Sally Fitzgerald's Legislative Report Week 7

Sally Fitzgerald's Legislative Report Week 7

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News

The General Assembly met for four days this week, completing Day 25.  Next week they will meet three days, culminating with Day 28, CrossOver Day, when bills must have passed out of their chamber of origin and crossed over to the other side of the capitol in order to be considered for passage this session.  Failure to cross over means it is dead this year for passage, unless amended onto another bill which did make the move.

 

The upcoming CrossOver day explains the volume of activity of this week.  Legislators were pushing to get their bills heard in committee.  Floor calendars get long in the couple of days prior to CrossOver, and committees have a hard time getting either a time slot for meeting or a quorum for the few time slots available, usually early morning or very late afternoon.   One of the outcomes of these rushed committees is passing on bills to the Rules committee to kill, usually to show respect to the legislative sponsor without denying the bill.  Readers get to decide which ones are which.

 

The amended budget, FY20, passed the Senate, and now proceeds to a conference committee after the obligatory disagree motions in each chamber.  A few of the cuts were restored, a few were returned to the levels of the governor’s recommendations.  The FY21 budget, the ONLY bill that the General Assembly must pass, has been worked on by the House, but nothing yet has come out of committee.  The budget bill takes precedence and is not subject to CrossOver.  

 

Although each chamber has focused very heavily on their own bills, a few from the other chamber have received attention.  Often, the second chamber makes changes, resulting in two different versions.  This report indicates that with a DV designation.  To pass, the differences have to be resolved in the Agree-Disagree process.

 

Next week’s report will be later, probably late Friday.  So many votes are taken on CrossOver day, and the day goes so long, that the record available for what happened usually doesn’t appear until late the following day.  Also, there will be another adjournment resolution, which is the schedule for future legislative days.  

 

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BOLD Bill Number = final passage

CA = constitutional amendment.  Requires a 2/3s vote in each chamber and a majority vote in the next general election scheduled for November 2020.

DV = Differing Versions

TGFS = To Governor for Signature

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PASSED – TO GOVERNOR FOR SIGNATURE

 

EDUCATION – PREK – 12

 

HB 444  Reeves – 34   TGFS   The ‘Dual Enrollment Act’, formerly called ‘Move On When Ready Act’. Dual enrollment allows a high school student to take a college course at an institution that will enroll the student and earn credit at the college and at the high school. A junior or senior, and a few exceptional sophomores, may take a maximum of 30 hours of dual credit courses for which the state will pay the tuition and will not count against any HOPE scholarship maximum.  In colleges, the courses must be in core areas (English, math, science, social studies) and foreign language and in technical school, core or chosen pathway courses.  Sophomores may participate if they are Zell Miller scholarship eligible or currently enrolled in dual courses.  Rising freshmen are not eligible to enroll in state paid dual enrollment courses.  Currently enrolled students who have earned 18 hours or less will also be capped at 30 hours; those who have eared 19 hours or more will be allowed 12 more hours.  There are over 2500 courses available in the core courses and over 4500 in the technical school.  The average student takes 17 hours while still in high school, and 2/3 of those take less than 17 hours.  HOPE provides 127 hours of college credit and a high school student can get 30 hours with dual credit, a total of 157 hours.  Students may dual enroll in additional courses with personal funds.  The bill limits are for the state funded program.

 

LOCAL – FULTON and its CITIES

 

HB 921  Bruce – 61   TGFS   Amends the city charter of the City of South Fulton to provide for a city attorney.

