On Monday, March 5, the Senate reconvened for Legislative Day 30 and the ninth week of the 2018 legislative session. Since we are now past the Cross Over Day deadline, much of our legislative work this week was accomplished in committee hearings as my Senate colleagues and I reviewed House bills. In addition to vetting House measures in our respective Senate committees, we also took up several pieces of legislation on the Senate floor this week, including Fiscal Year 18 Amended budget, which came out right at $25.4 billion. I am looking forward to seeing the FY 19 General budget in the coming days.
I hope you will take the opportunity to review my weekly updates to stay informed on legislative matters that affect our district and state.
I am always eager to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me at any time.
Week in Review
Waiving Administrative Collection Fees
House Bill 162 would give the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) discretion when charging administrative fees and would be required to provide quarterly payments to the courts to which the debts are owed. In addition, HB 162 would require an administrative court to place a fee of no more than $20 per debt. HB 162 passed with a vote of 53-0.
Exempting Organized Militia Activity
House Bill 309 would exempt the state from being held liable for losses resulting from organized militia when engaged in federal or state training or activities. HB 309 passed with a vote of 54-0.
Donation Receptacle Regulations
House Bill 475 would establish regulations for placement and collection of outdoor donation receptacles placed on private property. Under HB 475, owners of receptacles must regularly empty and maintain the appearance around the receptacles. HB 475 passed with a vote of 54-1.
Amended Fiscal Year 2018 Budget
House Bill 683, the Fiscal Year 2018 Amended Budget. The Senate agreed to the House of Representatives substitute and passed HB 683 with a vote of 54-0. HB 683 was then immediately transmitted to the House and signed by the Governor on Friday.
Reconstituting the Georgia International and Maritime Trade Center Authority
House Bill 354 would reconstitute the Georgia International and Maritime Trade Center Authority (GIMTCA) as a public corporation and instrumentality of the state. In addition, the bill outlines GIMTCA’s responsibilities, membership and provides authorization to facilitate economic growth in the state’s import and export markets. HB 354 passed with a vote of 51-1.
Amending NPEC Qualification Exemptions
House Bill 448 would require certain post-secondary institutions to qualify for exemptions with the Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission (NPEC). HB 448 would also amend which for-profit universities are exempt from NPEC regulations and revise the membership of the NPEC and the Tuition Guaranty Trust Fund Board of Trustees. HB 448 passed with a vote of 54-0.
Creditable Service for Law Enforcement
HB 135 would allow certain law enforcement officers to buy creditable service through the Employees’ Retirement System. Under HB 159, the qualifying law enforcement officers added to the list are Department of Driver Services investigators and any criminal investigator or K-9 handler with the Department of Corrections. HB 135 passed with a vote of 51-0.
Local Government Authorities
House Bill 257 would require a local government authority to register with the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) annually on the due date of their annual report in order to receive any allotment of state funds. HB 257 would also prohibit local authorities from acquiring any debt or credit until they have filed an annual report with DCA. HB 257 passed with a vote of 51-0.