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Senate moving amended budget
Hill Jack
Sen. Jack Hill

The Senate is considering the House and Governor’s Amended FY 2020 Budget. A Conference Committee will resolve differences. The House made some restorations of the Governor’s cuts totaling over $35 million. More legislation is moving to the floor and the process is in full swing.

Bills passed out of the Senate on to the House

SB 134: Reassigns the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust to the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.

SB 268: A Veterans Health Identification Card issued by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs will be an acceptable Identification Card to a notary public.

SB 335: Provides for a fee waiver to state parks, historic sites or recreational areas for any foster parent, relative or kin serving as primary placement for a foster child. It also mandates that dependency case hearings with time limitations and termination of parental rights hearings will take priority over civil and criminal hearings and non-jury appearances. This bill authorizes the requirement of initial and annual training for foster parents based on their level of experience as a foster parent. It also authorizes DHS to partner with licensed child-placing agencies to assist with certain casework services.

SB 345: Updates a federal code citation concerning color additives in meat and changes how non-profit organizations regulate food services, food safety and preparation standards.

SB 356: Allows an expansion of existing municipal solid waste landfills to areas within two miles of military air space used as bombing ranges. This bill is aimed at McIntosh City.

Legislation passed out of Senate committee

SB 248: Amends the Georgia Firefighters’ Pension Fund by increasing the monthly dues from $25.00 to $30.00. It also increases the tax on premiums charged by fire insurance companies on certain classes of coverage and increases the monthly retirement benefits payable by the amount of $60.00.

SB 249: Amends provisions within the Peace Officers’ Annuity and Benefit Fund. This bill increases the amount a member must pay from $20.00 to $25.00 per month and increases the monthly retirement benefit payable to its members from $17.50 to $35.00 per month.

SB 294: Allows the Teachers Retirement System of Georgia to invest in alternative investments such as hedge funds, tangible assets, property, private equity or venture capital, and commodities. Total alternative investments are still capped at 5% of total funds.

House legislation now in Senate

HB 195: Increases the benefit amount payable to beneficiaries after the death of a member of the Georgia Firefighters’ Pension Fund from $5,000 to $10,000.

Bills introduced in the Senate this week

SB 368: Child-placing agencies would no longer be required to participate in a placement of a child for foster care or adoption when the placement violates certain religious or moral convictions of the child-placing agency.

SB 369: All annual returns, profit or tax, made to the Department of Revenue would now be sent electronically.

SB 373: Sets Standards of Conduct for Directors and Officers of nonprofit corporations, electric membership corporations (EMC, and foreign electric cooperatives). The bill mandates that directors and officers must operate in good faith, meaning that they complete their job duties in a way that an ordinarily prudent person would.  There will also be a presumption of their actions being done in good faith, and this can only be rebutted by evidence of wrongdoing. This bill does not alter the liability regulations outlined in O.C.G.A.

SB 375: Provides for additional penalties regarding the possession of cigarettes and tobacco related products for any person under 21 years of age, and refines the definition of vapor products. This bill also provides for seizure of tobacco products, now declared as contraband, by law enforcement in the possession of any person under the age of 21.

SB 385: Prohibits the burning of creosote-treated wood products for commercial energy generation.

SB 389: Allowing drivers licenses to be issued and presented in a physical or electronic format. Using a device to show license is not to be considered consent to search the device by a law enforcement officer.

SB 392: ‘Peace Officers Bill of Rights’ this legislation enacts a bill of rights for peace officers under investigation by providing for interrogation procedures and compliance review panels. This bill provides for both the right to bring suit and the right of notice of disciplinary action and limits those disciplinary actions.

SB 393: Allows University System Campus Policemen to make arrests for felony offenses committed upon any public or private property under the jurisdiction of the board. This bill also expands the jurisdiction of the GBI to cover street gang terrorism and prevention.

SB 397: Reduces the amount of coin operated amusement machines that are prohibited in a local ordinance from six to three. Also increases the percentage of net receipts of those machine proceeds to be paid to the Georgia Lottery Corporation from five to twenty percent.