The Georgia General Assembly officially wrapped up the 2013 legislative session at midnight on March 28, when we adjourned “Sine Die!”
The last week of session and the final day were both long and productive, and full of lively debate. There was a significant amount of deliberation and agreement, with many bills passing both chambers last week. For those bills which did not pass, the process begins again during next year’s legislative session.
For the legislation that passed both the House and Senate this session, the final fate remains in the hands of Governor Deal who can sign the passed legislation into law, let the legislation become law without his signature or veto the legislation and prevent it from becoming law.
The most significant piece of legislation passed was the budget for our state. As discussed last week, the fiscal year 2014 budget, House Bill 106, was in conference committee last week and an agreement was reached on the $19.9 billion state budget on Thursday. The House passed the budget conference committee report around 8 p.m. on Thursday with only one dissenting vote and the Senate passed it unanimously on the same day.
I co-sponsored House Bill 226 and it passed both chambers and goes to Governor Deal for his consideration to sign this legislation into law. This legislation seeks to address the illegal dumping of scrap tires and relates to tire transportation, storage and disposal. Under this legislation, the number of scrap tires a person can store in Georgia is reduced to 25 (currently the limit is 100).
While this legislation was in the Senate, slight changes were made, which include: changing the quantity limit for storage of scrap tires at retailers from 3,000 to 1,500, adding exemptions for licensed used motor vehicle parts dealers, registered secondary metals recycler, or a privately-owned vehicle maintenance facility with commercial fleet vehicles (limited to 500 scrap tires in storage), and adding an exclusion for farms with not more than 100 scrap tires in storage (for more than 100 scrap tires for agriculture purposes, a waiver can be applied for).
The gun debate, either expanding or restricting the rights of gun owners, is in full force in states across our country. With school shootings last year, the dispute has been whether to make gun regulations more or less stringent for legal gun owners.
Legislation addressing and defending our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms in Georgia did not pass through conference committee this session. Two bills, House Bill 512 and Senate Bill 101, passed each respective chamber; however, the conference committee was not able to forge an agreement prior to midnight on Thursday.
The main disagreement was the on-campus carry provision and whether to allow licensed gun owners to carry their concealed firearms while on campus at our state universities and technical colleges throughout Georgia.
I support the Second Amendment of our Constitution and expect to see gun legislation debated again in the next legislative session.
Ethics legislation also passed both chambers and now goes to Governor Deal for his signature.
I will discuss legislation passed this session in future articles.
I look forward to getting back to our district and encourage you to contact me with your ideas and opinions or if I can be of service to you in any way.
If you would like to reach me, please call me at (404) 656-5099 or write to me at: State Rep. Jon Burns, 18 Capitol Square, 228 State Capitol, Atlanta, GA 30334 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.