My colleagues and I have worked diligently to pass common sense legislation that benefits all Georgians. I am proud to say that many of these bills received unanimous passage through the Senate. This is a true example of the bi-partisan efforts needed to ensure a brighter future for our children and grandchildren.
I would like to highlight some of the legislation that passed last week. It should be noted that a passed bill must next go on to the Georgia House of Representatives for a full vote before it can head to Gov. Nathan Deal’s desk to be signed into law.
SB 286: Prohibits future tax commissioners from joining the Employees Retirement System
Senate Bill 286, sponsored by Sen. Bill Heath, passed the Senate and would prohibi future tax commissioners from joining the Employees Retirement System. After July 1, 2012, any newly hired tax commissioner, tax collector or tax receiver will not be eligible to participate in the state retirement system. The bill passed the Senate on Wednesday, Feb. 15, by a vote of 47-5.
SB 246: Contribution changes for public school employees retirement system
Sen. Jack Hill (R-Reidsville) sponsored SB 246 to increase employee contributions for Public School Employees Retirement System members hired on or after July 1, 2012. Specifically, this bill would increase the employee contribution for all persons who become a member of the system on or after July l, 2012 from $4 to $10 per month. The bill passed Wednesday, Feb. 15, by a vote of 52-0.
SB 331: Insurance bill passes Senate
Sen. David Shafer (R-Duluth) sponsored legislation which authorizes only insurers who issue title insurance policies and who are also responsible for disbursing settlement funds to issue closing protection letters. A closing protection letter is a document which protects the buyer or lessee against fraud. The bill passed Thursday, Feb. 16, with a vote of 50-0.
SB 358: Mandates local governments give preference to Georgia contractors
Under legislation authored by Sen. John Bulloch (R-Ocklocknee), local governments in Georgia would be required to reciprocate the preferences granted by out-of-state local governments for vendors in their own states to Georgia’s vendors. This bill pertains to local governments’ awarding bids for goods and services produced in Georgia. The bill passed Thursday, Feb. 16, with a vote of 51-0.
SB 366: To reduce violence among Department of Juvenile Justice inmates
Sen. Johnny Grant (R-Milledgeville) authored a bill which will ban potentially dangerous items from Juvenile Detention Centers (JDCs) and Youth Development Centers (YDCs) throughout the state. This legislation would help eliminate violence among detainees of Georgia’s JDCs and YDCs. Sen. Grant stated before the Senate that the legislation has received approval from defense attorneys, advocates of the youth detainees and the law enforcement community. It passed 52-0.
SB 107: To increase Contempt of Court fines
The maximum fine for contempt of court in a Georgia Superior Court would be increased from $500 to $1000, according to legislation authored by Sen. Jesse Stone (R-Waynesboro). The last time this fine had been updated was approximately 30 years ago. The bill passed Friday, Feb. 17, by a vote of 45-5.
SB 362: “Deadhead Logs” bill passes Senate
In the 19th and 20th centuries, numerous quantities of lumber were deposited in Georgia’s river systems. Some logs were lost while being transported down the river, and others were intentionally left for storage purposes. Over time, these logs were protected from biodegradation due to the low oxygen content in parts of these rivers. These preserved logs are known as “deadhead logs” and are often valued for their use in furniture. Sen. Tommie Williams (R-Lyons) proposed legislation which would authorize the state to auction off sections of Georgia’s rivers to harvest these logs. The bill passed the Senate on Friday, Feb. 17, with a vote of 37-12.
SB369: Extends expiration date of Georgia Geospatial Advisory Council
The Georgia Geospatial Advisory Council is an agency established to provide the general public with reliable geospatial data, including flood map modernization. The maps are especially useful for the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other emergency relief organizations. The Georgia Geospatial Advisory Council is set to expire on June 30, 2012; however, legislation proposed by Sen. Buddy Carter (R-Pooler) would extend the deadline to June 30, 2015. The bill passed the Senate 50-0.
SB 395: Should change SPLOST revenue collection
Legislation proposed by Sen. Bill Heath (R-Bremen) would authorize the collection of special-purpose local-option sales tax (SPLOST) revenues to be fractionally collected up to a full one percent after Jan. 1, 2013. If enacted, voting referendums may ask to collect just a fraction of the single penny that is typically requested. The bill passed with a 47-1 vote.
For additional information regarding a specific piece of legislation, you may access the Georgia General Assembly website at http://www.legis.ga.gov/. As session moves forward, I will continue to fight for policies which reflect our conservative principles and values.
State Sen. Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga, represents District 53, which includes all or parts of Walker, Dade, Chattooga and Catoosa counties. He serves as chairman of the Transportation Committee. He can be reached at the Capitol at 404-656-0057, at his district office at 706-375-1776, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.