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Georgia State Conference

2023 NAACP Legislative Agenda

The Georgia State Conference NAACP is committed towards working for All of the state of Georgia being a safe, vibrant, interconnected, and affordable city and state for all. To achieve these goals, the Georgia State Conference NAACP has identified the following priorities for the 2023 legislative session:

The Georgia State conference NAACP supports policies that center on the experiences of Black, Indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC). We recognize that historically, government policies have created racist institutions and those policies and institutions have been used to uphold systems of oppression. As a nonprofit organization that focuses on grassroots activism for civil rights and social justice, we support changes to policies that correct the present effect of past discrimination. The Georgia State Conference NAACP supports efforts surrounding local governments and State governments that value and prioritize Black and Brown lives. We support policies that invest in Black and Brown communities, put communities first, and help build a city and a State that works for all.

We support State and federal legislation that makes it illegal for laws, implementing regulations, ordinances and policies that wage a “culture war” on protected groups in the United States of America, or has an adverse impact on these populations. A culture war is a cultural conflict between social groups and the struggle for dominance of their values, beliefs, and practices. It is both concerning and disconcerting to hear a sitting state governor warn of launching a “cold war” with a neighboring state. Yet, Florida’s governor Ron Desantis warned that electing Stacy Abrams as governor of Georgia would cause a war between the two states. Such a bold declaration has not been uttered publicly since the South threatened to secede from the Union. “If Stacey Abrams is elected governor of Georgia, I just want to be honest, that will be a cold war between Florida and Georgia at that point,” the Republican governor said. “I mean, I can’t have Castro to my south and Abrams to my north. That’d be a disaster.” He went on to say, “So I hope you guys take care of that and we’ll end up in good shape.” This statement begs the question, who are “we” in, “So I hope you guys take care of that and we’ll end up in good shape.” One must also wonder which Castro is he referring to in the South since Fidel Castro no longer is head of state in Cuba – he died six years ago. In addition, Fidel Castro’s brother stepped down from leadership over a year ago. The question has arisen whether he is referring to the large population of Cubans who live in Miami, Florida, and the large population of Cubans living throughout the State. The Georgia State Conference NAACP is concerned that this type of demagoguery will continue to spread throughout the South, specifically, Georgia. The Georgia State Conference NAACP supports the federal government imposing sanctions against States when their governing officials or the state legislature enacts discriminatory or racist legislation or practices

Georgia, A Safe State one that ensures all residents can live safely and securely.

The State of Georgia, like cities across the nation, continues to grapple with health disparities specifically, the COVID-19 crisis, Monkeypox, opioid and substance misuse, chronic disease prevention, and their multitude of impacts. The COVID-19 pandemic, for example, impacts every aspect of City services and the lives of our residents and is exacerbating existing inequalities in our society. The Georgia State Conference NAACP supports legislation that will allow our city not only to recover but become more equitable after the pandemic. We have increased support for our frontline workers, including PPE, testing, vaccines and public health services. We strongly support new programs to address the impacts of the pandemic on housing affordability and homelessness including rental and foreclosure assistance, utility customer assistance, and a moratorium on evictions through the crisis, and the recovery phase. Most African Americans and People of Color have not recovered financially and physically from the pandemic. We support new programs for people living homeless to increase their access to health and hygiene services, PPE and testing, and non-congregate shelter and affordable housing. We support safety net programs that will help those hardest hit by the pandemic including food assistance and access to unemployment insurance. We also support legislation that supports small businesses, including ensuring business interruption insurance includes COVID as a qualifying event. We support equitable and readily available access to vaccines for all.

The Georgia State Conference NAACP supports efforts to increase accountability and transparency in law enforcement. We support legislation that enhances the authority of police chiefs to discipline officers that violate professional standards and public trust, and the ability to sustain those decisions, including the ability to lay off officers on the Brady list. We support ending qualified immunity.

We support prohibiting collective bargaining between law enforcement agencies and officers on topics related to disciplinary action, appeals of discipline, subpoena authority, and any state reforms related to law enforcement. We support the State requiring the types of police reforms that would free local jurisdictions from having to negotiate and pay for reforms with additional compensation, including body-worn cameras. We support the reform of civil service hearings and arbitration in law enforcement officer discipline cases. The Georgia State Conference NAACP also supports removing private arbitration as a route of appeal in law enforcement discipline cases.

