Georgia Legislature Crossover Day Overview

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(APN) ATLANTA — Monday, March 03, 2014, was Crossover Day for the Georgia Legislature.  This is the day by which any bills had to have passed either the State House or State Senate in order to still be alive for consideration in the other respective chamber this year.

 

The following is a summary of the current status of bills that Atlanta Progressive News has been following this year, and whether they crossed over or not.  Also, below are links to our previous coverage of many of those bills, including links to full articles as well as blog posts:

 

CITY OF LAKESIDE – SB 270 – PASSED SENATE, HEADS TO HOUSE

 

http://www.atlantaprogressivenews.com/interspire/news/2013/05/08/town-hall-meeting-held-on-dekalb-cityhood-proposals.html

 

http://www.atlantaprogressivenews.com/interspire/news/2014/02/04/three-cityhood-movements–briarcliff-lakeside-tucker–vie-for-state-support.html

 

http://www.atlantaprogressivenews.com/interspire/blogs/city-of-lakeside-proposal-passes-state-senate-committee.html

 

http://atlantaprogressivenews.com/interspire/blogs/city-of-lakeside-proposal-passes-state-senate-heads-to-house.html

 

SB 270, the proposal to allow a voter referendum of the City of Lakeside, to include parts of unincorporated DeKalb and Gwinnett counties, passed Senate State and Local Government Operations Committee on February 06, 2014; and passed the full Senate on February 26, 2014, in a vote of 32 to 17.

 

The bill currently sits in the House, where it has been referred to the Government Affairs Cmte.

 

Meanwhile, competing bills to create cities of Briarcliff and Tucker, have not made progress.

 

CITY OF SOUTH FULTON – HB 704 – PASSED HOUSE, HEADS TO SENATE

 

http://www.atlantaprogressivenews.com/interspire/blogs/feasibility-study-city-of-south-fulton-is-financially-feasible.html

 

http://www.atlantaprogressivenews.com/interspire/news/2014/02/20/city-of-south-fulton-early-voting-restrictions-pass-house-cmte.html

 

http://atlantaprogressivenews.com/interspire/blogs/city-of-south-fulton-referendum-passes-georgia-house.html

 

HB 704, the proposal to allow a voter referendum of the City of South Fulton, to include parts of unincorporated Fulton County, passed the House Committee on Government Affairs on February 18, 2014; and passed the full House on February 20, 2014, in a vote of 163 to two,

 

The bill currently sits in the Senate, where it was first committed to the State and Local Governmental Operations (Local) Committee, but was recommitted to the State and Local Governmental Operations-General Committee.

 

MEDICAL CANNABIS – HB 885 – PASSED HOUSE, HEADS TO SENATE

 

http://atlantaprogressivenews.com/interspire/news/2014/02/03/georgia%E2%80%99s-new-medical-marijuana-bill-introduced.html

 

http://atlantaprogressivenews.com/interspire/news/2014/02/12/state-house-committee-holds-hearing-on-medical-cannabis.html

 

http://atlantaprogressivenews.com/interspire/news/2014/03/02/georgia-medical-cannabis-bill-amended-heads-to-house-floor.html

 

HB 885, the proposal to amend existing Georgia law, to expand Georgia’s existing–but not yet implemented to date–medical cannabis, or medical marijuana, program, passed the House Committee on Health & Human Services on February 26, 2014; and passed the full House on March 03, 2014, in a vote of 171 to four.

 

The four nays were Reps. Stephen Allison (R-Blairsville), Jeff Chapman (R-Brunswick), Carl Rogers (R-Gainesville), and Ed Setzler (R-Acworth).

 

While in the House, the bill was amended to allow academic research centers to grow cannabis for use in medical research.

 

The bill currently sits in the Senate, where it has been referred to the Health and Human Services Committee.

 

REDUCTION IN MUNICIPAL EARLY VOTING – HB 891 – PASSED HOUSE, HEADS TO SENATE

 

http://www.atlantaprogressivenews.com/interspire/blogs/georgia-house-republicans-seek-to-limit-early-voting-in-municipal-elections.html

 

http://www.atlantaprogressivenews.com/interspire/news/2014/02/20/city-of-south-fulton-early-voting-restrictions-pass-house-cmte.html

 

http://atlantaprogressivenews.com/interspire/blogs/municipal-early-voting-reduction-bill-amended-passes-house.html

 

HB 891, the proposal to reduce the early voting period for municipalities in Georgia, passed the House Governmental Affairs Committee on February 18, 2014; and passed the full House on February 26, 2014, in a vote of 146 to 25.

 

While on the House floor, the bill was amended to give municipalities flexibility over whether they wanted to keep with the current, longer early voting period of 21 days, or to accept the shorter early voting period of six days.

 

The bill currently sits in the Senate, where it has been referred to the Ethics Committee.

 

BLOCKING GOVERNOR FROM EXPANDING MEDICAID – HB 990 – PASSED HOUSE, HEADS TO SENATE

 

http://www.atlantaprogressivenews.com/interspire/blogs/georgia-house-republicans-want-to-block-gov-deal-from-expanding-medicaid.html

 

HB 990, the proposal to block Gov. Nathan Deal from expanding Medicaid coverage in the State of Georgia–by increasing the income threshold pursuant to the federal Affordable Care Act–without Legislative approval, passed the the House Judiciary Committee on February 24, 2014; and passed the full House on March 03, 2014, in a vote of 118 to 57.

