Posted: 7:12 am Tuesday, March 18th, 2014
By Jim Galloway
Tuesday marks the penultimate day of the 2014 Georgia General Assembly, and it’s expected to be a doozy. The Senate has more than 80 bills on its debate calendar, and the House will start with 30 and will probably add more as the day goes on.
House and Senate negotiators late Monday reached a compromise on the $20.8 billion state spending plan that takes effect July 1. If the full House and Senate agree today, lawmakers could conceivably go home for the year — the state budget is the only thing they are required to do.
Beyond that, top bets on the House floor are a likely fight on abortion, the right of people to say “Merry Christmas” in schools, and a stripped down version of the foster care privatization bill.
Also, Senate President pro tem David Shafer’s proposed constitutional amendment to strip the Legislature of the ability to raise income taxes will get a vote in the House. It needs two-thirds passage, which will be tough.
House members will also vote on a bill that would make it legal to use explosives to kill poisonous snakes. Really.
The Senate is expected to move on HB 60, which now is the shell of the big gun bill once known as HB 875. Several high-profile pieces of legislation are on its docket, including HB 885, the medical marijuana bill, and HB 990, which would take the decision of whether to expand Medicaid away from the governor and put it in the hands of the General Assembly. The Senate will also take up HB 772, which would require drug testing for food stamp and welfare recipients in Georgia.