We support state action to clarify the standards for police use of force, including when police intervene in situations where individuals are experiencing a behavioral health crisis. We also support independent prosecutions of deadly use of force to ensure a fair and impartial assessment can be reached. We support legislation to enable law enforcement, fire departments and other public agencies to build departments more reflective of the communities they protect by extending employment opportunities to legally permanent residents and recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Temporary Protected Status. We support the expansion of and funding for de-escalation, implicit bias, and other critical training for law enforcement officers to respond appropriately and equitably and increasing the flexibility for local jurisdictions to allow civilian personnel to respond to 911 calls and low-level criminal calls, as in the Crisis Assistance Helping Out on The Streets (CAHOOTS) program.

The Georgia State Conference NAACP supports legislation that would eliminate or at least significantly reduce the involvement of county and city law enforcement officials in immigration law enforcement. In particular, the Georgia State Conference NAACP supports legislation that would restrict local jurisdictions from honoring U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers unless they are supported by a federal criminal warrant. We support the state setting a clear, statewide standard for these restrictions. The Georgia State Conference NAACP supports providing essential legal services and community navigation to indigent immigrant and refugee residents.

We believe every person has the right to live, work, and learn free from discrimination. We support efforts to achieve equity and advance opportunity, including actions that promote racial equity in education, community development, contracting, criminal justice, health, housing, jobs and the environment.

We support gender equality, and age-friendly and family-friendly workplace policies, such as paycheck fairness and affordable childcare, so that all people regardless of age or gender thrive economically and are safe and healthy. We support extending the state’s labor protections to all workers – including workers in emerging economies.

We support strong civil rights protections for all and efforts to protect the rights, programs, and services provided to immigrants, regardless of their immigration status, and refugees. We recognize the importance of language access and will continue to promote policies and practices to support all users of municipal and state services. We support increased access to naturalization. We support the expansion or establishment of an unemployment insurance program that serves undocumented individuals. We support expanded access to economic opportunity and intentional career pathways for all skill sets including returning professionals, skilled professions and entry level living wage jobs. We support reducing regulatory barriers to money transmitters, many of whom serve immigrants and communities of color. We support policies and programs that remove barriers and create opportunities for greater civic engagement, transparency, and access; and assess the impacts of those policies on racial and gender equity. We support increased opportunities for civic engagement, including the authority for ranked-choice voting.

We support economic justice and recognize that too often economic growth is not equitably shared by all, and can leave behind low-income residents, immigrants, the LGBTQ population, and people of color. We insist that the state of Georgia commits to improving workers’ lives through equitable labor standards and want to ensure that state legislation complements but does not preempt federal workplace protections. We need innovative strategies to ensure that the benefits of technology and the changing nature of work do not adversely impact systematically disadvantaged communities.

We also support policies that make benefits portable, especially for gig economy workers. We are supportive of the adoption of statewide secure scheduling legislation to provide employees with predictable schedules and compensation for schedule changes to support employees economic stability, especially in the case of rural communities for which these disruptions and inequalities fall heaviest on people of color. We are supportive of legislation that authorizes aggrieved employees to file lawsuits to recover civil penalties on behalf of themselves, other employees, and the government for labor law violations. We support efforts to end the use of credit scores when determining how much people pay for insurance products.

We support common sense, responsible solutions to reduce gun violence, including efforts to limit high-capacity magazines, and rejecting intimidation by limiting open carry of firearms in politically charged and contentious environments. We believe in maintaining funding for critical gun violence prevention research and intervention projects and that local governments should have the ability to regulate firearms or weapons to ensure the safety of their communities in accordance with local circumstances.

We support funding programs and policy changes that help previously incarcerated individuals successfully transition back into society, including providing increased employment and housing opportunities for previously incarcerated individuals to reduce recidivism and increase public safety. The Georgia State Conference NAACP supports efforts to reform the criminal justice system, including but not limited to decreasing mass incarceration and supervision, decreasing racial disproportionality, making the system more equitable, and ending the death penalty.

