The Sunrise Report: New laws start to take shape

Good morning, Georgia!

State lawmakers passed a flurry of bills yesterday in one of the two busiest days of the legislative session. Yesterday was known as Crossover Day, the last day a bill can be voted on in one chamber to cross over to the other chamber — it is also a day that gives a good indicator of what new laws will go into effect on July 1.

Let’s take a look at some of the highlights from your elected officials yesterday.

Health Care Reform: The house passed HB 454, unanimously. The bill would require insurance companies to continue to cover doctors who are dropped from the insurance company after open enrollment at the in-network rate.

Election Reform: The Georgia Senate passed SB 241 by a vote of 29-20. The bill would end no-excuse absentee balloting in Georgia among other reforms. Those opposing the bill say it is a form of voter suppression

Jerom’s Act: Jerom’s Act — also known as HB 346, would allow paramedics to administer Solu-Cortef to patients who are having an adrenal crisis. 

Lottery Reforms: The House has passed HB 544 by 110-54. The bill would provide more oversight on coin operated machines in gas stations and would allow for payment by gift cards.

Henry County Government Reforms: The Senate is has voted to send SB 22 to the governor. It is a bill that would make several reforms to the Henry County Government, including providing a code of ethics and a board of ethics, as well as revise the authority, roles and responsibilities of the chairperson, the board and the county manager. The Governor signed this into law shortly after it was passed.

Changes to the Hands-Free Law: The house has passed HB 247, which repeals the first-time offender provision of the Georgia hands-free law. The first time offender provision waived the fine if drivers could show they had purchased a hands free device. Under the new bill, first-time offenders would be subject to a $50 fine.

Juvenile Justice: Georgia is one of just three states that prosecutes 17-year-olds as adults. House Bill 272 would make them part of the juvenile justice system. The bill passed in the house.

Citizen’s Arrest: In the wake of the slaying of Ahmaud Arbery, The Georgia House of Representatives passed a bill that essentially repeals the state’s Civil-War era citizen’s arrest law.

Today’s Weather:

Low humidity in North and Central Georgia could cause fires in the afternoon or evening. If you live in those areas it is probably not a good day for outdoor burning. Highs throughout Georgia will reach between 70 and 73 degrees. There is a small chance of rain in the overnight hours.

Coronavirus Update:

Georgia’s rate of coronavirus infection continues to dip. The daily average for new cases is now about 1,401 new cases per day. In January it was above 7,000. This day last year, the average was 71 new cases per day. The numbers are heading in the right direction, but they resemble where they were in October.

Quote of the Day:

“People underestimate the impact they can have on the process through contact with legislators. By being part of an organized group in an area that you have an interest in, you can multiply the impact of your own ideas.” -Ralph Regula

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