 

In CHAMBERS 

 

BUDGET

 

HB 792  Ralston – 7     PASSED House     PASSED Senate     DV

FY20 Amended Budget.  The FY20, known as the amended, supplemental, midyear, or ‘little’ budget, reflects the governor’s directive of last fall to cut expenditures by 4%.  The primary purpose is to adjust the educational budget to reflect the actual number of students who showed up on the doorstep in September so that the school districts will have funds to pay the teachers hired to serve those students, even as they receive that money much closer to the end than the beginning of the school year.  The rest of the expenditures tend to be one-time items, such as vehicle or computer purchases, or to meet the needs of unexpected expenses arising from a weather or manmade emergency, like a hurricane or highway fire like that of Interstate 85 a couple of years ago.  It almost never includes such things as payroll increases or program initiations, both of which would affect the following year’s budget.  This year, though, funds were recommended for getting the medical cannabis commission and the GBI Gang Task Force started and the salary for the appointed Insurance Commissioner who replaced the indicted elected one and is still drawing a salary.  Some vehicles and computers were replaced and the governor’s emergency fund was increased by $7.5 million for unspecified future needs.  The Law Department got $2.5 million for costs associated with the water wars case going to the U.S. Supreme Court. Vacant positions were defunded.  

 

EDUCATION – PREK – 12

 

SB 367  Martin – 9     PASSED Senate     H.Education

Reduces the end of course assessments (tests) which must be given in high school to just 4, currently 8, probably eliminating the EOCs in geometry, economics, physics, and American Literature.  Moves the writing assessment to grade 12 from grade 11.  The grade 5 social studies test is also dropped.  Moves the testing window for elementary schools to within 25 school days of the last day of school in a term.  The high school testing window will be set by Department of Education and is typically near the end of the term.  The department may analysis local tests administered in an effort to eliminate redundant assessments.  The local board currently may decide without the state’s approval if it needs more testing than what the state requires.

 

SB 431  Wilkinson – 50     PASSED Senate     H.Education 

Defines on-time graduation as a cohort of students entering high school by Oct 1 of any year and graduating on or before Oct 1 four years hence.  This calculation is in addition to any other defined by federal, state, or local laws.  Excludes students who register but never show up when school starts and school personnel no longer charged with determining what happened to them.

 

HB 755  Belton – 112     PASSED House     S.Education & Youth

Local boards of education shall provide a local charter school with an itemized allotment sheet within 45 days of a receipt of an allotment sheet from Department of Education by the local board and shall publicize that information on the district website.  If adjustments must be made, 30 days must elapse after an amended allotment sheet is provided to the local charter school before the adjustment is effective.  Parent are to be notified each year upon enrollment all relevant dates and deadlines and that information is to be posted on the school system’s website.  Depending on the terms of the charter, some categories on the local board’s allotment sheet may not be on that of the local charter school, and vice versa.  Such categories are general central office provided; food services, transportation, payroll, warehousing, purchasing, maintenance, insurance, etc.

 

HB 829  Stephens – 64     PASSED House     S.Finance

A property tax exemption for homesteaded real property owned by those 65 and over shall be assessed at 20% of fair market value (FMV) for school taxes.  A local referendum is required.  Enabling legislation for HR 962.

 

HB 830  Benton – 31     PASSED House     S.Retirement

Large retirement systems may invest up to 10% of their assets in alternative investments.  Currently, the Teachers Retirement System is banned from investing anything in alternative investments.  But SB 294, if passed, would permit such investments up to the current 5%.  If these two bills were merged, a good possibility, then TRS would go from 0% to 10%.  Alternative investments are corporate and other nongovernmental instruments, but not stock, and venture capital.  TRS is the only large retirement system in the state that does not put assets in alternative investments.

 

HB 855  Wiedower – 119     PASSED House     S.Education & Youth 

Foster care students are to be reevaluated upon enrollment to see if there is any exposure to trauma and if they need to have changes made to special education and related services.  This requirement would put foster care student ahead of the line for evaluations for special education services.  While their need is great, so also is the need for the other children who might need these services.

 

HB 957  Jones – 47     PASSED House     S.Education & Youth

A charter school employee is an employee of the local board of education for health insurance purposes if they work at least 30 hours per week.  Local charter schools shall require proof of residency within the school system at enrollment or application for enrollment.  Terms of the State Charter Commission members shall be 4 years, currently 2 years.  State charter schools which close shall transfer all records to the nonprofit entity which held the charter school contract and then are held for one year.  The state audit of charter schools offering virtual instruction shall be completed and submitted to the State Board of Education and regulators by April 1 annually, currently December 1.

