Today was Crossover Day at the Georgia Capitol and legislators scrambled to debate as many bills as they could before the end of business.
If a bill has a chance to become law this year, it must clear the chamber where it originated by the end of 30th day of the session, which was today. Once a bill has passed in one chamber it crosses over to the over, thus “Crossover Day”.
Legislators unable to get their bills to the floor, must now look for bills already passed that they can amend to keep their legislation alive.
Dual Enrollment Bill Passes Senate
SB 132, creates the “Move on When Ready Act,” allowing eligible students to enroll in dual credit courses at postsecondary institutions for which the student receives secondary credit from his or her eligible school. Additionally, this bill will assist these students in purchasing required textbooks and will introduce a ‘flat fee’ for non-course related items. Students and parents will be informed about the program in the students 8th grade year to ensure that individuals are aware of this opportunity. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 53-0 and has been assigned to the House Education Committee.
Senate Passes Medical Marijuana Bill
The Senate today passed it version of the medical marijuana bill by a vote of 54-1. SB 185, sponsored by Sen. Lindsey Tippins (R-Marietta), creates a four-year clinical medical-cannabis trial at Georgia Regents University for people ages 18 and under, who suffer from medication-resistant seizures. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 54-1 and crosses over to the House.
AP History Resolution Advances
SR 80, demands revision by the College Board of Advanced Placement U.S. History. If it doesn’t, the legislation requires the Board of Education to pull all state funding for material aligned with the program. Resolutions are non-binding so the USG will monitor these discussions closely. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 38-17 and now crosses over to the House.
P3 Bill Passes Senate
SB 59, sponsored by Sen. Hunter Hill (R-Atlanta), creates the “Partnership for Public Facilities and Infrastructure Act.” It grants board authority to state and local governments to finance, design and build infrastructure projects through Public-Private Partnerships. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 51-0 and crosses over to the House.
House Passes Angel Investor Tax Credit
HB 237, sponsored by Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe) extends until 2020 the state income tax credit for a person (“angel investor”) who invests in a small, startup business. The credit would be equal to 35 percent of the amount invested. The aggregate tax credit would be capped at $5 million a year. The bill passes the House by a vote of 170-0 and now crosses over to the Senate.
Fireworks Legislation Passes House
The House voted 119-49 this week to pass HB 110, sponsored by Rep Jay Roberts (R-Ocilla). The bill would would legalize the sale of all fireworks in Georgia. Sales would be regulated by the state insurance commissioner. Sellers would be required to pay an initial license fee of $5,000 and $1,000 for each yearly renewal. The bill now crosses over to the Senate where it has been assigned to the Senate Public Safety Committee.
Cityhood Bills Advance
HB 520, authorizes a referendum to create the city of LaVista Hills. The bill passed the House this week by a vote of 129-37. The House voted 128-31 to pass HB 515, authorizing a referendum to create the city of Tucker. By a vote of 148-21, the House approved HB 514, to create the city of South Fulton. If the November referendums are approved, there would be an election in March 2016 for a mayor and city council. All three bills now cross over to the Senate for consideration.
Uber, Lyft Bills Pass House
The House voted 160-10 this week to pass HB 225, requiring drivers for transportation network companies such as Uber and Lyft to submit to fingerprinting and state background checks.
HB 190, passed the House by a vote of 141-26, requires appropriate automobile insurance for drivers in transportation network companies. Both bills now reside in the Senate.
Senate Bond Hearing
The Senate Appropriations FY 2016 Bonds Subcommittee met this week to address the bond package for the FY 2016 budget. Vice Chancellor for Finance John Brown addressed the committee regarding the University System’s priorities. The GSU Government Affairs team continues to seek $4.9 million in funds for the addition of Phase II of Classroom South Building.
HB 3, prohibits the solicitation of a student-athlete by persons who have knowledge that such a transaction could cause the student-athlete to be sanctioned. It also authorizes action against such persons by the institution. This legislation was brought about after the situation involving University of Georgia running back Todd Gurley. The bill passed the House by a vote of 145-27 and crosses over to the Senate.
HB 296, sponsored by Rep. Randy Nix (R-LaGrange), exempts lawful refugees or asylees from having to be a resident of Georgia for a year to be eligible for the Special Needs Scholarship. The bill passed the House by a vote of 155-16 and has been assigned to the Senate Education and Youth Committee.
HB 212, adds Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists to the current pain management clinic listing of professionals who must be present at such clinic for it to remain operational. The bill passed the House by a vote of 171-0 and has been assigned to the Senate Health and human Services Committee.
SB 168, sponsored by Sen. Burt Jones (R- Jackson), would designate the old Governor’s Mansion located at Georgia Collge in Milledgeville as the official state historic house. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 50-1 and has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee.
HB 259, sponsored by Rep. Terry Rogers (R-Clarkesville), creates the “Georgia Business Act” providing for an exemption for state purchasing from competitive bidding procedures. The bill passed the House by a vote of 153-15 and crosses over to the Senate.
HB 313, would allow full time, non-temporary employees of the State of Georgia or of any branch, department, board, bureau or commission to be eligible for up to eight hours of paid leave per calendar year for promoting education in the state. The bill passed the House by a vote of 168-2 and crosses over to the Senate.
SB 130, sponsored by Sen. Bruce Thompson (R-White) creates the “Smokefree Cars for Children Act.” The bill would prohibit individuals from smoking in a motor vehicle while there is a person under the age of 15 years in the vehicle. A violation would be a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $100.00. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 37-3 and crosses over to the House.
SB 141, provides that minor violations of a weapon in school safety zone is not considered a Class B designated felony. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 42-0 and crosses over to the House.
SB 154, allows law enforcement officials to record audio and video during the execution of a search warrant. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 39-6 and crosses over to the House.
HB 209, sponsored by Rep. Wes Cantrell (R-Woodstock), the “Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Act.” The bill would require that a resident school system provide specific written notice to the parent of a student with a disability at the initial IEP meeting where the student’s disability was identified of the options available to the parent. The bill passed the House by a vote of 168-4 and crosses over to the Senate.
Intern Spotlight: Robert House
Robert House is a political science and marketing major at Georgia State University. Robert feels the Georgia Legislative Internship Program is “a wonderful and very insightful program regardless of your major.” He hopes GLIP will help him gain experience, develop networking relationships, and learn how the legislative process works.
Assigned to the House Economic Development and Tourism & Banks and Banking Committees, Mr. House’s duties include copying and organizing bills, scheduling meetings, and handling constituent concerns.
In addition to being a student and intern, Robert works for his father’s financial advising business. His plans after graduation is to gain work experience in the marketing field for a few years, then eventually go back to school to get his Master’s in International Business. Mr. House’s career goal is to own a marketing firm.
Information on legislative activities including bills and resolutions as well as webcast of daily sessions in both Chambers and committee meeting are available via the General Assembly website at ** www.legis.ga.gov (http://www.legis.ga.gov)
Day 31: The Senate will convene at 10:00 am and the House at 1:00 pm on Wednesday, March 18
Legislators are scheduled to work Wednesday through Friday of next week.
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