Session’s down to the final two days

[private]Lawmakers will be at the capitol on Tuesday and Thursday as they work through the final two days of the General Assembly session.

Dozens of bills are still awaiting a final vote or agreement between the two chambers before they can move to the governor’s desk for consideration. Here’s where the major bills stand as adjournment nears:

Abortions

HB 762 would make it illegal to sell fetal tissue resulting from an abortion. Passed the House.

SB 308 would create a state grant program to fund pregnancy centers that try to persuade pregnant women not to get abortions. Passed the Senate and House in different versions.

HB 555 originally would have required state agencies to compile statistics on girls 17 and younger who seek an abortion without notifying their parents. The Senate expanded it to require any doctor performing an abortion to report it to the state. Passed the House and Senate in differing versions.

Banking and financial services

HB 811 is the annual housekeeping bill for the banking and finance department and is supported by Georgia Bankers Association and other industry groups. Passed the House and Senate in different versions.

SB 282 would require Georgia’s banks to provide financial services to persons and businesses that sell firearms. Passed the Senate.

Courts

HB 927 would expand the state Supreme Court by two additional justices and reclassify the types of cases that go to the Supreme Court or the Georgia Court of Appeals. Passed the House; on Tuesday’s Senate calendar.

SB 255 would extensively rewrite the state’s garnishment laws. Passed the Senate; on the House calendar for Tuesday.

HB 920 would restrict civil lawsuits against “passive investors” in nursing homes and intermediate care homes. Passed the House and Senate in differing versions.

HB 734 would make it more difficult to file lawsuits over the damages caused by the launch of spacecraft in Georgia. Passed the House, couldn’t get out of committee in the Senate.

HR 1363 would create a legislative committee with subpoena powers to investigate the Judicial Qualifications Commission. Passed the House, no Senate vote necessary

HR 1113 is a constitutional amendment that would restructure the Judicial Qualification Commission, the agency that investigates complaints against judges. Passed the House; on Tuesday’s Senate calendar.

HB 808 is the enabling legislation for HR 1113. Passed the House; on Tuesday’s Senate calendar.

HB 941 would restrict the access that law enforcement officers have to grand juries considering possible criminal charges against the officer. Passed the House; on Tuesday’s Senate calendar.

HB 818 is the annual housekeeping bill for the workers’ compensation board and upgrades some of the benefits. Passed the House; on Tuesday’s Senate calendar.

Education

SB 364 would put less emphases on student performance on standardized tests in making evaluations of public school teachers. Passed the Senate and House in differing versions.

SB 312 would set a minimum amount for the HOPE scholarship award for recipients at the state’s technical colleges and in the University System. Passed the Senate; still in a House committee.

Elections and ethics

HB 370 would forgive ethics commission fines that are owed by thousands of local officeholders who did not file campaign finance reports with the state from 2010-2014. Passed the House and Senate in differing versions.

Environment

HB 1028 would require the state to alert residents and local governments whenever a landfill leaks is detected. Passed the House and Senate in differing versions.

HB 1036 would put a 16-month moratorium on acquiring land for the petroleum pipeline proposed by Kinder Morgan. Passed the House and Senate in differing versions.

SR 954 would transfer easements that allow utilities to cross state properties, including the Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline that would cross southwest Georgia. Gov. Nathan Deal supports passage, but the resolution is opposed by several anti-Sabal Trail lawmakers. Passed the Senate; is on the House calendar for Tuesday.

SB 383 would make it easier for billboard owners to cut down trees in the vicinity of their billboards. Passed the Senate; on the House calendar for Tuesday.

Government operations

HB 952 provides that the governor can review any actions or rules passed by one of the state’s licensing boards. Passed the House and Senate in differing versions.

SB 375 would establish a two-year process for the incorporation of new cities. Passed the Senate; blocked in committee in the House by Rep. Ed Rynders (R-Albany).

HB 885 would bring the Fulton County health board under the purview of the state Department of Public Health and provides that the county’s health director would report to the state. Passed the House; on Tuesday’s Senate calendar.

SB 208 would authorize the creation of a new city of Stonecrest in the southeastern corner of DeKalb County. Passed the Senate and House in differing versions.

SB 378 would set up a referendum to let DeKalb County voters decide if they want to terminate the current elected position of CEO and replace that person with a county manager who answers to the county commission. Passed the Senate.

Healthcare

HB 722 would expand the list of ailments for which medical cannabis oil could be used as a treatment. Cultivation of medical marijuana was dropped from the bill. Passed the House; blocked in committee in the Senate by Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford). Rep. Allen Peake is trying to use SB 145 as a vehicle for the bill.

HB 919 would provide funding for rural hospitals through state income tax credits for contributions to not-for-profit hospitals. Passed the House, voted down in Senate committee. Could be salvaged as an amendment to SB 258.

