Yesterday In The Georgia Legislature – 03/18/21

This is an informal rundown of the legislative happenings. These bills are from the most recent legislative day – 3/17/21, or Day 34.

HB 703 – Rep. Danny Mathis

LINK: https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/60240
WHAT THE BILL DOES:

  • Makes Bleckley County Probate judge positions nonpartisan

PASSED: 105-64

HB 704 – Rep. Danny Mathis

LINK: https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/60241
WHAT THE BILL DOES:

  • Makes Bleckley County Magistrate judge positions nonpartisan

PASSED: 103-68

SB 43 – Sen. Matt Brass (Gambill)

Passed the Senate: 50-0
LINK: https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/59068
WHAT THE BILL DOES:

  • Creates the “Noncovered Eye Care Services Act” and regulates billing for optometrists and ophthalmologists 
  • Prohibits insurers from requiring doctors to accept payment at the dollar amount dictated by the insurer when the service isn’t covered under the eye care benefit plan
  • Prohibits the insurer from telling covered persons that a doctor should or will offer a discount for a service not in the plan
  • Prohibits insurers from requiring eye doctors to extend discounts for services not covered in the plan

Essentially, insurance companies are setting prices and eye doctors would like to charge more and this gives them the ability to do so when the service is not part of the eye care plan.

PASSED: 152-17

SB 88 – Sen. Russ Goodman

Passed the Senate: 50-0
LINK: https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/59311
WHAT THE BILL DOES:

  • Requires that the Georgia Teacher of the Year serve as ‘advisor ex officio’ to the State Board of Education
  • All costs incurred to travel to the meeting are reimbursable like other members of the board

PASSED: 171-1

SB 140 – Sen. Jeff Mullis (Ralston)

Passed the Senate: 50-0
LINK: https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/59495
WHAT THE BILL DOES:

  • Requires, if funds are available, a monument for former Gov. Zell Miller
  • Designed by the Capitol Art Standards Commission and approved by a joint committee of appointees
  • No public funds, all donations

PASSED: 172-1

SB 182 – Sen. Randy Robertson (Gullett)

Passed the Senate: 50-1 (NO= Freddie Powell Sims)
LINK: https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/59694
WHAT THE BILL DOES:

  • creates a definition for ‘ ‘battery charged fence’
  • Would only apply to businesses or properties NOT in a residential area. 
  • defines it as an alarm system or electronic security system and its parts that are attached to a fence; and must 
    • only be attached to fence 
    • caps voltage at 12v of direct current
    • be surrounded by another fence that is not more than 2 feet higher than that fence OR no more than 10 feet tall
    • Be marked  WARNING-ELECTRIC FENCE.’
  • further prevents any county or municipality from prohibiting the use of battery-powered fences 
  • also prohibits the county for adding an additional permit fee beyond regular fence fee simply for battery powered fencing
  • HB 130 version (which is identical) passed 100-63

PASSED: 103-70

The Senate passed the following measures:

HB 63 – Rep. Shaw Blackmon

LINK → https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/58876 
WHAT THE BILL DOES:

  • Fixes an issue regarding leases under the TVT code section
  • The state has been assessing taxes based on the full rental/lease charges which includes taxes and fees.
  • This bill halts that practice.

Passed 54-0

HB 112 – Rep. Trey Kelley

LINK → https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/58959 
WHAT THE BILL DOES:

  • Extends sunset on covid-19 liability protections to July 14, 2022
  • “Allow businesses to continue to operating during the pandemic,” per Kelley, free of liability so long as reasonable precautions are taken to prevent or avoid negligent spreading of COVID-19.
  • Does not impact Workers Compensation

PASSED: 36-17

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 

PASSED: 50-4

HB 207 – Rep. John Corbett

LINK → https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/59155 
WHAT THE BILL DOES:

  • Streamlines the process for registering manufacturers, distributors,  and dealers of automobile plates to be electronic instead of by US mail
    • Also applies to insurance companies that clear a total loss on a damaged vehicle
    • Vehicle owners who need replacement titles when there is a lienholder or security interest holder 
  • Department of Revenue bill

PASSED: 54-0

HB 208 – Rep. Mike Cheokas

LINK → https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/59156 
WHAT THE BILL DOES:

  • Creates a new holiday for JROTC
  • The second Wednesday of February of each year is designated as ‘National Swearing-in  Commitment Day’ in Georgia.

PASSED: 53-0

HB 497 – Rep. Chuck Efstration

LINK→ https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/59777 
WHAT THE BILL DOES:

  • Annual Code revision 

PASSED: 54-0

HB 693 – Rep. Steven Meeks 

LINK→ https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/60221 
WHAT THE BILL DOES:

  • prohibits farm tractors from being driven on any highway in the state unless deemed necessary by the Department of Public Safety for travel in certain geographic areas of the state. 
  • Operators must take reasonable steps to reduce the width of farm tractors. 
  • If the width of a farm tractor is more than a roadway or more than half the width of a roadway without marked lanes, the operator is required to move the tractor as far to the right-hand side of the roadway as possible.
  • If a farm tractor or implement of husbandry cannot be moved to the far right-hand side of a roadway, drivers of other vehicles must yield the right-of-way to the tractor or implement of husbandry.

PASSED: 51-2

Jessica Szilagyi

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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