Editor’s note: This is the second part of Williams’ column that was published in Sunday’s Courier highlighting legislation approved by the House of Representatives during the final week of the session.
Other legislation approved by the House of Representatives during the final week of the session included:
• SB 95, which would make it a misdemeanor for a minor to attempt to purchase cigarettes or tobacco related products. It also requires vending machines to prominently display signs prohibiting minors from purchasing cigarettes or any tobacco related product.
• SB 23, which would supersede any local rules and allow judges to investigate someone's immigration status before determining bail, handing down a sentence, or deciding on probation.
• SB 38, which would close a license plate loophole requiring license plate applicants to have a valid Georgia driver's license or ID card.
• SB 148, which would promote nondestructive stem cell research in Georgia. The bill would require all state hospitals by June 30, 2009, to inform pregnant women that they can donate placenta, umbilical cords and amniotic fluid to either public or private banks for medical research. Georgians who contribute to stem cell research would be eligible for a state tax break. The bill also would establish a 15-member state commission that would oversee a system of umbilical cord blood banks and seek grants for nondestructive stem cell research.
• SB 72, which includes two other proposals related to education. SB 72 allows administration managers to be employed in addition to, or en lieu of, assistant principals to handle business operations at schools. The measure also includes provisions of HB 603, which allows school districts to permit alternative teacher certification programs for certain candidates, and HB 208, which changes the composition of school councils.
• SB 157, which would require the Department of Community Affairs to establish grant program to fund E-85 projects, which will convert storage areas for gasoline into storage areas for E-85, a fuel that is 85 percent ethanol. The goal of SB 157 is to spark consumer interest in using alternative fuels. Legislation that would have allowed judges to impose the death penalty with a less-than-unanimous recommendation of the jury failed to win final approval. HB 185, which had passed the House earlier in the session and would have authorized a death penalty recommendation of at least a 10-2 jury vote, was defeated unanimously in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Williams (D-Midway) represents the 165th District (Liberty County) in the Georgia House of Representatives. Contact him at 511 Coverdell Office Building, Atlanta, GA 30334; by phone at (404) 656-6372, (404) 326-2964, (912) 977-5600 or by email at email@example.com