March 15, 2019

Compared to the frenetic pace of legislative activity last week that led up to crossover day, this week has been very calm and dominated by committee action with few bills passing either chamber.  The General Assembly was in recess Tuesday and today for committee work days.  They have now completed 32 legislative days.

The only major legislative item that passed this week was HB 316, the elections bill that calls for new “ballot marking” voting machines for the state. With this new machine, voters would use a touchscreen to select their candidates then a printer will print their choices on a paper ballot that they can review.  Voters would then insert their ballots into scanning machines to record their votes.  After debating the measure for over three hours, the Senate voted on the bill Wednesday and passed it along party lines by a vote of 35-21.  It had passed the House on February 26 by a vote of 101-72, but the Senate Ethics committee had made some changes to the bill, so it had to go back to the House for their agreement.  The House agreed to the Senate version by a vote of 101-69.  The bill now goes to the governor’s desk.

Several other major issues/bills are still in the legislative process and are in various stages of review in assigned committees or Rules committees in the House or Senate.  Pending legislation includes bills regarding broadband expansion, transportation funding, creation of a statewide business court, and state control of the Atlanta airport.

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