 

HR 962  Stephens – 64     PASSED House     S.Finance

CA to permit homesteaded real property to be assessed at 20% of fair market value (FMV) for school taxes if the owner is aged 65 or older.  Local referendum required.  Enabling legislation is HB 829.  The effect of this change, if passed, would cut school taxes in half at a minimum.  Any exemptions allowed on the property would be worth twice as much as a decrease from FMV.  

 

GOVERNMENT – GENERAL

 

SB 351  Watson – 1     PASSED Senate      H.State Property and Consumer Affairs

Authorizes a non-binding resolution on whether to continue with daylight savings time as is done now, or to stay on daylight saving time year round.  Referendum results will determine whether the author brings another bill to adopt the preferred option. If year-round daylight savings time is chosen, Congressional action is required to enable the change.  Federal law allows a state to stay on standard time or use daylight savings time in the spring-summer-fall, but is silent on staying on daylight savings time year round.

 

SB 396  Walker  - 20     PASSED Senate     H.Agriculture & Community Affairs

The pecan is designated the state official nut.  GA is the top pecan growing state with over 170,000 acres planted, and produces 37% of all pecans in the US.

 

GOVERNMENT – COURTS AND CRIMES

 

SB 393  Strickland – 17     PASSED Senate     H.Public Safety & Homeland Security

Campus police and security personnel can make felony arrests off campus but within 880 yards of the school property.  The GBI may provide qualifying personnel to serve as special assistant attorneys generals, special assistant district attorneys, special assist solicitors general, or special assistant US attorneys when requested by the agency or governor.

 

SB 394  Albers – 56     PASSED Senate     H.Judiciary Non-Civil

The Attorney General shall have assigned to the Law Department peace officers for kidnapping, false imprisonment and related offenses such as trafficking of person for labor or sex servitude.  The peace officers shall be fully empowered.

 

SB 402  Robertson – 29     PASSED Senate     H.Judiciary Non-Civil     

The term ‘released on his/her own recognizance’ is changed to ‘unsecured judicial release’ where it appears in law.

 

GOVERNMENT – EMPLOYMENT

 

HB 914  Clark – 147     PASSED House     H.Veterans, Military, & Homeland Security

Military spouses licensed in other states may practice in GA.

 

HEALTH

 

SB 323  Kirkpatrick – 32     PASSED Senate     

Health care providers who use sedation with their procedures must get training as a part of their licensure.

 

HB 789  Newton – 123     PASSED House     S.Health & Human Services

Hospitals must add ‘Hospital Surprise Billing Rating’ to their directories.  If the rating is less than 4, each insurer advertising the hospital as in-network must specify which qualified hospital based specialty group types are not contracted with the hospital.  Applies to anesthesiologists, pathologists, radiologists, and emergency room doctors.  Sets up a rating system for patients to use to determine which physician specialty groups in their insurance company plan serve a given hospital.  A rating of 4 indicates all four groups are qualified.  Covers all plans operating in the state.

 

HB 842  Williams – 145     PASSED House     S.Health & Human Services

Potential organ transplant patients cannot be discriminated against by health insurers solely due to physical or mental impairments.  Auxiliary aid or service must be used to insure the patient is fully informed.

 

HB 987  Cooper – 43     PASSED House     S.Regulated Industries & Utilities

Strengthens the requirements for elder care in long-term facilities.  Doubles fees for violations when death or serious harm to a resident has occurred.  Licensing may not occur if a license has been suspended within a year or ownership has changed to avoid a fine.  Increases staffing to 1 to 15 residents in facilities of 25 beds or more effective 7-1-21.  Each facility must provide 60 days notice of any impending bankruptcy or property evictions which might require relocation of residents, and 14 days notice to residents of change of ownership that may force discharge or relocation or other adverse impact on safe care and oversight.  Memory care centers are to staff at 1-12 residents and to include various health care professionals.  Training requirements are to include specifics for dementia patients.  Licensing required for administrators in personal care homes and assisted living communities.

