It’s 11 p.m. and no action yet in the Legislature on Senate Bill 521, which creates a framework for merit pay and advances Georgia’s application for a federal Race to the Top grant.
There is only one hour left of the 2010 session, and I can’t imagine that legislators will get to this piece of legislation, which has become the hot potato of the session. In the last update, the AJC is reporting that a senator was in search of a bill to attach the governor’s language.
The General Assembly did pass state Sen. Emanuel Jones’ bill on zero tolerance that we’ve discussed here several times.
“This legislation gives kids in Georgia a voice. They will now have due process against a policy that makes no distinction between well-behaved students who make youthful mistakes and those whose misconduct warrants harsher punishment,” said Jones. “It’s time we start applying some common-sense when disciplining our children, rather than using a one-size-fits-all approach.”
Senate Bill 299 changes Georgia’s juvenile criminal code to make a first offense equal to a delinquent act, rather than a designated felony, and gives judges more discretion.
The ban on texting that we’ve also discussed passed as well. In fact, two bans passed. House bill prohibits Class D drivers – mostly teens – from talking on their cell phones while driving. Senate Bill 360 goes further. Known as the Caleb Sorohan Act after a Morgan County teenager who died while texting and whose family pushed the legislation, the Senate bill bans texting by all drivers.
If Gov. Perdue does not get his performance pay framework bill, he can be consoled by the passage earlier this session of his bill to overhaul school boards, which grew out of the Clayton County mess.
In a statement, the governor said:
With last night’s final passage of Senate Bill 84, all Georgia students will now be assured that the state has the ability and authority to step in when a local school system’s accreditation is threatened. This bill strikes the appropriate balance between local control and state intervention when a system is in crisis. It was deeply frustrating to look in the eyes of parents from Clayton and Warren counties and tell them the state could not do anything in time to rescue their schools.
The General Assembly expanded where guns can be carried. While Senate Bill 308 forbids guns in k-12 schools, people with a license will be able to keep their guns in their parked vehicles.
Citizens with a conceal carry license will be able to leave their weapon in a parked vehicle on college and university campuses. But it will be a misdemeanor if they have a license and bring their gun onto a college or university campus. It will still be a felony crime to carry a weapon onto a campus if you don’t have a license to carry.