Georgia Legislature

Yesterday In The Georgia Legislature – 02/19/21

This is an informal rundown of the legislative happenings. These bills are from the most recent legislative day – 2/18/21, or Day 19.

The House of Representatives passed the following measures, all of which now head to the Senate:

HB 111 – Rep. Bruce Williamson

LINK → https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/58958 
WHAT THE BILL DOES:

  • Annual Banks & Banking update 

ISSUES: None
PASSED: 160-0

HB 165 – Rep. Tim Barr

LINK → https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/59087 
WHAT THE BILL DOES:

  • permits the use of windshield mounts for wireless phones or electronic devices, which is referenced in the hands-free code section (see here) so the two code sections are not currently consistent 
  • Excludes commercial motor vehicles/other provisions barred by federal law

ISSUES: None.
PASSED: 165-0

HB 168 – Rep. Jesse Petrea

LINK → https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/59090 
WHAT THE BILL DOES:

  • Gives district attorneys additional access to information of convicted persons that would otherwise be considered state secrets when the district attorney is contracted re: the possibility of parole for a person. (mostly dangerous/violent felonies)
    • Usually they write a written objection to the state board.
  • Adds those on the Georgia Sex Offender Registry to the already existent list for the DA to have access to.
  • If a DA or other person shares the confidential information, they’re guilty of a misdemeanor. (I’m sure this is one of those things where the DA is told to investigate the DA and then the DA finds no wrongdoing. Making this a misdemeanor will do nothing)
  • Passed House in 2020 108-57 (HB 885 is identical language)

ISSUES: When a district attorney is contacted about parole, they are supposed to speak to the crime for which they handled the prosecution…not have access to others, if they exist, so they can pile on. The question DAs are supposed to ask is whether or not the person has served their time/paid the price for the crime for which they are currently incarcerated and do they pose a threat to the public.
PASSED: 99-66

HB 169 – Rep. John Corbett

LINK → https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/59091 
WHAT THE BILL DOES:

  • DDS bill
  • Part I: A requirement to be able to receive a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), which requires a training course (by a third party approved by the federal government, no idea how much it will cost the drivers)
    • This brings the state in compliance with a federal law.
    • If not adopted,  after June of 2022, Georgia CDLs will not be recognized.  
    • Requires that any test conducted be done in English only (not part of the federal requirement)
  • Part II: driver’s instruction permit
    • Old system 180 days and could renew one time for another 180 days
    • This makes it one-time 365-day permit so people don’t have to return to DDS for renewal 

ISSUES: Good ‘ol federal purse strings.
PASSED:162-7

HB 212 – Rep. Kasey Carpenter 

LINK → https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/59174 
WHAT THE BILL DOES:

  • Expands the definition of who is legally permitted to __CPR
  • Instead of just ‘parent’ the bill includes ‘parent and/or person who has the legal authority to act on behalf of the minor’
  • Additionally, if there is a consideration not to resuscitate a minor, only a parent can give oral or written consent to the order with few exceptions (exceptions in subsection (e) here)

ISSUES: None.
PASSED: 170-0

HB 353 – Rep. Todd Jones

LINK → https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/59425 
WHAT THE BILL DOES:

  • Current law requires ‘a safe distance between vehicle and biker when passing’
  • Changes the law for driving on the other side of the road due to an obstruction – specifically a bicycle
  • REQUIRES a driver to either:
    • Move into a lane that is not adjacent to the bicycle itself OR
    • Slow down to a ‘reasonable and proper speed’ for the road and traffic conditions, which is at least 10 mph below the speed limit (or 25 mph, whichever is more) and go around the bike with at least 3 feet between the vehicle and bicylcist 
  • Adds a $250 penalty, which was not previously in place.

ISSUES: $250 is a steep fine for driving too close to a bicyclist when there is no harm. The requirements of what a driver should do are not always possible and while we’re supposed to ‘share the road,’ roads are for vehicles first. Why only bikes? Why not pedestrians?

The language is overly broad and too narrow at the same time. ‘Reasonable and proper speed’ can vary and is subject to interpretation (and that of a law enforcement officer will prevail) and someone trying to recognize the speed limit, reduce it by 10 and also figure out if that is more or less than 25mph before they pass a biker is more dangerous than just passing the biker.
PASSED: 164-2 (Singleton & Momtahan)


The Senate passed the following measures, all of which now head to the House of Representatives.

SB 46 – Sen. Dean Burke

LINK: https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/59079
WHAT THE BILL DOES:

  • Allows certified EMTs, certified cardiac technicians, and trainees to administer vaccines under the direction of a licensed physician during a declared public health emergency
  • Permits the statewide vaccination registry to receive and distribution identifiable vaccine information of persons under the age of 18 without the consent of the parent/guardian
  • Stipulates that there is no vaccine registry enrollment exemption for vaccines administered during a public health emergency
  • Also allows the vaccine registration info to be given to third parties during a declared state of emergency
  • Prohibits a live attenuated virus from being administered in a vaccine unless a patient as signed an informed consent doc that he/she does not have a contraindication AND that doc must list the contraindications to the vaccine

ISSUES:
PASSED: 47-3 (NO votes–> Beach, Dixon, Dolezal)

Jessica Szilagyi

administrator
Jessica Szilagyi is Publisher of TGV News She focuses primarily on state and local politics as well as issues in law enforcement and corrections She has a background in Political Science with a focus in local government and has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia. Jessica is a "Like It Or Not" contributor for Fox5 in Atlanta and a commentator on the 'Let Me Tell You Why You're Wrong Podcast.' Sign up for her weekly newsletter: http://eepurl.com/gzYAZT

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