You are currently browsing the daily archive for 03/31/2011.

SB 127: Significantly revised and updates Georgia’s 40 year old Juvenile Code.  Status: Currently in the Senate Judiciary Committee, however, has garnered general support from the Governor’s office as well as the office of the Speaker. Next steps are being developed. To keep up with the progress of this bill, visit Way to go JUSTGeorgia!

HB 200: Seeks to discourage trafficking of persons for labor or sexual servitude and provide greater protections to persons subject to such crime. Status: PASSED the House and Senate (overwhelmingly in both) and now goes to the Governor for a signature.

HB 185: Service providers sheltering with runaway youth to report contact with children within 72 Hours. Status: Recommended Do Pass by the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee, but did not come out of the Rules Committee by the end of crossover day. This being the case, a maneuver has occurred whereby the language of this bill, with some modification, has been put into SB 94, virtually replacing the initial language of SB 94. The bill is now on the House general Calendar, and so, may be debated in the Chamber at any time.

SB 63: Calls for the use of a “smart card” to verify identification of Medicaid recipients and provides that the department may also use biometric technology to verify the identity of Medicaid enrollees. Status: Passed the Senate on Crossover Day after much debate on the floor. Has been assigned to the House Health and Human Services Committee, where it will be heard this Thursday.

SB 17: Establishing the Special Advisory Commission on Mandated Health Insurance Benefits. Status: Passed the Senate. Passed the House on Wednesday by a vote of 96-67. Two amendments were added: one adding a pediatrician, an OB/GYN and two business people; the other stated that there would be no per diem related to meetings.

HB 214: Creates a Department of Public Health. Status: Passed the House. Given a Do Pass Recommendation by the full Senate Health and Human Services Committee, and is scheduled for debate and vote on the Floor of the Senate Chamber Thursday.

SB 185: Requires that after the death of any child at any early care program, the commissioner issue an immediate order closing the program for a period of not more than 30 days from the date of the order and also that the commissioner close an early care program when a child’s safety or welfare is in imminent danger. Status: Passed the Senate on 3/16 and has since been given a Do Pass recommendation from the House Education Committee.

The Joint Committee on Tax Reform’s plan for legislation this session has emerged as HB 387, and was given a Do Pass Recommendation this Tuesday by the Committee. The bill has been anticipated on the House floor, but apparently, since emerging from committee, the Senate does not appear to have the votes for passage, which has held up the introduction of the bill in the other Chamber. Subsequently, compromise is still being hammered out, with the Speaker of the House threatening to bring lawmakers back on Saturday if the work is not completed. As the bill originally passed committee, it contained, among other things, the following provisions:

  • The personal income tax rate will be cut from 6% to approximately 4.5%.
  • Most itemized deductions would be eliminated, such as for charitable giving or interest on home mortgages.
  • The tax on energy for manufacture, agriculture, and mining will be eliminated.
  • The tax on telecommunication franchise fees will be eliminated and replaced with a 7% flat tax across all telecommunication services.
  • There will be a tax on personal vehicle sales, excluding family member to family member.
  • There will be a tax levied on automobile service and parts.
  • There will be no taxes on the following (among others): groceries, veterinary services, legal fees, cigarettes, childcare, prescription drugs, haircuts, dry cleaning, cost club memberships.

Note: With only four Legislative Days left, the General Assembly will convene for days 37 and 38 Thursday and Friday of this week, recess next week and then come back in for days 39 and 40 on April 12 and 14.

The only legislation that the General Assembly is constitutionally obligated to vote on each session is the following year’s budget. Wednesday, the Senate version of the FY 2012 budget passed the Senate and, as a result of differences with the House version, will be assigned to Conference Committee made up of three members from each Chamber. Once the Conference Committee agrees, the bill will return to the Chambers for a vote. The Conference Committee process will be repeated until there is agreement. Highlights of the Senate Version are:

  • $2.8 Million restored for the Children First 0-5 screening program
  • 400 additional Childcare slots
  • A loss of funding for the Ferst 0-5 Book Program
  • An agreement with the House to cut Medicaid provider reimbursements by 1/2 %
  • A restoration of funds for the Citizen Review Panels for foster child placement
  • Restoration of funding for Community Health Program grants


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March 2011
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