Medical marijuana, beer and drinking before noon on Sundays all won approval Friday, as lawmakers passed dozens of measures to beat the Georgia General Assembly’s first serious deadline of the 2015 legislative session known as Crossover Day.
As the 30th day of the 40-day legislative session, Friday was the last day for bills to move from one chamber to the other — that is, to cross over — and still have a clear path to becoming law this year. While parliamentary maneuvering can keep a bill alive, making it from one side of the Capitol to the other on Crossover Day makes final passage in 2015 much more likely.
Legislation concerning some of the most high-profile issues of the session — the House’s $1 billion transportation proposal, Gov. Nathan Deal’s plan for the state to take over failing schools and a “religious liberty” bill — had already cleared one chamber or the other before Crossover Day. These key bills all passed one chamber on Friday:
Would allow customers to get limited amounts of beer directly from craft breweries.
Would create the city of South Fulton.
Would legalize clinical trials for medical marijuana to treat children with epilepsy.
Would place a greater burden of proof on the state ethics commission before assessing fines on local officials.
Would allow Tesla to sell cars directly to consumers without opening independent dealerships.
Would allow police to use body cameras on private property.
Would allow local governments where Sunday alcohol sales are already legal to let restaurants sell drinks at 10:30 a.m. on Sundays — two hours earlier than current law.
Would make it illegal to smoke in a car if another occupant is under 15 years old.
Would allow the hunting of feral hogs nearly year-round without a license.
Would prohibit the injection of ground water into the Floridan aquifer near coastal Georgia.
Would require a four-star minimum safety rating on football helmets used by young players.
As always, you can also track any bills and see their odds of passage as predicted by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Georgia Legislative Navigator at http://legislativenavigator.myajc.com/.