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Crossover Day is here
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The 2008 session will be 3/4 complete on Tuesday and much is left in the balance. No tax legislation has passed both houses. The House has not acted on transportation legislation and neither body has produced a trauma funding source. The House and Senate Conference Committees on the ’08 amended budget are stalled but both bodies appear to be moving forward on the ’09 general budget. These last eleven working days are sure to be hectic.
Bills of interest
The following bills passed the Senate this week:
• S.B. 404: Establishes the Georgia Health Marketplace so that consumers have access to health care products and can make cost comparisons.

• S.B. 449: Limits liability of farmers and landowners who allow visitors on their property.

• S.B. 458: Allows students in failing schools (seven years on Needs Improvement List) to receive vouchers to private school or attend another public school.

• S.B. 472: Allows digital based cigarette stamp processes to prevent forgery and tax evasion.

• S.B. 485: Creates the State Licensing Board of Home Inspectors which will be assigned to the Office of the Secretary of State for administrative and jurisdictional purposes.

• S.B. 502: Allows retiring certified parole officers employed by the parole board to retain their badges.

• S.B. 515: Amends the structure of the Georgia Seed Commission so as to allow both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees to appoint members from farming related industries to the commission.

• S.B. 520: Makes it a misdemeanor offense to remove a collar from a dog without the owner’s permission with the intent to prevent or hinder the owner from locating the dog.

• S.B. 522: Allows sugar gliders, a small hand-held animal, to be sold, purchased and exhibited as pets without a license in Georgia under certain circumstances.
Legislation introduced
The following bills and resolutions were introduced in the Senate this week:
• S.B. 537: Creates the office of State Inspector General, whose sole purpose is to investigate the management and operations of state agencies at the discretion of the governor. This puts into code the existing office.

• S.B. 538: A constitutional amendment that if passed would exempt seniors 70 years or older from education taxes through 100 percent homestead exemptions.

• S.B. 548: State employees could be found guilty of a misdemeanor if using a government credit card to make a personal purchase of anything under $500 and a felony for a personal purchase of anything over $500.

• S.B. 551: Restricts officers, directors and employees of financial institutions from transacting business with people to whom they are related.

• S.R. 1074: A proposed constitutional amendment that expands fines that are partially used to fund the Brain and Spinal Injury Trust Fund.
Next week — State revenue figures for February.

To find out more about any legislation, visit the Legislature’s home page at