Sine Die 2016: Clock ticking for Georgia legislature

Lawmakers will have a long day under the Gold Dome as they push for last-minute legislation on the final day of the general assembly. (Source: WALB)
Lawmakers will have a long day under the Gold Dome as they push for last-minute legislation on the final day of the general assembly. (Source: WALB)

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Thursday is Sine Die Day under the Gold Dome.

Georgia lawmakers will be busy on the 40th and final day of the general assembly trying to push through some last-minute legislation.

Lawmakers will continue to debate a bill that will make changes to the state fireworks law.

The legislation will set new limits on when and where fireworks can be set off, and give local officials more control to decide their own firework restrictions in the community.

These regulations are likely to pass, but lawmakers are likely to wrap up the day without passing legislation to legalize temporary selling locations. This would affect mom and pop shops that want to sell fireworks out of parking lot tents and stands.

A number of bills did not make it to the 40th day, including a set of measures to legalize casino gambling in Georgia. The bill would allow four casinos in the state with 90 percent of revenue going to education.

The vote on that legislation was delayed in February, so the bill was not passed by the House by the Crossover Day deadline. It will not be on the table for lawmakers to debate on Wednesday.

Several bills have already passed in the 2016 session and await the signature of Governor Nathan Deal.

House Bill 757, also known as the religious freedom bill, has faced a lot of controversy. The pressure is now on Governor Deal to either veto or sign it into law.

Under terms of the bill, religious officials will not be required to perform same sex marriages if it conflicts with their beliefs.

Critics say it legalizes discrimination against the LGBT community and could cause backlash that will hurt the state and local economy.

Deal has until May 3 to make a decision.

A bill to grow the size of the state Supreme Court also sits on the governor's desk. That legislation would raise the number of justices from seven to nine.

If passed, Governor Deal would appoint the justices that would fill the new seats. The measure would also place stricter limits on the types of cases the court will hear.

Governor Deal is wanting changes to be made to the campus carry bill that was passed by the state legislature.

The bill would let licensed concealed gun owners to carry anywhere on a public college or university campus, except at on-campus housing and athletic events.

The governor has expressed concerns about on-campus child care centers and high school students joint-enrolled in college courses. The Senate declined to make those suggested changes Tuesday.

Lawmakers will begin their day at 10 a.m. Wednesday and will likely continue through midnight.

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