Georgia State Senator Clint Dixon wrapped up his first session in the State Legislature this week and has time now to look back on some of the most noteworthy legislation.
Dixon, who represents the 45th district, said the session will most likely be remembered for the passage of Senate Bill 202, also known as the election reform bill. He set the record straight on many misconceptions surrounding the legislation, which became law March 25 with Governor Brian Kemp’s signature.
“The narrative of ‘the new Jim Crow laws’ and some of the comments of racial divide and racism with the GOP is just completely false,” said Dixon. “We simply secured the election process and we also expanded voting.”
He explained that the bill in its final form does require a state-issued form of identification, but from his research, only three percent of Georgians do not have this form of ID. In addition, a provision in the bill allows a person to use their birthdate and last four digits of their Social Security Number to cast an absentee ballot.
“Simply by doing that we’re securing the absentee process as far as where there’s room for fraud and illegal activities with the voting process,” said Dixon.
Another portion of the bill that has drawn nationwide criticism is the removal of absentee ballot drop boxes, but the law actually codified their use. Dixon said the drop boxes were only installed because of Governor Kemp’s emergency order during the COVID-19 pandemic and would be removed anyway once the order expired.
He added that the bill allows municipalities the option to install drop boxes, but either way, municipalities are required to report regardless how many ballots go out and then come back in.
“It’s just another part of securing the vote, [there’s] nothing in the law that suppresses any votes or singles out any ethnicity, it’s just all about securing our vote and making sure that voters have confidence in our election process,” said Dixon. “Because without that, we lose the republic, in my opinion.”
Elected in the last election cycle, Dixon arrived at the state capitol just in time for Georgia’s heated senate runoff, claims of statewide voter fraud and distribution of several coronavirus vaccines.
But despite the upheaval in the last few months, Dixon said that his term started off slowly- then it was time to get to work.
Aside from the election reform bill, Dixon said that he worked on several other bills this session, each of which passed the State Legislature and are pending the governor’s signature.
Two of those bills, Senate Bill 33 and 34, combat human trafficking in the state. Senate Bill 33 allows victims of human trafficking to sue their perpetrators while Senate Bill 34 gives victims the opportunity to legally change their name under seal.
“People don’t realize how big these human trafficking rings are…it’s really modern-day slavery and it’s organized crime,” said Dixon.
For Dixon, whose district encompasses the northwestern portion of Gwinnett County, these bills are a way to help eliminate human trafficking that already exists in his area and beyond.
“I fully believe that there’s cases in every county in the state, so it’s affecting everybody,” said Dixon.
Dixon worked closely with First Lady Marty Kemp on the legislation; Kemp has made fighting human trafficking a priority during her husband’s term.
While this first session has certainly been a busy one for Dixon, he said that it’s an honor to serve the state’s citizens.
“I always like to tell people that no matter where you live in the state, I’m your state senator,” he said. “The people in the 45th, they get to decide for how long.”