue was up and there was even talk of a cool billion dollars from the Poarch Band of Creek Indians in return for a statewide gambling concession.

COVID-19, of course, changed all that. Lawmakers interrupted the regular session in March to return home amid pandemic concerns. They returned May 4 with a limited agenda and social distancing in the first week of May to complete the state’s two major budgets. House Speaker Mac McCutcheon has predicted they’ll be back for a special session on prison issues and perhaps other things.


  • Students, who should benefit from a $1.25 billion bond issue to bankroll capital projects for public K-12 schools, two-year colleges and universities. Each K-12 system should get at least $400,000.
  • Science lovers, who witnessed the Legislature’s attempt to put “checks and balances” on the authority of the state health officer when it comes to ordering closures. Many said such a bill would have put politics over science in health emergencies.


  • Teachers and state employees, who saw potential raises disappear when Covid-19 sucked the wind out of state revenue.
  • State prisoners, who will continue to be held in institutions so awful that they amount to cruel and unusual punishment.
  • Municipalities, who saw their option to implement new occupational taxes without state approval disappear. Montgomery is trying to levy such a tax.
  • Gambling, which saw no floor votes in either the Poarch Band of Creek Indians proposal for casinos or the Legislature’s annual lottery consideration.
  • Patients, who will have to wait a while longer for the Legislature to take up the question of legalizing medical marijuana.

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