The bill passed on a 42-12 vote. All "no" votes were from Democrats, although the party split on the vote after two of them – state Sen. Lester Jackson, D-Savannah, and state Sen. Harold Jones II, D- Augusta – worked with Cowsert across party lines to amend the bill on the floor.
The amendments added stricter definitions to the bill and included wording saying it shall not apply to constitutionally protected speech or lawful protests.
But some Democrats said they still feared the bill's effect and whether, according to state Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta, it could be used to target certain protest movements such as Black Lives Matter.
But Jackson said no. “This amendment is the right to organize without being tagged a domestic terrorist,” he said. “This amendment isn’t about Black Lives Matter. This amendment is about all lives. All lives have a right to justice in Georgia.”
Cowsert said he supported the amendments because the bill was never intended to subvert or attack constitutional rights, including the right to protest.
Passage sends SB 1 to the state House for consideration.