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March 2, 2016

Crossover day roundup: Legislation MAC is tracking after Day 30

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Legislation Crossing Over

Business Climate

House Bill 171 Author: Rep. Dusty Hightower (R-Carrollton) Status: Passed House, awaiting Senate action Description: As introduced HB 171 would render inapplicable some types of foreign law from use in Georgia court.  The Judiciary Committee substitute approached the concern from a different angle and gives a judge discretion that before he or she releases a case to an out-of-state jurisdiction, he or she must consider whether the jurisdiction allows the same protections of a US citizen.

House Bill 757 Author: Rep. Kevin Tanner (R-Dawsonville) Status: Passed the House, amended and passed by the Senate Description:  HB 757 clarifies that clergy could not be forced to perform a same-sex wedding ceremony.  The Senate Rules substitute includes language from Sen. Greg Kirk’s First Amendment Defense Act which prohibits government from discriminating against religious based organizations or persons who choose to act on their religious beliefs.

House Bill 937 Author: Rep. Brett Harrell (R-Snellville) Status: Passed the House, awaiting action in the Senate Description: HB 937 extends the sunset on tax credits for regionally significant projects.

House Bill 951 Author: Rep. Chad Nimmer (R-Dawsonville) Status: Passed the House, awaiting action in the Senate Description:  HB 951 eliminates the state sales taxes on Super Bowl tickets as well as other major non-recurring sporting events expected to generate at least $50 million in other revenue, including all-star games for professional baseball, soccer and basketball and national college tournament finals or championships. The House substitute also renews the state’s sales tax holidays on the purchase of school supplies and energy efficient appliances

Senate Bill 6 Author: Sen. Josh McKoon  (R-Columbus) Status: Passed the Senate, awaiting action in the House Description: As introduced, SB 6 banned Georgia driver’s licenses for Deferred Action for Childhood Advocates recipients.  The Senate Public Safety Committee substitute creates “driver’s privilege cards” and “special identification cards” for immigrants these immigrants who have received deportation deferrals or work permits through this program.  Those who have a current valid driver’s license are grandfather in until expiration – they are then subject to the provisions of the bill.  The state would use different colors and fonts to distinguish them from standard Georgia driver’s licenses and ID cards.  The card would carry the label: “No lawful status,” and would be valid during the length of the immigrant’s deferred action status or five years, whichever comes sooner.

Senate Bill 129 Author: Sen. Josh McKoon (R-Columbus) Status: Passed the Senate in 2015, amended and tabled in the House Description: “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” MAC supports efforts to insert language into the bill which makes clear that the legislation could not be used to discriminate against any group or person. This non-discrimination language was ultimately amended into SB 129 in the House Judiciary Committee before the bill was tabled during the 2015 legislative session. SB 129 may still technically be available as a vehicle for religious liberty proponents (See HB 757).

Senate Resolution 675 Author: Sen. Josh McKoon  (R-Columbus) Status: Passed the Senate, awaiting action in the House Description: SR 675 proposes an amendment to the Constitution to authorize English as the official language of the State of Georgia.  It requires that all official actions of the state which bind or commit Georgia’s official views be made in English.  Eleven other states have similar constitutional amendments.

Education

House Bill 801 Author: Speaker Pro-Tempore Rep. Jan Jones (R-Milton) Status: Passed House, awaiting Senate action Description: HB 801 expands the weighting for STEM-focused classes to be included similar to Advanced Placement classes for the purposes of calculating HOPE scholarship eligibility

House Bill 859 Author: Rep. Rick Jesperse  (R-Jasper) Status: Passed the House, awaiting Senate action Description:  HB 859 allows anyone 21 or older with a weapons carry license to carry a gun anywhere on a public college or university campus, except for inside dormitories, fraternities and sorority houses, and at athletic events. It mandates that those weapons be concealed.

Senate Bill 281 Author: Sen. William Ligon  (R-Brunswick) Status: Passed the Senate, awaiting action in the House Description: SB 281 requires schools to provide certain information to students and parents prior to using any digital-learning platform and provide for the destruction of student data collected through a digital-learning platform. MAC is concerned this bill may have a significant negative impact on our state education data system and the ability of our teachers to have access to student data for their daily work. Note: a comprehensive student data privacy bill already passed the state legislature in 2015.

Senate Bill 384 Author: Sen. Lindsey Tippins  (R-Marietta) Status: Passed the Senate, awaiting action in the House Description: SB 364 changes the evaluation and testing system for teachers and offers schools the chance to reduce the total amount of overall student testing.

Transportation

Senate Bill 420 Author: Sen. Lindsey Tippins  (R-Marietta) Status: Passed the Senate, awaiting action in the House Description: SB 420 requires a local referendum before any fixed guideway transit is approved by the government.  It exempts the current MARTA counties.

Workforce Development

House Bill 801 Author: House Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones (R-Milton) Status: Passed House, In Senate Higher Education Committee Description: HB 801 provides for favorable weighting of GPA scores for select courses in rigorous STEM areas. The weighting factors into HOPE Scholarship eligibility but not into a student’s official GPA.  The legislation is intended to encourage students to take coursework required for jobs in high demand STEM fields without jeopardizing their scholarships.

House Bill 402 Author: Rep. Eddie Lumsden (R-Armuchee) Status: Passed House, In Senate Labor and Insurance Committee Description: HB 402 provides a Workers’ Compensation discount for employers that offer work-based learning opportunities to students between 16 and 18 years of age. The workplace incentive is intended to close Georgia’s skills gap, to teach young people soft skills and to increase career awareness.

House Bill 22 Author: Rep. Stacey Evans (D-Smyrna) Status: Passed House Higher Education Committee, Referred to House Appropriations Description:  HB 22 would align the cost of tuition for students enrolled in the Technical College System of Georgia with HOPE Grant awards and reduce out-of-pocket expenses. The bill is intended to retain students who otherwise might not be able to afford to complete their education

Senate Resolution 1001 Description: Creates a Study Committee on Higher Education Affordability to examine the widening financial gap between tuition costs and the HOPE Scholarship and Pell Grant funds.

House Resolution 1053 Description: Creates a Study Committee on Technology Workforce Development to strengthen training and education programs in support of the state’s growing tech sector.

House Resolution 1311 Description: Creates a Study Committee on College Course Credit to explore granting undergraduate course credit to students that have taken (and passed) one or more AP, A/AS, CLEP or IB examinations.

*Study committees may produce legislation for consideration by the 2017 General Assembly

Legislation Not Crossing Over

HB 543 - would have removed licensing requirements for Georgians to carry firearms.

HB 816 - affirms a student’s right to pray before taking a test or eating lunch. It includes regulations to allow students to lead voluntary, public prayers at football games, graduation ceremonies and other school events.

HB 849 - creates a state civil rights act barring discrimination in public accommodations for anyone based on race, sex, religion or national origin.

HB 756 -  protects certain sellers of goods or services against infringement of religious freedom

HB 837 - A Religious Freedom Restoration proposal

HB 544 - would have allowed students with carry permits to carry firearms on college campuses in Georgia.

HB 116 and SB 36 - attempt to ban aquifer storage and recovery in the Floridian aquifer. In 2015, the House created a study committee on Saltwater Intrusion in the Coastal Aquifer which was HR 601

SB 330 - allows for a ballot initiative in Dekalb and Fulton counties that, if approved, would raise the sales tax by a half percent to fund at least three major MARTA expansion projects.

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