We support legislation to reduce the impact of economic disparity by de-linking drivers’ license suspensions from non-payment of traffic fines and moving to an income-based fine schedule. The Georgia State Conference NAACP supports providing low-income Georgia residents with relief from Legal Financial Obligations (LFOs). The Georgia State Conference NAACP supports efforts to explore alternatives to incarceration and evidence-based programs that emphasize early intervention, particularly for youth. We support including consideration of youthfulness in sentencing, raising the age of juvenile court jurisdiction, removing juvenile felonies from consideration in adult sentencing, and ending the harmful youth sex offender registry. We further support expanding access to sentencing review for those who were under 18 and tried as an adult when the crime was committed. We support legislation to clarify the process for evaluating and considering civil commitment petitions for defendants charged with misdemeanors in Georgia whose cases are dismissed for incompetency to stand trial. We support additional funding to ensure that there are sufficient facilities to care for individuals in need of mental health evaluations and services and funding for the recruitment and retention of high-quality mental health care providers. The Georgia State Conference NAACP also supports increased funding for the treatment and evaluation of substance use disorders, including opiates, methamphetamines, and other substances harming our residents and communities. We recognize a full continuum of behavioral health services is needed in our community to support people with behavioral health conditions, including mobile crisis response teams and a culturally responsive and fully funded crisis line. We urge the state to invest in community-based behavioral health agencies and permanent supportive housing in addition to inpatient treatment settings.

We support efforts to increase the Medicaid reimbursement rate for ambulance transport for vulnerable Medicaid-eligible populations by instituting a quality assurance fee eligible for a federal funding match. We also support a general Medicaid increase for ambulance services.

We support legislation that clarifies and strengthens state driving under the influence (DUI) laws, including clarifying the law regarding the physical control of a motor vehicle under the influence and strengthening laws regarding drug related DUIs.

We also support ensuring victims of sexual assault have access to community advocates, increasing data collection and assessment of how our systems are serving victims and support funding for the state patrol crime lab to process sexual assault evidence kits while ensuring that these funding sources are not burdensome or punitive to survivors. We support a funding increase for services to crime victims, to ensure there are no cuts to local programs and services. The Georgia State Conference NAACP supports statewide standards for the handling, storage and destruction of these kits to ensure they are available to help solve cold cases. We support training and support for sexual assault nurses.

The Georgia State Conference NAACP supports efforts to reduce domestic violence and protect survivors, ensure access to legal protection for immigrant survivors of domestic violence, and protect its most vulnerable citizens from abuse. We support legislation that prioritizes victim safety by maintaining funding for advocacy programs and aligning best-practice procedures across all types of protection orders. We support legislation that helps survivors access housing, employment, and other opportunities. We support vacating convictions of individuals engaged in sex work. The City supports legal, regulatory, and programmatic efforts to protect survivors of human trafficking and close businesses that profit from this crime. We also support strengthening criminal consequences for sexual exploitation and increased supports for victims of human trafficking including developing and expanding housing and essential needs program referrals and provides access to essential needs items and potential housing assistance for low-income adults who are unable to work for at least 90 days due to a physical or mental incapacity and are ineligible for Aged, Blind, or Disabled cash assistance. referral eligibility to victims. The Georgia State Conference NAACP supports review of the sexual assault statute of limitations and the bolstering of laws to protect workers from sexual assault and harassment and bullying on the job. The Georgia State Conference NAACP supports the legalization of the recreational use of cannabis and provides a legal market that ensures access to cannabis for those over the age of 21.As the legal market is built, we encourage centering equity and undoing the racist history that the War on Drugs brought to our Black and brown communities. The Georgia State Conference NAACP believes that public policy work should ensure that those communities disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition in the past can thrive, both from an ownership and a worker perspective, and we will support efforts to reform our legal market to better reflect our values. We support legislation to remove barriers to entry for marijuana delivery services that will help reduce the impact of marijuana retailers on neighborhoods. We support harmonizing laws prohibiting underage marijuana use with laws prohibiting underage alcohol use. We support expunging all cannabis related felonies and offenses to address the disproportionate impact on the Black community. Recognizing the harm that punitive drug policies have had on people of color and low-income communities and the potential medical benefits of entheogens, we support the decriminalization of entheogens at the state and federal level. The Georgia State Conference NAACP supports the review of regulations surrounding vapor products and legislation that will protect the public from harm or risk related to vapor products. The Georgia State Conference NAACP supports legislation to facilitate the establishment of community health engagement locations. We also support additional funding to support and enhance substance use disorder treatment services. We support reforms to the Public Records Act that maintain transparency, protect the privacy and safety of vulnerable and protected groups, promote government efficiency and effectiveness, and expand confidentiality protections to local whistleblowers. We support funding for the Georgia Information Network (WIN) 211, which helps the public access essential information and government programs and services after disasters. We also support funding for research that assesses geological hazards and informs the public of their potential impacts on the region.

