This week, the Georgia Senate completed day 34 of the 40-day Legislative Session. With Crossover Day successfully behind us, my colleagues and I are now focused on getting our bills heard in the opposite chamber. This process means that Senators stand before House committees to present their bills and Representatives do the same before Senate Committees.
On Monday, the Senate Insurance and Labor Committee heard testimony on Senate Bill 191, better known as “Ava’s Law.” I was proud of the incredible showing of support from Autism advocates statewide and believe we are one step closer to improving the lives of individuals with Autism and their families. Although the bill can no longer continue on in the legislative process this session, the fight is not over. On behalf of the countless individuals with Autism, I will continue to advocate for measures that support funding, research and early intervention.
Wednesday, we celebrated the annual Civil Air Patrol (CAP) Day at the State Capitol. CAP is a nonprofit corporation operating as the all-volunteer civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force. For over 70 years, CAP members have served the community through emergency services, aerospace education, and youth development. As part of the Civil Air Patrol Day festivities, I was deeply honored to be awarded the Red Ribbon of Service. This distinction is awarded to members who have completed two years of service in CAP. Holding the rank of Major in the Civil Air Patrol, I have the unique opportunity to mentor cadets and provide a service to my community. I am proud to be a member and look forward to many more years with the organization.
This week, the Senate passed numerous bills. I’ve outlined some of the most important ones below, but a full list of passed legislation is available online. For more information regarding a specific piece of legislation, visit the Georgia General Assembly website at http://www.legis.ga.gov/.
HB 101 would make it easier for non-profit organizations to provide food during certain events. Under current law, non-profit activities such as races and fundraisers are categorized as ‘fairs or festivals’ and must meet stringent food preparation regulations. HB 101 would classify these non-profit activities as ‘events’ and would relax the regulations if the event is held on the property of the sponsoring organization, or on the property of a party which has provided written consent for the event.
HB 124 would clarify existing Sunday sales language by affirming that a “no” vote on the sale of distilled spirits does not nullify existing approval for Sunday sales on wine and beer. Further, “retail package liquor store” is defined and requiring that at least 75 percent of gross sales derive from wine, beer, and spirits.
HB 154 would, among other things, change provisions relating to awards and benefits of workers’ compensation, provide a limitation period on medical benefits, change reimbursement structure for mileage charges, and increase the compensation benefits for total disability and temporary partial disability.
HB 198 would allow licensing of navigators who will provide insurance advice and guidance to uninsured individuals and groups seeking health insurance coverage under a health insurance exchange. Under the Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare,” either the state or federal government must form and operate health insurance exchanges. HB 198 lists the requirements for a navigator’s license and prohibits a navigator from soliciting a person or business currently insured under an existing health benefit plan.
HB 202 would increase the cost limit of projects for which the Department of Transportation (DOT) must perform value engineering studies.
HB 234 would require clear notification if automatic renewals are included in service contracts. This bill applies to any seller that sells, leases, or offers to sell or lease any service to a consumer under a service contract.
HB 254 would allow drivers to produce proof of required minimum motor vehicle liability insurance coverage in either paper or electronic format. Under HB 254, drivers would be able to provide proof of coverage by pulling records up on their smart phones or tablets.
HB 255 would transfer the administrative responsibilities of the Unified Carrier Registration Act from Department of Revenue to Department of Public Safety.
For more information regarding a specific piece of legislation, you may access the Georgia General Assembly website at http://www.legis.ga.gov/.
Next week, the Senate will reconvene on Wednesday, March 20. With only six days left until we gavel out of session, there is still much work to accomplish. I am extremely proud to call the 56th Senate District home and will continue to represent your best interests at the Gold Dome.
# # # #
Sen. John Albers represents the 56th Senate District, which includes portions of North Fulton and Cherokee Counties. He may be reached at his office at 404.463.8055 or by email at email@example.com.