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Firearms bill fails in last-minute bid; still alive for 2014
by Tom Spigolon
March 29, 2013 05:54 AM | 8962 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sponsors failed in a last-minute effort Thursday night to gain passage of a bill to allow firearms in churches and nightclubs in Georgia after they could not gain enough support to bring it to a vote.

However, the bill remains filed and will be available for consideration in the 2014 part of the two-year Georgia General Assembly.

The bill would allow firearms in churches, nightclubs, college campuses other than stadiums or fraternity houses, and unsecured government buildings. It also would give school boards the power to allow administrators to be armed in schools.

In other action Thursday on the Legislature’s final day of the 2013 session, lawmakers:

- Approved a $19.9 billion budget for fiscal year 2014, which begins July 1.

The budget includes enough funding to erase a $225 million deficit in Medicaid, and funds millions in bonds for new college construction projects, including $19.8 million for a new science building at Clayton State University.

However, it does not give raises to state employees, and cuts about $19 million from state technical colleges.

- Approved House Bill 517 to let local governments decide the distance between college campuses and stores selling alcoholic beverages.

Current state law requires 100 yards between such stores and a college campus. However, the bill requires that stores sell non-alcoholic items in at least 85 percent of floor space.

- Approved legislation to give the Georgia Lottery oversight of legal video gaming machines with a portion of proceeds going to the HOPE scholarship.

The bill would allow a lottery-operated electronic monitoring system for money used to operate the machines to gauge whether enough tax was being paid.

Local governments could limit the number of machines at each location to six.

-- Approved a bill to limit a school’s governing authority’s liability if it rents parts of the school building to a public or private entity.

The bill also requires the organization renting the school building to have at least $1 million in liability insurance.

-- Unanimously approved ethics legislation that includes a $75 cap on the value of gifts lobbyists give to lawmakers.

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