April 3, 2015

On April 2, 2015 the Georgia General Assembly adjourned the first year of a two-year session.  While the majority of the major legislation was completed before Day 40, the House and Senate both worked feverishly to pass a clean up to the transportation legislation and pass a bill with several tax break measures.  Both chambers finished shortly after midnight last night. Throughout the day the House and Senate worked on agrees and disagrees in order to push bills that had been amended in the respective chambers to final passage.

Among the bills approved yesterday was the judicial pay raise bill, which was amended to include an additional three-judge panel for the Court of Appeals.  HB 429, which was amended by the Senate to include an autism mandate, passed the House yesterday making this the first time the House has voted for the autism mandate on the floor even though the bill has been around for seven sessions.  The House and Senate were finally able to reach a compromise after disagreeing on this issue for several years.

 

Other legislation receiving final passage includes a bill legalizing and regulating fireworks sales in Georgia, a tax break for Mercedes which is moving its headquarters to Sandy Springs, a tax break for construction materials used in the expansion of Zoo Atlanta and the Ga. Aquarium, and referendums for two new cities in DeKalb County, LaVista Hills and Tucker.

 

The legislature also approved more transparency for the Pardons and Paroles Board, background checks and insurance requirements for ride-sharing service drivers like Uber and Lyft, and an allowance for breweries and distilleries to sell limited amounts of their product directly to consumers who take a facility tour.

 

A couple of press-covered bills that did not pass include legislation for the cityhood of South Fulton and Senator McKoon’s religious freedom bill.  Since 2015 is the first year of the two-year session, all bills introduced this session that did not get final passage by last night are still alive for consideration in the 2016 session.

 

The state has updated most of the bills on its web site, but it may be next week before final versions of all bills are available.  Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions or need information on any legislative issue.

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