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Day 35 - March 22, 2006

The House today gave final passage to a measure intended to expedite mental health screenings for trials when insanity pleas are entered. Representative Mark Hatfield explained Senate Bill 398. SB 398 passed the House 162 to 2. It now goes to the Governor for his signature.

A Senate substitute that would have created a methamphetamine offender registry was withdrawn by its sponsor just before the vote took place. House Bill 692 deals with the statewide probabtion system, and Senator Greg Goggans,
who presented that bill, believed the substitute would have been ruled
not germaine. He withdrew the substitute so the original bill wouldn't
be jeopardized.

The Senate agrees with the House that tests to find out if teachers have required computer skills should be held in the schools. Senator Joseph Carter explained House Bill 972. The teacher computer test bill passed 50 to zero and heads for the Governor's desk.

The House and Senate want to encourage the production of biomass; that is organic matter like peanut shells, sawdust & plant matter that can be used to produce electricity. The Senate today approved a House bill that provides some tax exemptions for those who sell or produce biomass.

The Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill that would impose harsher penalties on sexual predators yesterday. The committee spent almost five hours yesterday pouring over this legislation and more than 40 proposed amendments. House Majority Leader Jerry Keen explained the general intent of his bill. House Bill 1059 is now in the Senate Rules Committee.

House and Senate democrats held their weekly press conference today to speak out against a bill that allows septic tanks to be placed within the current buffer zones of waterways
that lead to drinking water reservoirs. This bill passed out of a House
committee yesterday without a democratic amendment that would have
required the Environmental Protection Division's approval for placement of these septic tanks within the buffer zones.

The Capitol Post Office will be named for the Wiley Nixon, who worked at the state Capitol during five decades. Senator Preston Smith spoke in favor of the resolution honoring the late postmaster. The resolution passed 50 to zero and goes to Governor Perdue.