Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

March 2, 2014

Crossover Day for legislature nears

Monday deadline looms for bills to clear one chamber in General Assembly in time for other to vote

VALDOSTA — Monday, March 3 is the 30th Legislative Day of the 2014 session of the Georgia General Assembly, better known as “Crossover Day,” the deadline for legislation to be passed by the House or Senate in time to be considered by the other chamber this year.

According to an update provided by Rep. Amy Carter, “As a result, the previous two weeks were the busiest of the session so far in terms of the volume of legislation coming out of committees and being debated and voted on by the House floor.”

Carter also states that the House and Senate have both given final approval to House Bill 743, the midyear adjustment to the $20.2 billion state budget for fiscal year 2014.

“A late change to the budget was a $5.5 million addition to the governor’s emergency fund to help cover the state’s costs in response to the two winter storms that hit North Georgia in recent weeks,” said Carter.

Other House legislation on its way to the Senate on Crossover Day includes:

• HB 826: Would give local school officials more leeway in enforcing the zero tolerance rules related to students possessing weapons on campus. It would not affect situations involving firearms or explosives. The action was spurred by incidents such as one in which a student was expelled after a fishing knife was found in a tackle box locked in a student’s car trunk.

• HB 459: Would require drivers to move out of the left lane when approached from the rear by a vehicle traveling at a higher speed and stay out of the left lane on multi-lane highways unless passing other vehicles.

• HB 449: Would protect from release to the media or public all recordings of 911 emergency calls when the caller dies, unless a member of the victim's family authorizes release of the recording.

• HB 504: which would allow judges and juries to hear evidence of a front seat driver or adult passenger's non-use of a seat belt for the purposes of determining damages in a lawsuit.

• HB 783: Would update the rules and regulations used to establish criminal violations of the state's game and fish, waters, ports and watercraft laws. It also strengthens the implied consent warning for cases of hunting under the influence.

 • HB 788: Would allow the University System of Georgia to privatize and pass along tax breaks for the construction of student dormitories and parking decks on the campus of the state's colleges and universities.

• HB 837: Would strengthen the supervision of offenders found guilty of misdemeanors by public or private probation officers.

• HB 891: Would reduce the early voting period in municipal elections.

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