 

REVENUE & TAXATION

 

HB 105  Watson – 172     PASSED House     PASSED Senate     DV          ENGROSSED

An income tax exemption for funds received for Hurricane Michael disaster relief or assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in calendar years 2019 through 2023.

 

SB 388  Kennedy – 18     TABLED in Senate

Persons who knowingly and willfully aid, assist, counsel, or advise in the preparation or presentation of any false or fraudulent income tax return or document, shall have committed a felony with a fine up to $10,000 and/or 5 years in prison, currently a misdemeanor with a fine up to $1,000 and six months in jail.  The floor debate seemed to think that the person accused should be considered for a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature, that the penalty should be tiered around the amount of money that was false or fraudulent, and that the taxpayer was not being cited if s/he was knowingly and willing a part of the fraud.

 

HB 815  Gaines – 117     PASSED House     S.Finance 

A sales tax exemption for an authority which provides public water or sewer service and was created by a local act or local constitutional amendment prior to 1983.

 

HB 882  Houston – 170     PASSED House     S.Finance

A sales tax exemption for qualified food banks in made permanent.  A nonprofit agency qualified for the exemption may use the food or ingredients for disaster relief in addition to hunger relief.

 

TRANSPORTATION & DRIVING

 

HB 823  Gaines – 117   PASSED House     S.Public Safety

A person convicted of trafficking other persons for labor or sexual servitude using a commercial vehicle shall be disqualified for life from driving a commercial vehicle and shall have their commercial driver’s license revoked.

 

LOCAL – FULTON and its CITIES

 

HB 965  Bazemore – 63     PASSED House     S.State & Local Government

The City of South Fulton shall not adopt a non-emergency ordinance until after a review and comment period by a 3-member ad-hoc committee appointed by the mayor for the purpose of evaluating the ordinance.  The committee meets in public and the city clerk takes notes for delivery to the mayor and city council members.  The problem the author is trying to solve might also develop within the committee.  

 

HB 1019  Bazemore – 63     PASSED House     S.State & Local Government 

The City of South Fulton has a new city charter. 

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In COMMITTEE

 

CHILDREN

 

SB 101  Beach – 21     ` DO PASS in S.Education & Youth     

Requires volunteer coaches of youth athletic associations to have training to reduce the likelihood of injuries to youth athletes, particularly on concussions and heat related symptoms.  The associations must use government owned property.  Training is to be accomplished within 30 days of commencing to coach.

 

SB 104  Payne – 54     PASSED Senate     DO PASS in H.Judiciary     DV

An order to not resuscitate a minor child may be issued only with an order, oral or written, from the parent.  If minor is of sufficient maturity to understand, the order must have the consent of the minor child as well.

 

HB 113  Carson – 46     DO PASS in H.Public Safety & Homeland Security          

Drivers under age 18 are prohibited from operating a motor vehicle while using a stand-alone electronic device or wireless telecommunication device unless reporting a traffic accident, medical emergency, fire, criminal or delinquent act, or road conditions which cause an immediate and serious traffic or safety hazard.  Fine is $25 to $100 per violation, and a misdemeanor.

 

SB 333  Jackson – 2     DO PASS in S.Urban Affairs     

Department of Family and Children Services shall create a prevention program to reduce crime and further engage fathers to be good parents.  A person may enter the program voluntarily.  The program will bring together community and employment resources, social programs, and government agencies.  The aim is to improve outcomes for children by reducing crime and better positioning fathers to be engaged as good parents.

 

HB 911  Setzler – 35     DO PASS in H.Judiciary Non-Civil    

A foster parent who engages in improper sexual contact with a child in their care is guilty of a felony if the child is under age 16; it is a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature if the child is age 16 or older.  Governor’s bill.

