State Sen. Bill Heath

State Sen. Bill Heath

Last week, the General Assembly experienced its first major deadline of the session. Crossover Day, which occurred on Thursday, is the last day that a bill originating in one chamber can pass with enough time to be heard and passed in the other chamber before Sine Die.

This means that from now on, we will likely only be taking up and voting on House Bills both on the Senate floor and in our committees.

Before getting into some of the 68 bills that were voted on in the Senate last week, I want to touch on an issue that raised a lot of eyebrows. The language of Senate Bill 150 was changed with the help of the NRA and GeorgiaCarry.org and passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously. No one expressed opposition to the bill to me or to the committee before its passage.

After its passage at least one presumed group of supporters of the Second Amendment attacked the members, most of which are Second Amendment supporters, of the committee for its passage. Out of an abundance of caution the bill was not heard before the full Senate.

The bill sought to find a balance between defending our Second Amendment rights and dealing with the horrendous act of domestic violence. The bill would have brought Georgia in line with Federal Code relative to domestic violence. This is important if we prefer dealing with state and local law enforcement instead of federal law enforcement.

Below are a few highlights of the 68 bills that were debated last week:

Senate Bill 2 would enable Georgia’s 41 Electric Membership Corporations (EMCs) to provide internet services and broadband across Georgia.

Senate Bill 9 would create a new crime of “sexual extortion” which would specifically outlaw coercing an individual into sending nude images, videos or any electronic communication of the individual partaking in a sexual act.

Senate Bill 56 would require hospitals and physicians to share information regarding the providers and standard prices of specific health care services with the patient.

Senate Bill 119 would require an economic analysis to be conducted by the state auditor prior to the passage of legislation related to taxation.

Senate Bill 131 would create a state authority to oversee Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport operations.

Senate Bill 162 would expand financing opportunities for development authorities by enabling them to apply and use Property Access Clean Energy financing for broadband services infrastructure and disaster mitigation improvements.

These are just a few of the highlights from last week. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns about these bills or any that passed so far. In the next few weeks, we will have several days devoted entirely to committee hearings so we can begin to work through the large amount of bills sent over to the Senate from the House. If any of these measures will have a specific impact on our District or our state, I will be sure to keep you updated. If you have any questions or concerns about any legislation, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office.

State Sen. Bill Heath serves as Chairman of the Government Oversight Committee. He represents the 31st Senate District which consists of Haralson and Polk counties and portions of Paulding County. He may be reached at 404-656-3943 or by email at billheath@billheath.net

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