Sen. John Albers: Gold Dome Update


Sen. John Albers: Gold Dome Update

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From Senator John Albers: Gold Dome Update

The Georgia General Assembly is quickly approaching the halfway point of the 2014 Legislative Session. As a reminder, each legislative session in Georgia is 40 days long, and Friday, February 7 marked day 19. It should be noted that we are only 11 days away from Crossover Day, which is the last day Senate bills are able to transfer to the House of Representatives, and vice versa.

On Legislative Day 16, I had the opportunity of welcoming Ava Bullard, the inspiration behind Ava’s Law, to the Senate Chamber for Autism Day. Ava’s story is truly one of triumph over adversity and provides a model for the effectiveness of early intervention and behavioral therapies in Autism treatment.

In a rousing speech before my colleagues in the Senate, Ava Bullard stood alongside her family, the Lt. Governor and Sen. Tommie Williams to encourage the passage of Ava’s Law in Georgia. Ava received a standing ovation from my fellow Senators and received a resolution specifically in her honor. Later that day, I held a press conference to highlight our continued efforts to pass legislation that provides health insurance coverage for Autism treatment. The passage of Ava’s Law is not a partisan issue and is an important measure toward improving the lives of those living with the disorder.

As a volunteer firefighter, I have been offered the privilege of serving alongside some of our state’s most selfless public servants; Georgia’s firefighters. On Tuesday, I was pleased to welcome these courageous men and women from across the state in recognition of Firefighters Day at the Georgia State Capitol. Firefighters place their lives on the line daily to ensure the protection of Georgia citizens and their property. While most people run away from the fire, these courageous men and women run toward the flames to save the lives, homes and businesses of citizens statewide.

There are also many bills waiting to be debated in their respective committees. One of my bills, Senate Bill 207, passed out of the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee on Wednesday, February 5. This legislation would allow private home care providers to obtain first offenders information on potential job applicants. The passage of this bill would provide an important safeguard against abuse in the private home care setting and seeks to protect our state’s most vulnerable citizens.

On Wednesday, I introduced Senate Bill 358. The Missing Children Information Center is responsible for filing all missing children reports submitted by local law enforcement agencies. However, the code does not specify that a report can be filed by a foster parent or foster care agency. Senate Bill 358 would simply amend the current code language from “parent or guardian” to include a foster parent, a foster family member or the Division of Family and Children Services of the Department of Human Services. This bill will allow for a more streamlined, efficient process for foster care providers in the event a child runs away from their foster care home or facility.

Additionally, the Georgia Superior Court Chief Justice Hugh P. Thompson presented the annual State of the Judiciary address to the House of Representatives and the Senate on Wednesday, February 5, 2014. During the address, Chief Justice Thompson focused his speech on the lack of accessibility to legal services in Georgia and stressed the importance of accountability courts.

In other Chamber news, the Senate passed HB 743, the FY2014 Amended Budget. The Senate has recommended an amended budget of $20.2 billion in total state funds. Because the House version of the bill includes line items different than the bill passed in the Senate, members from both chambers will now determine a mutually agreed-upon bill.

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