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.
Monday is Day 30 of Georgia’s 40-day legislative session. With three-quarters of the session behind them, lawmakers will use the day to make the final determination on what bills will have a shot at becoming law and what bills will die for the session. Day 30 is called Crossover Day because any bill that passes one chamber by this point in the session automatically crosses over to the other chamber for consideration. And after Day 30, the remaining bills--the ones that have passed either the House or the Senate--are the only ones that might become law.
Georgia is on track to adopt a law that would allow guns into places that have always been off-limits to firearms.
A state House panel Wednesday unanimously approved a bill that would permit medical marijuana to be grown and used in Georgia for treatment of patients with cancer, glaucoma and seizure disorders under tightly controlled restrictions. The Health and Human Services Committee’s passage of the high-profile legislation paves the way for the full House to vote on the bill.
As the state legislature heads into its final weeks, there are not one but two so-called religious freedom bills under consideration and causing controversy. They come before the legislature as a similar bill in Arizona has captured the national spotlight. Lawmakers in that state passed a bill that would allow businesses to refuse service to gay customers if employees claimed it was against their religion. But Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, under intense pressure by those who say the measure is discriminatory, has vetoed the bill. Lobbying efforts have already begun in Georgia; Delta Air Lines, one of the state’s largest employers and a corporate titan, has come out against the bills.
Of all the issues state lawmakers are scurrying about the Capitol debating as the legislative session barrels toward a close, there aren’t many that nearly everyone agrees on. But one such matter is erecting a statue of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. at the Capitol. Almost no one questions the idea that it would be to Georgia’s credit to have a statue of the slain Civil Rights leader at the state Capitol. Right now, there is a portrait of King that hangs on the second floor but no statue. What’s harder to find agreement on, however, is exactly who’s the point person on coordinating the effort to erect the statue or what needs to happen before you can see it.
While time is short and illnesses can be plenty during the 40-day legislative session, the Georgia State Capitol has one way to help legislators follow doctors' orders: Doctor of the Day.
Some Georgia applicants for food stamps and welfare benefits would have to pass a drug test under a House bill that cleared a committee Monday on a 7-6 vote. People applying for this government assistance would require testing if they raised “reasonable suspicion” of illegal drug use.
The voices of lawmakers are easy to hear throughout the Georgia State Capitol during the legislative session. Occasionally, however, student groups fill the air with flair as they bring their musical talents to Georgia’s lawmaking epicenter.
In a session that was meant to be easy, breezy and controversy-free, the state Legislature is sure having its share of hiccups. First, it was the storm dubbed ‘SnowJam’ at the end of January when two inches of snow ground the state’s capital city to a halt, in part because it appears lawmakers were slow to take the storm seriously and coordinate the appropriate response. Now a bill filed by a freshman Republican lawmaker has become, in the words of Uncle Billy from the film “It’s A Wonderful Life,” a “squall” that’s “shaping up into a storm.”