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Friday, February 17, 2017

NOTES FROM THE SENATE, FEBRUARY 17, 2017

AMENDED BUDGET SIGNED, FY 18 BUDGET MOVES FORWARD

Governor Deal signed the 2017 Amended Budget in Augusta and the House took up the FY 18 General Budget, as the Senate began its work towards passage in early March.

LEGISLATION PASSED BY THE SENATE THIS WEEK

SB 2 - Attempts to help small businesses by requiring local and state agencies and boards to publish schedules for fees and reduces the fee for times exceeding the schedule. (Passed 52-0)

SB 3 - Allows students to earn industry credentials in school by enhancing Career, Technical, and Agricultural (CTAE) programs that certify to industry standards. (Passed 52-0)

SB 15 - Extends the right of retiring disabled law enforcement officers to retain their firearms including all state and federal Peace officers who received disability under the Peace Officers' Annuity and Benefit Fund. (Passed 51-0)

SB 16 - Allows medical marijuana to be used for autism spectrum disorders. Also reduces the allowable amount of THC from 5% to 3%. (Passed 41-12)

SB 45 - Puts into code the crime of "upskirting," or photographing under a lady's dress, a felony punishable by imprisonment of 1-5 years, a fine of up to $100,000.00, or both. (Passed 49-0)

SB 46 - Removes operators' liability for death or injury to passengers travelling in space vehicles. (Passed 49-2)

SB 89 - Creates the Georgia Freight Railroad Program, encouraging state investment in railways and railroad facilities and equipment. (Passed 49-0)

LEGISLATION INTRODUCED IN THE SENATE THIS WEEK

SB 154 - Increases penalties for the offenses of aggravated assault and aggravated battery on a public safety officer engaged in his or her official duties, to jail time and a fine of $5,000.00.

SB 155 - Creates the Local Law Enforcement Officer Compensation Commission to perform an ongoing review of the salaries of local law enforcement officers in using data provided by governing bodies of counties and municipalities.

SB 159 - Allows use of purple paint to mark private property and signal "no trespassing."

SB 160 - Grants the superior court exclusive original jurisdiction over the trial of any child aged 13-17 who is accused of aggravated assault or aggravated battery on a peace officer engaged in his or her official duties.

SB 165 - Imposes liability on any producer who disposes of coal ash in Georgia, so they may be sued by anyone harmed by the toxic materials.

SB 167 - Raises the amount of the ad valorem tax homestead exemption for disabled veterans and certain relatives from $32,500.00 to $77,300.00.

SB 169 - Creates a specialty license plate honoring law enforcement, with funds going to the Peace Officers' Association of Georgia.

SB 170 - The Georgia SERVES Act of 2017, provides for the certification of volunteers of child care services for foster children and their families, to streamline involvement of Georgians volunteering.

SB 186 -High school students enrolled in dual credit coursework through the Move On When Ready program would be eligible for a HOPE grant towards an associate degree.

SB 192 - Allows nonpartisan election of district attorneys, sheriffs, coroners, tax commissioners, and clerks of superior court.

PASSED BY HOUSE, NOW IN SENATE

HB 61 - Requires electronic commerce retailers earning more than $250,000.00 from sales in Georgia or conducting 200 or more separate retail sales in Georgia to either collect and remit sales and use taxes or notify consumers that they must file and pay.

HB 73 - Provides various tax credit incentives to encourage investment, job creation, and economic growth in rural Georgia business districts.

HB 154 - Authorizes licensed dental hygienists to perform cleanings under general supervision in federally qualified health centers, volunteer community health settings, senior centers and family violence shelters.

HB 198 - Requires school systems to provide information on influenza and its vaccine, including causes, symptoms and contagiousness, to parents and guardians of students grades 6-12.

The 2017 Session has reached the halfway point, passing legislative day 20.

Full transcripts of bills may be found at http://www.legis.ga.gov/en-US/default.aspx . Simply type the bill number into the box at the top left-hand corner of the screen and specify if it is in the House or the Senate. As always, I welcome any questions you may have.

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