Ga. Legislators Tackle Bills, Face Crossover Day Deadline | WABE 90.1 FM

Ga. Legislators Tackle Bills, Face Crossover Day Deadline

Mar 3, 2017

A vote on whether licensed gun owners can bring handguns onto college campuses is expected Friday as lawmakers confront a key deadline.

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Legislative rules require bills to pass at least one chamber by a certain point in the session to remain alive for the year. Lawmakers set that deadline, called "crossover day," at the 28th day of this year's 40-day session.

There are ways around the deadline, but lawmakers try to pass as many bills as possible.

Here's a look at some of the top issues expected to come up Friday:

GUNS ON CAMPUS

Licensed gun owners could carry concealed handguns on public college campuses under legislation approved by the Georgia House.

 

Members voted Friday, 108-63, sending the proposal to the Senate.

 

The bill is nearly identical to legislation vetoed last year by Republican Gov. Nathan Deal.

 

Rep. Mandi Ballinger of Canton sponsored this year's bill and added preschools to exempted areas, along with student housing and athletic venues. The measure would apply to anyone age 21 and up who holds a state-issued permit to carry a concealed handgun.

 

House Republicans argue that people on campuses have a right to protect themselves. Opponents fear the change would endanger students and staff.

 

The University System of Georgia has opposed the bill. Georgia is among 17 states that ban concealed weapons on campuses.

DRIVER'S LICENSES

So far, the House hasn't planned a vote on a bill to add "ineligible voter" labels to driver's licenses issued to immigrants with permission to be in the country. Rep. Alan Powell, R-Hartwell, said he thinks the state's existing "limited-term" label is vague and should clearly state that people with those licenses can't vote.

The chamber's Rules Committee, which determines whether bills get a floor vote, plans to meet early Friday and could add more items.

State election officials have repeatedly said no illegal votes have been cast in Georgia. The secretary of state's office has investigated four instances of "attempts to register as noncitizens or alleged noncitizen voting" since 2014.

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TESTING FOR LEAD

As other parts of the country wrestle with lead problems in drinking water, Georgia senators want to get ahead of the issue.

A bill scheduled for a vote Friday will require all schools to test their water for lead by the middle of 2019.

The concern lies mainly with old drinking fountains that the bill's sponsor says can have lead in the welding that bleeds into the water.

EYE INJECTIONS

Georgia senators plan to vote on whether optometrists, who are not medical doctors, can perform injections around the eye.

State law now requires that only ophthalmologists, who have at least four additional years of medical training, perform injections.

Under the proposal, optometrists would be required to have an additional 30 hours of training before performing injections, although recent graduates learn some of the skills in school, though some ophthalmologists think that training is insufficient.