Four working days remain until the 2019 Session of the General Assembly gavels to an end. Many important issues remain to be resolved as the usual battles between the House, Senate, and the Governor continue.
HB 481 – Abortion Restrictions. Governor Kemp campaigned on passing the most restrictive abortion bill and his statements through the media pushed the issue to the forefront just as some sighs of relief were heard in the hall. It needed 91 votes to pass and it cleared the House 93-73 with a number of Republicans “taking a walk” in what was totally a partisan vote except one. Because the Senate made some changes, it will come back to the House for final action. If the House disagrees, it will go to a Conference Committee.
Not only does this bill essentially makes almost any abortion a criminal act, it modifies federal census and tax laws by requiring a census taker to count a fetus as a person and grant a tax deduction to any pregnant woman. Never has the security at the Capitol been more dramatic and over whelming as the most personal and painful debates took place. You can watch the debates online.
SB 106 – Governor Kemp’s Medicaid Waiver bill passed the Senate and is now in the House. Our attempts to work with the Governor’s floor leaders with a PeachCare for Adults amendment to extend medical coverage to over a million more Georgians have failed so far since it appeared the Republicans did not have the votes to pass the limited waiver plan estimated to cost more than a simpler expansion of Medicaid.
HB 198 – Repeal of the Certificate of Need (CON) continues to be debated and negotiated even though the House version failed on the floor of the House and may reappear as part of SB 106 sometime in the remaining 4 days.
State takeover of Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson International Airportpassed the Senate and stalled in the House Rules Committee. The determined Republicans in the Senate then tacked on the language to a House bill granting jet fuel exemptions. The Mayor and the Atlanta delegation continues to vigorously oppose this takeover that will be tied up in the courts and destroy the good working relationship between the City and the State.
It has been a painful session with good bills being stalled and bills likely to end up in expensive litigation sailing through on a mostly partisan vote.