A Vibrant State one that supports innovation, education, economic development and the environment.

The Georgia State Conference NAACP supports maximum funding for early learning, K-12, and higher education. We support equitable, ample, and sustainable funding for the K-12 education system. We support the use of flexible high school graduation options and requirements that prepare students for a variety of post-secondary options. Seattle supports simplifying the requirements for individuals to become teachers in designated critical shortage areas. We support increasing school construction capacity and providing flexibility to school districts to use capital construction funding for long-term leases to ensure we have the proper facilities to educate future generations. In addition, we support providing school districts with adequate access to on-site childcare providers; and advancing ongoing and increased support of these providers. We support programs providing support to students, including support for mental and physical health, and access to healthy food choices during the school day and out-of-school time to ensure they are ready and able to learn. The Georgia State Conference NAACP is supportive of the development of a Farm to School program that connects farmers to local schools. We also know that education and learning do not stop when the school day and school year-end.

We support after-school programs and summer learning accessible for all, as well as a statewide strategy for students experiencing housing instability and homelessness.

The Georgia State Conference NAACP is supportive of legislative solutions that aim to close the opportunity gap, protect undocumented students, and improve racial equity in the education system. We support a more comprehensive curriculum that includes greater BIPOC perspectives and representation, including a requirement that Black studies and ethnic studies be included as graduation criteria.

Building on the foundation of high-quality preschools in the State of Georgia, we support additional coordination and funding from the State and federal government to continue to move closer toward infant care (birth to three) and preschool for all. We support expanding capacity and infrastructure for infant care, including home-based childcare, preschool facilities, and dual language instruction from early learning to K12.

We support community colleges, apprenticeship programs, technical colleges, and state universities as they provide access to training and workforce development opportunities that build the workforce needed to address our compounding climate and housing crises and keep our economy thriving. We also support the implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), efforts to expand college and career readiness, support people experiencing homelessness and expansion of the English proficiency training program. We further support the state playing an active role in reducing financial barriers, closing the opportunity gap, and spurring economic activity by providing free tuition at community and technical colleges in the State of Georgia. We also support funding strategic plans that address diversity, equity, and inclusion; defining part time pay equity; achieving higher ratios of full time to part time faculty and student to counselors; improving salaries; and getting more funding to hire full-time faculty and counselors, in part to address the impacts of increasing access to college.

The Georgia State Conference NAACP supports tax increment financing, including new value capture concepts as a tool to encourage economic development and community improvement projects, and also supports a set aside for low-income housing. We support investments in thriving local industries, including arts and culture, maritime, marine tourism, global health and life sciences research, and clean, renewable energy. We support advancing gender equity and enhancing local revenue by ending the exemption from the admissions tax for men’s professional sports.

The Georgia State Conference NAACP supports investments and policies that enhance equitable access and promote affordability of technology and technological infrastructure while preserving the State of Georgia authority to manage its property and public right-of-way. We support policies and funding that provide greater access and equity for broadband services including subsidies and better tracking of provider data services, and, during this challenging time of the COVID pandemic, including extension of ISP-provided COVID discounts, programs, and shut off prohibitions. New, innovative programs should focus on digital equity and inclusion and target the most underserved residents in our cities.

We support capital funding for infrastructure and public works projects, including support from the State and federal government to preserve Georgia’s cultural and historical institutions.

We support the expansion of capital funding for BIPOC communities and groups that have historically been disenfranchised from accessing such funds as a means of building community wealth and resiliency. We support the expansion of the leasehold excise tax exemption to include facilities/venues that are publicly operated. The Georgia State Conference NAACP also supports considering the creation of a state investment trust or other funding mechanisms to provide financing for housing development, public works infrastructure, educational infrastructure, student loans, environmental infrastructure and design, and community quality-of-life projects.

