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Legislative Update: Senate Bills at Sine Die
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This week, we completed Day 40, also known as "Sine Die." This day is the last day bills can be passed by both chambers and sent to the governor for approval. Bills tend to pile up at the end of session, so the General Assembly was working until the last minute on Sine Die to ensure that as many bills as possible pass.

Last Friday, the Senate passed the FY 2014 budget by a vote of 51-0. Passing a balanced budget is a constitutional requirement for the Georgia General Assembly, and I’m proud to say we’ve accomplished this task. Georgia has faced several cuts to state agencies, but ultimately we passed a budget that allows us to live within our means.

The FY2014 General Budget allocates $19.8 billion to fund state infrastructure and operations. Every line item was meticulously reviewed to make sure the state is allocating funds where they are needed the most. As a result, the Senate made a few substitutions to the original bill. HB 106 will now be appointed to a joint conference committee where members of both chambers will discuss, amend and come to a compromise.

In addition, the Georgia State Senate passed a landmark ethics proposal that will change the culture on Capitol Hill and build on the tremendous progress made under the ethics reform resolution passed on the first day of the 2013 legislative session. HB 142 eliminates loopholes, requiring every elected official in Georgia to cap lobbyists’ gifts at $100. This new gift cap would apply to legislative committees, caucuses and delegations.

Other bills that passed the State Senate include:

HB 287 transfers oversight of the Division of Archives and History from the Secretary of State to the University System of Georgia.

HB 242 makes substantial changes in the state’s juvenile court proceedings. Based on recommendations and years of work by the Governor’s Special Council on Justice Reform, the legislation calls for well-defined articles outlining a juvenile’s right to procedural due process, family preservation and proper representation based on the specific reason for juvenile court intervention.


Sen. Rick Jeffares, District 17, represents portions of Henry, Rockdale and Newton counties. He can be reached at