During the last few weeks, members of the Georgia House of Representatives have been very involved in public hearings and committee assignments. Issues such as the proposed amended 2011 state budget, the 2012 proposed budget, immigration and HOPE have been among those topics of discussion.
An explanation of several issues that the State House has addressed is below...
House Bill 77 - 2011 Supplemental Appropriations
After extensive work by subcommittees of the Appropriations Committee, the fiscal year July 1, 2010-June 30, 2011 amended budget has passed in the House of Representatives. The amended budget is based on an estimated revenue of $18,052,709,014, which is a net increase of $163.3 million from last year’s budget. The net increase comes from the Revenue Shortfall Reserve for Education and HOPE Scholarship Fund.
State agencies have been cut an average of 4 percent, which totals over $300 million. While state agencies had been preparing for these reductions since the beginning of the fiscal year, the cuts will have a significant impact on services. Now that these cuts have been made, the legislation has passed to the Senate. The Georgia House began hearings last week (Feb. 15) for the 2012 budget, which will begin July 1. The 2012 budget will be a difficult budget to deal with since revenues have been slow to recover.
House Bill 99 - Nurses; fingerprint record checks for licensure
The Georgia House passed legislation that requires all applicants for licensure to practice as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) submit to a fingerprint record check conducted by the FBI and GBI. Any costs associated with the administration of the background check will be borne by the applicant. This same procedure is required for Registered Nurses. The bill is now up for debate in the Senate.
House Bill 101 - Bicycles; safety
This bill addresses bicycle safety equipment and riding practices. It includes a definition for a bicycle lane and codifies the behavior of motor vehicles towards bicycles operating in those lanes. The bill also prohibits a child under the age of 1 to ride as a passenger on a bicycle. Helmets are not made for children less than 1 year old; thus, making this proposal necessary. Presently, Georgia law requires helmets to be worn by all children below the age of 16.
House Bill 130 - Career and Technical Education Advisory Commission; meetings
Currently, the Advisory Commission has worked with the Department of Education in the career and technical area discussing dual enrollment credits and career paths for students. The Commission is made up of legislators, career and technical teachers, and Department of Education personnel. Passage of this bill will allow the Commission to continue its work, and along a schedule which has proven effective.
Legislation as passed in the House repeals the sunset date of the Career and Technical Education Advisory Commission, which is Dec. 31, 2012. It also allows the Commission to limit its meetings to once per year. Under current law the Commission must meet at least twice but no more than four times.
House Bill 72 - Drivers’ licenses; examinations only in English language; provide
This bill would have amended the code relating to exams for certain drivers’ licenses so that oral and written examinations are given only in English. After an amendment was attached that was unfavorable to the writer’s intent of the bill, it was tabled by members of the House. The legislation, also, provided that the department may give examinations for temporary licenses or permits in languages other than English. The Code would have been further amended to say that no person shall be issued temporary licenses or permits by examination in any language other than English for a total combined period of more than ten years.
Note: Legislation that is passed in the Georgia House of Representatives must be passed by the Senate and sent to the governor before it can becomes a state law. Activities and other legislation can be view on the Web at www.legis.ga.gov.
Feel free to contact Rep. Ann R. Purcell, 401 State Capitol, Atlanta, GA 30334, phone: (404) 656-5139 or by e-mail at email@example.com.