Crossover Day Begins Home Stretch
The frantic day of voting came on what state lawmakers call “Crossover Day,” the 30th day of Georgia’s annual 40-day legislative session. If lawmakers were hoping to see a bill through this year, it had to be voted on and passed out of its respective chamber by the end of business Thursday (March 7).
Legislators unable to get their bills to the floor must now look for bills that they can amend to keep their legislative ideas alive. They will be searching the
bills that remain for amendment “vehicles,” hoping to persuade their colleagues to adopt their proposals as amendments to other bills.
Firearms Legislation Passed in the House and Senate
HB 512, sponsored by Rep. Rick Jasperse (R-Jasper), is a comprehensive gun bill that includes parts of many pieces of legislation proposed this session. Most importantly, the bill would allow for the concealed carry by licensed gun owners on university campuses. The only exclusions would be on buses, in dorms, fraternity and sorority houses and at athletic events. In addition to allowing for carrying on university campuses, this legislation will also allow for the carrying of firearms in bars, churches, government buildings that do not provide security guards and non-secured areas of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
The bill would also allow local boards of education the authority to designate one or more school employees in each school system to possess and carry firearms. The selection of the individual will be on a volunteer basis and not restricted to an administrator. There will be a curriculum with a significant amount of training for these individuals. The bill passed the House by a vote of 117-56 and crosses over to the Senate.
The University System of Georgia believes the current law is working and is the best and most effective way to protect and ensure the safety of students, faculty and staff.
SB 101, sponsored by Sen. Frank Ginn (R-Danielsville), removes the ability of public housing to restrict resident’s firearm unless required by federal law. It authorizes persons licensed in other states to carry firearms in Georgia, provides that information relating to persons issued weapons carry licenses shall be confidential, and prohibits the creation or maintenance of any data bases regarding persons issued weapons carry licenses. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 41-10 and has been assigned to the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee.
HOPE Bills Passed in the House
HB 487, sponsored by Rep. Matt Ramsey (R-Peachtree City), would put the control and enforcement of video poker machines to the Georgia Lottery Corporation. A share of the profits from those machines would then go into the HOPE Scholarship program.
The bill amends state law by striking language that prohibits video poker machines from rewarding players with tickets or products from the Georgia Lottery Corp. Currently, the machines, if operating under state guidelines, can only award gift certificates or similar type vouchers redeemable for merchandise at the business at which the machine is being operated. Under the plan, all legal machines that pay out prizes, not cash, will be hooked into the Georgia Lottery Corp. If a machine is not hooked into that system, law enforcement will know immediately it’s illegal. The Bill passed the House by a vote of 166-4 and crosses over to the Senate.
HB 372, sponsored by Rep. Christian Coomer (R-Cartersville), lowers the minimum cumulative grade point average required for maintaining eligibility for a HOPE grant from 3.0 to 2.0 for technical colleges. Two years ago, state lawmakers had raised the grade point average to 3.0 to address what was then a decline in lottery revenues that fund the HOPE program. The bill passed the House by a vote of 169-1 and crosses over to the Senate.
Calendar Set Through Day 35
The General Assembly will be in session the following days:
– Monday, March 11th – Thursday, March 14th (Legislative Days 31-34)
– Wednesday, March 20th (Legislative Day 35)
Intern Spotlight: Jason Hopkins
The Legislative Internship Program “is great for anyone wanting to begin a career in politics or government relations,” says Jason Hopkins. A political science major from Woodstock, Hopkins has always been interested in politics and knew he wanted to be involved in the legislature.
Hopkins intern duties for Senate Majority Leader and Georgia State University alumni Ronnie Chance, require him to spend a lot of time assisting constituents, the Chief of Staff and scheduling Page assignments.
In addition to working at Publix, Hopkins is a member of Sigma Nu Fraternity and the Georgia State Republicans. Hopkins ideal job is to work for a consulting firm, but first plans to gain experience working on a few local campaigns.
Intern Spotlight: Daniela Ramirez
Daniela Ramirez is a senior political science major from Lilburn. She first learned of the Legislative Internship Program in her American Chief Executives class and decided to apply.
Ramirez has a vast amount of duties while interning for the Senate State and Local Government Operations Committee. She does everything from answering the telephone to assisting in the Chamber and with committee meetings. Ramirez is amazed at the number of phone calls, emails and visitors that comes through the office each day inquiring about certain bills, but also to thank the Senators for their hard work.
Ramirez’s future plan is to work with UNICEF. She feels this internship has helped her develop long term relationships, as well as given her great legislative experience.
Next Week’s Spotlight: Francis Mai and Anna Mcentee
Special Election Results
David Stover (R-Newnan) won Tuesday’s Special Election runoff for House District 71. House District 71 includes parts of Coweta and Fayette counties. He will be sworn in on March 11, prior to the start of Legislative Day 31.
