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House rushes to meet Crossover Day deadline
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Day 30 of the legislative calendar (March16), known as crossover day, was a long day as legislators worked to get bills on the Rules calendar for floor action. There were 49 House bills on the agenda for the day.

Following are some of the bills debated and passed by  the Georgia House during the week of March 14:
 HB 167, Insurance Delivery Enhancement

Passage of this bill will ensure that third party administrators comply with the state’s prompt pay statute and abide by the terms of the contract between the providers and the insurance companies. Insurance carriers comply with the prompt pay statute for their fully insured individual and group plans in Georgia, but there is no mechanism in place to ensure that third party health insurance administrators pay physicians, hospitals and other healthcare providers, in the state in a timely way.

HB 33, Budget Act; zero-base budgeting; provide

This bill provides for zero-base budgeting (ZBB) in the state of Georgia beginning January 2012. The Joint Fiscal Affairs Subcommittee is authorized to determine certain executive branch agencies to submit a ZBB at least once every six years in a coordinated format determined by the Governor and the Office of Planning and Budget. The Subcommittee is authorized to review and/or hold hearings on ZBB submissions.

Those entities required to perform a ZBB will include an analysis of the two previous fiscal years, as well as proposed and prioritized fiscal spending plans with program, object class, and revenue source information. It should also include purpose statements and benchmarks of each program’s efficiency and scope. The information will be presented in the Governor’s budget report in a manner determined by that office.

The bill includes the Board of Regents as an entity under these requirements and encourages the participation of the Judicial Branch. It requires that the Department of Education be submitted in ZBB of January 2012. A sunset provision for June 30, 2019 automatically repeals ZBB unless it is reauthorized.

This legislation also will combine the budget offices of the House and Senate into a Joint Legislative Budget Office directed by an employee selected by the Speaker and the lieutenant governor.

HB 275, Cardiopulmonary resuscitation; authorized to order not to resuscitate; clarify

HB 275 will clarify which health care providers are authorized to effectuate an order to not resuscitate. It defines the term of caregiver and redefines nurse. It also adds other licensed facility to those persons and or health care facilities which are able to carry out in good faith a do not resuscitate cardiopulmonary resuscitation order.

HB 285, School employees; criminal background checks; revise provisions

This legislation is relating to conditions of employment in the “Quality Basic Education Act”. It deals with criminal background checks on school employees. Local units of administration and the Professional Standards Commission have the authority and responsibility to order criminal checks though the Georgia Crime Information Center and FBI. The local units of administration will also have the authority to forward results of the criminal record checks to the Professional Standards commission as necessary regarding potential violations of the code of ethics for educators.

HB 500 Employment Readiness Program for Georgia’s Unemployed; establish

This legislation provides for unemployed workers the ability to take the Workforce Readiness exam that increases their ability to get hired.

It coordinates the Georgia Work Ready program through the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development. The program will be administered by the Department of Labor through its career centers and will also be utilized through locations provided by the Technical College System of Georgia.

Made possible by federal funds, the program will be a computer based course which will help the unemployed through certain educational tools, skills gap training, and instructions on how to complete an on-line job application.

HB 415 Jury Composition reform Act of 2011, enact

There is a concern whether county jury selection processes meet the requirements of the U. S. Constitution. This new method of jury selection would create a more inclusive list of possible jurors making Georgia jury selection less vulnerable to constitutional challenge. Furthermore, the increased accuracy predicted by the new lists would make the process more efficient at the local level.
Since the 1960s, Georgia’s current law has used “forced balancing” to ensure that demographic groups within counties are proportionally represented in the jury pool.

This bill ends forced balancing, and sets up a series of procedures and rules to compile a statewide, inclusive juror source list. It calls for the Council of Superior Court Clerks to establish and maintain a statewide master jury list. The bill is a proposal of the Supreme Court’s Jury Composition Committee, appointed in 2003, which studied whether an inclusive juror source list should replace Georgia’s balanced box juror selection system.

The bill requires the Department of Driver Services and the Secretary of State to provide certain information to the Council of Superior Court Clerks and to the Administrative Office of the Courts. The Council will screen drivers’ license records, vital records, and voter registration records to create a more inclusive source list of eligible jurors. The database will be cleaned of duplicates, bad addresses, and the names of felons and deceased people. Then the Council of Superior Court Clerks will certify and distribute an inclusive list to each individual county’s Board of Jury Commissioners.

A new list will be prepared and distributed annually. The quality and integrity of these jury lists will be regulated by Georgia Supreme Court Rule.

 This legislation will result in local court officials having an inclusive jury list consistent with the intent behind our constitutional right to equal protection and a jury of one’s peers. Jury service will also be more uniform among eligible citizens.

HB 240, County sales and use tax; modify infeasible projects; establish procedure

This bill provides a mechanism for distribution of proceeds for local governments that pass a special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) for a certain project, but then determine such project is infeasible. Currently there is no mechanism for anything to be done with such funds, and this bill will allow local governments to hold a referendum to let the voters decide if they would like to use such funds to reduce property taxes or pay off debt of the local governments. These are the same options available in the law now for excess proceeds.

HB 277,Hunting; baiting and hunting of deer and feral hogs: regulate; change provisions

State law already allows hunters to put corn, wheat, apples or other food out for the deer.  The legislation would lift the limits on deer baiting.  This bill would remove the restriction that hunters remain 200 yards away and out of the sight of the feed.  This bill applies only to the southern zone of the state. This is a move to cull the herds and help lower the pest to peanuts and other farming crops. The Department of Natural Resources would have the ability to stop feeding if needed.

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 become a state law. Other legislation can be view on the web at

Contact information for Rep. Ann R. Purcell: 401 State Capitol, Atlanta, GA 30334, Phone: (404) 656-5139 or email: