Georgia lawmakers have approved, and Gov. Sonny Perdue has signed, a medical malpractice reform bill which caps pain-and-suffering awards to victims at $350,000, a limit thought to help reduce insurance premiums for doctors.
SB3. Status: Passed both chambers. Now law.
Another Perdue-backed education bill would create the classification of “master teacher” for educators who excel in their field and create the job of academic coach — letting master teachers earn more money by helping their colleagues.
SB34. Status: Passed both chambers. Now awaiting governor’s signature.
FY ’05 budget
The governor has proposed increased spending of $191.4 million in the budget year which ends on June 30. Much of the new money would go to public schools to reflect actual classroom attendance rather than projected enrollment. The budget would increase from $16.3 billion to $16.5 billion.
HB84. Status: Passed both chambers, now awaits the governor’s signature.
FY ’06 budget
For the 12 months beginning July 1, the governor has proposed $1 billion in new spending to shore up the state’s Medicaid and State Health Benefits plans, to meet educational needs, to provide a 2-percent pay raise for teachers and state employees and to meet costs of new debt to build schools and meet other needs.
HB85. Status: Passed the House. Expected to go before the Senate on Monday.
A plan backed by Perdue would create an online school to allow students to take classes on the Internet not available in their district.
SB33. Status: Passed both chambers. Now awaiting governor’s signature.
Republicans sponsored a bill outlining tougher rules for elected officials, including a 12-month waiting period for lawmakers who want to become lobbyists after leaving office.
HB48. Status: Passed the House, now heads to the Senate.
The House has voted to limit HOPE scholarships to 127 semester hours, even for majors that require more courses than that. The bill would apply to next fall’s freshmen and could eventually affect hundreds of HOPE scholars near the end of their studies.
HB299. Passed the House. Pending in Senate Higher Education Committee.
Women seeking abortions in Georgia would get new warnings about the procedure’s health risks, and a 24-hour waiting period, under legislation pending in the General Assembly.
HB197. Status: Passed both chambers. Now awaits the governor’s signature.
A proposed constitutional amendment backed by the governor would give the state specific power to contract with faith-based organizations to provide services to the needy and the poor. It passed the Senate last year but was blocked in the House, then under Democrat control.
SR49. Status: Fell three votes short of the two-thirds majority needed to pass the Senate. Sponsors will try again later.
The Georgia Department of Transportation would be encouraged — but not required — to let commuters use the emergency lanes and paved shoulders of some of Georgia’s most congested highways under legislation sponsored by top Georgia House Republicans.
HB273. Status: Approved by the House, pending in a Senate committee.
Local governments would have been allowed to form partnerships with private interests to build projects such as schools and roads under a bill that was widely attacked by critics who argued it would lead to secret deals and endanger private property rights.
SB5. Status: Responding to public outcry, all of the sponsors removed their names from the legislation, effectively killing it.
Industrial recruitment efforts by the state or local governments would be cloaked in secrecy until the negotiations were completed under a bill sponsored by the Perdue administration.
HB218. Status: Approved by the House but stalled probably until next year in the Senate, where key backers said it needs more work to balance the government’s needs with concerns from the media and public interest groups