The second-to-the-last day of the 2014 state legislative session kicked off with protests in the Senate gallery over Georgia’s decision not to expand Medicaid. The disruption was part of a rolling series of civil disobedience acts to urge lawmakers not to pass a bill that would bar a sitting governor from adding enrollees to Medicaid.
Georgia lawmakers now have their sights set firmly on March 20 when the 40-day 2014 legislative session will end. Among the hundreds of measures that have a chance at passage into law this year, one proposal would place a monument to the Ten Commandments in a prominent spot at the Capitol. Another would bar the state from levying ad valorem taxes. There’s also a bill adding a high deductible option to the state employee healthcare plan. But which ones are the biggies?
Georgia lawmakers have now made it to the other side. That is, the other side of so-called Crossover Day, which took place Monday at the state Capitol. They are now three-quarters of the way through the 2014 legislative session, and barreling toward the end, currently scheduled for March 20. Any bill that didn’t pass one of the General Assembly’s chambers Monday won’t have a shot at becoming law in the final ten days of this year’s 40-day legislative session.
More than one 100,000 Georgians are now enrolled in health coverage under the Affordable Care Act. A Senate committee voted Thursday to approve a bill that would ban those plans from covering abortions in the state. State Senator Judson Hill (R-Marietta) is sponsoring the bill. The legislation, S.B. 98, bans any state health plan from covering abortions. It also prohibits federal plans, like those subsidized under the Affordable Care Act, from offering abortion coverage in Georgia.
Two elected Georgia regulators have proposed giving a $10,000 fine from a telephone company to an anti-abortion charity that the officials have connections to. Under a settlement, Peerless Network of Georgia LLC will pay a $10,000 penalty for failing to file required reports. Civil penalties usually go to Georgia's state treasury.
Georgia health officials have decided to ban coverage of abortions in nearly all instances for those enrolled in the state employee health insurance plan. Thursday's decision by the board of the Department of Community Health means the policy will bypass state lawmakers who didn't take action on similar legislation earlier this year.
A bill making changes to employee benefits at a single state agency has evolved into an argument over abortion. As a result, the Georgia Senate voted Monday to forbid any state employee insurance plan from covering abortion services, with the exception of those necessary to protect a pregnant woman's life or health.
It would be illegal to create hybrid human-animal embryos under new legislation before Georgia lawmakers. The bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Jay Neal of LaFayette would ban the creation and implantation of hybrid embryos into women.