Thursday was a relatively quiet day at the state capitol on so-called "Crossover Day" when compared to previous years. On the 30th day of each year's 40-day legisltive session both the House and Senate often convene late into the night to debate bills that haven't yet been voted on by either chamber.
If a bill hasn't passed through its originating body it can't be taken up until the following year. This year, the Senate went home around 7 p.m. and the House only stayed until 10 p.m.
Both chambers, however, were able to move measures through. The Senate passed a bill that expands the number of vaccines that you could get at your local pharmacy. Currently, you can get a flu shot at a pharmacy. Senate Bill 85 would also allow ten other vaccines including hepatitis, shingles, measles and chickenpox.
The bill now heads to the State House, where Representative Bruce Broadrick is hoping to work for its passage. Broadrick, a Dalton pharmacist, believes the legislation would increase access to vaccines. “Pharmacies are open seven days a week, some 24 hours a day. Providing access just gives more access to the public.”
Broadrick, a Republican, is one of four pharmacists in the Georgia State House.
The House passed a resolution Thursday to compensate a Columbus man who served nearly 12 years in jail for a crime he did not commit. In 2000, Lathan Word was convicted and sentenced to 15 years for armed robbery. That conviction was overturned in 2011. During a new trial the alleged victim of the 1999 robbery admitted he lied.
The resolution, sponsored by State Representative Carolyn Hugley, would paid word $400,000. A similar resolution by the Columbus Democrat failed last year.
House Resolution 73 now heads to the State Senate.
The House also passed a bill Thursday night that would stop websites from charging people to remove police mug shots. The bill’s sponsor, State Representative Roger Bruce, believes those sites would go out of business without those fees.
Bruce, a Democrat from Atlanta, says some sites charge hundreds, even thousands of dollars to remove a mug shot. If the bill becomes law, Representative Bruce hopes other states will follow Georgia’s lead.
House Bill 150 now heads to the State Senate.
The chambers reconvene on Monday.