View Mobile Site

Legislative roundup for Feb. 26 – March 2

POSTED: March 7, 2018 1:25 p.m.

(Editor’s note: This is a look at recent action in the Georgia Legislature and how Bryan County’s legislators voted. It was compiled by Correspondent Corey Barnes.)

Hands-Free Driving Bill

The House on Feb. 28 approved, 151-20, HB 673 which stipulates that Georgia drivers are prohibited from using mobile phones while driving unless in a hands-free capacity. Violations will result in a $300 fine and either two or three points on the guilty party’s license. The bill moves on to the Senate for consideration.

Voting yes: Jesse Petrea, Ron Stephens.

Excused: Jan Tankersley.

Adjustment to Concealed Carry Law

The House on Feb. 28 approved, 161-4, HB 999 which changes the language of the state’s concealed carry weapons policy for people who were involuntarily committed for mental instability. The state will no longer automatically purge a person’s involuntary hospitalization information after five years from the Georgia Crime Information Center for the purposes of background checks. The bill moves on to the Senate for consideration.

Voting yes: Petrea, Stephens.

Excused: Tankersley.

Traffic Cameras in School Zones

The House on Feb. 28 approved, 94-76, HB 978 which allows for the implementation of speed detection devices and automated traffic enforcement safety devices in school zones. The bill moves on to the Senate for consideration.

Voting yes: Petrea.

Voting no: Stephens.

Excused: Tankersley.

Taxes on Tobacco Products

The House on Feb. 28 rejected, 59-109, HB 877 which would have reduced by 50 percent any taxes levied on modified risk tobacco products.

Voting no: Petrea, Stephens.

Excused: Tankersley.

Adjusting Scholarship Eligibility

The House on Feb. 28 approved, 146-25, HB 713 which stipulates that any student who graduated from a home study program or ineligible high school would be eligible for the HOPE scholarships and grants if he or she received a score in the 92nd percentile (reduced from 93rd) or higher on the ACT or SAT. The bill moves on to the Senate for consideration.

Voting yes: Petrea, Stephens, Tankersley.

Changing Police Reporting Requirements

The Senate on Feb. 26 approved, 36-17, SB 452 which requires a peace officer, in the event he or she receives verification that a suspect is in the country illegally, to inform the prosecuting attorney of that information. The bill moves on to the House for consideration.

Voting yes: Ben Watson.

Requiring Recess Bill

The Senate on March 1 approved, 50-0, HB 273 which requires elementary schools to schedule recess time for all students in kindergarten and grade five. Local boards of education would write policy in time for the 2018-19 school year. The bill moves on to Gov. Nathan Deal’s desk.

Voting yes: Watson.

Changes to Tax Rate

The Senate on March approved, 44-10, HB 918 which reduces Georgia’s top income tax rate from 6 percent to 5.75 percent and increases the standard deduction among other changes. The Senate removed language in the bill that would have provided a sales and use tax break to jet fuel. The House agreed to the changes, and Gov. Deal signed the bill into law on March 2.  

Voting yes: Watson.

University Free Speech Policy

The Senate on March 1 approved, 33-19, SB 339 which requires the Board of Regents in the University of Georgia system to develop and adopt a free speech policy. The bill would, among other requirements, compel campuses to accommodate any speaker whom students, student organizations or faculty members have invited to speak.

Voting yes: Watson.

If you want to read about other bills before the General Assembly please visit

Login to post a comment

You must be logged in to post comments. Login › encourages readers to interact with one another. We will not edit your comments, but we reserve the right to delete any inappropriate responses.

To report offensive or inappropriate comments, contact our editor.

The comments below are from readers of and do not necessarily represent the views of The Newspaper or Morris Multimedia.


  • Bookmark and Share

Please wait ...