The House was in session just short of 13 hours on Crossover Day and – by my unofficial count – voted on 52 bills. That’s the total for the one day, not the week. Highlights of the week include the following:
HB 861 requires TANF recipients to pass drug screens in order to receive benefits. If the parent fails a drug screen, an alternate payee would be appointed to receive and handle benefits of the dependent children.
HB 1166 allows insurance companies to sell health insurance policies for children only instead of just adding them as dependents on a parent’s coverage.
HB 808 exempts benefits of disabled veterans from state income taxes.
HB 684 requires the Department of Natural Resources to notify local governments if it plans to close or reduce hours of operation of state parks and historic sites. This is intended to allow local governments an opportunity to make arrangements for operating the site on their own if they choose to do so.
HB 1132 requires telemarketers to allow the display of a valid, working phone number capable of receiving return calls on the caller ID of call recipients.
HB 1198 expands the ability of courts to consider grandparent visitation rights when handling custody and related matters. This does not allow grandparents to file separate cases seeking to establish visitation, as our state supreme court declared such laws unconstitutional several years ago.
HB 100 establishes a special tax court within the state’s department of administrative hearings. This is intended to offer taxpayers an efficient way of resolving disputes with the Department of Revenue without depending on appeals to the Department.
HB 872 addresses metals theft by requiring buyers to pay sellers by check or electronic funds transfer, prohibiting buyers from cashing checks used to pay sellers, and allowing the forfeiture of any equipment used in committing the theft. In other words, if someone steals your air conditioning unit, the state would be able to take the truck he used to haul it away, much as it is now able to seize vehicles and assets used in selling drugs.
HB 1144 prohibits a person from assisting another person in committing suicide.
Obviously, this is just a sampling of bills acted on in the House; I have tried to choose the ones that will be of the most interest. All of these bills passed the House and are now pending in the Senate.
If you have questions about these or other bills, please let me know. The best ways to reach me during session are by phone at (404) 656-0265 or by email at email@example.com. As always, thank you for the honor of representing you in the Georgia House of Representatives.