Week 8 Highlights

By: Sen. Blake Tillery (R – Vidalia)

Week 8 was our busiest week yet.  Several hundred bills were heard in committee; most died there or died in the subsequent Rules Committee.  67 bills and resolutions made it out of committee, out of Rules Committee, and were heard and passed on the Senate floor.  Why were so many more bills heard this week than the weeks before? Thursday, March 7, was the 28th day of our 40-day legislative session.  It is also known as “Crossover Day.”  If a bill does not make it out of one chamber by the end of Day 28, it is dead for that session.  Hence the rush on bills this week.

Because of the amount of bills handled this week I’ll limit my review to a few of those that passed the Senate:

  • Senate Bill 83 expands curriculum to provide elective courses on the Old and New Testaments of the Bible in high schools.
  • Senate Bill 119 is an idea many of you supported in our recent poll requiring an economic analysis to justify any special tax break.
  • Senate Bill 168 makes it easier for nurses from out of state to move in and work in our area.
  • Senate Bill 170 allows local governments to display the “Honor and Remember” flag in dedication of armed servicemen and women who died in the line of duty.
  • Senate Bill 56 tackles “surprise bills” from health care providers by forcing insurers to be more transparent on who’s in and out of network.
  • Senate Bill 77 protects any and all monuments from any U.S. War, including gravestones and plaques. This bill penalizes people from damaging something because they are personally offended.
  • Senate Bill 184 helps support FQHC healthcare centers found all across our district, including Wheeler and Appling Counties.
  • Senate Bill 208 fixes a problem with our state’s DUI laws in the wake of a recent Supreme Court decision.
  • Senate Bill 2 tackles the issue of rural broadband by authorizing EMCs to provide broadband services.
  • Senate Bill 58 provides a new avenue for attacking Medicaid and other fraud stealing taxpayer dollars.
  • Senate Bill 162 allows financing opportunities for individuals trying to bring broadband to their property.
  • Senate Bill 163 allows home school students to participate in public school sports and other extracurricular activities in the student’s designated public-school system.
  • Senate Bill 195 requires insurers and pharmacy benefit managers (PBM’s) to post the list of drugs covered under their health care plans and the tier of coverage on their webpage.
  • Senate Bill 200 allows a process for appeal when the Georgia Department of Transportation rejects the low bid for public works projects.
  • Senate Bill 167 and Senate Bill 225 make several updates to state law concerning foster care allowing the state to find permanent homes for foster children more quickly and to assist those turning 18 and aging out of the foster care process without permanent homes.

This is just a summary of the bills that passed I think you may find interesting.  You can view all legislation that passed the Senate at www.senate.ga.gov.

I still have concerns about this year’s budget.  February’s preliminary tax revenues were up, but not significantly enough to catch up with the $300 million loss of January.  I’m keeping a close eye here. I think we have stormy weather ahead and I’ll continue pushing for us to tighten our belt now.

From here on out, the Senate will be hearing mostly House bills and resolutions in committees, so I encourage you to reach out if you have any comments or concerns.  There are several, including the pro-life “Heartbeat” bill, in which I know many of you have expressed interest.  As always, please do not hesitate to reach out and thank you again for the opportunity to serve you.

# # # #

Sen. Blake Tillery represents the 19th Senate District, which includes Appling, Jeff Davis, Long, Montgomery, Telfair, Toombs, Treutlen, Wayne, and Wheeler counties and a portion of Liberty and Tattnall counties.  He can be reached at 404.656.0089 or by email at blake.tillery@senate.ga.gov.