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Monday, March 06, 2017

NOTES FROM THE SENATE, MARCH 6, 2017

Legislative Day 28 on March 3, 2017 was "Crossover Day" for the General Assembly. This is the deadline by which all must bills must pass out of the chamber they originated in and move to the other body in order to be passed this session. The Senate passed 32 bills in addition to those below.

LEGISLATION PASSED BY THE SENATE THIS WEEK

SB 1 - Expands the definition of "domestic terrorism" to include acts intended to damage critical infrastructure or commit violence in pursuit of an ideology. Establishes the Georgia Department of Homeland Security to develop a security strategy. Creates an Anti-Terrorism Task Force within the DHS to allow greater collaboration between the different levels of law enforcement in combatting terroristic threats. (Passed 42-12)

SB 5 - Gradually increases the percentage of lottery proceeds that must go towards education to 26.5% of the lottery proceeds in fiscal year 2018, to 27.5% in fiscal year 2019 and to 28.5% in fiscal year 2020 and onwards. Increases will suspend if lottery revenue drops by 5% between fiscal years. (Passed 53-0)

SB 81 - Limits the amount of benzodiazepines, opiates, opioids, opioid analgesics, or opioid derivatives that may be prescribed to no more than a five-day supply for an adult patient being seen for the first time. Also requires prescribers of certain Schedule II, III, IV, or V substances toregister with a new electronic data base to track patient information in an attempt to cut down on efforts by individuals to get medication from multiple doctors. (Passed 52-0)

SB 103 - Would assist pharmacists and their customers by prohibiting pharmacy benefit managers from charging excessive copays or requiring customers to use mail-order pharmacies. Also allows pharmacists to provide information on and sell more affordable alternative medications. (Passed 51-0)

SB 104 - Requires the human trafficking hotline model notice to be posted in government buildings and a hyperlink to the notice to be posted on government websites. (Passed 52-0)

SB 121 - Allows the State Health Officer to permit individuals and entities to dispense medications that counteract opioid overdose, such as naloxone. Requires pharmacies to keep detailed records the sale of all such agents. (Passed 53-0)

SB 133 - Exempts corporations with a net worth less than $100,000, including capital stock, paid-in surplus, and earned surplus, from the corporate net worth tax. (Passed 38-16)

SB 152 - Students who are subject to compulsory attendance could not be assigned to an alternative education program for more than two semesters except in cases involving physical assault or battery of school personnel or other students, bullying, and unlawful use or possession of illegal drugs or alcohol. The duration of such alternative education program cannot exceed the remainder of the semester that the student is suspended or expelled (Passed 52-0)

SB 159 - Allows use of purple paint to mark private property and signal "no trespassing." (Passed 48-0)

SB 166 - Makes Georgia a part of the Nurse Licensure Compact, allowing nurses to practice in the 25 other member states after obtaining a multistate license. Also allows nurses from other states that have a multistate license to practice in Georgia. (Passed 52-0)

SB 174 - Provides that nonviolent offenders (shoplifting, burglary, etc.) without prior felony convictions must receive probation not to exceed three years unless the court finds jail time to be necessary. Also allows the Board of Community Supervision to provide education programs for probationers. (Passed 55-0)

SB 175 - Requires the parents of repeatedly delinquent children to take certain actions to promote their rehabilitation, such as ensuring attendance of school and all counseling and probations appointments, and to pay for treatment. (Passed 53-0)

SB 176 - Provides that individuals who fail to appear in court for traffic violations will not have their licenses revoked, unless they fail to appear a second time. (Passed 52-0)

SB 201 - Allows employees to make use of sick leave in order to care for members of their immediate family. (Passed 41-10)

SB 202 - Requires the Department of Community Health to increase the personal needs allowance for individuals in nursing homes from $30 to at least $70 per month. (Passed 51-0)

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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