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Legislature in full swing
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The third week of the 2018 Session of the General Assembly ended as the volume of legislation being introduced increased and work began in earnest on the Amended Budget. Floor activity is normally slow until standing committees began to pass out bills left from the 2017 Session and to consider legislation introduced this Session.

Passed the Senate
SB 194 — Increases the maximum amount of disposable earnings subject to garnishment by $0.50, while clarifying the amount for earnings in periods not equal to a week.
SB 327 — Removes the requirement for an autopsy just because a physician was not present, which reduces the number of autopsies by overburdened GBI. Coroner can still request autopsy if needed.

Bills introduced in the Senate
SB 329 — Covers local boards of health under The Georgia Tort Claims Act’s limited waiver of sovereign immunity.
SB 332 — Establishes a hunter mentorship program providing new hunters the opportunity to learn from experienced hunters while carrying a 1-year hunting passport.
SB 334 — Creates the Georgia Board of Nursing as an independent state agency under the administrative authority of the Department of Community Health. Previously, the Georgia Board of Nursing was under the Secretary of State’s jurisdiction.
SB 335 — Expands the offense of sex trafficking to include patronization, in addition to solicitation. Amends the age brackets of the trafficked individual, on which the offender’s years of imprisonment are based, to include those over the age of 17.
SB 338 — Amends the information state government administrators must include in a 30-day notice of intent when proposing the adoption of a new rule. The changes aim to clarify the differences between proposed and existing rules.
SB 339 — Mandates a list of statements higher education institutions must adopt in their freedom of expression policies. Outlines the requirements that must be met for a higher education establishment to restrict expression in an area of campus.
SB 341 — Requires that ignition interlock devices come equipped with cameras to photograph the sample provider after July 1, 2018. Ignition interlock devices will not start a vehicle before measuring the blood alcohol content of human breath at 0.02 g or below.
SB 312 — Reduces from $100 (two business days), $250 (same day), or $1000 (one hour) to a maximum of $50 per filing the fee to expedite corporate document process and filing with the Secretary of State.
SB 345 — Prohibits credit reporting agencies from charging consumers fees to place or remove a security freeze on an account.
SB 347 — Increases the penalty of criminal trespass with the specific intent to deface, mutilate, or defile a grave/monument recognizing veterans of all wars from the usual criminal trespass misdemeanor to a misdemeanor of high and aggravated nature. Only applies to monuments on privately owned itself or on privately-owned land.
SB 348 — Grants campus policemen and security employed by the Technical College System of Georgia the right to arrest for offenses committed on or within 500 yards of Technical College property. Additionally closes the gap between what University System of Georgia policemen and security personnel and those of the Technical College System of Georgia can do in terms of rendering mutual aid and entering into mutual aid agreements.

Josh Reddick visits the Senate
Houston Astros Right Fielder and Effingham County native Josh Reddick was honored by the Senate this week for his accomplishments with the World Champions but more importantly for his dedication and service to his home county. Reddick’s foundation recently contributed around $1 million for the construction of an athletic field designed for handicapped children and those with special needs. The field features artificial turf.

Visitors from the Fourth District
A number of groups, individuals, and officeholders visited the Capitol this week. Visitors included economic developers and other members of the Georgia Economic Development Association, Superior Court Clerks from Candler and Emanuel County, Tourism officials here for the State Tourism Conference and young women leaders here under the auspices of the Lynda Brannen Williamson Foundation hosted at the Capitol by Rep. Jan Tankersley.

Effingham Day at the Capitol
Over 100 visitors from Effingham came to the Capitol on January 22 to learn about state government and to host a reception for lawmakers. The group heard form Agency Heads as well as Gov. Deal, Lt. Gov. Cagle and Speaker Ralston. High School students participated and some served as Pages.