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Ga. lawmakers deal with guns, HOPE on 'Crossover Day'

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 EDITOR'S NOTE: An earlier version of this story incorrectly state the type of license one would need to take a gun into public places.

ATLANTA — People with a license to carry a firearm could bring their guns in bars, churches and college campuses under legislation given initial approval Thursday by Georgia lawmakers just ahead of a critical deadline.

The frantic day of voting came on what state lawmakers call "Crossover Day," the 30th day of Georgia's annual 40-day legislative session. Under internal rules, any bills not approved by at least one chamber of the General Assembly by Thursday were at risk of failing for the year. There are some exceptions to the rule.

House Republicans voted 117-56 to approve legislation expanding the places where people can carry guns. The legislation now heads to the state Senate. Under the plan, school administrators could arm their employees, a move that Republican backers say would deter attacks on schools. It would also allow people who have received voluntary inpatient care at a mental hospital or substance center to receive a license to carry a weapon. Right now, judges have discretion over whether to issue licenses to those applicants.

Judges would be required to check whether applicants have received involuntary treatment and could refuse to issue in those cases.

“... Until our government can unconditionally ensure our safety, I will fight for your right and my right to protect ourselves and our family,” said Rep. Larry O’Neal, R-Bonaire, the House majority leader. “And as long as bad guys have guns, I’ll fight for good guys to have guns.”

Democrats urged lawmakers to reject the bill, referring to recent massacres in Colorado and Connecticut.

“I have a hard time understanding why we are responding to a series of tragedies by expanding the likelihood of danger,” said Rep. Karla Drenner, D-Avondale Estates. “... Carrying a gun makes one more likely to be shot. Policy should be based on facts, not on rhetoric or assumption.”

Among education bills, House lawmakers voted to lower requirements for those seeking HOPE grants to attend technical colleges. Two years ago, state lawmakers raised the grade-point average to 3.0 to address what was then a decline in lottery revenues that fund the HOPE program. Since then, the technical college system has seen a notable decline in enrollment as students lost access to the grants.

The plan passed Thursday would return the qualifying grade point average to 2.0. The bill heads to the Senate and is likely to pass since it has bipartisan support and the backing of Republican Gov. Nathan Deal.

Supporters say that an increase in lottery revenues allows for the change and that the move could benefit several thousand students at an estimated cost of $5 million to $8 million annually.

“This is designed to help the people of our state, many of whom are returning back to school to get the job skills they need during these tough economic times,” said Rep. Edward Lindsey, R-Atlanta.

The Senate took up changes to a tax credit program that provides scholarships for children to attend private schools. The changes, passed unanimously, include a reporting requirement on the average household income of recipients and a requirement that eligible students must have attended public school for at least six weeks with a few exceptions.

Under the program created a few years ago, people can receive state tax credits by giving nonprofit scholarship providers donations of up to $1,000 for individuals and up to $2,500 for married couples.

The Southern Education Foundation had raised concerns that donors may have been allowed to earmark donations, although supporters had argued that was prohibited under the law. The Senate bill would add language specifically prohibiting that.

The bill would keep the current $50 million cap on the program, although the existing law allows for cost-of-living adjustments. A bill in the Georgia House that would increase the cap and provide for an expansion of the program has stalled.

Sen. Jason Carter, D-Decatur, said he does not support the program but worked to make key changes to improve the existing law.

“It is an improvement, but it does not do everything we need it to do,” Carter said.

The bill moves to the House for consideration.

In other bills, the Senate approved a proposal that would require nurses to report alleged professional violations by their colleagues. The bill also requires nursing agencies and health care entities that employ nurses to report to the state anytime a nurse is fired or resigns for disciplinary reasons.

The rules are intended to strengthen enforcement of nursing standards by the state’s two primary nursing boards. They are the Georgia Board of Nursing and the Georgia Board of Examiners of Licensed Practical Nurses.

The bill passed without opposition and now heads to the House.

The Senate also voted to ban Georgia law enforcement agencies from setting minimum waiting periods before they will act on a reported missing person case.

The bill clarifies the statewide alert system can be used for a person whose medical conditions could explain their disappearance. The measure passed without opposition and now goes to the House.

The new law would be named for Stacey Nicole English, an Atlanta woman who suffered from mental illness when she disappeared in December 2011. Her body was found weeks later, and an autopsy showed she died from exposure to the cold.

