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February 18--  State Senator Jack Hill of Reidsville provides an update on the Georgia General Assembly.

INTRODUCTION

With both versions of the Amended FY 18 Budget passed and disagreements being worked out, both bodies began work in earnest on evaluating the Governor's FY 19 budget proposal. Legislative action kicked into high gear and substantive legislation began to work its way out of committees on both sides.

PASSED BY THE SENATE THIS WEEK

 --SB 31-- Requires two members of the Board of Community Health− one active and one retired, one of the Teachers Retirement System and one of the Employees' Retirement System− to actively participate in a State Health Benefit Plan Customer Advisory Council which this bill creates.

 --SB 315-- Defines the crime of unauthorized computer access, placing it alongside the crime of computer password disclosure. Denotes the penalty for these crimes as a misdemeanor of high and aggravated nature, while adding two new venues where these crimes apply.

 --SB 370-- Increases carve-out of estate value to $25,000 before state seizes for Medicaid recovery. Would be repealed if Federal Agency disallows.

 --SB 17-- Allows restaurants in cities or counties that allow Sunday sales to sell alcohol starting at 11:00 A.M. instead of the present 12:30 P.M. Requires a referendum.

 --SB 332-- Establishes an outdoor mentorship program providing new Georgia resident fishermen and hunters the opportunity to learn from experienced hunters and fishermen while carrying a 1-year outdoor passport. Charges an annual $50.00 fee to nonresidents 15 years or younger applying for or renewing a nonresident youth sportsman's license.

 --SB 342-- Puts an end to the requirement that law enforcement officers tow vehicles with inactive license plates and provides officers with the choice to tow. Allows individuals to acquire new tag before official revalidation date. Caps at $50.00 the fine for failure to show a revalidation decal.

 --SB 378-- Sets up process for evaluating a business case for tax credit or exemption bills before being voted upon by the House or Senate.

 --SB 348-- Grants campus policemen and security employed by the Technical College System of Georgia the right to arrest for offenses committed on or within 500 feet of Technical College property. Additionally closes the gap between what University System of Georgia policemen and security personnel and those of the Technical College System of Georgia can do in terms of rendering mutual aid and entering into mutual aid agreements.

--SB 362-- Compels the State Board of Education to establish for 3 to 5 years a pilot end-of-grade assessment program to compare the academic performance of up to 10 local school systems. The pilot participants have the authority to implement alternate assessments, interim assessments, or other approved assessments in addition to the year-end assessments.

3 LAW ENFORCEMENT BILLS PASSED BY SENATE

The Senate acted this week on proposals that grew out of the COPS Study Committee that was appointed by LG Casey Cagle to study the issue of compensation for sheriff's departments and local law enforcement around the state.  These three bills were presented to the Senate with a gallery full of local law enforcement officials from all around the state.   

 --SB 366-- Calls for each county and municipal authority to create a yearly salary study of the governing authority's law enforcement agency and sheriff's office, which they will submit to the Department of Community Affairs (DCA). Requires the DCA to perform a comparable salary report from submitted materials. Establishes law enforcement grants dependent on fund appropriation.

 --SB 367-- Permits the estate of a law enforcement officer, firefighter, EMT, emergency management specialist, state highway employee, or prison guard to receive indemnification payment of $150,000.00 upon the employee's death in the line of duty. Maintains the allowance of an un-remarried spouse or dependent to receive indemnification upon the employee's death if the will does not specifically request to indemnify the estate.

 --SB 368-- Authorizes the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council to provide technical support and assistance, including grant programs, to any local law enforcement agency which the Council deems to have inadequate technical services. Grants would apply to tier 1 counties.

PASSED BY THE HOUSE AND NOW IN THE SENATE

 --HB 655-- Requires that public schools post the Department of Human Services' 24/7 toll-free number to report child abuse or neglect.

 --HB 699-- Allows military training to qualify for firefighter certification.

 --HB 739-- Officially titles a Code Section allowing military spouses to apply for elementary and secondary school teaching certification after moving to Georgia the "Tracy Rainey Act."

 --HB 79-- Protects license plate information by requiring law enforcement agencies to destroy license data collected by automated recognition systems within 30 months of its collection unless being used for a law enforcement purpose.

Full transcripts of bills may be found at http://www.legis.ga.gov/en-US/default.aspx . Simply type the bill number into the box at the top left-hand corner of the screen and specify if it is in the House or the Senate. The FY 2018 budget (H.B. 44) may be found at http://www.senate.ga.gov/sbeo/en-US/AppropriationsDocuments.aspx. As always, I welcome any questions you may have.

For staff use only.