February Revenues Increase
February revenue collections were up 4% as compared to this time last year. Through eight months of FY 2013, net revenue collections are up almost $595 million, or 5.6%, compared to the same period last year.
This week the House and Senate voted unanimously to adopt the Conference Committee report for the FY 2013 Amended Budget. The $19.3 billion mid-year spending plan now goes to the Governor for final approval.
Monday, March 11 at 7:45 a.m., the House Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee is scheduled meet to take up the higher education portion of the FY 2014 budget. The full Appropriations Committee is scheduled to take up the FY 2014 budget as a whole at 1:00 p.m. on Monday.
Other Legislation of Interest
HB 45, sponsored by Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R- Powder Springs), allows the USG to write off small amounts due to the State and carry forward certain fees and revenue through July 1, 2016. This mechanism allows the USG to better manage their operational budget to meet critical needs on campus. The bill passed the House by a vote of 166-0 and has been assigned to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
HB 287, sponsored by Rep. Matt Hatchett (R-Dublin), transfers the Division of Archives and History from the Office of the Secretary of State to the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. This is enabling legislation for transfer of funds in the FY 2014 budget. The bill passed the House by a vote of 170-0 and has been assigned to the Senate Higher Education Committee.
HB 131, sponsored by Rep. Valerie Clark (R-Lawrenceville), provides that dual credit courses, in core subject areas, shall be treated in the same manner as advanced placement and international baccalaureate courses for purposes of determining eligibility for the HOPE scholarship. The bill passed the House by a vote of 169-1 and has been assigned to the Senate Education and Youth Committee.
HB 517, sponsored by Rep. Chuck Williams (R-Athens), would allow local governments to ease restrictions on beer and wine sales within 100 yards of a college. The bill passed the House by a vote of 156-6 and now crosses over to the Senate.
HB 345, sponsored by Rep. Tommy Benton (R-Jefferson) clarifies and consolidates the definition of “teacher” in the Teachers’ Retirement System. The bill passed the House by a vote of 164-0 and has been assigned to the Senate Retirement Committee.
SB 155, sponsored by Sen. Steve Gooch (R- Dahlonega), changes the membership of the Georgia Higher Education Assistance Corporation and Georgia Student Finance Authority to accommodate the Fourteenth Congressional District. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 47-0 and has been assigned to the House Higher Education Committee.
HB 332, sponsored by Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe), reconstitutes the Georgia Board of Nursing. Currently, there are eight members on this board, this legislation increases that membership to 13 members to be appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the State Senate. The bill passed the House by a vote of 166-0 and has been assigned to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.
SB 13, sponsored by Sen. Buddy Carter (R-Pooler), establishes mandatory reporting for nurses. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 52-0 and now crosses over to the Senate.
SB 85, sponsored by Sen. Charlie Bethel (R-Dalton), authorizes pharmacists and nurses to administer vaccines pursuant to vaccine protocol agreements with physicians. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 46-7 and now crosses over to the house.
SB 94, sponsored by Sen. Fran Millar (R-Atlanta), authorizes advanced practice registered nurses to order radiographic imaging tests. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 31-18 and now crosses over to the House.
HB 123, sponsored by Majority Whip Edward Lindsey (R-Atlanta), would force a local school board to consider a petition to change a traditional school into a charter when a majority of the traditional school’s student households request it. School boards would also have to consider such petitions if they’re signed by a majority of teachers and instructional staff. The bill passed the House by a vote of 97-74 and has been assigned to the Senate Education and Youth Committee.
SB 224, sponsored by Sen. Tim Golden (R-Valdosta), creates a new program called “Invest Georgia,” designed to increase Georgia businesses’ access to venture capital. “The Invest Georgia fund, which would be part of Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center, would provide seed capitol for small bio-science and technology companies in return for their commitment to stay in the state,” said Golden. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 49-3 and has been assigned to the House Ways and Means Committee.
SR 378, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Mullis (R-Chickamauga), amends the Constitution to provide that the General Assembly may provide by law for the dedication of revenues collected from the sale of fireworks for the funding of trauma care and firefighter services in the State of Georgia. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 44-5 and has been assigned to the House Appropriations Committee.
Day 31: Both the House and the Senate will convene at 10:00 am Monday, March 11.
Information on legislative activities including all bills and resolutions as well as webcast of daily sessions in both Chambers and committee meetings are available via the General Assembly website at www.legis.state.ga.us.
Government Affairs Team
Tom Lewis, Senior Advisor to the President
Julie Kerlin, Director of Government & Community Affairs
Jason Thomas, Assistant Director of Government & Community Affairs
Debbie Jones, Associate to the Director
Georgia State University
P.O. Box 3999
Atlanta, Georgia 30302