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Tuesday, March 1, 2011 - 4:56am

General Assembly Day-20 Roundup

Out of activity from Day-20 of the General Assembly Monday:

Another step for a controversial illegal immigration bill, which has now passed out of a House committee. Among the many provisions -- one to require businesses with more than five workers to check new hires against a federal employment eligibility database. The measure now moves to the rules committee to set a date for a full House vote.

A bill to set-up more oversight of the state’s public defender system has been approved by the House. The bill would give the head of Georgia’s Public Defender Standards Council more control over public defenders in charge of circuit offices across the state. It moves to the Senate.

A bill that would prohibit registered sex offenders from photographing children without a parent's permission has passed the Georgia House. Republican Rep. Ann Purcell of Rincon, who sponsored the bill, said the measure will clarify a state law adopted last year. It prohibits any individual from taking a photo of a minor without a parent's consent. Purcell said the law was intended to be aimed at sex offenders but could be applied to any person as it is now written. For example, she said, a parent at their child's choir performance could be prosecuted for snapping photos of other children. The measure now goes to the Senate for a vote.

A sweeping rewrite of Georgia's sunshine laws has been unveiled under the Gold Dome. Proposals would sharply increase the fines of meetings and records violations, and require officials who close meetings to keep notes that a judge can review in a legal dispute. The measures also include revisions that would likely upset First Amendment advocates. Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens says the proposals balance the needs of government officials who seek more flexibility with advocates who call for more transparency.