The 2012 General Assembly just completed its 14th legislative day this week. We began the week by passing SB 223, also known as the Georgia Government and Accountability Act. If enacted, this legislation would create a joint legislative sunset advisory committee to oversee the effectiveness of government operations and maximize every taxpayer dollar. The passage of this legislation provides a clear solution in addressing how efficient government should operate.
We also passed SB 117, the homestead exemption bill, Monday. It will reduce the risk of homeowners losing their homes during financial hardship through an exemption from levy and sale of property, ultimately increasing the amount of certain exemptions in a home.
Senate bill 300, which amends the definition of “food sales establishment,” passed Tuesday with a unanimous vote. Facilities that boil, bottle and sell sugar cane syrup or sorghum syrup are no longer included in the definition provided that all product labels meet a number of requirements.
The Senate also took up several bills dealing with the hunting and fishing industry, including:
• SB 307, which creates a one-day salt-water shore fishing license that may be purchased by residents and non-residents for a fee of $5.
• SB 3009, which allows state officials to grant special hunting privileges to anyone 21 years or younger with a terminal illness, provided they have proper supervision and follow the usual rules.
• SB 301, which would repeal the current ban on statewide hunting with the use of suppressed handgun, rifle or shotgun. Sound suppressors attached to firearms help protect a shooter’s hearing, reduce noise complaints by surrounding residents and increase accuracy and safety.
The Senate passed a resolution making Feb. 1 “Stop the commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Rally.” Thousands rallied at the Capitol to support our agenda for a safer Georgia for our children.
We also welcomed members of the Georgia Food Bank Association, who hosted an exhibit in the South Wing of the Capitol where legislators and visitors gained a better understanding of the needs our state faces in combating hunger. The Second Harvest Food Bank serves over 25 million people and produces 15 million pounds of food a year for those in need.
Editor’s note: Williams, senate president pro tempore, provides periodic reports during the Legislative session, which began Jan. 9 and is expected to last until the latter days of March.