We support efforts to expand economic development tools, including enhancing business options and opportunities for the nightlife sector as well as clarifying and strengthening legislation that fosters the development of Business Improvement Areas (BIAs). We support promoting and incentivizing historic preservation, building and fire safety, and energy efficiency through direct or indirect assistance to property owners.

We support legislation that allows for increased flexibility for cities to manage public works and other projects, and efforts aimed at increasing the participation of women and minority-owned businesses (WMBE) in state and local contracting by restoring fair treatment of underserved groups in public employment, education, and contracting.

We support comprehensive tax reform that leads to a more equitable and progressive tax structure and decreases reliance on flat tax sources like sales and property taxes. We support the authority to reduce Georgia's sales tax rate and have the entire rate be reduced with the reduction going to the taxpayer rather than to the county. This includes support for a statewide capital gains tax and a progressive statewide payroll tax that does not preempt or diminish the City’s local authority. The Georgia State Conference NAACP supports a homestead exemption and expanded access to the property tax exemption and deferral programs to promote increased participation by seniors and disabled veterans, and cultural nonprofits through a simplified application process and eligibility criteria tied to varying property values across the state.

The Georgia State Conference NAACP supports policies to fight climate change and support climate adaptation at a scale and timeline commensurate with the crisis and as justice demands. The Georgia State Conference NAACP advocates that the State of Georgia establish a goal to be climate-pollution free by 2030 through policies that limit and reduce climate pollution; increase investments in clean energy, public transit, vehicle, vessel and building electrification; and promote energy efficiency - including robust residential energy codes.

We believe utilities have a role to play in reducing greenhouse gasses and maximizing the value of its hydro and renewable energy resources. The Georgia State Conference NAACP supports measures that bolster the authority that public utilities have in incentivizing electrification in the transportation and building sectors. We support measures that reduce the preference for natural gas in the built environment. To assist the City’s work to ensure physical ability to secure water supply reliability and resiliency post- natural disasters, and in response to climate change, major water quality risks, and other challenges, we support state assistance to help build and grow resilience.

The Georgia State conference NAACP supports measures to increase access to renewable energy while maintaining its flexibility and authority to set appropriate rates for its customers and protect ratepayers’ interests. The Georgia State conference NAACP supports the solar production incentives and an increase in the per-utility tax credit cap and expansion of municipal authority to produce green electrolytic hydrogen for internal and external use.

We look forward to working with the Governor and State legislature to create policies that will reflect the true cost of carbon pollution, rapidly reduce climate polluting emissions, and ensure equity for lower-income communities and communities of color to share in the economic opportunities presented by solutions to climate change. We support investments in climate resilient infrastructure, including acceleration of investments in green stormwater infrastructure and stormwater retrofits, multi-benefit flood risk reduction, and working lands protection.

The Georgia State conference NAACP supports alternative water supply development requirements to ensure coordinated planning resulting in the preservation of municipal water supplies for future growth. We support the review of dig law standards while ensuring the protection of utility assets and ratepayer affordability.

The Georgia State conference NAACP supports legislation that will reduce toxic chemicals and other harmful substances in the environment, including regulating lead paint, toxins in children's toys, neonicotinoid pesticides that threaten our food supply by harming bees, building materials, and other and toxic materials in recyclable and compostable products and packaging.

We support development of common industry standards for producers of recycled products, funding for recycling facilities, and efforts to ensure responsible product stewardship for products and packaging.

We support initiatives to reduce waste and increase composting and other diversions of organic matter from landfill streams. We support efforts to review developing markets for recyclables and to address deficiencies in domestic sorting, processing, and remanufacturing capabilities, businesses, and facilities in addition to supporting a requirement for a minimum level of recycled content in certain products to create market forces to provide demand for collected paper and plastic.

The Georgia State conference NAACP supports local authority to impose development related impact fees for public safety, affordable housing, transit, public schools, and other necessary facilities and services, and to require appropriate infrastructure, such as open space and sidewalks, associated with new development. We support the expansion of incentive zoning to include provisions that encourage new open space, preserving current open space, creating multi-modal transportation infrastructure, and preserving landmark structures. We support a statewide requirement that racial and social justice be considered in land use and zoning decisions.

