Today marks the final day when bills either pass or die.
The state’s universities are battling hard against a push to allow college students to carry guns on campus, and seem to have the state Senate on their side. But the Georgia General Assembly is among the nation’s most gun friendly, and most lawmakers do not want to alienate the gun lobby. So this will be a close battle and one that is getting national attention.
To watch from your computer, go here and click on the links on the left side. Updates also will be posted frequently on ajc.com.
Efforts to expand access to guns across Georgia in places such as schools and college campuses are going right down to the wire. The crux of the issue: The House wants to allow guns on college campuses; the Senate, so far, has said it does not. If that hurdle is cleared, Senate Bill 101 — which also would let churches allow guns in sanctuaries, school boards to arm school administrators and military veterans younger than 21 to carry weapons — would likely reach final passage. It would be national news, given that the debate comes as many states and Congress wrestle with gun laws — especially whether to tighten restrictions in the wake of mass shootings such as December’s school massacre in Newtown, Conn.
House and Senate negotiators are close to an agreement on the $19.8 billion budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1. The budget is crucial to the lives of millions of Georgians, helping to fund the education of about 2 million students and providing for health and nursing care for more than 1.6 million people. It funds road improvements and prisons, economic development initiatives and cancer research, business regulation, and water and sewer projects. The House and Senate are battling over funding cuts to Georgia Gwinnett College and the state’s technical colleges as well as proposed reductions in payments to doctors who treat the poor. The two chambers also could be using the budget as a bargaining chip in negotiations over ethics legislation.
–from Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog