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Session comes to a close
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The 2013 legislative session of the Georgia General Assembly is quickly coming to a close.

Last Friday, the 37th day of session was completed, leaving only three days. The main duty and requirement of the General Assembly every year is to pass a balanced budget. As discussed last week, the House passed the Appropriation Bill for fiscal year 2014 (HB 106). This week, the Senate passed HB 106, with changes and modifications. The “big” FY 2014 budget will be passed by the legislature this week and will include changes approved by both chambers that were agreed upon in the joint conference committee.

 Protecting our Second Amendment rights has remained a priority throughout the legislative session, indicated by the many gun bills that have been proposed.  The House and Senate have each passed different versions of gun legislation through their respective chambers.

The Senate’s gun bill was amended in the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee, then passed by the full House on Friday. It goes back to the Senate for possible changes in an attempt to reach final language.

With an intent to preserve lives and for the safety and protection of those either boating or hunting, the House passed Senate Bill 136. This legislation, called the Kyle Glover Boat Education Law and Jake and Griffin BUI Law, would change the boating under the influence (BUI) and hunting under the influence (HUI) blood alcohol content to 0.08 grams, which is the current driving under the influence (DUI) alcohol limit.

The bill passed the House 146-17 and also proposes to streamline and identify who is certified and educated to operate certain boats, requires any person born after Jan. 1, 1998, to complete a free boater registration course online, and requires any person under 13 years old (previously age 10) to wear a life preserver jacket at all times while the boat is in motion.

We also passed SB 70, which I presented to the House. It passed 157-2. SB 70 allows the Department of Transportation (DOT) to partner with the private sector in order to bring innovation and costs-saving to projects.  These projects will be delivered faster, with consideration being given to increased safety and quality design by incorporating new technology.

The House also passed several other pieces of legislation this week. Senate Bill 1 passed unanimously and would require health insurance policies and records to be available to both parents of their own child, regardless of who has custodial rights. The only exception would be if the parental rights were terminated.

Senate Bill 236 passed 113-48 and would require health insurance companies to include an attachment on their annual premium statement identifying what percentage of the premium increase can be contributed to the Federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare).

The General Assembly continued day 38 of the 2013 Legislative Session on Monday. If you would like to reach me, please call me at (404) 656-5099 or email me at