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Under the Gold Dome: Day 27
Full coverage of the 2011 legislative session
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Illegal immigrants could face a felony for a first-time offense of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs under a bill the state Senate approved Thursday.

Senate Bill 162 passed by a 35-18 vote and now moves to the House for consideration. Democrats tried unsuccessfully to table the legislation by a 34-20 vote.

Illegal immigrants convicted of driving under the influence could face fines between $1,000 and $5,000 and imprisonment for one to five years. Other first-time offenders face misdemeanors under current state law.

Also in the Senate, a bill passed the floor that could end a 36-year ban on political donations by regulated industries, such as power companies.

Senate Bill 160 would allow utilities to donate to state campaigns except the Public Service Commission, either directly or through employee-funded state political action committees. It's heading to the House for a vote.

The House approved House Bill 47, which would allow the sale of individual health insurance policies approved by other states, even if the policies do not cover what Georgia law mandates.

The bill, which passed 111-47, could increase consumer choice and allow insurers to offer cheaper policies, but opponents said consumers could end up with a policy that doesn't include essential coverage.

Senate Bill 246: Allow for an increase in employee contributions to retirement benefits.
SB 247: Allow courts to consider living arrangements for prospective adoptive single parents.
SB 248: Limit the amount of funds that can be transferred from one candidate's campaign account to other accounts.
SB 249: Require notice of public meetings of government agencies be posted on agency websites.
SB 250: Prohibit business licensees from engaging in unfair trade practices.
SB 251: Transition from an annual renewal to a biennial renewal of insurance licenses for agents, counselors and adjusters.
SB 252: Allow the insurance commissioner to decide if an insurer meets the definition of a reinsurer.
SB 253: Change requirements for permits of municipal solid waste landfill sites within two miles of a significant ground-water recharge area.
SB 254: Clarify terms of office for Cobb County-Marietta Water Authority members.
SB 255: Allow public high schools to give students, parents and guardians an option for not releasing personal information to military recruiters.
Senate Resolution 359: Urge the Capitol Arts Standards Commission to place of a portrait of Coretta Scott King in the Capitol.

House Bill 497: Require energy-saving plans from electric suppliers to optimize the use of demand-side capacity options.
HB 498: Create a new charter for Adairsville.
HB 499: Use farm data to evaluate the effectiveness of the Agricultural Water Conservation Incentive Program of the State Soil and Water Conservation Commission.
HB 500: Establish the Employment Readiness Program under the Department of Labor to extend unemployment compensation benefits for those who participate.
HB 501: Enact the Volunteer Health Care Services Act to provide for health care services, particularly to those who reside in remote, rural areas or in the inner city.
HB 502: Adopt federal regulations for lead poisoning prevention.
HB 503: Fund medical examinations for sexual offenses under the Georgia Crime Victims Emergency Fund.
HB 504: Require illegally recorded videos to display the official rating when sold.
HB 505: Exempt craft breweries from the three-tier distribution of alcoholic beverages.
HB 506: Allow insurance payment or reimbursement for oral chemotherapy.
HB 507: Change the definition of "municipality" for water and sewer projects to include a member of a metropolitan sewer system created for intergovernmental contracts.
HB 508: Change the corporate city limits of Kennesaw.
HB 509: Abolish the State Medical Education Board and replace it with the Georgia Board for Physician Workforce.
HB 510: Allow Douglasville to levy an excise tax.
HB 511: Create a new charter for Greenville.
HB 512: Define "blunt wrap" under tobacco-related objects as cigar papers or cigar wrappers designed for smoking or ingestion of tobacco products and that contain less than 50 percent tobacco.
HB 513: Allow a group life insurance policy to be issued to groups approved by the insurance commissioner.

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

Carolyn Crist


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