APN Georgia Assembly Crossover Day Overview, 2016
(APN) ATLANTA — Monday, February 29, 2016 was Crossover Day for the Georgia Legislature. This is the day that bills must pass from one chamber to another in order to still be active for consideration in becoming a law.
Atlanta Progressive News has provided extensive and comprehensive coverage of the legislative session again this year.
The following is a summary of the current status of many of the bills that Atlanta Progressive News has been following this year, and whether they crossed over or not.
HR 1033 – MARTA IN GWINNETT – FAILED
HR 1033, sponsored by State Rep. Pedro “Pete” Marin (D-Duluth), to expand MARTA to Gwinnett County, did not come up for a vote.
SB 330 MARTA RAIL EXPANSION IN FULTON AND DEKALB – FAILED
SB 330, sponsored by State Sen. Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta), would have created a one half penny sales tax to fund MARTA expansion to North Fulton, East DeKalb, and the Clifton Corridor. It passed Senate Committee but did not come up for a vote on the Senate floor.
SB 15 AND SB 293 – STATE MINIMUM WAGE BILLS – FAILED
SB 15, sponsored by State Sen. Donzella James (D-Atlanta), and SB 293, sponsored by State Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta), proposed state minimum wage raises to $10.10 per hour, and fifteen dollars per hour, respectively. Neither came up for a vote.
HB 722 MEDICAL CANNABIS BILL – PASSED HOUSE, HEADED TO SENATE IN HEAVILY WATERED-DOWN FORM
HB 722 passed the House on February 29, 2016 by a vote of 152 yeas, eight nays.
As reported by APN previously, on Monday, February 22, 2016, the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee eliminated in-state cultivation of medical cannabis (“marijuana”) from HB 722.
The revised HB 722 still adds several medical conditions to Georgia’s existing medical cannabis immunity laws; and adds one cannabinoid, Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid (THCA) to the existing immunity for CBD.
“I feel like the Walking Dead. I must look like I have been disemboweled,” State Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon) the author of the bill told the committee.
SB 254 NO FELONY CHARGE FOR CANNABIS POSSESSION – FAILED
SB 254, sponsored by State Sen. Harold Jones (D-Augusta), would have changed Georgia law regarding personal possession of over one ounce or more of cannabis from a felony to a misdemeanor charge. It did not come up for a vote in Senate Committee.
HB 1046 NO ARREST FOR ONE OUNCE OF CANNABIS – FAILED
HB 1046, sponsored by State Rep. LaDawn Jones (D-Atlanta), would have removed the possibility of arrest for possession on one ounce or less of cannabis, and would have replaced arrest with citations and fines. It did not come up for a vote in House Committee.
HB 613 – GREENHAVEN CITYHOOD BILL – FAILED
HB 613, sponsored by State Rep. Pam Stephenson (D-Decatur), creating a City of Greenhaven in DeKalb County, was tabled in the House Governmental Affairs Committee due to boundary issues with other cities.
SB 208 STONECREST CITYHOOD BILL – STILL PENDING IN HOUSE
SB 208, creating a City of Stonecrest in DeKalb County, passed the Senate last year, sponsored by State Sen. Ronald Ramsey, Sr. (D-Lithonia). It is stalled in the House Governmental Affairs Committee, but could still come up for a vote because it already crossed over last year.
PROTECTING GEORGIA WATERWAYS AND WELLS – HB 966 – FAILED; SB 36 STILL PENDING IN HOUSE
These bills were about providing buffers for Georgia waterways.
SB 36, sponsored by State Sen. William Ligon (R-Brunswick), passed the Senate last year, but is being held hostage in the House Natural Resources and Environment Committee by State Rep. Lynn Smith (R-Newman). Having crossed over last year already, it could still come up for a House vote this year.
HB 966, sponsored by State Rep. Johnnie Caldwell (R-Thomaston), did not come out of the House Natural Resources & Environment Committee, and has failed.
HR 1198 A RESOLUTION TO REQUEST EPD TO LOOK AT LAW – PASSED HOUSE, HEADED TO SENATE
HR 1198, sponsored by State Rep. Smith, is a resolution encouraging the Environmental Protection Division of the Georgia Dept. of Natural Resources to review its regulations providing for the protection of underground drinking water. It passed on February 11, 2016, 161 yeas, zero nays.
