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Friday, March 31, 2017

NOTES FROM THE SENATE, MARCH 31, 2017

LEGISLATURE ADJOURNS SINE DIE WITH FLURRY OF ACTIVITY

The 2017 Session of the Georgia General Assembly adjourned Friday night with a flurry of activity right up to and past the 12:00 midnight hour. Bills flew back and forth through the day and into the night as amendments and substitutes were added, some adopted and some resulting in conference committees.

This column will review the final passage of legislation over the next column or two and also review in detail the state budget in future columns.

PASSED BY THE SENATE - FINAL PASSAGE

HB 37 - Private colleges and schools adopting illegal alien sanctuary policies may lose state funding. (Passed 37-16)

HB 50 - Limits civil liability for livestock activity sponsors, livestock professionals, and livestock facility owners. (Passed 50-0)

HB 117 - Repeals the sales tax on ticket sales by voluntary contributions for amusement, sports, or entertainment events. (Passed 48-1)

HB 125 - Caps the allowed sales tax at $35,000 for repair materials used to maintain, refit, or repair large ocean vessels. Will allow a large ocean vessel repair business to create jobs in Savannah. (Passed 35-16)

HB 196 - Increases the rural hospital tax credit to 80%, up from 70%, of the donation and allows members of LLCs, S Corps, and partnerships to receive up to $10,000 in tax credits. Also requires rural hospitals to report on contributions, while providing that the identity of any donor may not be disclosed. Overall cap is now $60 million per year for three years. (Passed 47-3)

HB 247 - Creates a sales tax exemption for maintenance and replacement parts for concrete mixers that manufacture concrete as they travel to a project. (Passed 48-4)

HB 279 -Allows victims of family violence to change their name without public disclosure, to escape notice by their abusers. (Passed 52-1)

HB 292 - Prohibits financial institutions from refusing to provide services or loans to weapons businesses based solely on the nature of their business. (Passed 37-16)

HB 312 - Allows the Employees' Retirement System to offer a Roth contribution plan to employees. (Passed 48-0)

HB 343 - Replaces the terms "mentally retarded" & "mental retardation" in the Georgia code with "intellectual disability". (Passed 52-0)

HB 370 - Allows the Council of Municipal Courts Judges of Georgia to create an optional savings plans and deferred compensation plans, to be funded solely on the contributions of participating members. (Passed 51-0)

HB 406 - Updates the weapons carry reciprocity code so the Attorney General must maintain on its website a list of the states whose laws are reciprocal with Georgia weapons carry laws. (Passed 50-3)

HB 427 - Expands the service cancelable loan program for physicians in underserved rural areas to include dentists, physician assistants, and advanced practice registered nurses. (Passed 53-0)

HB 481 - Allows local governments to adopt ordinances for drones. (Passed 54-0)

HOUSE SUBSTITUTES AGREED TO BY SENATE - FINAL PASSAGE

SB 16 - Expands the list of allowable conditions for low THC oil (medical marijuana) to include Tourette's syndrome, autism, Alzheimer's and AIDS. Also allows patients to receive THC treatment in Georgia if they hold a registration card from another state that is in accordance with Georgia's law. Leaves percentage strength at 5% but tracks prescriptions.

SB 109 - Establishes an Interstate Compact to facilitate interstate movement of Emergency Medical Services personnel through legal recognition of EMS personnel based on the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians examination. Also enacts a similar Nurse Licensure Compact for registered nurses with interstate licenses.

SB 141 - Requires carnival ride owners to submit a once a year engineering evaluation as part of their permit application to local government.

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 206 - Requires health benefit policies to provide coverage for hearing aids costing up to $3,000.00 for children 18 years and younger.

SB 250 - Prohibits people on the sexual offender registry of another state from residing, working or loitering near any child care facility, church, school, or area where minors congregate.

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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