Days remaining in the session: 15
Both the House and Senate are rushing toward Friday’s key Crossover Day deadline. The Senate has eight bills on its agenda; the House has 15. Most are uncontroversial or fairly innocuous. Then there’s Senate Bill 5.
Majority Leader Bill Cowsert‘s bill would mandate the Georgia Lottery transfer a specific percentage of its revenue to the state every year for educational programs. Current law simply gives the lottery the goal of sending the state “as nearly as practical” 35 percent of proceeds a year.
The lottery has never actually hit 35 percent. The Athens Republican’s bill would remove the wishy-washy “nearly as practical” and give firm percentages the lottery must hit: 26.5 percent in Fiscal 18, 27.5 in FY 19 and 28.5 percent every year after.
The top bill in the House is probably HB 71, the “surprising billing bill,” which aims to reign in unpredictable charges on hospital, er, bills. Brought by Insurance Committee Chairman Richard Smith, R-Columbus, the bill is an attempt to solve a problem everyone agrees exists. The problem has been finding an agreeable solution.
Committees are rushing to wrap-up bills that they want to get to the floor by Friday night. That means the most interesting meetings today for both chambers are the Rules committees, where members will literally be lining up to make a special case for their legislation.