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Under the Gold Dome: Day 15
Full coverage of the 2011 legislative session
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The House and Senate held a joint session Wednesday to hear a State of the Judiciary report from Chief Justice Carol Hunstein.

Hunstein recommended more alternative sentencing such as drug, DUI and mental health courts rather than incarceration for nonviolent criminals.

She said these courts are less expensive and have a more successful record than jails.

"We must reserve our prison beds for our most serious criminals," Hunstein said. "We can no longer afford the more than $1 billion it costs us annually to maintain the fourth highest incarceration rate in the nation."

She also urged lawmakers to consider adding judges as soon as funds will allow. She said the judiciary system has cut costs while caseloads have increased.

"We cannot allow a lack of resources to threaten public safety," Hunstein said.


Senate Bill 92: Provide limitations on when in-person absentee balloting may be conducted and to provide for a period of advance voting.
SB 93: Change certain provisions relating to controlled substances; to change the definition of "dangerous drug."
SB 94: Change definitions relative to the carrying and possession of firearms.
SB 95: Provide authority to investigate the employment history of an applicant applying for appointment or certification as a peace officer.
SB 96: Allow certain employees of the Department of Natural Resources to be eligible for membership in Peace Officers' Annuity and Benefit Fund.
SB 97: Require toll extensions be approved by the General Assembly; to provide that no tolls shall be charged on projects that are free from interest on public indebtedness.
SB 98: Provide an exemption from the application of certain laws regarding the carrying and possession of firearms for persons possessing valid weapons-carrying licenses.
SB 99: Prohibit covenants for a planned subdivision and a property owners' association that infringe upon a lot owner's right to install solar collector panels, photovoltaic arrays, solar lights and skylights.
SB 100: Revise a definition in the "Georgia Registered Professional Nurse Practice Act."
SB 101: Provide for the Student Teen Election Participant program.
Senate Resolution 163: Support the development, construction and implementation of a cruise ship terminal facility in the Savannah Harbor.


House Bill 251: Create one or more community improvement districts in Jackson County.
HB 252: Amend law relating to the transportation of hazardous materials and provide procedures for the safe transportation of hazardous materials within the state.
HB 253: Allow the commissioner of public safety to sell or trade surplus motor vehicles and use the proceeds of the sale or trade toward the purchase of new motor vehicles.
HB 254: Allow video surveillance to enforce violations of drivers meeting or overtaking a school bus.
HB 255: Provide a self-employment assistance program.
HB 256: Regulate 911 charges on prepaid wireless services; to provide for imposition, collection and distribution of charges.
HB 257: Provide for performance as the primary factor relating to termination, suspension, nonrenewal, demotion or reprimand of teachers and other school personnel.
HB 258: Extend certain requirements of a peace officer to a member of the mobile crisis response team relating to emergency admissions of persons who are mentally ill.
HB 259: Comprehensive revision of motor vehicle taxation.
HB 260: Repeal the definition of a "qualified local government" and allow comprehensive planning by local governments to be optional.
HB 261: Provide an exemption for certain public records from disclosure.
HB 262: Add an additional 1 percent qualifying fee for judicial candidates for the purpose of funding the Judicial Qualifications Commission.
HB 263: Provide for certain requirements relating to surgical technologists, minimum requirements relating to education and experience and prohibit a health care facility from employing a surgical technologist who does not meet requirements.
Both chambers also passed various resolutions to recognize special days and people.


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