By: Sen. Burt Jones (R – Jackson)

With Crossover Day now behind us, we have just a month before Sine Die. This week, we debated and voted on 72 pieces of legislation, and they will now move on to the House to continue the legislative process. Each bill we pass focuses on an area we are trying to address to improve the lives of citizens across Georgia.

On Monday, we passed 28 pieces of legislation, some including:

Senate Bill 293, which would require employers who employ non-contributing beneficiaries of the Teachers Retirement System to pay both employer and employee contributions.

SB 309 would require all Georgia cities to close primary and election polls at 7p.m. In addition, SB 309 would eliminate special election run-off’s for state and county elections but would call for special primaries to be held before special elections.

SB 407 would implement a comprehensive criminal justice reform that has been recommended by the Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform.

Senate Resolution 794 would create a Joint Georgia-North Carolina and Georgia-Tennessee Boundary Line Commission. The commission would work to resolve issues associated with a wrongly surveyed and marked northern state border.

Wednesday was Crossover Day, where we spent several hours vetting the most legislation we have addressed yet. Here are just a few I want to highlight:

SB 232, also known as the FIBRE Act, would expand broadband access by using public rights of way. In addition, the legislation would set the regulations for Georgia’s electric membership cooperatives who wish to deploy broadband services.

SB 335 would expand the offense of sex trafficking to include that knowingly patronizing a person to conduct sexually explicit content has the punishment of five to 20 years.

SB 359 would help to increase transparency in medical billing by requiring hospitals and physicians to clearly post notices and standard charges on their respective websites. The legislation would also require insurers to provide enrollees with criteria for in-network and out-of-network coverage in addition to allowing for the mediation of a bill greater than $1,000 for an elective medical procedure.

SB 386 would propose the creation of the Atlanta-region Transit Link “ATL” Commission. The commission would be responsible for the planning, funding and implementing transit projects throughout the 13 counties currently being serviced through the Georgia Regional Transit Authority.

SB 401 would require post-secondary institutions participating in courses to provide enrollment data to school counselors to help students when creating individualized graduation plans.

SB 403 would discontinue the use of electronic voting machines in Georgia primaries and elections after January 1, 2024, requiring voters to use paper ballots. In addition, the bill also directs the Secretary of State’s office to issue an open request for proposal to vendors to select new optimal scanning voting system equipment.

The Broadband Infrastructure Leads to Development (BILD) Act, also known as SB 426, addresses the permitting and deployment of small cell broadband for private companies wishing to utilize public rights of way. The legislation also addresses the construction of wireless technology on existing utility poles and the construction of new poles.

SB 430 would increase the minimum salary for local government officials based on the population of the county they serve.

SB 450 would repeal provisions that prohibit north Georgia from participating in supplemental feeding and baiting of game, equalizing the playing field throughout Georgia.

Your state legislators are going to continue working hard here under the Gold Dome to pass legislation that best suits you. If you ever have any questions or concerns please reach out to my office.

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