Crossover Day — the last chance a bill has this session to move from one legislative chamber to the other — looms large over the Gold Dome.
Known for its hectic pace, Crossover Day is the 30th day of the legislative session. This year it falls on Friday. Lawmakers from across the state will push, pray and plead to get their bills to a vote by this day. Otherwise their legislation must wait until next year’s session.
“We’ll be hearing these bills all day long,” said state Rep. Eddie Lumsden, R-Armuchee. “It will be very intense.”
It’s the same on the other side of the Gold Dome.
“Crossover Day is always a busy time,” said state Sen. Chuck Hufstetler, R-Rome. “I think we’ll be there late on Friday, as everyone tries to get their bills through.”
Some high-profile bills already have beaten the deadline. House Bill 170, the transportation bill that, if enacted, would significantly change how the state funds its infrastructure needs, already has passed the state House of Representatives. The 2016 budget likewise has reached the state Senate.
Local lawmakers, have some bills they hope to carry to the floor of their respective chambers before Crossover Day ends.
Rep. Katie Dempsey, R-Rome, said one of her bills, House Bill 568, should reach a vote by the crossover deadline. The bill, if enacted, would require DNA testing in all new child support cases. It would ensure someone who’s not the biological father of a child born out of wedlock isn’t forced by a judge to pay child support, Dempsey said.
Hufstetler also has legislation he’s shepherding through his chamber, including one bill that would allow physician assistants to prescribe certain drugs to patients.
Senate Bill 115 is in response to a federal change that removed assistants’ abilities to prescribe the drugs. Hufstetler said his proposed change would closely match what several other states have passed.