The Georgia General Assembly is in the final stretch of the 2012 legislative session with only seven official days of session remaining.
With the passing of Crossover Day last week, our days will consist of the House of Representatives reviewing, debating and voting on Senate bills that have passed that chamber and vice versa. As legislators, our time under the Gold Dome will be utilized by attending multiple daily House committee meetings debating Senate legislation, voting on bills during session on the House floor and following the legislation we have sponsored to the other chamber. When my House colleagues and I sponsor and pass legislation, we must follow our legislation through the Senate process as well, including our participation in many Senate committee meetings. As the sponsor of legislation, it is important to follow our bills to ensure that their intended goals are clearly explained and defined, as well as being available to answer any questions regarding our proposed legislation. This requires our attendance in the Senate committee meetings to which our bills have been assigned.
As I previously discussed, it is a Constitutional requirement for the legislature in Georgia to pass a balanced budget, which includes both the supplemental budget, which ends June 30, as well as the “big budget,” which begins July 1. A highlight this week was the passage and agreement by both chambers of the legislature to the $18.6 billion supplemental mid-year budget, which will now go to Gov. Nathan Deal for his signature.
Several pieces of Senate legislation were passed by the House this week.
Senate Bill 309, called “Taylor’s Law,” passed 161-1. Sometimes people’s lives are cut shorter than they expected, and this leaves a short amount of time to do things on one’s bucket list, such as to hunt big game in Georgia. This bill would allow the authorization of special hunting privileges to people under 21 years old who have a life expectancy of less than 12 months. The terminally ill person would be under the supervision of an adult hunter.
Unanimously passed this week was SB 343, which would assign the state accounting officer as the comptroller general, therefore transferring all of those duties and responsibilities from the commissioner of insurance to the state accounting office.
SB 300, which unanimously passed on Wednesday, requires labels on bottles containing sugar cane or sorghum syrup to list the producer’s name, address and all added ingredients. If changes to legislation are made in one chamber, the legislation must go back to the other chamber and be voted upon with the changes.
On Wednesday, the House passed two “motions to agree,” which means that the House agrees to the changes made by the Senate on the legislation which has already passed the House. The motions to agree were on these bills: House Bill 477, which would allow insurance license renewals to be transitioned to every two years, instead of yearly, for those in the insurance industry, such as agents, agencies, adjustors, etc.; and HB 48, which would expand the free-port inventory exemption that first will have to be approved by a local referendum.
I will continue to keep all of you informed throughout the remainder of the 2012 legislative session. Please feel free to contact me with any questions, ideas, thoughts or concerns. It is both an honor and privilege to continue serving you in the Georgia General Assembly. If you would like to reach me, please call me at 404-656-5099; write me at: State Rep. Ron Stephens, 226 CAP, State Capitol, Atlanta, GA 30334; or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.