Georgia lawmakers face deadline to move bills

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ATLANTA — Lawmakers approved a flood of legislation Wednesday before a deadline to pass bills or see them fail. Social issues shared the spotlight with priorities such as the state budget.
Republicans and Democrats in both chambers sparred over a packed calendar, with both chambers scheduled to consider more than 60 bills and resolutions on the marathon 30th day of the General Assembly’s 40-day session.

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Sen. Lindsey Tippins (left), R-Marietta, talks to Sen. William T. Ligon Jr., R-Brunswick, during a debate about a bill that requires food stamp applicants to take "personal growth" courses to receive benefits.  JASON GETZ/ASSOCIATED PRESS
JASON GETZ/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Sen. Lindsey Tippins (left), R-Marietta, talks to Sen. William T. Ligon Jr., R-Brunswick, during a debate about a bill that requires food stamp applicants to take "personal growth" courses to receive benefits.

Known as Crossover Day, it is the deadline for lawmakers to get their bills approved by at least one chamber in the Legislature or risk those bills falling off the agenda for the year.

The Georgia Senate approved legislation that would require people seeking food stamps to earn their GED, pursue technical education, attend self-development classes or enroll in adult literacy classes to receive benefits.

People seeking welfare benefits would have to pass a drug test, under separate bills adopted by House and Senate lawmakers.

The Senate approved legislation that would ban abortion coverage under the state employees’ health care plan.

Also in the Senate, a proposal giving an exemption for providing birth control to health care providers with a religious affiliation passed by a vote of 38-15.

Assisted suicide would become illegal under a bill that House lawmakers passed in response to a state Supreme Court ruling this year that struck down a 1994 law banning people from publicly advertising suicide.

State spending would rise to roughly $19.2 billion under a Republican-sponsored spending plan adopted by House lawmakers that’s now headed to the Senate.


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