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Under the Gold Dome: Day 19

Full coverage of the 2011 legislative session

POSTED: February 25, 2011 1:18 a.m.

Highlights

The Senate approved the $18 billion amended budget for the remainder of the fiscal year, including more money for hospitals serving poor patients.

The spending plan was approved 46-4. It must now be reconciled with a version the House approved earlier this month.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jack Hill said the Senate and House versions are largely similar and represent difficult decisions made in a challenging economic climate. The bill restores cuts to senior services and the cash-strapped health benefit plan but would close two youth detention centers.

The amended budget covers the fiscal year that ends June 30.

The House has approved legislation that would allow billboard owners to cut down trees blocking motorists from seeing their signs.

The measure passed 98-69 on Thursday. Unless the House votes to reconsider its decision on Monday, the bill will go to the Senate.

The Outdoor Advertising Association of Georgia says the measure is needed to protect economic development and jobs in the state.

Environmentalists say it would allow for the removal of old-growth trees and greenways that are now protected.

Billboard owners can currently remove some trees, including hardwood trees with trunks under 8 inches in diameter from state-owned property.

Senate

SB 140: Increase the amount of bonding authority for the Georgia Higher Education Facilities Authority.
SB 141: Create the Martin Luther King Jr. Advisory Council.
SB 142: Remove provisions relating to traffic-control signal monitoring devices for motor vehicles.
SB 143: Require certain information from applicants for a massage therapy license by endorsement.
SB 144: Provide conditions under which a convicted person may request his or her criminal record be expunged.
SB 145: Modify the definition of low-speed vehicles and motorized carts.
SB 146: Allow a variance for maximum weights and loads for certain vehicles.
SB 147: Prohibit public officials from granting themselves licenses by waiving certain requirements.
SB 148: Remove term limitations on the office of chairperson on the governing authority of Chatham County.
SB 149: Establish Georgia Medicaid Access Act and provide for the filing of a proposed complaint of a medical malpractice claim against a medical assistance provider.
SB 150: Provide for the sale of distilled spirits at public golf courses.
SB 151: Extend suspension of adjustments based upon the Statewide Reserve Ratio for the calendar year 2012

House

HB 337: In the event of divorce, a member of the Sheriffs' Retirement Fund of Georgia who has elected a spouses' option may elect to continue or revoke such coverage.
HB 338: Enact Neighborhood Stabilization Act.
HB 339: Revise the courts to which a challenge of a quarantine or vaccination order may be brought.
HB 340: Provide electronic submission of sentencing documentation for misdemeanor offenders.
HB 341: Establish limited purpose subsidiary life insurance companies.
HB 342: Define family violence order in relation to stalking.
HB 343: Provide crisis stabilization units for the purpose of providing psychiatric stabilization or detoxification services.
HB 344: Provide that juvenile court judges and other members of such retirement system may obtain creditable service for prior service as a full-time associate juvenile court judge.
HB 345: Provide that children and pregnant women who are lawfully admitted qualified aliens, regardless of the duration of lawful residence in this state, shall be eligible for Medicaid if they otherwise meet the eligibility requirements.
HB 346: Change the definition of taxable nonresident.
HB 347: Commissioners shall not exempt themselves from any written examinations.
HB 348: Change provisions relating to criminal defamation relating to offenses against public order.
HB 349: Authorize Redevelopment Powers Law for the city of Fayetteville.
HB 350: Provide for an exemption to open records requirements for certain records maintained by the Department of Early Care and Learning.
HB 351: Change the portion of fines and fees in the probate courts paid to the judges of the Probate Courts Retirement Fund of Georgia.
HB 352: Toll extensions on state roads must be approved by the General Assembly and provide that no tolls shall be charged on projects that are free from interest on public indebtedness.

HB 353: Change certain provisions regarding the rate of interest to be paid for refunds and on past due taxes.

HB 354: Revise and change individual income tax standard deductions and provide for annual adjustments with respect to standard deductions.

HB 355: Repeal the corporate net worth tax.

HB 356: Pre-need escrow accounts may be titled in the name of and made payable in favor of an entity registered to provide pre-need services upon the death of the purchaser

Both chambers also passed various resolutions to recognize special days and people.

Associated Press contributed to this report.



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