In Atlanta, William Ligon will be
an advocate for the conservative
principles of limited government,
       lower taxes, free enterprise,
              individual liberties, and
                               family values.
Paid for by the William Ligon Campaign Committee
Senator William Ligon, 121-H State Capitol, Atlanta, GA 30334
Atlanta: (404) 463-1383     Brunswick: (912) 261-2263    Email: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

(ATLANTA - March 8, 2019) The first major deadline of the legislative session is behind us, and all of the bills that can be signed by the governor after we adjourn Sine Die have passed their respective chamber and crossed over to the other. There were several measures that passed this week that will have a direct impact on our district and others that I believe everyone should know about, regardless of where you live. Here are a few of the 60-plus pieces of legislation that were passed on the Senate floor this week.
Legislative Action in the Senate - Week 8
Senate Bill 157 would establish a deposit placement program that gives local banks the option to secure public funds through the use of third party collateral. This third party would place the deposit into accounts that are fully insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. This is a great way to help our small, local banks serve their communities.
A measure that will help protect consumers from surprise billing passed this week. Senate Bill 56 would require hospitals and physicians to make information regarding the providers and standard prices of specific health care services available to the patient. It would also set standards for information that insurers must provide to customers in regards to their health plans. The bill would additionally require health insurance providers to notify patients when emergency health care services are not covered by their insurance and allow for insurance and health care providers to determine the method of compensation for emergency services rendered.
A bill I believe everyone will be happy to hear passed is Senate Bill 77. This bill would prohibit individuals and agencies from damaging, removing or concealing monuments. The two events in which it would be appropriate for relocation of a monument include construction in an area where a monument is currently located or preservation of the monument. In the last year, people have been pushing to move monuments because they represent moments in history some would rather forget, but these monuments serve as vital reminders for us to be better people, make better decisions and to never forget or repeat terrible events of the past. This is a protection for all monuments, including headstones in cemeteries, and I am proud to have supported its passage.
Many of you heard of the Georgia Supreme Court's decision to exclude the refusal to take a breathalyzer from current implied consent provision in a court case regarding DUIs. Senate Bill 208 would revise current implied consent notice to remove the term “breath.” SB 208 would amend the script of the implied consent notice, which is read by a law enforcement officer to those suspected of driving under the influence, by clarifying that only a refusal to submit blood or urine can be used against them in court. This puts our law enforcement officers in line with the Georgia Supreme Court decision.
This week, the last of the three-bill broadband package passed the Senate. Senate Bill 2 would enable Georgia’s 41 Electric Membership Corporations (EMCs) to provide internet services and broadband to their customers directly or indirectly through a broadband affiliate. Under SB 2, EMCs would be prohibited from cross subsidizing their broadband services with any other services they provide, and the Georgia Public Service Commission would handle any disputes between the EMCs and companies they work with to provide broadband services.
Senate Bill 131 would create a state authority to oversee Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport operations. This legislation would enable the proposed authority to contract with the county where the majority of the airport is located for any necessary services. Additionally, under SB 131 members of the General Assembly, the authority or its employees would have to disclose if they have a direct or indirect interest in a contract that is under consideration by the authority. Under SB 131, there are provisions that if the Georgia General Assembly and the City of Atlanta can come to a joint governance plan by July 1, 2020, the creation of the authority would be dissolved. The Georgia Ports Authority is a similar governing body, and this airport oversight authority would help reduce corruption and increase efficiency in many sectors, including contracting and land procurement.
School choice is a matter that comes up almost every year. Senate Bill 163 would allow students who are home schooled to participate in extracurricular and interscholastic activities in the student’s designated public school system. The bill also outlines eligibility requirements and school systems’ limitations. Parents of home schooled children pay property taxes which fund public schools, and I believe this measure will allow their children to benefit from programs their tax dollars are supporting.
Senate Bill 167 would require the Department of Family and Child Services (DFCS) to include relatives or fictive kin during their search to house a child. SB 167 would also provide that, if after a thorough search no family members or fictive kin are found, the court can allow the child to continue to be placed with a foster parent.
Many of the bills that we will hear in committee from now until Sine Die will be House measures. I’m sure you’ve heard of some, including legislation allowing the growing of marijuana in our state and the fetal heartbeat bill. I oppose legislation that expands access to a dangerous substance that has little research to prove that it is medically important. However, I am sure you will agree that protecting our state’s unborn children is a top priority. I look forward to supporting this legislation and sending it to the governor for approval as quickly as possible.