What to expect for Georgia Legislature’s last 2 days

Tuesday marks the penultimate day of the 2014 Georgia General Assembly, and it’s expected to be a doozy. The Senate has more than 80 bills on its debate calendar for Day 39 of the session (Day 40 is Thursday), and the House will start with 30 and will probably add more as the day goes on.

The action begins in both chambers at 10 a.m. Here’s a rundown of some of the top issues that could emerge.

Health care

The Senate Rules Committee on Monday tabled House Bill 707, effectively blocking it as a separate piece of legislation. HB 707 aimed to bar any state or local government or agency from operating a health care exchange or navigator program allowed under the Affordable Care Act. 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. The measure, however, lives on as a House amendment to Senate Bill 292, which otherwise would create a statewide Alzheimer’s disease registry to gather data on the disease.

Also look for House Bill 990, a fast-moving measure that would take the decision of whether to expand Medicaid away from the governor and put it in the hands of the General Assembly. It made the Senate voting calendar, but it’s been changed to include a proposal to privatize Georgia’s child welfare system and is likely headed toward extended negotiations.

‘Franken-bills’

Do these bills, made up of pieces and parts of several measures, stay together, fail all together or pass in some new form? For example: The original House Bill 885 would allow the use of medical marijuana to treat seizure disorders. It was amended in the Senate to include language of Senate Bill 397, which mandates insurance coverage for young children with autism.

In another, the original SB 292 would create a statewide Alzheimer’s disease registry to gather data on the disease. The House added parts of HB 707, which we mentioned above.

Guns

The Senate on Monday passed on adding House Bill 875 to its voting calendar, effectively making House Bill 60 the major gun bill of the session. The measure in general would greatly expand where in Georgia someone may carry a concealed weapon. The Senate, however, wants more limits than the House and has stood firm despite intense pressure by House members. Look for the Senate to “disagree” with HB 60 on the floor, setting up a conference committee between the two chambers to hammer out a compromise.

State budget

House and Senate negotiators late Monday reached a compromise on the $20.8 billion state spending plan that takes effect July 1. If the full House and Senate agree, lawmakers can go home for the year — the state budget is the only thing they are required to do.

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