Friday, July 06, 2018
NOTES FROM THE SENATE, JULY 6, 2018
WHAT'S LEFT? PUBLIC SAFETY, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, FINANCE AND ETHICS
There won't be any more columns on legislation from the 2018 Session unless an issue develops. This column will tie up the loose ends with legislation from several important committees, Public Safety, Economic Development, Finance and Ethics. There may not be a huge volume of legislation that goes through these committees, but some very important bills originate in them or pass through.
--SB 327-- Removes from the "suspicious list" of deaths requiring the coroner notification. This is one where the subject was unaccompanied by a physician when death occurred. But the coroner must be immediately notified upon discovery.
--SB 369-- Requires $5.00 of every pre-trial diversion fee collected by local authorities to be paid into the Peace Officer's Annuity and Benefit Fund (POAB) Fees are paid to the Clerk of the Superior Court. The POAB pays a benefit when an eligible peace officer is permanently injured, killed in the line of duty or retires.
--HB 79-- Sets up regulations for data captured by law enforcement using license plate reader technology. Requires immediate storage and cannot be used in any function except law enforcement. Data must be destroyed no later than 30 months after collection unless it is still being used in a case. Requires all agencies to formulate policies on this handling.
--HB 671-- Not exactly public safety related, but allows license plates on antique autos for as distant as four years from the age of the auto. Also sets up a special license tag for the "Save the Honey Bee." Proceeds go to the Georgia Beekeepers Association.
--HB 703-- Creates the Office of Public Safety Officer Support within the Department of Public Safety. The Support Coordinator will be trained to provide emotional support and moral support to public safety officers. The office will also train "peer counselors" who may respond to any agency. Intended to identify and treat trauma or post-traumatic stress disorder relating from public safety incidents.
--HB 815-- Creates a Georgia Masonic Charities Foundation license plate with the proceeds going to the foundation.
--HB 867-- Changes wait time for applicants to retake the POST exam and removes the mandatory 30 day wait period. Allows anyone with a degree from an accredited postsecondary institution to qualify for the POST academy without taking the entrance exam.
--HB 831-- Creates the Employment First Georgia Council to advise the Governor, General Assembly and agencies on policies for Competitive Integrated Employment (CIE) for workers with disabilities. This concept is for work in the labor market in a setting where an individual with a disability interacts with individuals without disabilities but is able to complete tasks and so is paid at the same level. The bill recognizes CIE as the preferred option of all state funded services provided to working age individuals with disabilities.
--HB 899-- Dictates that when government contracts are based on sealed competitive bids for public works, that no bidder may be disqualified or denied prequalification based on lack of experience with the construction delivery method used for the job.
--HB 973-- Requires all lobbyists to read and agree to the General Assembly's sexual harassment policy while registering with the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission. The lobbyist must sign a statement yearly agreeing to abide by this policy. The General Assembly updated and strengthened its sexual harassment policies this past session.
The Finance Committee is one of the most important committees since all tax legislation comes through this committee. Tax and revenue legislation traditionally originates in the House but often is rewritten in the Senate. After Crossover Day when all House originated bills have to have been considered, this committee has a tremendous amount of important work to do.
--HB 328-- Sunsets several tax credits following a study committee recommendation.
--HB 61-- Requires online retailers with gross revenue over $250,000 or conducting 200 or more separate retail sales to collect and remit sales taxes. This bill will enable the state to immediately take advantage of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision freeing up states to collect sales taxes on internet sales.
--HB 697-- Extends sunset on sales tax exemption to June 30, 2019, for nonprofit health centers and nonprofit volunteer health clinics.
--HB 871-- Allows a sales tax exemption on 50% of a manufactured home's state sales tax provided the home is converted into real property within 30 days of sale. Must be designed as a dwelling, containing more than one section and having plumbing, heating and air conditioning and electrical systems and designed to have an angled roof covering at least 650 sq. feet. Will allow mobile home manufacturers to compete more fairly with "stickbuilt" construction costs.
INSURANCE AND LABOR
--SR 1058-- Urges Congress to propose a resolution between CMS and TRICARE to restore data sharing and to waive a one-year timely filing for all claims caught in this stoppage. TRICARE ceased its support in a data match process where states submitted Medicaid Data on Tricare members. This agreement expired and harms some 432,055 TRICARE members and beneficiaries in Georgia.
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. The FY 2019 budget (H.B. 684) may be found at http://www.senate.ga.gov/sbeo/en-US/AppropriationsDocuments.aspx. As always, I welcome any questions you may have.