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Senate begins its budget work
Hill Jack
Sen. Jack Hill

The state Senate will be working on perfecting the fiscal year 2017 general budget totaling $23.7 billion after the House passed its version by a vote of 167-1.

Legislation passed by the Senate last week

• SB 277-Franchisees and their employees would not be considered employees of the corporate franchisor for compensation matters. (39-14)

• SB 282- Prohibits banks from refusing to provide loans to firearms dealers solely due to them selling firearms, following a federal effort to effect limits on weapons manufacturers. (39-16)

• SB 309-Prevents state-funded high schools from prohibiting student athletes from wearing clothing which expresses religious beliefs. Also allows competition between public and private schools, which might be contrary to association rules. (39-16)

• SB 314-Expands the definition of advanced nursing practices to include those working as certified nurse practitioner, certified registered nurse anesthetist, certified nurse-midwife, or clinical nurse specialist. Revises licensing provisions to require fingerprint record checks and certification by the board. (55-0)

• SB 319-Revises the definition of Licensed Professional Counselor to allow them to diagnose patients in order to be compensated for counseling. This will especially benefit rural areas where access to mental health service is limited. (51-0)

• SB 320-Drivers licenses issued to nonresidents by their home state or country would be presumed to be valid in Georgia within a 30 day limit, if they have entered country legally. (51-0)

• SB 329-In concert with the “Move On When Ready” legislation of 2015, clarifies courses applicable for high school graduation and HOPE scholarship credit to include classes relating to high demand technical and job skills. (56-0)

• SB 270-Authorizes all retired law enforcement officers to carry a handgun in Georgia, subject to annual requalification. (54-0)

Legislation introduced in the Senate last week

• SB 356-Provides that impounded animals must be treated humanely and returned to their owners if all accumulated fees and cost of impoundment have been paid. Return is not required if owners have been convicted of animal cruelty or dogfighting, or if the animal has been impounded as part of an investigation. (State and Local Governmental Operations Committee)

• SB 376-Would work toward a popular election for President by allowing states to join together in an interstate compact where they agree to certify electors corresponding to the presidential candidate who receives the majority of the nationwide vote. (State and Local Governmental Operations Committee)

• SB 395-Expands the Special Needs scholarship to be available to the children of active military service members residing in Georgia. (Education and Youth Committee)

Legislation passed by the House and sent to the Senate

• HB 219-Exempts private pools, including those in apartment complexes, condominiums and time shares, from mandatory inspection and licensing requirements. (Passed House 152-8)

• HB 561-Would designate the adoptable dog, as from a shelter, as the official state dog. (Passed House 172-0)

• HB 769-Exempts from local ad valorem taxes all watercraft for resale which are being held in inventory by a dealer. (Passed House 161-0)

• HB 798-Provides eligibility for Zell Miller Scholarships and HOPE scholarships for home study students who receive otherwise qualifying scores on standardized college admission tests. (Passed House 164-7)

• HB 821-Allows expedited licensing processes for military spouses and service members seeking to work in professions which require such licenses. Would allow military spouses to maintain their licenses from other states and allow service members to bypass formal requirements if they have developed the necessary skills during their service. (Passed House 164-0)

Visitors from the 4th

Glen A. Cheney of Reidsville was sworn in on Feb. 15 as a Superior Court judge in the Atlantic Judicial Circuit and a number of visitors attended the ceremony in the governor’s office. Rev. Rusty Manning was pastor of the day in the Senate on Feb. 18. Rev. Manning serves the Merrywood Baptist Church in Statesboro. Other visitors this week came from Emanuel, Tattnall, Evans and Bulloch counties.

Full transcripts of bills may be found at Simply type the bill number into the box at the top left-hand corner of the screen and specify if it is in the House or the Senate. As always, I welcome any questions you may.

I may be reached at
234 State Capitol, Atlanta, GA 30334
(404) 656-5038 (phone)
(404) 657-7094 (fax)
E-mail at
Or call toll-free at
1-800-367-3334 day or night
Reidsville office: (912) 557-3811