Notes from the Senate
by Whitley Clifton | February 13, 2019 11:12 am
by SENATOR JACK HILL, 4th District
SCHOOL BUS PASSING LEGISLATION PASSES
The Senate passed SB 25, clarifying 2018 legislation on passing a stopped school bus and correcting a drafting error from the bill.
A bill passed in the 2018 Session that changed state law concerning when a driver must stop for a stopped school bus.
Current law, as a result of that bill now holds that a driver on a divided highway need not stop for a school bus if the lanes are divided by a turn lane.
SB 25 removes the current language allowing vehicles to pass a stopped school bus if the highway is divided only by a turn lane and replaces this with language that a vehicle must stop unless there is a grass median, paved median or a barrier.
The bill also explains that violations will be adjudicated and punished according to the law as it existed at the time the violations occurred.
SENATE CREATES FREIGHT AND LOGISTICS COMMISSION
The Senate passed SR 19 which will create a commission to study Georgia’s system of moving cargo to market. Logistics are vitally important and heavily impacts the ability of the ports of Georgia to compete worldwide and grow.
This commission will study Georgia’s system of moving freight and develop funding objectives to continue to increase the efficiency of the state’s system looking at things like alternative freight routes.
The Commission consists of 16 members, including members of the legislature, private citizens and the executive directors of both the Georgia Municipal Association and the Association of County Commissioner.
The Senate and House Transportation Chairmen will co-chair the Commission. The Commission will issue a report by December 31, 2019.
BILLS INTRODUCED IN THE SENATE THIS WEEK
• SB45: “Rural Georgia Jobs and Growth Act” would legalize horse racing in Georgia.
• SB47: Retirement Benefits; provides creditable retirement service for military service members who have served at least two years since January 1, 1990.
• SB48: Identifies and supports students in pre-kindergarten through 2nd grade with dyslexia. Provides teacher preparation programs for instruction relating to students with dyslexia.
• SB54: ‘Georgia Lottery for Veterans Act’; creates a lottery game whose proceeds will benefit veterans.
• SB59: Changes current law so wiretapping is only legal when all members of the communication have given prior consent.
• SB60: “Jeremy Nelson and Nick Blakely Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act”; Educates high school athletes about the nature and warning signs of sudden cardiac arrest and prevents athletic activity under certain circumstances.
• SB61: Exempts integrated surgery centers from certificate of need requirements.
• SB66: “Streamlining Wireless Facilities and Antennas Act”; expands broadband by authorizing rural phone companies to offer broadband. Streamlines the deployment of wireless broadband in the public right of way. Also provides fees for permitting to collocate devices in a right of way.
• SB67: Allows drawdown of K-12 capital outlay funding to complete restoration of fire or disaster damaged school buildings. Educational facilities that are more than 20 years old and are extensively destroyed or damaged by a fire or natural disaster can supplement insurance to rebuild all of the building, even undamaged parts. Expands low wealth category to include systems consolidating schools but lacking sufficient ESPLOST capability.
• SB70: Raises the mandatory age of school attendance from 16 to 17 years old.
• SB72: Changes the dates for hunting season to allow for an extended archery only season until January 31st. Raises the bag limit to 12 deer daily. Modifies the provisions related to hunting for wild hogs.
• SB74: Eliminates a number of certificate of need (CON) requirements for all health care facilities except certain long- term care facilities. Expands the Rural Hospital Tax Credit to $100 million up from the existing $60 million.
• SB77: Provides additional protections for government statues, monuments, plaques, banners, and other commemorative symbols.
• SR66: Ratifies the Equal Rights Amendment, ERA, to the U.S. Constitution.
OUR VISITORS THIS WEEK INCLUDED
Onion growers from Toombs, Tattnall, and Bulloch Counties, The Brew Pub Industry, 4H Members from Emanuel County, and hospital representatives from Emanuel, Evans, Candler, and Tattnall County, along with young artists from Bulloch County.
I may be reached at 234 State Capitol, Atlanta, GA 30334; 404-656-5038 (phone); 404-657-7094 (fax); e-mail at Jack.Hill@senate.ga.gov; toll-free at 1-800-367-3334, day or night; or by phone at my Reidsville office, 912-557-3811.