We’ve had some long days this week as we’ve been working through a considerable amount of legislation. This Monday is Crossover day (or the 30th legislative day) which is the last day in which bills originating in the Senate Chamber can be voted on and transmitted to the House for consideration. Starting Monday, the Senate will only be hearing bills that originated in the House and vice versa.
We began the week by adopting a piece of legislation that will benefit all of Georgia’s military families. SB 337, also called the Military Family Health Protection Act, allows dependents of military service members who are eligible for medical assistance and developmental disability services from the Department of Community Health (DCH) to continue their assistance upon returning to Georgia after leaving due to military service.
I sponsored two Senate Resolutions this week, SR 954 and SR 955. SR 954 grants nonexclusive easements for the construction, operation and maintenance of facilities and utilities on state or local property in select counties. SR 955 would authorize the conveyance of state-owned real property in Bacon, Camden, Greene, Gwinnett, McIntosh, Paulding, Spaulding and White Counties.
We also approved a measure which would benefit HOPE scholars. SB 312 allows HOPE scholarship recipients to be awarded one-hundred percent of the cost of tuition, up to $2,000 per semester, and up to 15 credit hours. This bill would not, however, award HOPE amounts greater than the cost of tuition. This bill is only one of many that we have passed this session aimed at improving access and quality of education throughout the state.
In celebration of the Folds of Honor Quiktrip 500 race coming up this Sunday, I helped welcome representatives and drivers from NASCAR to the Capitol, including Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin. NASCAR is of special importance to my district as Henry County houses the Atlanta Motor Speedway, where this year’s Folds of Honor Quiktrip 500 and other races take place. Atlanta Motor Speedway serves as a valuable sports tourism destination right here in Henry County.
The Senate also welcomed 2012 Presidential Candidate Herman Cain to address the chamber and be honored with Senate Resolution 1045. I was glad to see a Henry County resident and a man of strong principle and character being honored by the Senate body.
Some of the other important bills we passed this week are:
SB 350 would dedicate the revenue collected from excise taxes on fireworks to be dedicated to fire safety, trauma care and local law enforcement.
SB 333 would allow nonprofit corporations, which were organized in a foreign jurisdiction, to be able to change their jurisdiction to the state of Georgia, and vice versa.
SB 366 changes the selection process for Department of Transportation contractors. Under this bill, contractors wishing to be selected by the DOT for certain projects, must first be qualified to carry out assigned duties before a bidding process is conducted in which the lowest bidder would be selected for the contract.
SB 367 would enact recommendations for the 2016 Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform. The bill outlines changes to procedures to be used in misdemeanor probation, changes regarding regaining a driver’s license after a conviction and clarifies the status of offenders under the First Offender Act.
After Crossover Day, things will be moving a little more quickly. We only have ten legislative days remaining in the session and we intend to use them valuably. Next week, we will meet in the Senate Chamber Monday and Wednesday for legislative days 30 and 31. If you have any comments or concerns regarding any legislation, please feel free to reach out to my office. It is a pleasure and an honor to serve Georgia’s 17th district.
Sen. Rick Jeffares serves as Chairman of the Regulated Industries Committee. He represents the 17th Senate District which includes portions of Henry, Rockdale and Newton counties. He may be reached by phone at 404.463.1376 or by email at email@example.com.