Gold Dome Update 
Highlights from the House 
Week Twelve
The 40 th and final day began at 10 AM, Thursday March 29, and came to an end just after midnight Friday morning, adjourning the 2018 legislative session. Major issues were put to rest last week, while many await further debate next year. All legislation receiving passage from each chamber now head to Governor Deal for his consideration where he will sign the measures into law or use his executive veto power. 
Victims Rights
We began our last week by unanimously passing two measures which work to protect victims’ rights. The first, Senate Bill 127 , will provide a process for victims to be heard by the court when their constitutional rights to participation and information have been denied. Under the bill, a victim can file a motion to be heard on the matter within 20 days after the claimed violation.

Senate Resolution 146 , also known as Marsy’s Law, is the companion legislation to SB 127 and would place a constitutional amendment on the November ballot to provide victims explicit rights in our state Constitution. If approved by voters, Georgia’s Constitution will grant victims’ several rights including:
  • Reasonable, accurate and timely notice of any court proceedings or schedule changes involving the alleged crime.
  • Timely notice of the arrest, release or escape of the accused.
  • The opportunity to be heard in any proceedings involving the release, plea or sentencing of the accused
Criminal Justice Reform
We continue to change the landscape of our criminal justice system through the passage of Senate Bill 407 . SB 407 is a comprehensive bill which includes updates to Georgia’s bail system, requiring courts only impose conditions necessary. Courts will now consider the accused’s financial resources when determining bail. In local ordinance violations, courts are authorized to allow the defendant to satisfy fines through community service or waive fees all together if it is found that the accused is suffering significant financial hardship. Further requirements of SB 407 are as follows:
  • Development of uniform citation and complaint forms for use by law enforcement officials.
  • Allows misdemeanors to be prosecuted by accusation, citation or arrest.
  • Expands the list of misdemeanor crimes an officer can arrest by citation.
  • Requires officers to review the accused’s criminal record and obtain fingerprints prior to release.
  • Authorizes accountability court judges to order DDS to reinstate or revoke driver’s licenses as a reward or sanction for actions in accountability court. 
  • Allows courts to grant petitions for early termination of probation under certain conditions.
  • Caps supervision fees collected on pay-only probation
  • Authorizes DCH to share prescription drug monitoring database with federal agents and certain out-of-state monitoring programs.
  • Allows Technical College System police officers to arrest for offenses committed on or within 500 feet of a Technical College System property.
Child Support Update
State child support laws now mirror federal requirements with the passage of Senate Bill 427 . Under the bill, courts will now consider earnings, income and ability to pay child support for those ordered to do so. If a parent fails to produce evidence of their earnings, then income for the current year may be used in hearings. Furthermore, if the parent is incarcerated, their income may be assigned based off actual income and assets available, not pre-incarceration wages. SB 427 also prohibits courts from treating incarceration as voluntary unemployment when setting the child support amount. Further, the bill also provides that a child’s enrollment in a public health care program may satisfy the health care requirement in providing the child's health care.
Education
Educational options for our students is a top priority as we approved Senate Bill 401. This bill requires postsecondary institutions, providing dual credit courses, to submit student record participation data to the Office of Student Achievement in order to measure and evaluate the program on an annual basis. The bill also requires that middle and high school students be provided with counseling and information to assist in evaluating their career orientated aptitudes. The bill also allows funding for students taking dual credit courses at eligible postsecondary institutions utilizing nonstandard term systems, such as Georgia Military College. 
Rural Broadband Efforts
The last week of session also brought forth more legislation regarding rural broadband. House Resolution 1698 urges the House Rural Development Council (RDC) to explore ways to use of public rights-of-ways while preserving local control and fair compensation. The resolution also urges the RDC to examine new pole rates, rentals and pole ownership to level the playing field among communication service providers.

Senate Bill 426 authorizes electric membership corporations (EMC) to supply and operate broadband services in rural counties with a population of 50,000 or less if the EMC secures a certificate of authority from the Public Service Commission. 
Sponsored Legislation
Special thanks to my General Assembly colleagues who showed great support and commitment to bettering state policy through the passage of House Bill 749 and House Bill 64.

House Bill 749 , which exempts compensation benefits of spouses and dependents of deceased veterans from state income tax, further shows our military families how much we value their service and sacrifice.

House Bill 64 also puts our citizens first by ensuring all Georgians have an advocate through local insurance agents who work hard to protect our healthcare plans.

VECTR Funding
Thank you to our friend and colleague, Senator Larry Walker, who pushed for an additional $2 million in funding through the Senate to ensure state allocation for the Georgia Veterans Education Career Transition Resource Center. Our local delegation, chaired by Rep. Heath Clark, worked very hard on these expansion efforts that will help provide more services to Veterans in Georgia.

Our local delegation works tirelessly in unison to ensure that our region of the state is the best place to live, work and raise a family. This session was the last for two of our senior colleagues, who have shown us great leadership over the years. Sincere thanks to Representatives Bubber Epps and Buddy Harden for their service over the years. They will be greatly missed.

As every session brings thousands of bills for review, it is humbling for any bill, we work on as a local delegation, to receive due process into final passage. We will now work with Governor Deal to address any concerns or questions he may have before signing these measures into law.

The last few days of session brought the end of an era in our great state, with the passing of Governor Zell Miller. Governor Miller was beloved by all, setting the gold standard of true statesmanship. Wednesday, March 28th, Governor Miller lay in state under the Gold Dome, as thousands of Georgian's paid their respects.
Proud to welcome our own Sonny Perdue, United States Secretary of Agriculture,
under the Gold Dome!
Through the course of the 2017-2018 legislative session, our chamber considered over one thousand House bills. While it has been a productive session, we look forward to resuming service in our district. If you have questions or concerns regarding legislation, please feel free to contact our office anytime. Thank you so much for allowing me the honor of representing your voice on Capitol Hill as we work to ensure simple, smart and effective government.

Respectfully,
Shaw Blackmon
Representative of Georgia's 146th House District

 
Representative Shaw Blackmon
District 146
Email: Shaw.Blackmon@house.ga.gov
Phone: 404-656-0177
Address: 501-E Coverdell Legislative Office Building
Atlanta, Georgia 30334


Rep. Shaw Blackmon represents District 146. He currently serves as a Deputy Whip and as a member of Ways & Means, Economic Development and Tourism, Special Rules, Insurance and
Governmental Affairs Committees. Shaw is also a member of the Military Affairs Working Group.