Monday’s Crossover Day is one of the busiest days at the Georgia Legislature, since it is the deadline in most cases for legislation to clear one chamber or the other. Here’s what to watch for during what often turns into a 12-hour marathon of arm-twisting, lobbying and legislators pushing their red or green voting button.
Bills that may cause a ruckus
- Senate Bill 98 (abortion): Picked off the sidelines recently after losing steam last year, SB 98 would ban elective abortion coverage in state employee health plans — something already in force through an administrative order by Gov. Nathan Deal. The bill also seeks to prohibit abortion coverage through insurance exchanges offered via the Affordable Healthcare Act. The health care law does not provide federal funding for abortion. Some individuals may have the opportunity to buy abortion coverage on the exchanges, but they already have an option not to buy it.
- House Bill 707 and House Bill 990 (Affordable Care Act): HB 707 would bar any state or local government or agency from operating a health care exchange or navigator program allowed under the ACA. It also would make it illegal for any public employee or agency to use state resources or time to advocate for the expansion of Medicaid. HB 990 would require an act of the Legislature before Medicaid can be expanded via the ACA.
- House Bill 885 (medical marijuana): Would allow the use of a marijuana derivative to treat certain seizure disorders in children.
How to participate
Both the House and the Senate begin the day at 10 a.m. Legislators usually arrive on Capitol grounds before then. If you want to catch a legislator before the day’s session begins, try waiting at the velvet ropes outside the chamber. Each chamber also has a gallery on the fourth floor of the Capitol. The hallways on the third floor have monitors that carry live feeds from the House and the Senate. You will have to jockey with the lobbyists crowding the hallways for a good spot.
Live video feeds are also available online. Go to www.legis.state.ga.us and look for the links under “Live Broadcasts” on the left.
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