We completed another four legislative days this week and are now just one legislative day away from Crossover Day which will be next Wednesday, February 28th. Cross Over Day is the last day a bill may pass out of its original legislative chamber and remain eligible for consideration this legislative session.

Senate committees worked into late hours each day to properly vet and debate legislation prior to the committee report deadline. I’m including just a few of the bills we passed last week in this newsletter. Please feel free to contact me if you have concerns or questions.

The Georgia Senate will reconvene at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, February 26 for legislative day 27.

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.

Sincerely,
Steve Henson


Week in Review

Creating the Integrated Population Health Data Project
Senate Bill 184 would create the Integrated Population Health Data (iPHD) Project and lay the outline for its governance to be established before January 1, 2019. Under SB 184, the iPHD Project would securely receive, maintain and transmit data within Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act privacy and security guidelines. SB 184 passed with a vote of 54-0.

Expanding Fiduciary Powers
Senate Bill 301 would modernize a fiduciary’s legal authority to access digital assets and electronic communications. Under this bill, digital assets and electronic communications would be handled the same way as tangible assets. SB 301 passed with a vote of 54-0.

The Georgia Agricultural Education Act
Senate Bill 330 would create an agricultural education pilot program in several elementary schools throughout the state. Under SB 330, the Department of Education would also work with local school systems to establish school-based agricultural education curriculum for grades six through 12. SB 330 passed with a vote of 53-0.

Transferring Authority of the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust
Senate Bill 356 would transfer the authority of the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust from the Secretary of State to the Department of Community Affairs. Under SB 356, the commission advisory role for legislators is removed and transfers the requirement to the Speaker of the House and Lt. Governor to appoint a member from both the majority and minority parties. In addition, SB 356 authorizes the Commission to create the Georgia Holocaust Memorial in a prominent location. SB 356 passed with a vote of 54-0.

Allowing Local Governments to Receive Department of Revenue Data
Senate Bill 371 would give local counties and municipalities the ability to request information from the Department of Revenue to see what businesses within county lines are included on the vendor sales tax certificate. SB 371 passed with a vote of 55-0.

Extending Domestic Surplus Lines Insurers
Senate Bill 381 would allow domiciled surplus lines insurers to extend coverage throughout the state. Under current law, insurance companies headquartered in Georgia are not permitted to extend coverage within the state. SB 381 passed with a vote of 37-17.

FFA Day at the State Capitol
Senate Resolution 654 recognizes February 20, 2018, as Future Farmers of America (FFA) Day at the state Capitol. FFA is an agricultural education program that prepares students to meet the growing demands of the science, business and technology sectors of agriculture. The Georgia FFA ranks as the third largest state FFA organization in the United States with more than 42,000 current members.

Research Day at the State Capitol
Senate Resolution 700 commends the University of Georgia, Augusta University, Georgia Institute of Technology and Georgia State University for their research efforts. The University System of Georgia generates more than 157,000 jobs, $16.8 billion in economic output and works toward preparing students for success in the workforce in all 159 counties in Georgia.

Celebrating the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce’s 80th Anniversary
Senate Resolution 763 celebrates the 80th anniversary of the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce. In 1938, the DeKalb Chamber was established as the DeKalb County Chamber of Agriculture and Commerce to support local dairy farms.

Recognizing the DeKalb Chamber and the Dunwoody Perimeter Chamber
Senate Resolution 785 recognizes February 20, 2018, as DeKalb Chamber of Commerce Day at the state Capitol and celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Dunwoody Perimeter Chamber. The Dunwoody Perimeter Chamber supports more than 300 investing organizations and a business community of more than 3,000 organizations.

Achieving Connectivity Everywhere Act
Senate Bill 402 would lay the groundwork for expanding broadband access to rural Georgia. SB 402 promotes public-private partnerships and gives authority to the Georgia Technology Authority to evaluate communities and create plans for broadband expansion. The bill would also offer incentives for local communities, including a new community designation of “broadband ready,” which will allow them to qualify for grant programs and the opportunity for tax exemptions in certain areas. Under the legislation, SB 402 would use existing Department of Transportation right-of-ways to lay fiber. SB 402 passed with a vote of 52-0.

Revising Child Support Payment Regulations
Senate Bill 427 would revise Georgia’s code relating to child support payments and updates state law to comply with federal regulations. SB 427 would require the court to take into consideration a parent’s assets, education level, and job skills when making decisions on child support in situations where evidence of income is not shown. The legislation would also specify that incarceration is not treated as voluntary unemployment and increases the standard fee in each case from $25 to $35. SB 427 passed with a vote of 51-0.

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