The Georgia General Assembly saw the completion of the eighteenth day of the 2013 legislative session this week as we were in session four days, Monday through Thursday. Bills covering a variety of topics passed the House this week, including updates and changes to the car title/fee legislation we passed last year, a resolution urging the State of Tennessee to recognize the original boundary with Georgia which would give Georgia access to the Tennessee River, and various other pieces of legislation.
House Bill 80 passed the House on Thursday with a vote of 159 to 4. This legislation would make changes to the monthly fee on car leases in Georgia. Last year, the legislature passed a bill and it was signed into law by Governor Deal to eliminate the “birthday tax” on vehicles, which will be phased out over several years. This law also affected car leases in Georgia, and this legislation, HB 80, seeks to remove the monthly use tax paid on monthly lease payments in Georgia. HB80 also addresses valuation issues on some vehicles and clarifies other parts of the original bill.
Every year, water conservation and ensuring the long-term water supply needs for the citizens in Georgia continues to be a focus. With droughts in previous years, many restrictions were placed on water regulations in certain parts of our state, such as only watering yards and plants on certain days of the week. This week we passed House Resolution 4, which would urge the state of Tennessee to accept an agreement on the boundary lines between Georgia and Tennessee and allow Georgia access to water in the Tennessee River. The point was made that many of the creeks and streams in north Georgia feed into the river, and that this dispute between Georgia and Tennessee regarding boundary lines has been ongoing since 1818.
House Bill 198 passed 154 to 16 and would provide that health insurance navigators be licensed, trained, and qualified. This bill is the result of the Affordable Care Act, which states that if a Health Care Exchange is required by our Federal Government, our state is ensuring that these individuals be qualified, licensed, and approved by Georgia’s Commissioner of Insurance. House Bill 50 passed Wednesday 152 to 16 and relates to requirements by those in the nursing profession to report to the Nursing Board if they suspect or know of a nurse violating certain Code Sections, including violations such as: practicing without a current license, with an illegal license or diploma, with a suspended or revoked license, or convicted of any felon. Examples were given of nurses with known drug problems who were dismissed but were able to move from job to job because appropriate notice was not given. House Bill 194 passed unanimously and would apply the same standard to gas utilities as electric companies, to allow action to be taken in that specified county against a gas utility, should a tort or breach of contract exist. HB 115 (151 to 15) gives the State School Board of Education and local boards of education more specifics relating to the process when a local school system has been placed on notice immediately preceding loss of accreditation for school board governance related reasons. The local board of education will be required to notify the State Board of Education within three business days of a local school system receiving such notice regarding potential loss of accreditation, and it extends the timeframe the state board has to conduct a hearing from 30 to 90 days.
HB 154 passed unanimously and relates to the recommendations by the Worker’s Compensation Board regarding changes, including: a four-hundred week cap on non-catastrophic injuries beginning July 1, 2013, caps mileage charges and changes it from 30 days to 15 days, requires a good faith effort to return to work if based on the doctor’s recommendations, increases the maximum rate per week for Temporary Total and Partial Disability, and changes the lump-sum settlements by reducing the interest rate.
The Georgia General Assembly will continue day nineteen of the 2013 Legislative Session on Tuesday, February 19th. Please contact me with your ideas and opinions or if I can be of service to you in anyway. It is your input and common sense ideas that develop into the best legislation and potentially becomes the laws of our State. If you would like to reach me, please call me at (404) 656-5087 or write to me at: State Rep. Randy Nix, 18 Capitol Square, Suite 402 CLOB State Capitol, Atlanta, GA 30334 or e-mail me at email@example.com.