Senator Bill Heath

In standard fashion, the Senate had 20 bills on the calendar on Friday, Legislative Day 29. After five more legislative days last week, session is more than 70 percent complete. Monday will be the final day this session for a Senate bill to receive its first passage in the Senate in order for it to be up for consideration by the House.

The legislative calendar for Crossover Day on Monday has already been set. The Senate will have another 21 bills available for action on the floor. In the chaos of debates and amendments, it is very likely that legislation will be rushed through the legislative process faster than necessary.

Senate Bill 271

SB 271 would allow mental health facilities to involuntarily recommit a patient whose release date was previously scheduled, if the patient is considered unsafe.

Senate Bill 275

SB 275 prohibits counties, municipalities or any other government body from establishing any policy that restricts free speech within the government body.

Senate Bill 316

SB 316 to remove the current cap on daily bingo winnings of $1,500. The bill retains the weekly bingo winning limit of $3,000.

Senate Bill 337

SB 337 would allow the families of military personnel to be eligible for medical services, even when the serviceman and their family are temporarily stationed outside of the state of Georgia.

Senate Bill 348

SB 348 would allow a local school system to create a college and career academy pursuant to a contract for a strategic waivers school system or a charter system.

Senate Bill 323

SB 323 exempts all state agencies from public disclosure of documents related to economic development projects until a binding commitment towards the project has been made. An economic development project is defined as a plan or proposal to locate or expand a business, if it involves an expenditure of more than $25 million or hire more than 50 employees on the part of the business.

Senate Bill 356

SB 356 authorizes animal control agencies to levy a fine on owners of impounded animals who are being investigated for animal cruelty or dogfighting. The bill does not cover lost, stray, or feral animals and is intended to cover all anticipated costs of care and impoundment.

Senate Resolution 954

SR 954 grants nonexclusive easements for the construction, operation and maintenance of facilities and utilities on state or local property in Bartow, Bulloch, Carroll, Chatham, Columbia, Coweta, DeKalb, Emanuel, Gordon, Henry, Marion, Murray, Paulding, Sumter, Ware and Whitfield Counties.

Senate Resolution 955

SR 955 authorizes the conveyance of specific state-owned real property in the counties of Bacon, Camden, Greene, Gwinnett, McIntosh, Paulding, Spalding and White.

Senate Bill 312

SB 312 awards 100 percent of the tuition costs to qualified students who chose to attend lower cost colleges and universities. HOPE may award up to $2,000 to cover the full cost of tuition per semester up to 15 credit hours for these students. No HOPE award amount can exceed an individual's cost of tuition.

Senate Bill 350

SB 350 to establish that proceeds collected on excise taxes derived from fireworks sales should be allocated for fire safety, local law enforcement agencies and trauma care. SB 350 is the enabling legislation for Senate Resolution 558.

Senate Resolution 558

SR 558 is a constitutional amendment required for SB 350 to become effective.

Senate Bill 258

SB 258 would enact a bar on increasing initial value assessments of property for a taxable year after the initial assessment value during an appeal of such valuation. This bill also allows for the assessment value to be reduced as a result of appeal by the taxpayer.

Senate Bill 365

SB 365 creates a specialty license plate for the Georgia Pet Foundation to promote dog and cat sterilization programs. The bill specifies that revenue from plates is to be distributed to the Georgia Pet Foundation.

Senate Bill 302

SB 302 requires health insurance carriers to provide and maintain accurate provider directories for network plans. The bill would require the directories to contain detailed information on each provider, hospital and non-profit hospital. The directories must also include a description of the criteria the health carrier used to build its provider network and, if applicable, a description of the criteria the health carrier has used to tier providers.

Senate Bill 311

SB 311 gives a victim of a rape that conceives a child a process to remove the offender as a legally legitimate parent. In Superior Court, through a presentation of clear and convincing evidence, the offender loses the ability to ever be legitimized as parent and the rights that it affords, such as visitation or guardianship.

Senate Bill 367

SB 367 enacts recommendations of the 2016 Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform. The bill provides for changes to procedures used in misdemeanor probation matters, clarifies status of offenders under the First Offender Act and the confidentiality of such matters. The bill also changes provisions related to regaining driving privileges after conviction.

Senate Bill 388

SB 388 would make removing a permit sticker from a coin operated amusement machine without consent a misdemeanor.

Senate Bill 366

SB 366 allows the Georgia Department of Transportation to be able to select and contract based on lowest proposed price. The contractor must meet necessary requirements, but the qualifications-based method would no longer be the only authorized method.

Senate Bill 364

SB 364 changes how public school teachers, principals and administrators are evaluated. Student growth will now only account for 30 percent of the evaluation for teachers, down from 50. Multiple in-classroom observations are also required in the teacher evaluation process. Principals and assistant principals are evaluated most heavily on student achievement growth. The bill also grants greater flexibility for administering standardized tests.

Senate Bill 269

SB 269 requires every state agency that provides funding to a county or city government to certify that the local government receiving funds is not operating a sanctuary city for illegal immigrants.

Senate Bill 274

SB 274 repeals the Georgia Population Act, which currently requires all counties with a population of 200,000 or more to commence their fiscal year on January 1st of each year and follow a specific budget process.

Senate Bill 327

SB 327 prohibits the state from entering into contracts with an individual or company that is conducting a boycott of Israel. The contractor must also agree to not conduct a boycott for the duration of the contract.

Senate Bill 333

SB 333 allows both a foreign nonprofit corporation to be designated as a corporation, and a domestic nonprofit corporation to become a foreign corporation if certain requirements are met.

Senate Bill 332

SB 332 creates a photo ID card for judges in Georgia. The program will be overseen by the Administrative Office of the Courts.

Senate Bill 335

SB 335 allows state retirement funds to be invested in state chartered banks. Georgia law currently restricts investment of commingled retirement funds to banks and trusts regulated by the Department of the Treasury.

Senate Bill 345

SB 345 changes how property is divided between a religious organization and a religious governing body. SB 345 adopts a standard of religious neutrality or objectivity when determining the property rights of religious organizations if the organization breaks away from its governing religious institution.

Senate Bill 347

SB 347, also known as the Georgia Captive Insurance Company Act, would modernize existing definitions of the Georgia Insurance Code and create new definitions of captive insurance companies.

Senate Bill 369

SB 369 allows consumer fireworks to be used past the standard 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. restriction on January 1, July 3, July 4 and December 31. The bill would also allow the Governor to restrict the use of fireworks in a declared time of drought. Illegally selling fireworks carries a $2,500 fine.

Senate Bill 378

SB 378 would reorganize the DeKalb County government and require voter approval in a November 2016 referendum. The bill would eliminate the CEO position and establish an eight member County Commission, seven of whom would be elected from districts within DeKalb County. The Commission Chair though, would be voted on by the county at-large. The bill also removes the 2 County Super Districts and splits the county into seven districts. The bill also defines commissioner salaries and roles.

Senate Bill 379

SB 379 grants government-supported fire departments a sales tax exemption when purchasing goods. Current law gives sales tax exemptions to different federal, state and local government bodies but not to local fire departments. This bill adds these departments to the list exempted from sales taxes.

Senate Resolution 809

SR 809 would disallow county and municipal governments from subcontracting parking lot enforcement to private businesses.

Senate Bill 383

SB 383 permits the removal or trimming of trees and vegetation on state property and right of ways that obstruct view of buildings, signs or structures on commercial property.