They're Dead, Jim - Pro-Life Legislative Update March 3, 2016

They're Dead, Jim (Legislative Days 25-30)

Our legislative session is 40 non-consecutive legislative days long, beginning January 11 and ending March 24. Every bill that is introduced in one chamber must pass its originating chamber prior to the 30th legislative day, which is called Crossover Day, in order to survive the year. To be able to pass by the end of Crossover Day, a bill must pass out of committee no later than two days before Crossover.

Crossover Day 2016 was on Monday, February 29th. Lots of bills made it out before midnight on day 30, but several didn't - including priority pieces of legislation from GRTL. Let's take a look at another rundown of the bills that will be tracked through the last 10 days of session and which ones won't.

 
Georgia Right to Life Priority Legislation
  • HR 1091, the Personhood Amendment, authored by Representative Brad Raffensperger, is our flagship piece of legislation and represents the ultimate policy objective of GRTL. The Personhood Amendment would add language to the State Constitution that recognizes personhood beginning at the moment of fertilization.
    • This bill died in House Judiciary committee.
  • HB 713 authored by Representative Brad Raffensperger, allows a woman to prevent her rapist from legitimating her child that was conceived during a sexual assault.
    • This bill was worked and reworked in the House to ensure it was the strongest legislation possible. Juvenile Justice Committee Chairman Tom Weldon worked hard to strengthen the bill with us, but we simply ran out of time and HB 713 died in Rules Committee. This bill lives on in SB 331.
  • SB 331 authored by Senator Bruce Thompson, allows a woman to prevent her rapist from legitimating her child that was conceived during a sexual assault.
    • This bill was championed by Senator Thompson and moved quickly through the Senate Judiciary Non-Civil Committee before passing unanimously from the Senate!
  • SB 305, authored by Senator Renee Unterman, is an oversight bill that requires the Department of Public Health (DPH) to provide 60 days notice to all members of the House and Senate Health & Human Services Committees prior to making any changes to the Physicians Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) form.
    • This bill passed the Senate and will get a hearing in the House soon!
  • HB 287, the Human Embryo Protection Act, authored by Representative Tom Kirby, is a key piece of GRTL legislation that protects children in their most vulnerable state. 
    • This bill died in House Judiciary committee.
Georgia Right to Life-Supported Legislation
  • HB 770, authored by Representative Chuck Efstration, expands Georgia's laws on sexual trafficking to include mentally disabled adults in the victim class of the sexually exploited as well as allow the prosecution of sex traffickers based on the cases built by undercover law enforcement officers before a victim is trafficked.
    • This bill passed the House and will get a hearing in the Senate soon!
  • SB 129, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA),authored by Senator Josh McKoon, is the Senate's legislation that would require courts to use a two-part test when handling religious liberty cases.
    • This bill crossed over last year, so it still resides in House Judiciary Committee. Chairmain Wendell Willard has said that this bill wouldn't be heard until day 31 or later, but that remains to be seen.
  • HB 837, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA),authored by Representative Ed Setzler, is the House's legislation that would require courts to use a two-part test when handling religious liberty cases.
    • This bill died in House Judiciary committee.
  • SB 284, the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), authored by Senator Greg Kirk, ensures that private citizens, Christian schools and adoption agencies, pastors, and churches cannot be discriminated against based on the exercise of their belief in the sanctity of marriage.
    • This language was added to HB 757, the Pastor Protection Act, and lives on through that bill!
  • HB 757, the Pastor Protection Act, authored byRepresentative Kevin Tanner, would allow for pastors to speak on the sanctity of marriage inside their churches without state interference.
    • SB 284, the First Amendment Defense Act, was added to this bill and passed out of the Senate. Representative Tanner and Speaker Ralston must either agree to the Senate changes and allow the House to vote to approve or disagree and go to a conference committee.
Georgia Right to Life-Monitored Legislation
  • SB 308, authored by Senator Renee Unterman, would create a state grant for pregnancy resource centers (PRCs) to receive state funding that could be used to expand their facility, make repairs, purchase ultrasound machines, etc. The bill would prohibit PRCs from using any state funding for religious purposes.
    • This bill passed the Senate and will get a hearing in the House soon!
  • HB 555, authored by Representative Joyce Chandler, is a bill that requires juvenile courts to report how many minors have requested waivers for parental notification to obtain an abortion.
    • This bill was gutted in committee but passed the House and will get a hearing in the Senate soon! 
Georgia Right to Life-Opposed Legislation
  • HB 762, authored by Representative Wendell Willard, would prevent abortionists from selling aborted fetal tissue. The bill, however, does not prohibit procurement companies to sell aborted baby body parts - a gaping loophole.
    • This bill passed the House and will get a hearing in the Senate soon!        
That's all for this week. If you have any questions, email Joshua at joshuaedmonds@grtl.org or Johnny at johnnycrist@grtl.org!
 
Joshua & Johnny