“It’s absolutely critical we get this legislation done and we continue to protect families in this state,” said state Rep. Houston Gaines, an Athens Republican who sponsored the bill.
Local elected officials in Atlanta and Athens-Clarke County considered drastically cutting their police budgets last year but ultimately did not.
HB 286 includes exemptions for police forces with fewer than 25 officers, for one-time spending on equipment or facility purchases, and if the local government sees a decline in revenue.
Democrats said the legislation goes against an often-stated Republican principle of allowing local governments to have control over local issues.
But Gaines said it is up to the state to step in when local governments could in the future take steps that he said put “lives at risk.” Gaines did not cite any examples of local governments in Georgia putting “lives at risk” by cutting police spending.
Staff writer Mark Niesse contributed to this article.