Hunters may soon be able to put out bait to attract deer in southern parts of Georgia.
The state Senate approved House Bill 277 with a 34-17 vote Thursday. The bill has been debated in both chambers, and an amendment in the Senate means the bill will go back to the House for a new vote.
Opponents of the bill were concerned about the ethics of fair chase. Supporters argued that deer are overpopulated in certain areas and hunting near planted food plots is already legal.
In addition, the Senate approved House legislation to create a new Georgia Department of Public Health.
House Bill 214 doesn't increase state funding for public health. Instead, it shifts current public health operations and their current budgets into the new department.
Supporters say the bill will help the state address its lofty health challenges by elevating public health to a Cabinet-level post. The bill will go back to the House to consider changes made by the Senate.
In the House, representatives approved a bill that would allow physicians and pharmacists to review their patients' prescription history under a new database to determine if they are addicts or drug dealers.
The Senate already approved Senate Bill 36, which requires pharmacists and doctors to report to the state weekly on who receives prescriptions for a broad spectrum of addictive drugs. The amended bill passed 117-45 after more than 90 minutes of debate and now goes back to the Senate for review.
Senate Bill 276: Provide terms and appointment of members to the Augusta-Richmond County
SB 277: Change terms of office for the Poulan mayor and council members.
Senate Resolution 521: Urge Congress to designate the Honor and Remember Flag as a national emblem of service and sacrifice for the U.S. Armed Forces.
SR 524: Urge the Georgia congressional delegation to pursue an equitable, long-term resolution for the growth rate formula and Medicare reimbursement for Georgia physicians.
SR 525: Create the Senate Erosion and Sediment Control Study Committee to do a comprehensive review of the state's environmental laws in an effort to support clean water.
SR 526: Amend Senate rules to move the points of personal privilege earlier in the legislative day.
House Bill 626: Require performance audits for certain groups before payment is given in Ware County.
HB 627: Require performance audits for certain groups before payment is given in Waycross.
HB 628: Change the time of municipal elections in Coolidge.
HB 629: Enact the Hall County Family Connection Network Act to replace the Hall County Commission for Children and Families.
HB 630: Prohibit discrimination of public officers and employees based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
HB 631: Change the corporate city limits of Byron.
HB 632: Allow for partisan elections of Augusta-Richmond County mayor and council members.
House Resolution 757: Create the House State Health Benefit Plan Study Committee to study state health benefits and provide adequate and effective coverage for employees while ensuring actuarial soundness and budgetary responsibility.
HR 758: Urge health care professionals to take cultural competency training.
Both chambers also passed various resolutions to recognize special days and people.