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12:43 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Roundup of Big Crossover Day Bills

Today is a decisive day at the State Capitol.  It’s Crossover Day.

During each legislative session, if bills don’t pass at least one chamber (the Georgia House or the Senate) by the 30th legislative day, their chance of becoming law this year are slim to none.  So legislators are working overtime today in a last-ditch effort to get their bills passed.

WABE had reporters inside the Gold Dome for Crossover Day. We posted updates as we got them, which you can see below.

Latest Updated:  6:10 P.M.

Update on Passage of Safe Carry bill:  WABE's Jonathan Shapiro watched the floor debate on HB 512 and sent in the following.

The Georgia House overwhelmingly passed the sweeping gun bill, 117 - 56. 

The measure would allow licensed gun owners to carry firearms in bars, churches, government buildings, some parts of college campuses, and outside airports. The vote, more or less, went down party lines with Republicans voting in favor and Democrats standing opposed.

WABE reporter Jonathan Shapiro reporting from the Capitol.

Shapiro noted University System Chancellor Hank Huckaby is against the bill. Huckaby has argued it won't make college campuses safer.  

While the bill significantly eases gun restrictions on college campuses, gun owners still would not be permitted to carry weapons into residence halls, fraternities and sororities, and athletic sporting events.

Expand places where concealed weapons can be carried: The House has passed HB 512, the "Safe Carry Protection Act," with a vote of 117-56.  This is the bill that would expand the places where concealed weapons can be carried, as well as allowing teachers and other school personnel to be authorized to carry weapons at work. The debate was energetic, to say the least.

Medical identity fraud: The Senate passed SB 170, establishing medical identity fraud as a criminal offense similar to other types of identity fraud.  The vote was 52-1.

For-profit colleges and career academies:  By 53-1, the Senate passed SB 189, allowing for-profit higher education institutions to establish and operate college and career academies.

State pharmacy and dental boards: HB 132, which would move the administration of the state boards of pharmacy and dentistry from the Secretary of State's office to the Department of Community Health, passed the House 122-46.

HOPE Scholarship at technical schools:  HB 372, which restores the earlier 2.0 GPA eligibility for a HOPE scholarship to attend Georgia technical colleges (instead of 3.0), passed the Georgia House 169-1.

Video poker: The House has passed HB 487 by a wide margin (166-4), which would allow video gaming under the supervision of the Georgia Lottery.

Tax breaks review: Under HB 454, which the Georgia House passed 163-0, state budget preparations would include a review of all tax expenditures. The review would state each tax break's original purpose, how much tax revenue was not collected during a three year period and whether the tax break is meeting its original purpose.