 

The bill was amended to specify that the income threshold could be increased without Legislative approval for cost-of-living increases only.

 

The bill currently sits in the Senate, where it has been referred to the Health and Human Services Committee.

 

GUN CARRY BILL FOR BARS, CHURCHES, ETC. – HB 875 – PASSED HOUSE, HEADS TO SENATE

 

http://atlantaprogressivenews.com/interspire/georgians-express-opposition-to-extreme-gun-bill-hb-875.html

 

http://atlantaprogressivenews.com/interspire/news/2014/02/08/georgia-house-committee-approves-gun-advocates%E2%80%99-dream-bill.html

 

http://atlantaprogressivenews.com/interspire/blogs/georgia-house-passes-expansive-gun-law.html

 

HB 875, which would allow Georgians to carry guns in bars, churches, and schools, passed the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee on February 07, 2014; and passed the full House on February 18, 2014, in a vote of 119 to 56.

 

The bill currently sits in the Senate, where it has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

 

DRUG TESTING FOR CERTAIN FOOD STAMP AND TANF RECIPIENTS – HB 772 – PASSES HOUSE, HEADS TO SENATE

 

http://www.atlantaprogressivenews.com/interspire/blogs/sixth-moral-monday-focuses-on-womens-health-and-reproductive-rights.html

 

HB 772, which would allow the State of Georgia to require a drug test for certain food stamp and Temporary Aid for Needy Families (TANF) recipients deemed to be likely drug users, passed the House Judiciary Committee on February 25, 2014; and passed the full House on March 03, 2014, in a vote of 107 to 66.

 

The bill as originally introduced would have required drug testing of all food stamp recipients.  However, as previously reported by Atlanta Progressive News, in previous years, such a requirement would likely conflict with a federal court ruling concerning a similar program in Florida that was found to be unconstitutional.  It was found unconstitutional, in part because there is no reason to believe that food stamp recipients are more likely to be drug users.

 

In response, HB 772 was amended to require only drug testing of those food stamp recipients who are “reasonably suspected” of being drug users, such as those who have a known criminal history involving drug use.  Proponents of the bill believe this narrowly crafted change could render the bill constitutional.

 

The bill was introduced by State Rep. Greg Morris (R-Vidalia).

 

The bill now sits in the Senate, where it has been referred to the Health and Human Services Committee.

 

HEROIN OVERDOSE 911 CALL AMNESTY – HB 965 – PASSES HOUSE, HEADS TO SENATE

 

http://www.atlantaprogressivenews.com/interspire/news/2014/02/28/georgia-house-approves-amnesty-for-heroin-overdose-911-calls.html

 

HB 965, which would provide amnesty for individuals who call 911 for emergency medical assistance related to an overdose on heroin or other illegal drugs, passed the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee on February 19, 2014; and passed the full House on February 25, 2014, in a vote of 144 to 20.

 

The bill now sits in the Senate, where it has been referred to the Health and Human Services Committee.

 

PARENT TRIGGER CHARTER SCHOOLS – HB 123 – STAGNATES IN SENATE

 

http://www.atlantaprogressivenews.com/interspire/news/2014/01/15/parent-trigger-bill-may-come-up-again-in-legislature-this-year-(update-1).html

 

HB 123, a bill to allow a majority of parents at a school to trigger, through a vote, a change in school governance and management to a charter model, has not come up in the State Senate this year.  

 

As previously reported by APN, HB 123 passed the House last year, and moved over to the Senate, where it did not come up for a Committee vote.  No action has been taken on the bill this year.

 

STAND YOUR GROUND REPEAL – SB 280 – DIED IN THE HOUSE

 

http://www.atlantaprogressivenews.com/interspire/news/2014/02/16/georgia-senate-committee-holds-hearing-on-stand-your-ground-repeal-bill.html

 

SB 280, a bill by State Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta), to repeal the Stand Your Ground law in Georgia, was the subject of a Senate Committee hearing, but the bill never came up for a vote in Committee.

 

DRONE REGULATION BILLS – HB 846 and 848 – DIED IN THE HOUSE

 

http://www.atlantaprogressivenews.com/interspire/news/2014/02/15/drone-regulation-bills-introduced-in-georgia-house.html

 

House Bills 846 and 848, which would have regulated the use of drones in Georgia, did not come up for votes in the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

 

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM BILLS – SB 377, HB 1023 – FAIL TO CROSS OVER

 

SB 377 and HB 1023, two bills intended to provide for expanded religious freedom in the State of Georgia, did not cross over, and are thus dead for this year.

 

The bills would allow individuals with a sincerely held religious belief to offer a defense based on that belief in any proceeding relating to a law that they might have violated by acting, or failing to act, in a certain manner prescribed by law.  The bills would have the courts weigh the state interest in whatever law is at issue, with the individual’s interest in acting in accordance with their religious beliefs; and would provide that only a state interest of the highest order, that could not be satisfied in any other manner, would be allowed to outweigh an individual’s interest.

 

Many progressive groups including LGBTQI advocacy groups protested the bills, arguing that they were a license to discriminate.  APN is planning to publish a full article on the bills, under separate cover, in the coming days.

 

SB 377 passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 21, 2014; but did not come up for a full vote in the Senate.

 

HB 1023 did not come up for a vote in the House Judiciary Committee.  One day of testimony was held on the bill, in a room packed, mostly by progressive advocates in opposition to the bill.

(END/2014)

 

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