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Guns, marijuana and transit: Georgia lawmakers pass many bills

On the busiest day of this year’s legislative session, Georgia lawmakers voted into the wee hours of the morning on more than 100 bills that could soon become law.

From public transportation to guns, the Georgia General Assembly set the stage to approve legislation that could have a broad impact across the state.

Here’s a look at a few key bills that passed Wednesday and early Thursday morning:

The ATL:major expansion of mass transportation in metro Atlanta was approved in separate bills in the Georgia House and Senate. The legislation would consolidate public transit planning across the region under an agency called The ATL, as well as provide sales tax and state funding for future projects.

Gun limits: People with mental illnesses wouldn’t be able to own guns indefinitely under a bill that passed the Georgia House. The legislation ends a state requirement to purge records of those who are unwillingly committed for mental health treatment after five years.

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Hidden predator: Victims of child abuse would have more time to sue under legislation approved by the state House. The bill extends the civil statute of limitations to age 38 from the current age of 23.

Medical marijuana: Patients with post-traumatic stress disorder and intractable pain would be eligible to use medical marijuana under a bill passed by legislators. 

Voting system: Outdated electronic voting machines could be replaced statewide in time for the 2020 presidential election. The state Senate approved a bill that could switch the state to paper ballots or electronic ballot marking devices.

Distracted driving: Georgia drivers would have to use hands-free cellphone technology in an effort to reduce the more than 1,500 people who died on the state’s highways last year, according to a measure that passed the House.

All of these bills still have to get final votes in the state House and Senate before becoming law.

Many other measures passed — and some failed — in the Georgia General Assembly as it enters the final days of its legislative session.

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