HOW THEY VOTED

The House voted 117-56 to expand the places people can carry guns. Here’s how local legislators voted on House Bill 512:

Barry Fleming, R-Harlem Yes

Ben Harbin, R-Evans Yes

Barbara Sims, R-Augusta Yes

Wayne Howard, D-Augusta No

Earnest Smith, D-Augusta No

Gloria Frazier, D-Hephzibah Excused

Quincy Murphy, D-Augusta Did not vote

– Morris News Service

Comments (15) Add comment
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PitchFork007
473
Points
PitchFork007 03/08/13 - 06:53 am
6
1
The DEMS continue to vote against our inherent right

The DEMS, such as REP Earnest Smith and REP Wayne Howard, continue to vote against our inherent right to self-defense.
They prefer mandated gun-free zones such as Paine College, where the
rape of a female student just occurred in a Paine College female dormitory. DEM REP Gloria Frazier and DEM REP Quincy Murphy neglected to serve their constituents by not casting their vote - which reflects a lack of will and courage. These votes, or the lack thereof, will be remembered at election time!

Bodhisattva
7183
Points
Bodhisattva 03/08/13 - 06:53 am
4
1
“And as long as bad guys have

“And as long as bad guys have guns, I’ll fight for good guys to have guns.” It's interesting to note that the "good guys" are open to being bipolar, schizophrenic, alcohol and drug abusers, whatever, as long as they check themselves in instead of being committed. Let's just arm all of the students from pre-K through post-doc.

It's ok to have a "C" welder building a nuke plant or a "C" mechanic repairing the brakes on your car but not a "C" Home Ec. major?

"The Senate also voted to ban Georgia law enforcement agencies from setting minimum waiting periods before they will act on a reported missing person case." "My son went to the store an hour ago and should have been back in 30 minutes."

"The bill also requires nursing agencies and health care entities that employ nurses to report to the state anytime a nurse is fired or resigns for disciplinary reasons." So a nurse has a jerk for a boss and calls him a jerk. It's reported to the state? Get's sick and misses too many days and it's reported? Reporting disciplinary problems makes sense, but does the Ga. Legislature have no sense? Never mind, I already know the answer.

soapy_725
44110
Points
soapy_725 03/08/13 - 07:32 am
1
0
"Until our government can unconditionally ensure our safety.."
Unpublished

This is asking for a Totalitarian State. But intelligence is not a requirement for political office or government public servants.

"I'll give up all of my personal freedom to be safe at church." God help us !!!

nocnoc
49121
Points
nocnoc 03/08/13 - 08:18 am
5
1
Our country has become 2 political camps

and the equality of size now changes from election to election resulting drastic sways in our laws, taxes and special legislation bills to reward the powerful few of each side. Each side caters to a political coalition and neither side seems to remember the big picture. The United States Of America.

We are country founded on the idea of INDIVIDUAL FREEDOMS from a oppressive government. A country originally designed avoid a tainted process of government, by the government, for the government.

We are now coming full circle as Political Monopolies have everybody focused on the idea of US against THEM while it is really become US against the Politicians. We need to instead to focus on US working with US for US.

Our forefathers understood the effects of uncontrolled power, political control and tyranny. That is why the Bill of Rights were added. Thus the US Constitution lays out 10 rights that the Government CANNOT violate or administratively regulate or avoid. Thus NO law has dared in the last 225 years to remove any of these rights or if so out of knee jerk panic, was shortly there after repealed by the Supreme Court.

We must remember a right is a right and the 2nd Amendment is no different that the 1st. Abridge one without challenge and the others quickly become vulnerable to repeal also.

So try as they may, if I can vote, I can own a firearm. Our gun laws are crazy enough. An 18 year old can't purchase a pistol or drink in the USA, but that same 18 year old, even 17 year old, can join the Military and then we hand him one to shoot an kill people? Either we raise the voting and military age or acknowledge the rights that come with voting.

An before someone jumps the gun (pun intended) we use to have laws that prevented the Mentally / Criminally Ill from walking the streets freely, and yes voting. So if a person is judged a threat to society, by doctors and judges, we need to get them off the streets until they are safe. It is not the gun owners that have caused the mass murders in each case, it was a mentally ill, nut case that did. So how does infringing on the rights of 119 million gun owners stop an NUT JOB?