 

EDUCATION – PREK-12

 

HB 86  Benton – 31     DO PASS in H.Education

Teachers may file a complaint regarding personnel performance evaluation ratings and any procedural deficiencies of the local board of education or charter school which does the evaluation.

 

SB 102  Jones – 10     DO PASS in S.Education & Youth

Defines the environment for community schools which are designed to bring in wrap around services for students.  The public school will partner with one or more non-profit organizations for a pilot program.  The school must be a Title I, school achieving among the lowest 15% of secondary schools, or a high school with a graduation rate of 60% or less over 3 years.  If appropriated, Department of Education can award planning or operational grants.

 

HB 336  Blackmon – 146     DO PASS in H.Retirement

Retired teachers may return to work full-time and still receive their retirement benefits if they are in any of 3 high-demand areas as determined by the Regional Educational Service Agency (RESA) serving that school’s area.  The retiree must sit out a year and earns no additional retirement benefit.  The local board of education pays both the employer and employee Teachers Retirement System premium.  Program sunsets in June 2025. The state will be paying these returnees almost double what they would have earned before retirement.  Some might suggest that this is a form of double dipping.  There is no restriction on the retired teacher returning for 49% or less during the year they must sit out until returning full time.

 

SB 386  Unterman – 45     DO PASS in S.Education & Youth

Section 504 students are eligible for the Special Needs Scholarship.  This may triple the number of students taking this voucher.  League OPPOSES vouchers in any form because they use taxpayer money for private schools often sectarian.

 

SR 810  Mullis – 53     DO PASS in S.Education & Youth

Urges that every school district implement recycle programs in all grades, but especially in elementary schools to educate student on the value of caring for their community, their environment, and their futures.

 

HB 1026  Dickey – 140     DO PASS in H.Education

Reduces the number of REACH scholars to 8, from 12, for school systems with 5 or more high schools and to 5, from 7, for school systems with less than 5 high schools.

 

HB 1055  Jasperse – 11     DO PASS in H.Education

Home study students in grades 8 to 12 may participate in extracurricular and interscholastic activities in the public school which serves the student’s residence.  The student must complete an online course in a core academic area facilitated by the resident school system for one semester prior to the semester the student participates in an extracurricular or interscholastic activity.  The student must meet all qualifications imposed on all students of the local school and system to participate.  A public school student who withdraws to participate in a home study program is ineligible for 12 months to participate in extracurricular and interscholastic activities at that school.

 

EDUCATION – POSTSECONDARY

 

SB 318  Ligon – 3     DO PASS in H.Judiciary

Provides a public forum at public postsecondary institutions.  Each institution may restrict some areas from all forum uses, but all other areas are open to any student, organization, staff, faculty to discuss any subject matter as a right under Amendment 1 of the US Constitution and Article 1 of the GA Constitution, specifically, the right to free speech. The author seems to be reaching for a way for religious speakers to be allowed unfettered access to all on campus.

 

ELECTIONS & ETHICS

 

SB 463  Kennedy – 18     DO PASS in S.Ethics     

If a precinct with 2000 or more electors has a voting time of more than one hour to check in to vote, the precinct shall either be split into two precincts or receive more equipment or poll workers the following election.  The precinct manager shall check three times during the voting day to see how long it takes to get from the end of the line to check in.  Removes references to direct recording electronic (DRE) voting equipment from the law.  Also removes or modifies election procedures which have been changed by court order.  Secretary of State’s bill.  Except for the time in line checking, this bill is a clean up.

 

GOVERNMENT – GENERAL

 

SB 350  James – 35     DO PASS in S.State Institutions & Property

The state must provide free feminine hygiene products in every women’s restroom in property owned by the state.  This includes buildings, universities, technical colleges, parks, historical venues, most of which allow the public to visit.  If one could get them free at their local state-owned facility, why buy them?

