These last two weeks have been very busy and productive at the State Capitol.  The assembly has been having committee meetings and finishing up legislation leading up to March 7, 2012.  This date marks legislative day 30 of the Georgia General Assembly, more commonly known as “Crossover Day.”  The name accurately describes the last day that bills can cross from one chamber and go to the other.  All House bills that are to be heard this session by the Senate must be passed by the House on this day.  For the remainder of the session each chamber will work on the bills that the other chamber passed.

The following are a sample of bills that have been recently passed by the House:


House Bill 215:  This bill prevents persons who have been convicted of a crime against a minor child from operating a commercial motor vehicle designed to carry 16 or more people.


House Bill 463:  This bill allows insurance to be provided for personal property stored in self-service storage facilities.  It will allow for the sale of these policies without the need of full insurance licensing.  The department of Insurance will have oversight for consumer protection.


House Bill 880:  Updates licensing laws of the Georgia Real Estate Commission.  It provides an exemption to the definition of certain appraisal management companies raises limits on the real estate recovery fund, and provides more options to sanction licensees.  This bill aligns Georgia law with current market conditions and allows greater flexibility to correct unintentional violations.


House Bill 971:  This is a housekeeping bill for the State Board of Workers’ Compensation to enhance and simplify how the Workers’ compensations Act is applied.  It provides protection for underrepresented employees in the settlement process, allows statistical data to be reported electronically, and avoids technical penalties caused by system malfunction.  It also streamlines the settlement process in certain death cases as well as modernizes the hearing loss section to match national standard and current technologies.


House Bill 456:  This bill creates the “Georgia Government Accountability Act’ to establish a review process for agency efficiency.  The Legislative Sunset Advisory Committee will be created from the act.  It will provide a routinely scheduled review of state agencies and the executive branch subsidiaries that receive funds from a state appropriations act.  The committee will have the ability to recommend the abolition of an agency.


House Bill 541:  This bill expands protection to court officers by making it unlawful to intimidate these individuals or their immediate family members in retaliation for carrying out their official duties.

House Bill 548:  This bill prevents a person who has signed a franchise agreement from being deemed an employee of the franchisor for purposes of workers’ compensations. This bill grants protection to franchisors.


House Bill 692:  This bill will enable the removal of a teacher’s salary increase or bonus if the increase or bonus was based on standardized test scores that have been falsified.  The money can be reclaimed by the paying entity.


House Bill 766:  The bill expands where Foundations of American Law and Government (part of the Georgia Division on Archives and History) may display information on the history and background of American law.  The expansion allows displays to be in all state and local government buildings.


House Bill 845:  This bill requires early-care and education programs to provide information on the influenza vaccine by September 1 of each year.  The information will include the causes, risks, and symptoms of influenza as well as the availability, effectiveness, and known contraindications of the vaccine to be distributed to each child.


House Bill 900:  This bill allows for the cancellation of a trailer’s certificate of title so that it can be dismantled for scrap metal.  The ability mimics what is already allowable for motor vehicles.  In order to qualify, the trailer must be 12 years old or older and worth no more than $1,200.


House Bill 933:  The bill amends the Code relating to escrow accounts.  It will provide for the release of funds from an escrow account when a monument is placed into a bonded memorial storage program.


House Bill 1082:  This bill will provide for the non-partisan election of the Magistrate Judge of Cook County


House Bill 1146:  The bill moves the Vocational Rehabilitation program away from the Department of Labor.  This program will be governed by the newly created Georgia Vocation Rehabilitation Services Board and will become part of the new agency, the Georgia Vocation Rehabilitation Service Agency.  The agency will be attached to the Department of Human Services for administrative purposes only.


House Resolution 1376:  This resolution is known as a “conveyance resolution.” It provides for state-owned property located across twenty-one counties to be conveyed to other entities.  


House Bill 318:  This legislation renews the sales tax exemption for prepared food that is donated to a food bank for the purposes of hunger relief.  The exemption would continue to run for three years.


House Bill 334:  This bill renews the sales tax exemption for food and food ingredients purchased by food banks.  This exemption would continue to run for three years.

House Bill 745:  Requires the Department of Public Health to study pulse oximetry screening as a standard test for newborns to help detect congenital heart defects.  The study will look at the implications and fiscal impact of implementing this test.  The study will be presented to the Georgia General Assembly no later than the fifth day of the 2013 regular session.


House Bill 1049:  This bill makes changes to the “Georgia Emergency Telephone 9-1-1 Service Act of 1977.”  Voice over Internet Protocol service must register certain information with the director of emergency management.  “Prepaid wireless service” is also defined in this legislation.


            I hope that you find this information useful. Next week we will highlight other bills that were passed on “Crossover Day.”  If you have any other questions please call my office at (404) 463-2247.  When you are at State Capitol please call or just come by.  Remember this is your Capitol.  I look forward to continuing to work with you.


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