Week Nine 2016 Update
With Crossover Day behind us, my colleagues and I shifted our focus to considering Senate Bills and watching for changes made in the Senate to House Bills and vice versa. We saw bills receiving passage in the General Assembly, meaning that these bills will be sent to Governor Nathan Deal for consideration.
The House unanimously passed Senate Bill 137, which would expand Georgia property insurance laws to allow corporations described as one or two family residential buildings to collect insurance coverage against fire damage when a building is completely destroyed by fire. This bill will further show how business friendly Georgia is!
My colleagues and I also passed Senate Bill 158, the “Consumer and Provider Protection Act.” SB 158 creates a framework for rental preferred provider healthcare networks in Georgia to increase transparency for providers and consumers. A rental network contracts with health insurers to provide access to the terms and conditions of its contract with the provider’s discount, and then sells that contract to another network without the provider’s knowledge or consent. This bill would require these networks to register with the Commissioner of Insurance, and networks will access the discounts only if a contract that states the terms of agreement is signed.
Another bill that received unanimous passage was Senate Bill 279, which would expand the voting membership of the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.) Council to 22 members. P.O.S.T. provides the state with peace officers and criminal justice professionals (such as deputy sheriffs, county police, the GBI, etc.) who are professionally trained. Increasing the council members would see that P.O.S.T. continues to lead the way in our state, and nation, in providing criminal justice leadership.
The Senate passed House Bill 751, which is the FY2017 budget. HB 751 received passage in the House, but the Senate version varied slightly, which promoted a conference committee to be formed. When a bill is altered during the legislative process, the Speaker of the House and the Lieutenant Governor will appoint a conference committee to work out the differences. Once the committee reaches an agreement, the bill will be presented to both the Senate and House for a floor vote; once approved by both chambers, the bill will be sent to the governor.
During last weeks busy schedule, my colleagues and I took the time to honor both Calvin “Megatron” Johnson, Jr., as well as Scott Woerner. Johnson is a Georgia native, and is a former wide receiver for the Detroit Lions and Georgia Tech. Woerner is a former safety for the University of Georgia and the Atlanta Falcons. Both men have received many accolades for their talents, and both have represented the state of Georgia well, on and off the field.
If you have questions or concerns about any of the legislation that the House or Senate will be discussing, please feel free to reach out to me; I am never too busy to hear from you. Your thoughts and opinions are important to me, and as your representative, I want to make sure that I am truly representing your interests under the Gold Dome.You can reach me at my Capitol office, which is 404-656-0213, or by email at Andy.Welch@house.ga.gov.
As always, thank you for allowing me to serve as your representative.