There are just 12 official days left in this year’s Georgia General Assembly, but the session won’t end until March 30. In the meantime, legislators will be busy with committee meetings in an effort to shape what will — or won’t — pass out by that deadline.
Last Friday marked the annual “crossover day” when legislation from one chamber has to pass out or otherwise die for the year. Now, legislators in the House will focus on bills they’ve received from the Senate while Senators will focus on House bills.
And anything can happen.
Some highlights are:
• A bill that mandates a minimum 30 minutes for recess in all public schools in grades K-5. Rep. Tommy Benton said most schools in his district already have that in place, but he did express some concerns about how it could affect the length of the school day.
• Several gun bills are being considered with the “campus carry” bill being the one getting the most focus. The bill would allow students on college campuses over the age of 21 to carry a gun. Benton voted in favor of the bill. “People in my district want it,” he said.
• A bill that would mandate reports of sex crimes on college campuses be handled by law enforcement rather than just internally by the college also passed the House. Benton said that some accused of sex crimes have not received due process on college campuses. Campus rules are often different than the legal standards used by law enforcement and the courts.
• A bill that makes it a felony to assault a law enforcement officer also passed out of the House.
• A House version of expanding uses of medical cannabis also passed the House, but did not include use for PTSD, Benton said.
• Benton said that bills offering tax credits for the music industry also passed the House. The legislation is intended to make Georgia more attractive for musicians and the music industry to compete with Nashville, TN.