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Legislature passes crossover day

Legislative update

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POSTED: April 1, 2010 12:00 p.m.
The Georgia General assembly adjourned on Friday, Crossover Day, and the 30th legislative day of the 2010 session. As I write this weekly update on Friday, we hav e not yet adjourned for the day and session is expected to last throughout the evening as we debate legislation. As we began the day on Friday, we had 36 Bills and Resolutions and more will be added throughout the day. As far as the Fiscal Year 2011 budget, subcommittee meetings will continue next week as we work to finalize the House version of the budget. In session for three days this week, I will discuss the bills which were passed on Monday and Wednesday of this week.

The construction industry has suffered during these tough economic times. To ensure that additional costs are not placed upon some of those in the industry, especially homebuilders, the House passed HB 1196. This bill states that building codes cannot require that fire sprinklers be installed in a single-family dwelling or a residential building that contains no more than two units. The legislature understands that if this was required, it would place additional costs associated with building homes and would be an unreasonable requirement.

Teachers are an essential asset within all of our communities and schools. We passed HB 1307 which relates to teacher certification and will temporarily suspend the professional learning requirements for a certification renewal for teachers and paraprofessionals for five years, beginning July 1st 2010. This bill will also not require that a course be completed in computer skill competency, as is currently required.

Many of us get frustrated when driving and other vehicles are in the fast lane and are going below the speed limit and impeding the flow of traffic. It is already currently a law that the person driving is suppose to move into the slow lane; however, we passed House Bill 1047 which would add a fine of at least $75.00. For safe operation of the vehicle while driving, vehicles going slower in the fast lane can be a safety hazard.


In an effort to entice physicians to rural areas of Georgia, we passed HB 866, the Physicians for Rural Areas Assistance Act. This will allow rural hospitals, other health care entities, local governments, and civic organizations to receive matching grants from the State Medical Education Board for the purpose of attracting physicians to rural areas throughout the state.

Gold Star specialty license plates are available for those who have had a family member that served our country and was killed in action. The House unanimously passed HB 1012 to make this specialty plate also available to siblings and step-parents as it currently is only available to the spouse, mother, or father of a fallen service member.

Just as the state of Georgia provides tax credits for back to school purchases and energy-star appliances every year, we passed an additional credit for equipment. The passage of HB 1069 will provide a tax credit in the amount of either a 25% credit of the cost of the equipment or $2,500 for taxpayers that purchase certain energy or water efficient equipment as part of a new construction or retrofit. This will be available with federal funds granted to Georgia specifically for that purpose.

As the General Assembly continues to do the people's work, session will continue until midnight or longer in the House as we finish up Crossover Day on Friday. Although a long day, the members stay to ensure that the work of the people is completed before we leave for the day. We serve in the legislature always on behalf of those we represent. On Crossover Day, legislation is given adequate time on the floor for debate and possible passage. After passage by the House, legislation then goes to the Senate and the process is repeated. Although seen as a long process for a bill to become a law, it helps to ensure that we continue to do the people's work and only essential and necessary legislation makes its way through the process and awaits the signature of our Governor to become law. With ten legislative session days left, I will continue to give legislative updates for the 2010 session.
 
Please do not hesitate to let me know your position or thoughts on issues that concern you. If you would like to reach me, please call me at (404) 656-5099 or write me at: State Rep. Ron Stephens ,228 CAP, State Capitol, Atlanta, GA 30334 or e-mail me at ron.stephens@house.ga.gov
 

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