By: Sen. John Albers (R- Roswell)
The Georgia General Assembly has reached a critical juncture in the 2013 Legislative Session – Crossover Day. This day is an important milestone for the legislature, marking Day 30 of the 40 Day Legislative Session.
In preparation for Day 30, we spent many hours this week in and out of the Senate Chamber deliberating and revising legislative language. If Senate bills do not pass by Crossover Day, they will not transfer to the House of Representatives and must wait until 2014 for re-consideration.
Crossover Day often means the Senate remains in session until well after the 5 to 6 o’clock hour to ensure bills that bolster economic development and responsibly fund state infrastructure continue on in the legislative process.
With ten days left until Sine Die, the General Assembly is working hard to approve a constitutionally balanced budget as required by state law. Earlier this week, the Senate approved the 2013 Amended Budget totaling $19.3 billion. For the remainder of session, the Senate will work to analyze the FY2014 Budget, where $19.8 billion in spending is on the line. We will need to ensure every dollar is accounted for and spent wisely.
On Monday, the Senate boldly passed Senate Bill 101. This legislation would allow out-of-state weapons carry licenses to be recognized in Georgia and protect the Second Amendment rights of all Georgians regardless of residence or economic status. The right to bear arms was afforded to us through the U.S. Constitution and should be protected for future generations.
On Tuesday, the last legislative day before Crossover Day, a bill I sponsored to enhance public safety passed out of the Senate. If passed into law, Senate Bill 207 will allow private home care providers to obtain first offenders information on potential job applicants. This legislation is an important safeguard against abuse in the private home care setting and aims to protect our state’s most vulnerable citizens.
Another bill to gain Senate approval and make its way to the House on Thursday was Senate Bill 160. This legislation would streamline the process of verifying residence status when applying for or renewing business licenses. Under current law, there is some confusion about how this information should be reported, which is burdensome to both local governments and businesses. If passed into law, this bill will make the renewal or application process easier.
During Crossover Week, the Senate passed several other significant pieces of legislation:
SB 1 would require health insurers to allow a parent to inspect, review or attain copies of health insurance records relating to his or her own child.
SB 62 establishes the Federal and State Funded Health Care Financing Programs Overview Committee, which would periodically inquire into and review the actions of the Board of Community Health and the Department of Community Health.
SB 76 would create the “Returning Veterans Task Force” within the State Department of Veterans Services. If passed into law, this task force would meet quarterly to investigate how state services can be provided to veterans returning from military service.
SB 85 allows pharmacists and nurses to administer other vaccines besides influenza.
SB 163 would require the Board of Community Health to examine and identify options for reforms Georgia’s Medicaid Program. This legislation could potentially bring about significant savings to the state
SB 195 would authorize physicians and other practitioners with prescribing authority to administer auto-injectable epinephrine at a public or private school.
SB 224 would create the Invest Georgia Fund, which would allow access to seed capital for Georgia high tech companies. Capital distributed from this fund would help build healthy businesses and require recipients to keep their business headquartered in Georgia. The financial growth of Georgia is a rising concern among many citizens, and passing SB 224 is just one of the ways the Georgia General Assembly is working to ensure that business remains and thrives in Georgia.
SR 245 would request the United States Congress to adopt a resolution proposing a balanced budget amendment to the United States Constitution and submit the same to the states for ratification.
For more information regarding a specific piece of legislation, you may access the Georgia General Assembly website at http://www.legis.ga.gov/. It is an honor to serve you and I am humbled that you have placed your faith and confidence in me to represent your interests at the State Capitol.
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Sen. John Albers represents the 56th Senate District, which includes portions of North Fulton and Cherokee Counties. He may be reached at his office at 404.463.8055 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.