GEORGIA STATE NUTRITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (SNAP) – HB 1006 FAILED; SB 389 PASSED WITHOUT THREE YEAR BENEFIT CUTS, HEADED TO HOUSE
HB 1006, sponsored by State Rep. David Clark (R-Buford), would have cut Georgia’s lifetime eligibility for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) from 48 months to twelve months.
SB 389, sponsored by State Sen. Hunter Hill (R-Atlanta), incorporated much of HB 1006, but removed the draconian language that would have limited recipients to twelve months.
It was adopted by substitute and passed the Senate February 29, 2016, by 38 yeas, fourteen nays. Advocates are worried the language could be re-added in the House.
HB 135 – TOO YOUNG TO SUSPEND ACT – FAILED
HB 135, sponsored by State Rep. Henry “Wayne” Howard (D-Augusta) would have prohibited suspensions and expulsions of students in pre-kindergarten through third grade. It did not come out of the House Education Committee.
HB 929 NATIONAL POPULAR COMPACT – FAILED
HB 929, sponsored by State Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs) and others, would have changed Georgia’s allocation of Electoral College votes, in concert with several other U.S. states, to effect a national popular vote for the President of the United States.
It passed out of the House Cmte for Interstate Cooperation, but did not come up for a House floor vote.
HB 931 END NUCLEAR CONSTRUCTION COST RECOVERY TAX – FAILED
A pro-consumer bill, HB 931, co-sponsored by State Rep. Karla Drenner (D-Avondale), called for an end to the Nuclear Construction Cost Recovery (NCCR) surcharge on Georgia Power electric bills after March 2017. It did not come up for a vote.
HB 665 – AUTOMATIC VOTER REGISTRATION IN GEORGIA – FAILED
HB 665, sponsored by State Rep. Sandra Scott (D-Rex), called for automatic voter registration in the State of Georgia, following in the footsteps of the States of Oregon and California, which adopted similar measures in 2015. It did not come up for a vote.
HR 1051 – TOWNSHIP MODEL FOR GEORGIA – FAILED
State Rep. Mike Dudgeon (R-Johns Creek) introduced HR 1051, a constitutional amendment to create a township form of governance in Georgia. It did not come up for a vote.
HB 731 – ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN – FAILED
HB 731, sponsored by State Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur), would have banned assault weapons. It did not come up for a vote.
SB 308 FUNDING FOR PREGNANCY CRISIS CENTERS – PASSED SENATE, HEADED TO HOUSE
SB 308, sponsored by State Sen. Renee Unterman (R–Buford), to provide funds to crisis pregnancy centers, has already passed out of the State Senate, by a vote of 38 to sixteen, in favor of the bill, on February 11, 2016. It is headed to the House.
I HAVE BEEN WRITING LETTERS TO OUR LOCAL PAPER FOR WELL OVER A YEAR COMPLAINING ABOUT THE OVERRUNS OFTHE VOGTLE PROJECT. I HAVE HAD VERY LITTLE RESPONSE FROM ANY ELECTED OFFICIALS. OUR PSC REP CAME TO TRENTON AND STATED THIS ADD-ON TO OUR GEORGIA POWER BILL WAS ONLY COSTING THE CONSUMER .41 CENTS A MONTH. PLUS HE SAID RECENTLY THAT THIS WOULD PAY OFF VOGTLE IN 60 TO 80 YEARS. I HAVE NO IDEA WHICH PLANT THIS MAN IS ON. PLUS HE ALSO STATED HE WAS NOT IN FAVOR OF THE GEORGIA NUCLEAR ENERGY FNANCING ACT TO GO PAST THE ORIGINAL 3/2017 END DATE. THIS GIVE HIM AND THE OTHER PSC MEMBERS AND OUR REP IN ATLANTA TIME TO COME UP WITH MORE ESCUSSES AS TO WHY THIS PROJECT IS $2 BILLION OVER BUDGET AND 39 MONTHS BEHIND. WHAT A MESS!!!!!!!!!!