Good morning. Or evening if you're reading this Wednesday night.
"Crossover Day" has arrived at the Georgia state Capitol, and legislators will be debating bills late into the evening Thursday.
Supposedly, if it doesn't pass the House or Senate by today, a bill is dead for the year. But there are plenty of exceptions.
Here's the House and Senate calendars for the day, with the bills I found most interesting described in brief. There will also be a supplemental calendar, definitely in the House, and possibly in the Senate.
It looks like most of the action will be in the House as tax legislation is discussed, though the Senate's embryo/stem cell bill may be the most controversial bill of the day.
If you want to read any of these bills, go here and type the bill number in at the top. Undoubtedly I've over simplified many things in the summaries below.
In the House:
UPDATE: I missed one. House Bill 388 allows people to adopt embryos. Being debated right now, at 10:27.The Senate:
HB 16: Makes it illegal to put a GPS device on someone's car, unless you own it or have their permission. Not, this is not an Ed Setzler bill.
HB 23: Makes it illegal for minors with learning permits to use a cell phone while driving. They would be allowed to use a C.B., breaker, breaker.
HB 44: Zero-based budgeting. Probably won't pass.
UPDATE: Whoops. It passed 156-0. No idea what's going on with that. The Senate has already passed basically the same bill (SB 1). They'd done that for a few years now, but the House wouldn't reciprocate.
HB 126: Supposedly makes it easier to do business electronically.
HB 193: Exempts schools from the 180-day rule, if they meet for enough hours. For example - they could take Friday off if they add instruction time Monday through Thursday.
HB 243: Ends bonuses for teachers with National Board Certifications going forward, as Gov. Sonny Perdue has proposed, but grandfathers teachers who already get the bonus.
HB 261: A one-time maximum $3,600 tax credit for home buyers.
HB 321: Supposed to make it easier for small businesses to provide health insurance. But it's a Steve Davis bill. Are those allowed to pass?
HB 334: Requires more businesses to pay their taxes electronically. HB 335 is some kind of companion bill to this, I think.
HB 410: Something to do with HSAs. I'd rather quit my job than read it.
HB 439: One of the governor's tax credits for big businesses that create jobs bills. The other one passed the House Monday.
HB 480: Does away with the "birthday tax" on cars, as well as sales taxes. Replaces it with a 7 percent tax when you title a car. Probably the bill of the day.
HBs 481 and 482: Tax credits for people who hire the unemployed, does away with the inventory tax. These are the Republicans "stimulus" bills. They used to phase out the corporate income tax, but that was taken out.
HB 495: Allows non-lawyers to remain probate court judges in smaller counties. Yes, I am actually following this bill. No doubt this bill deals with a specific situation.
HB 529: According to the sponsor, this bill would make it so a local government couldn't force a chicken farm that wants to keep birds in cages to go free range. Chickens are expected to vote against it. No doubt the bill deals with a specific situation, as well.
HB 568: Changes the way the chair of the Public Service Commission is selected. Wanna bet that deals with a specific situation?
HB 581: Changes some state unemployment rules, I believe so that we qualify for stimulus money.
HR 22: Calls for a statewide referendum to amend the constitution to make sure union votes are done by secret ballot.
HR 336: Dedicates a bunch of roads and interchanges, including one for the "Big Toe from Cairo," Bobby Walden. He punted for the University of Georgia in the late 1950s.
The others: 158, 173, 24, 289, 323, 349, 350, 355, 358, 364, 367, 388, 397, 417, 440, 444, 451, 453, 455, 457, 492, 509, 540, 575. There may be two others on (2 and 475), I'm not certain. There will definitely be a supplemental calendar, and there's at least one bill up for reconsideration. That's HB 523, which deals with brand/generic drugs used after organ transplants.
SB 7: Makes it illegal to lie to a legislative committee. Unless you're a legislator, of course. Their right to lie is protected in the Supreme Court. No, really.
SB 27: Makes April Confederate history month.
SB 36: Gov. Perdue's ethics / board member removal / limit the size of school boards bill.
CORRECTION: Whoops. This wasn't the governor's bill. That's SB 84, which passed in February. This was a bill that would require each local board of education to develop it's own code of ethics.
SB 96: Lobbyist "ethics" bill.
SB 160: Closes schools on Veterans Day.
SB 161: Something about requiring insurance coverage for kids with autism.
SB169: This is the embryo/stem cell bill. Couldn't help but notice there's not a single woman among the first six sponsors.
SB 211: Makes it easier for state departments to buy pens. Really. Read the thing.
SB 222: Reorganizes DHR. I'm not sure if this is the same as Gov. Perdue's re-org proposal, which passed the House earlier this week, or a competing effort.
CORRECTION: Sen. Unterman, SB 222's sponsor, says there are some differences between this bill (which passed unanimously), the house bill and the governor's original proposal. Things will be resolved by a conference committee.
SB 229: Something about an administrative law judge and the Board of Natural Resources. Environmentalists say it will help coal plants.
SB 240: Changes the way property value assessments are handled. Apparently it used to abolish the board of equalization, but doesn't do that anymore. Who knows what it does now.
SB 246: Requires 48 hours notice to victims, if they request it, before a violent juvenile offender is released from custody.
SB 252: Regulates polysomnography, which is apparently the treatment of sleep disorders.
SB 253: I kid you not, this bill defines the term "indoors" in the state's fireworks codes. The definition: 'Indoors' means within a building or an enclosed structure or beneath any structure used for sheltering any use or occupancy.
SR 110: Calls for a constitutional amendment, which requires a statewide referendum, to allow the General Assembly to change the way motor fuel taxes are spent. Currently the constitution dedicates them to work on roads and bridges.
The others: 17, 56, 77, 94, 109, 130, 162, 172, 195, 207, 228, 231, 244, 250, SR 466.