District 16 State Sen. Ronnie Chance, R-Tyrone, the majority leader, succeeded with Senate Bill 206, sending Georgia delegations to Washington during amendment proposals for the U.S. Constitution. SB 209, tabled by the House of Representatives, would have allowed potential law firm clients to use do-it-yourself legal documents downloaded from the Internet. Chance sponsored SB 320 establishing veterans’ courts and approved by both chambers. An attempt to provide insurance coverage for certain autism disorders, SB 397, passed the Senate unanimously but stalled in the House. The successful SB 382 closes loopholes regarding fraudulent returns to retail stores.
District 35 State Sen. Donzella James, D-Atlanta, co-sponsored the successful SB 320, as well as SB 23, the Stacey Nicole English Act, which expands Mattie’s Call missing disabled person searches to include “medically endangered” adults. James co-sponsored a traditional winter celebrations act, SB 283, which legalizes the greetings “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Hanukah” in schools.
However, most of James’ legislation languished in committees or never reached the House floor for a vote. Those bills included SB 280, repealing the Stand Your Ground Act, SB 92 to allow MARTA to receive income from a rental car tax and a companion bill, SB 287, creating a new tax for MARTA maintenance and operations.
SB 23, 92 and 280 were also sponsored by District 38 State Sen. Horacena Tate, D-Atlanta, and District 39 State Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta.
Tate, James and Fort worked together on SB 314, which would have raised the minimum wage from $5.15 to $10.10 per hour. Tate and James co-sponsored SB 414, which would have made electronic cigarettes illegal on school property. Both bills remained in their respective committees.
Fort sponsored SB 147, which would have amended the Stand Your Ground Act regarding home invasions, but did not make it out of the judicial committee. SB 124 would have increased the maximum penalty to $5,000 for drivers whose cargo falls into the street but stayed in the public safety committee.
Fort did score a win with SB 274, which by unanimous vote in the Senate and 166-2 in the House creates an agricultural history display within the Capitol museum.