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Under the Gold Dome: Day 25
Full coverage of the 2011 legislative session
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Both chambers approved a final copy of the 2011 amended budget. Votes on the 2012 budget should come next week.

The Senate Ethics Committee unanimously passed a bill Monday that would allow public utilities to make direct contributions to political campaigns.

Senate Bill 160 is supported by a coalition of utility concerns, including telecommunication and power companies. Supporters say the bill brings the state into compliance with the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizen's United decision last year, which removed a ban blocking corporations from spending money on political speech.

The bill now proceeds to the Senate Rules Committee, which could schedule it for a floor vote by the full Senate. The bill's sponsor, Sen. Don Balfour, R-Snellville, is chairman of the Rules Committee.

In the House, House Resolution 182, which would let local communities vote on whether to allow parimutuel gambling, has made it to the powerful Rules Committee, which sets the calendar for votes.

A companion bill that would create a state racing commission, House Bill 467, recently garnered more than 30 co-sponsors and is in committee review.

Opponents have argued against extending gambling and the social risks that come with it in defeating similar proposals for years.

The effort needs a two-thirds vote of the legislature and ballot approval by voters both statewide and in individual communities for tracks to set up.


Senate Bill 211: Update federal regulations regarding lead poisoning prevention with copies, fees, corrective orders and violations.
SB 212: Repeal the notation on driver's licenses of a diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder.
SB 213: Establish Crime Stopper Award Funds, which would award information leading to the detection or apprehension of criminals.
SB 214: Under inmate policies, make it illegal to provide an inmate with a wireless handset.
SB 215: Convert Medicaid and PeachCare to premium assistance to allow low-income families to participate in private sector health insurance plans.
SB 216: Allow insurers to offer individual medical and surgical health insurance policies in Georgia.
SB 217: Exempt requirements to use the federal work authorization program for people who have no employees and do not intend to hire any employees.
SB 218: Allow investigation, survey and sales of certain sunken logs owned by the state.
SB 219: Adopt the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children to remove barriers to educational success imposed on children of military families because of frequent moves and deployment of their parents.
SB 220: Allow multi-year lease agreements for the Board of Regents.
SB 221: Enact the Local Government Authorities Registration Act to give immunity from liability to local government authorities.
SB 222: Allow retail dealers to hold wine tastings.
SB 223: Establish the Georgia Government Accountability Act and create the Legislative Sunset Advisory Committee to evaluate state agencies' productivity, efficiency and responsiveness.
SB 224: Give exclusive jurisdiction of certain juvenile offenses to superior court.
SB 225: Create penalties for the new offense of transmitting a false report.
SB 226: Allow nonpartisan elections for the DeKalb County board of education.
SB 227: Require attendance records for home study programs to be submitted to the Department of Education rather than local school superintendents.
SB 228: Change the sentencing for those guilty of crimes involving bias or prejudice.
SB 229: Change how search warrants are issued by judicial officers.
SB 230: Change how the interest of an innocent owner is used in forfeiture proceedings.
SB 231: Prohibit first offender status to apply to aggravated assault, aggravated battery or physical obstruction of a law enforcement officer.
SB 232: Remove the suspension period for the use of proceeds from sales taxes by a public transit system.
SB 233: Prohibit taxes on certain pawnbroker transactions.
SB 234: Revise the Georgia Public Revenue Code in relation to ad valorem tax assessments.


House Bill 469: Require pharmacists to print hard copy prescriptions on security paper.
HB 470: Revise requirements for preceptorship for registered professional nurses.
HB 471: Define when interim control of children is permitted for juvenile arrest and detention.
HB 472: Increase the maximum barrels of beer manufactured and sold in a brewpub distribution system.
HB 473: Allow the Public School Employees Retirement System to increase employee contribution.
HB 474: Allow video cameras on school buses to monitor students.
HB 475: Under the Development Authorities Law, include facilities owned by a public or private entity.
HB 476: Establish the Georgia Health Exchange Authority to comply with federal health care regulations and create the Georgia Health Exchange and the Small Business Health Options Program Exchange.
HB 477: Transition from annual to biennial insurance license renewals.
HB 478: Allow certain criminal records under the Georgia Crime Information Center to be restricted from public disclosure.
House Resolution 495: Create the Joint Higher Education Finance Study Committee to study the funding formula for the University System of Georgia and higher education funding to determine if adjustments are needed.
HR 496: Create the Joint Study Committee on State-Local Government Mandate Review to study state mandates to determine if they are still needed and are appropriately tailored to meet the needs of the state and local governments.
HR 497: Urge school systems to adopt policies that prohibit tobacco use.
HR 498: Recognize the bipartisan change of the Georgia Second Chance Reintegration Initiative.
HR 500: Commend Taiwan relations with the United States.

Both chambers also passed various resolutions to recognize special days and people, including representatives from WrestleMania XXVII.

Carolyn Crist


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