Enough of this Bovis stercus.
Leave all 10 of my RIGHTS alone.
Time for our Federal Government to get back to reading the 10th amendment and following it. This country was never founded in on Socialism, it was founded on earning a living, working. Plus helping and protecting our neighbors.

nocnoc
49121
Points
nocnoc 03/08/13 - 08:27 am
3
1
Also remember these names come re-election

They voted along Political Party Lines and not according to the US & GA Constitutional.

So whether you are Black, White, Asian, Hispanic or other.

Remember they voted against, or avoided voting for your Constitutional rights.

Wayne Howard, D-Augusta No
Earnest Smith, D-Augusta No
Gloria Frazier, D-Hephzibah Excused
Quincy Murphy, D-Augusta Did not vote

LuvMyTown
2009
Points
LuvMyTown 03/08/13 - 08:35 am
4
3
More guns in bars, brilliant!

More guns in bars, brilliant! This should definitely up the body count in Augusta.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 03/08/13 - 08:36 am
5
1
forgot this one noc

“I have a hard time understanding why we are responding to a series of tragedies by expanding the likelihood of danger,” said Rep. Karla Drenner, D-Avondale Estates. “... Carrying a gun makes one more likely to be shot. Policy should be based on facts, not on rhetoric or assumption.”

Now did someone really spend their vote on putting this person in office? With reasoning like this? Hand meet forehead!

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 03/08/13 - 08:52 am
2
3
Fixed it for you LuvMyTown

More legal guns in bars, brilliant! This should definitely up the criminal body count in Augusta.

Sweet son
11585
Points
Sweet son 03/08/13 - 10:54 am
3
1
Colorful Vote on the gun

legislation! Who 'da thunk it? LOL!

Riverman1
93507
Points
Riverman1 03/08/13 - 11:37 am
4
1
Whether anyone thinks it's a

Whether anyone thinks it's a good idea to have guns in bars or not doesn't matter. It's a constitutional right as NoNoc explained so well.

amendment2arms
5
Points
amendment2arms 03/08/13 - 12:20 pm
3
1
Ignorance

“I have a hard time understanding why we are responding to a series of tragedies by expanding the likelihood of danger,” said Rep. Karla Drenner, D-Avondale Estates. “... Carrying a gun makes one more likely to be shot. Policy should be based on facts, not on rhetoric or assumption.”

I have been a CWP holder in S.C. for 6 years now. I carry every day, but yet, I've never been shot at. According to this moron of a representative, if I carry a gun, I'm more likely to get shot. Maybe she should base her opinions on "facts, not on rhetoric or assumption". Maybe she should check into crime rates for areas with more guns and concealed carry, or open carry, opposed to those with much more strict "gun laws".

peggyandrick
169
Points
peggyandrick 03/08/13 - 12:52 pm
2
4
INANE

"It's a Constitutional right," therefore having guns in bars is a good idea. The criminally insane have rights too, therefore we should let them have guns too. These responses and politician's comments make me believe it is time for the repeal of the Second Amendment.
Why is it so hard to see the connection between the highest gun murder rate in the civilized world (by a factor of ten) and the most liberal gun laws in the civilized world?

judgeandjury
32
Points
judgeandjury 03/08/13 - 03:40 pm
1
1
2nd

Amen River!

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 03/08/13 - 04:09 pm
2
2
"Why is it so hard to see ..."

B/c liberty burns brightly. Yall have a good weekend now.

Little Lamb
48969
Points
Little Lamb 03/08/13 - 08:37 pm
0
0
Scary

What is scary and dangerous are the bills passed today that reporter Ray Henry did not report. Beware come July 1 when they go into effect and you didn't even know about them.

Darby
29216
Points
Darby 03/26/13 - 03:35 pm
1
0
"Rep. Karla Drenner,...

D-Avondale Estates. “... Carrying a gun makes one more likely to be shot."

.
Tell that to the parents of those kids in Newtown and to the next of kin of the theater massacre in Aurora, and on and on and on...

That woman is just plain ignorant.. and dangerous..

Darby
29216
Points
Darby 03/26/13 - 04:00 pm
1
0
"...that same 18 year old,

even 17 year old, can join the Military and then we hand him one to shoot and kill people? "
.

Nobody "hands" a weapon to a soldier and sends him out to kill anyone. If civilians of that age group had one-tenth of the training a soldier receives before firing a weapon in anger, then you wouldn't have much to worry about.

Man! Talk about taking things out of context.

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