Legislative Notebook: Rush for local laws

March 10, 2014 

State lawmakers who want to make changes and tweaks to the city and county governments at home need to file papers by Thursday or they lose their chance for another year.

Midstate lawmakers are joining the rush.

Macon-Bibb County’s commissioners would be eligible for the same health care benefits as government employees, under House Bill 1133 by state Rep. Nikki Randall, D-Macon.

Another measure puts the Macon Economic Development Commission chairman on the Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority, a move that the sponsor, state Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, said clears up a “discrepancy” over whether the chairman is entitled to a seat on the board.

Meanwhile, Byron visitors would pay a 6 percent hotel tax instead of 5 percent, on the passage of another bill by state Rep. Robert Dickey, R-Musella. Normally a tax hawk, Dickey filed the change upon the unanimous request of Byron City Council, which wants to use the cash to boost tourism.

Higher fines for military miscreants?

The Georgia Code of Military Justice, which governs members of the Georgia National Guard, needs an overhaul, said state Rep. Christian Coomer, R-Cartersville.

“Five and $10 fines ... are no longer effective,” he said of the code, which has laid mostly untouched since the 1950s.

In lieu of a day in jail, for example, the current code allows judges to levy fines on wrongdoers -- but no more than $1 per day.

The state House agreed unanimously Monday, which puts House Resolution 1523 on the governor’s desk. Since it’s a resolution for a House-only committee, it does not need Senate approval.

The House resolution creates a summer study committee to draw up a proposed overhaul to the code.

Remedy for wayward nude selfies

Anybody who’s thinking of getting back at a hated ex by posting nude pictures of them online, complete with name, phone, workplace and other personal information, may want to rethink that idea.

Both the Georgia House and Senate have passed similar versions of a bill making such an action a misdemeanor the first time and a felony worth up to five years’ imprisonment upon a second conviction.

It’s “revenge porn,” said state Sen. Renee Unterman, R-Buford, who carried House Bill 838 through unanimous Senate approval Monday.

Now the House must agree to minor Senate edits to put the bill on Gov. Nathan Deal’s desk.

Telegraph writer Maggie Lee compiled this report.

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