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With 2 session days left, Ga. lawmakers churn through bills
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ATLANTA (AP) — With three days left in the year's session, Georgia lawmakers plowed through a packed calendar on Friday sending bills to Gov. Nathan Deal for his signature or across the hall to the other chamber for review.

Here's a look at some of Friday's action:


A bill allowing people in Georgia to finance solar panels the same way they borrow money for homes or lease cars is headed to Deal's desk.

The Senate passed the bill unanimously without debate. The House already approved the legislation from Republican state Rep. Mike Dudgeon.

Residents buy electricity from monopoly utilities. By law, only utilities can sell electricity in their designated territories.

That law was written before the cost of solar panels fell, making it potentially economical to install them on homes and businesses. But it was unclear whether companies that are not traditional utilities can finance or lease solar panels.

The bill permits agreements where a customer pays a nonutility based on the performance of solar panels. It doesn't alter Georgia's market for electricity.


The Georgia House rejected a bill preventing cities from banning plastic bags, 67-85.

The Senate approved an earlier version, but the measure's future is now uncertain.

Officials in several Georgia cities have considered banning plastic bags within their limits, including coastal Tybee Island where supporters argue that sea turtles sometimes mistake them for food.

Rep. Tom McCall, who carried the bill in the House, said local bans will create confusion and add costs to businesses.

McCall said cities could instead offer tax incentives or another perk to businesses that opt against plastic bags.

Other Republicans who spoke against the bill called it a state overreach. Rep. Scot Turner said he wouldn't want such a ban in his city of Holly Springs but believes every community should make their own decision.

"We are going to use a hatchet when a scalpel may do," Turner said.


The House overwhelmingly backed a further watered-down beer sales measure that initially sought permission for direct consumer sales by craft brewers.

State law prohibits craft breweries from selling directly to consumers.

Both the Senate and House chipped away at that bill. The House version, passed overwhelmingly 142-9, would allow breweries to provide up to 36 ounces in "souvenir" tastings of beer on site or up to 72 ounces to take home but eliminated brewpubs that serve food.

The bill also allows distilleries to give take-home bottles as a tour souvenir.

It returns to the Senate for review.


Car manufacturers based in Georgia would be exempt from competitive bidding for state agencies' business under a bill on its way to Deal's desk.

The Senate passed the bill, 45-2.

Kia Motors is the only company currently based in Georgia.

The competitive process requires state agencies to take bids for needed items or services and accept the lowest "responsible" offer. The bill also increases the dollar amount that triggers the bidding process for other state purchases to $25,000 from $5,000.