We support housing policies that discourage exclusionary zoning, encourage inclusionary zoning, and the expansion of housing programs that encourage intergenerational wealth building for historically marginalized communities.

The Georgia State conference NAACP supports efforts to update state planning regulations to promote growth within urban areas, address the climate crisis through growth management, preserve agricultural and urban forestry space and resources, and incorporate environmental justice into planning efforts, while still examining, reviewing, and mitigating the impacts on the environment. We support efforts to preserve and expand access to parks and green space in urban areas.

We support development (maintaining) of the State of Georgia’s strong payday lending protections for consumers and oppose the creation of new, high-interest lending products. We support creating and enhancing the ability of state and local governments to enforce laws related to discrimination, labor standards, environmental protection and pollution, consumer protection, business practices, and public health.

The Georgia State conference NAACP supports designating local broadcasters as “first informers” with all the rights and responsibilities that entails. Additionally, we support legislation giving local broadcasters special access to public emergencies, so that real-time information in times of crisis (e.g., earthquake, wildfire, and extreme weather) can be provided consistent with Federal Communications Commission broadcast license responsibilities.

We support financial policies that value social justice and consider externalized costs to our residents and environment. We support local options to hold public depositories in credit unions and support the repeal of laws, regulations, or implementing policies, which restrict public depositories in credit unions but not in commercial banks.

An Interconnected State – one supported by a cohesive and multimodal transportation network

The Georgia State conference NAACP supports transportation policies and funding proposals that include a significant share of funding for cities to help pay for local maintenance and preservation, the expansion of transit including light rail, active transportation, and other local needs. We support greater flexibility and autonomy for cities in managing their transportation infrastructure and financing. We support expanding local transportation revenue options for local governments, including modifying Georgia’s parking tax authority to allow for a more equitable application that includes commercial parking offered for free. We also support raising bid limits and the public works contracting threshold to be better aligned with today’s construction costs and indexing those limits to the construction cost index.

We support transportation policies that help to address the climate crisis and meet both the City's and the State's greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets and vehicle miles traveled (VMT) reductions, including electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure, incentives for EVs and E bikes, and greater congestion pricing authority as a means of reducing emissions. We are committed to environmental justice in the transportation sector, including the removal of freeways in marginalized communities such as ______________.

We support efforts to improve transportation safety, particularly for vulnerable users such as bicyclists and pedestrians, including increased local authority to designate pedestrian zones and set speed limits. We recognize that a complete sidewalk network connected to reliable, frequent transit is the foundation of a sustainable, accessible and equitable city and therefore support policies that would fund the construction of missing sidewalks and safe and accessible crossings and ensure these essential transportation facilities are maintained and accessible. We support expanded City authority for automated traffic camera enforcement. We support more robust data collection and transparency on traffic collisions, and an update to official statutes to accurately describe traffic collisions as crashes rather than accidents. We support improved multicultural outreach and educational materials in language to ensure that all communities are able to access our public roadways.

We support the decriminalization of transportation activity to improve safety for travelers and the public. We support ending the use of weaponized enforcement for traffic violations and allowing non-uniformed officers, including those working for a local city department that is not a police department, to perform garage and event management activities. We support a policy that would allow for a single flagger to direct traffic without a traffic or police officer present as part of the traffic control plan approved by the city. We support decriminalizing pedestrian activities such as loitering and jaywalking, which disproportionately impact BIPOC communities. We support setting traffic citation amounts based on income to avoid perpetuating cycles of poverty while ensuring enforcement remains an effective deterrent regardless of an individual’s income and providing additional mitigation for marginalized communities.

We support continued efforts to clarify and strengthen regulations of disabled parking placards and plates in order to cut down on fraud and ensure that necessary parking is available for those in need.

An Affordable State – one where housing and services remain affordable and accessible to everyone.

The State of Georgia, like many other cities across the country, is facing a homelessness crisis. Our goal is to make life better, safer, and healthier for unsheltered seniors, families, people with disabilities, and vulnerable individuals. Seattle’s needs outweigh current capacity. We support additional tools and funding to address the homelessness crisis, including significantly increasing the document recording fee, increasing density both near transit and otherwise to grow affordable housing and protect our most vulnerable populations, and easing SEPA requirements as they relate to the setup of shelters and encampments.

