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February 25, 2015

The Senate and the House agreed on the FY 15 budget and Governor Deal signed it February 19. The legislature passes the halfway, 20 day mark, February 23, with adjournment scheduled for April 2.
Passed the Senate and Sent to the House 
SB 4 – Encourages partnership with private enterprise in continuing the construction of the Atlanta Beltline and gives some powers to the Beltline. Passed 43-3
SB 18 – Requires Technical College System to establish a policy to grant academic credit for college level learning acquired through military service and other experiences. Passed 53-0
SB 58 – Creates a recommendation process for legislators to recommend qualified students for college who will commit to ROTC service. Passed 54-0
SB 62 – Extends jurisdiction for probate courts over certain game and fish violations of high and aggravated nature including the first violation of hunting deer at night. Passed 52-1
SB 65 – Extends the value of "Homestead Exemption" amount for individuals filing for bankruptcy who own no home.  Passed 46-5
SB 72 – Makes crimes committed against police dogs in performance of their official duties equivalent to that of crimes committed against police officers. Passed 46-3
SB 79 – Expands the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council's action on claims for victim compensation to increase the amount payable for funeral expenses and allow payment for step-relatives. Passed 50-3
Legislation Introduced in the Senate This Week
SB 112 – Prohibits the removal, transportation, storage, or processing of game animal or game bird carcasses except in compliance with applicable harvest recording and reporting regulations of the Board of Natural Resources.
SB 113 – Creates a new class of motor vehicles to be known as autonomous vehicles (self-driving cars) along with the definitions and requirements with this classification.
SB 115 – Authorizes a physician to delegate to a physician's assistant the authority to prescribe Schedule II controlled substances.
SB 127 – Provides for waivers of past civil penalties and fees incurred by candidates for local elected office where computer and communication foul-ups were mainly responsible.
SB 129 – This bill addresses the fear that citizens religious beliefs may be unfairly discriminated against by government.
SB 135 – Updates authority of Superior Court Clerks establishing their continued responsibility for off-site storage.
SB 138 – Makes DFCS responsible to the Governor rather than the Department of Human Services and creates an advisory board appointed by the Governor. It also changes the criteria for local DFCS boards and creates regional boards.
SB 139 – Regulation of plastic grocery bags shall be done only by the state- trumps local ordinances.
Passed House – Now in Senate 
HB 91 – Eliminates the Georgia High School Graduation Test as a requirement for graduation.
HB 100 – Limits enrollment in kindergarten  by children unless they have attained the age of five years by August 1 for school year 2017-2018 or by July 1 for school year 2018-2019.
HB 164 – Extends the suspension of professional learning requirements for certification renewal for certificated professional personnel by the Professional Standards Commission to June 30, 2017.
HB 172 – Removes the offense of operating under the influence for tubing on rivers from the Georgia Code.
HB 198 – Enacts "Jason Flatt Act" -requires annual suicide prevention education training for certificated school system personnel.
HB 227 – Removes programmable thermostats from the definition of Energy Star Qualified Products for purposes of the state sales tax holiday.
Legislation, meeting schedules and legislative actions may be accessed


Previous columns can be viewed at:

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