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POSTED: March 18, 2008 5:00 a.m.
The 2008 session wore on this week and Crossover Day is now upon us. Crossover Day comes on the 30th legislative day, and it is when bills must cross over to the other legislative body for passage during this session. As I write, we have completed Day 26 and Senate committees are working hard deliberating bills that will have a great impact on the citizens of Georgia.
This week, I was quite pleased to see a piece of legislation that I've been working on since 2006 approved by the Senate and now move over to the House. Senate Bill 433 paves the way for one of the most innovative, comprehensive cancer treatment centers in America to come to Georgia. SB 433 is simply about bringing the best possible cancer care and treatment to Georgia. The measure will ease the burden on those who suffer from cancer and provide them with more choices. I believe the Senate's approval of SB 433 was a win for the state and a win for victims who are face difficult life and death situations resulting from cancer.
In other news this week, we are moving forward in our joint conference committee on HB 989, the amended FY '08 budget. A conference committee is appointed by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and House Speaker Glenn Richardson and made up of Senate and House leaders who will work to negotiate the differences on a bill, and, in this case, finalize the annual budget. The only bill that our state Constitution requires the members of the General Assembly to pass during the legislative session is the state budget. As a member of this conference committee, I can tell you that we'll put in some late nights working on both the FY '08 and FY '09 budgets this year. The Senate has approved the state budget for the remainder of fiscal year 2008, which ends June 30. The bill adds $300 million overall to the existing $20.2 billion budgeted. I am proud to serve on this important committee that will ultimately agree on a compromise between the proposed budgets, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to offer a state budget that will be of benefit to all Georgia citizens.
Other legislation the Senate has recently passed includes:
• SB 402 establishes the Georgia Coordinating Council for Rural and Human Services Transportation to encourage efficient transportation in rural areas of the state, and to coordinate human service transportation services in both rural and urban areas. This bill passed 51 to 0, of which I am a sponsor.
• SB 366 prohibits state inmates from receiving or possessing cell phones, which passed 49 to 0.
• SB 406 increases penalties for reproducing, transferring, selling, distributing or circulating certain recorded material, which is more commonly referred to as CD or DVD piracy. The bill passed 51 to 0.
• SB 474 is model Internet safety legislation aimed at protecting children from Internet predators by giving parents the option to block their child's access to specific Web sites, among other provisions.
As always, please contact me in my office on the issues that are affecting you and yours.

Williams is Senate majority leader and represents the 19th Senate District that includes Long County and part of Liberty.  He can be reached at (404) 656-0089 or by email at tommie@tommiewilliams.com.

 

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