We strongly support continued state efforts to address the impact of COVID-19 on housing affordability and homelessness. The Georgia State conference NAACP will work and advocate to protect and increase critical funding for affordable housing, human services, public health, and other critical programs. We support new programs to allay the disastrous effects of the pandemic on the housing market, such as rental and foreclosure assistance, utility customer assistance, and a moratorium on evictions through the crisis. Now more than ever, we recognize that public health is an essential service and support additional funding to allow public health to rebuild its statewide infrastructure to combat the virus.

We support raising new state revenue, progressive revenue options for local governments. We reject austerity measures that harm our small businesses, workforce, and community at large. We also support increasing flexibility for local tools, such as a bondable revenue stream and expansion of Housing Trust Funds for affordable housing, the expansion of the real estate excise tax, property or other tax exemptions that provide affordable housing benefits and prevent displacement of lower-income residents, and expansion of essential human services. The Georgia State conference NAACP acknowledges the importance of Housing Trust Funds for extremely low-income housing needs, including preserving subsidized housing and supports clarification of repayment requirements that ensure project stability. The Georgia State conference NAACP supports flexible authority to dispose of public surplus property without seeking fair market value to build affordable housing or other uses that would benefit the public. We support exploring options to stimulate the condo development market while protecting consumers who have purchased condominiums. We support policies that balance the economic opportunity created by short-term rentals with the need to maintain a supply of long-term housing.

We support additional behavioral health funding to ensure those in crisis, including our students and young people, receive the ongoing care, housing, and services they need. The Georgia State conference NAACP supports efforts to protect healthcare access across all our communities in the State of Georgia. We support the state in ensuring that there is parity of services for all people seeking medical treatment through the Affordable Care Act and adequate funding for all people to access reproductive health services. In addition, to ensure the quality of care, we support fully funding caseload ratios and staffing levels for Medicaid case management and increasing reimbursement rates. We also support efforts to guarantee health care for all and prohibit discrimination against transgender individuals. We support funding for Medicaid long-term services and supports, which serve our elderly and most vulnerable residents, including needed increases in funding for both skilled nursing facilities and home and community-based services. The Georgia State conference NAACP supports ensuring the state’s long-term care program works for aging Georgians and their ability to afford nursing care and other support services.

We support continued and expanded funding for essential safety net programs. We support expanded authority to develop a local health plan to address gaps in coverage of employer health plans.

The Georgia State conference NAACP supports creating, expanding, and preserving budget appropriation, financing tools, and policies to help ensure housing affordability and stability for tenants, including robust investment in Housing Trust Funds and acquisition, development, operation, and services of permanent supportive housing. We support allowing medical service providers for low-income people to write a “prescription for a home” for people diagnosed with a behavioral health disease and/or other major disabilities, who are low- income, and served by a Community Health Clinic, behavioral health center, or other appropriate medical settings.

We support access to legal counsel for those facing eviction and the repeal or modification of any laws that prohibit local governments from protecting tenants from unrestricted rent increases, without causing a negative impact on the quality or quantity of housing supply.

The Georgia State conference NAACP supports incentivizing affordable housing and supporting homeowners facing foreclosure and tenants facing eviction. We support efforts to expand alternative models of land ownership, such as co-operative ownership, as a means of providing affordable housing alternatives.

For tenants facing eviction, we support a statewide just cause eviction ordinance.

We support reform of the unlawful detainer (eviction) process as well as giving the courts the ability to stay writs of restitution upon good cause. We support state efforts to make homelessness rare, brief, and one-time, and support utilizing health care reform opportunities to prevent and end homelessness, including a statewide solution to the benefit gap that impacts households that are reliant on federal disability insurance benefits to access and maintain stable housing.

As the federal government changes the process by which it allocates funds for homelessness programs from formulaic to competitive, we support modifications in state law that will provide us with better tools to compete for federal funds.

We also support preserving and expanding protections for renters, including banning discrimination based on a prior criminal record, and aligning state and federal law to ensure housing access for disabled residents with service animals. We support providing the public with a full, fair, and transparent accounting of governance while ensuring City business continues on course.

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