 

SB 420  Jones – 10     DO PASS in S.Health & Human Services

Department of Agriculture is to establish rules and regulation regarding the public use of restroom facilities in food sales establishments.  Cannot discriminate and shall be maintained in a clean and serviceable condition subject to inspection by the department.  If not available to public, the establishment must post a sign near the entrance.

 

SB 459  Mullis – 53     DO PASS in S.Rules

Encourages anyone testifying in the Senate to tell the truth.  Senators rely on what is said in testimony.  Those who lie may be subject to contempt and prohibited from presenting further testimony for the remainder of the session.  

 

HB 999  Knight – 130     DO PASS in H.Agriculture & Community Affairs

May 1 is designated as Pure Breed Dog Day in GA, a holiday.

 

GOVERNMENT – COUNTIES AND CITIES

 

SB 406  Anderson – 24     DO PASS in S.State and Local Government

Counties, cities, and other governmental entities which are required to publish legal notices in the county legal organ or a newspaper of general circulation may additionally post the notice on the website of the legal organ, the county, or on a common state-wide website for 7 consecutive days.

 

GOVERNMENT – COURTS AND CRIMES

 

SB 35  Jones – 10     DO PASS in S.Judiciary

Sex offenders cannot reside within 2000 feet of their victims or the immediate family members of the victim, and may not loiter near those residences.  If the victim or an immediate family member moves within 2000 feet of where the sex offender lives, the sex offender is not guilty of this offense.

 

SB 287  Jones – 22     DO PASS in S.Judiciary

Rape, aggravated sodomy, and aggravated sexual battery prosecutions may begin at anytime.  Currently, forcible rape prosecutions must begin within 15 years of the crime, and the aggravated crimes must begin sooner.

 

SB 344  Mullis – 3     DO PASS in S.Judiciary

Prisoners may appear in court by video.  A judge may order a defendant to personally appear in any court hearing.  Video has to be of a quality that all can see and hear and can be sent to the appellate court as part of the court record.  An employee of the state crime lab or a contract lab may also appear by video.

 

HR 1023  Welch – 110     PASSED House     DO PASS in S.Judiciary     DV

CA to permit a GA citizen or corporation which suffers an injury to petition the judiciary for declaratory relief from acts of the state, any agency or any county, consolidated government, or city of the state, or any employee thereof or committed  outside of their scope of authority.  Schools seem to be excluded from this, probably because of the special education issues which is federally controlled.

 

GOVERNMENT – ENVIRONMENT

 

SB 385 Wilkinson – 50     DO PASS in S.Regulated Industries & Utilities

Bars burning chemically treated wood products, creosote or naphthenate, for purposes of commercial energy 

generation by permitted industrial biomass boilers. 

 

GUNS

 

SB 224  Harper - 7     DO PASS in S.Judiciary

Makes changes to the weapons carry law:

  •  Aggravated assault with a firearm must have firearm held in hands and aimed at the victim or otherwise used in a threatening manner.

  • Prohibition against carrying in a courthouse applies only if courthouse is occupied.

  • Removes the ban on carrying in houses of worship.

  • An antique firearm is no longer defined as a firearm for weapons carry purposes, even as they can still maim and kill.

  • A knife, when carried, must be accompanied by a valid weapons carry permit. 

  • Cities selling firearms must bid them out, and they can only be transferred to people named by the winning bidder.

  • Revokes the ability to close gun shops and places where ammo is sold in an emergency.

 

SB 357  Health – 31     DO PASS in S.Judiciary

Houses of worship which have allowed the carrying of weapons may authorize persons to have weapons in their possession or use them in a school associated with that house of worship.  So much for protecting kids from guns.