HB 649 would require lactation consultants to be licensed by the state. Passed the House and Senate in differing versions.

SB 302 would require health insurance carriers to post on their websites a current and accurate directory of the healthcare providers in each network plan. The information must be “easily accessible” to the public. Passed the Senate and House in differing versions.

HB 509 would create a Georgia Palliative Care and Quality of Life Advisory Council as part of the Department of Community Health. Passed the House and Senate.

HB 34 would give Georgians with terminal illnesses the “right to try” experimental drugs. Passed the House and Senate.

Immigrants

SB 6 would prohibit the issuance of driver’s licenses to immigrants who reside in Georgia through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Passed the Senate.

SR 675, a constitutional amendment sponsored by Sen. Josh McKoon, would declare English to be the “official language” of Georgia. Passed the Senate; voted down in a House subcommittee.

HB 781 would prohibit local governments from appointing persons who are not U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents to a council or committee. Passed the House in this form and as SB 85.

SB 269 would require local officials to prove that they are complying with federal detention requests involving undocumented immigrants. Local governments that don’t do this would have their state funding cut off. Passed the Senate and House.

Insurance

HB 193 would prevent life insurance companies from retaliating against agents who counsel policyholders about alternatives to letting their life insurance policies lapse. Passed the House; on Tuesday’s Senate calendar.

HB 838 would set a minimum 5 percent commission for insurance agents selling health benefit plans. Passed the House; on Tuesday’s Senate calendar.

Public Safety

HB 779 would regulate the use of drones and related unmanned aircraft. Passed the House and Senate in differing versions.

HB 727 would put some restrictions on the sale and ignition of fireworks. Passed the House and Senate in differing forms.

SR 558, a constitutional amendment, would require the excise taxes collected on fireworks to be used only for “ trauma care, fire services, and local public safety purposes.” Passed the Senate and House.

SB 350 specifies how excise tax revenues from fireworks will be divided: 55 percent to the Georgia Trauma Care Network Commission, 40 percent to the Georgia Firefighter Standards and Training Council for the training of firefighters and 5 percent to local governments. Passed the Senate and House in differing versions.

HB 874 would impose stronger penalties for gang-related crimes. Passed the House; on Tuesday’s Senate calendar.

SB 367 is the latest set of recommendations from Gov. Nathan Deal’s criminal justice reform commission. Passed the Senate and House in differing versions.

HB 859 would allow firearms to be carried on public college campuses. Passed both chambers and sent to the governor.

HB 792 would authorize college students to use tasers, stun guns and other electroshock weapons on campus. Passed the House and Senate in differing versions.

HB 1060 would make some minor revisions to the state’s gun carry law. If legislators are going to make changes to the campus carry bill requested by Gov. Nathan Deal, this is the vehicle for it. Passed the House; on Tuesday’s Senate calendar.

HB 827 would require police to clear out the backlog of sexual assault evidence contained in rape kits. Passed the House; blocked in the Senate by Sen. Renee Unterman.

HB 779 would regulate the operation of drones. Passed the House and Senate in differing versions.

Religion

HB 757 combines language from three different “religious liberty” bills into one piece of legislation. Passed both houses and sent to the governor.

SB 309 would allow high school athletes to display religious phrases on their uniforms. Passed the Senate and House.

State symbols

HB 561 by Rep. Joe Wilkinson would designate the “adoptable” dog as the official state dog. Passed the House; still in Senate committee.

Taxes

SR 756 is a constitutional amendment that would put a permanent cap on the state budget by triggering automatic reductions in the income tax rate whenever revenue growth rises above specified levels. Passed the Senate.

HB 238 is a tax break for the Atlanta aquarium that was rewritten in the Senate to reduce the state’s income tax rate from 6 percent to 5.4 percent. Passed the Senate and sent back to the House.

HB 951 would exempt the sale of Super Bowl tickets and tickets to other major sporting events from the state sales tax. Passed both chambers.

HB 768, the ABLE Act, would authorize contributions to tax-exempt savings accounts to help pay the qualified expenses of persons with disabilities. Passed both chambers in differing versions.

Technology

SR 876 creates a House-Senate study committee on the accessibility of high-speed broadband services. Passed both chambers.

Transportation

SB 369 is a fireworks regulation bill that was rewritten so as to authorize a half-cent sales tax referendum in the city of Atlanta for the expansion of MARTA facilities. The bill does not include the rest of Fulton or DeKalb counties. Passed the House; Senate would have to agree to the revised bill.

SB 346 would allow new roads to be constructed without the requirement of first reviewing the property for possible historic sites. Passed the Senate; on the House calendar for Tuesday.

© 2016 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: General Assembly , pending bills