 

HEALTH

 

SB 311  Kirkpatrick – 32     DO PASS in S.Judiciary

Medical providers may not profit by taking money from referring or recommending a patient to another health provider or prescribing specific medications.  Violations are a felony.  If fewer than 20 patients are involved, the fine is $100,000 per violation; if greater than 20 patients, the fines are $500,000 per patient.  A medical provider commits a misdemeanor if it bills an insurance company for a reimbursement for tests not needed, not performed, deliberate billing to a patient for a service paid by an insurer.

 

SB 327  Karinshak – 48     DO PASS in S. Insurance & Labor

Employers are to provide breaks for the purpose of expressing breast milk to females who are nursing an infant.

 

SB 345  Kirkpatrick – 32     PASSED Senate     DO PASS in H.Health & Human Service

Non-profit organizations preparing and providing food for consumption must adhere to the requirements for food safety.  No food prepared in a private home can be served, but it can be prepared in kitchens of public buildings such as churches, schools, and arenas as long as public health procedures are followed.  Must Ministries in Cobb County prepares sandwiches to feed children during the summer and school breaks.  Many sandwiches were made in private homes.  When inspected, they were cited.  This bill establishes the standards not quite as strict as those for restaurants, but not home-prepared either.   Schools, parent organizations, houses of worship, scouts, and feed-the-hungry organizations need to review this bill.

 

SB 391  Kirkpatrick – 32     DO PASS in S.Health & Human Services

When a state of emergency has been declared or a hurricane warning issued, the Commissioner of Public Health may waive the time restrictions on prescription refills to enable patients to refill a 30-day supply in advance, if refills remain.

 

SB 408  Strickland – 17     DO PASS in S.Insurance & Labor

The use of sick leave for care of immediate family members has the sunset date removed.

 

HB 791  Stephens – 164   DO PASS in H.Health & Human Services

A pharmacist may provide up to a 90-day supply of a chronic medication if the patient agrees and the prescribing doctor has indicated periodic refills are medically necessary.  This authorization does not apply to scheduled drugs and controlled substances.  Author is a licensed pharmacist.

 

HB 952  Cooper – 43     DO PASS in H.Special Committee on Access to Quality Health Care

A corporation that owns multiple pharmacies in GA is banned from placing restrictions on the quantity or dosages of controlled substances or places a restriction on filling prescriptions for a controlled substance by a specific provider.  Pharmacists may refuse to fill a prescription based on professional judgment if the pharmacist believes it is not for a legitimate purpose, is not in the patient’s best interest, or was written by a prescriber subject to enforcement action regarding a controlled substance.

 

REVENUE & TAXATION

 

SB 410  Kennedy – 18     DO PASS in S.Finance

If a Board of Assessors appeals an assessment and the determination is 85% or less of the Board’s valuation, the taxpayer can recover costs of litigation if the county governing authority approves as well as interest.  Currently, the taxpayer can recover only if the taxpayer appeals and the value is determined to be 85% or less of the previous valuation determined by the county.

 

HB 864  Rich – 97     DO PASS in H.Ways & Means

An excise tax of 7% is to be levied on vapor devices and consumable vapor products.   Both tobacco and vaping products are limited to those over age 21.

 

TRANSPORTATION & DRIVING

 

HB 890  Watson – 172     DO PASS in H.Motor Vehicles     

Notice of suspension or denial of the driver’s license can be made by regular mail.  Currently, certified mail is required, which can be ignored by the recipient by not signing for it.

 

HB 895  Setzler – 35     DO PASS in H.Motor Vehicles     

No points against a driver’s license and no fine greater than $100 may be imposed for ignoring a traffic control device unless traveling more than 5 miles per hour or if there is a direct threat of harm to persons or property.

 

HB 903  Dollar – 45     DO PASS in H.Public Safety & Homeland Security

Driving an unlicensed vehicle can result in a citation to the driver or the owner, if present at the time of citation issuance.

 

Sally FitzGerald, Capitol Observer

sallyfitz [at] bellsouth.net

League of Women Voters – Atlanta/Fulton

www.lwvaf.org

Know the issues.  Join the conversation.  Make a difference.

 

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