First day of the 2020 session

2020欧冠名单The Capitol Building bustles with lawmakers and lobbyists on the first day of the 2020 legislative session in Atlanta on Jan. 13. 

ATLANTA — A handful of bills passed out of the Senate Monday in nearly unanimous votes. Bills addressing coal ash dumping, surprise billing and tax credits will now move to the House.

‘Surprise billing’ bill passed unanimously

After various legislative fixes for surprise medical billing through both chambers this session, the Senate unanimously passed on Monday.

2020欧冠名单The Surprise Billing Consumer Protection Act introduced by Sen. Chuck Hufstetler, chair of the Finance Committee, would establish consumer protections against surprise bills for medical services.

Surprise billing is when a patient thinks their medical services are in-network of their insurance provider but are hit with large post-care bills from speciality providers that are contracted with the hospital but out-of-network.

2020欧冠名单The unanimously passed legislation would mandate billing off of a price list of what government-regulated insurance companies have predetermined in their contracts for emergency and non-emergency services. The State Department of Insurance would be required to create a health claims database.

2020欧冠名单“This is a very carefully crafted solution with many, many hours of work by the governor’s staff, the lieutenant governor’s staff, the House and the Senate, the medical association of Georgia , Georgia hospital association and our insurers,” Hufstetler, said.

In emergency situations, he said, consumers are completely protected from surprise bills under the legislation.

Tax break analysis bill passed unanimously

Legislation that requires the governor’s Office of Planning and Budget to at the request of lawmakers passed unanimously on the Senate floor.

The legislation, known as Senate Bill 302, sponsored by Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell, vice-chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, is making its way through the Statehouse again after being vetoed by the governor last session.

2020欧冠名单In the bill, Chairpersons of the House Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate Finance Committee can request up to five tax benefit audits each year.

A new provision, on the terms of Gov. Brian Kemp’s veto, would require contracting independent auditors to complete the reports by Dec. 1 of each year. Each request is limited to one specific exemption, exclusion or deduction from regular tax rate.

2020欧冠名单“A much perfected bill and a better way for us to approve the return and make sure we have some transparency in government,” Albers said on the floor.

Higher fees for coal ash storage passed

Public calls for lawmakers to address coal ash pollution problems has propelled legislation through the Statehouse.

2020欧冠名单The Senate passed the legislation, in a 52-2 vote, to raise the surcharge for coal ash dumping by $1.50 per ton. Coal ash currently costs less per ton to dump in the state's landfills than everyday garbage.

Under current policy, Sen. William Ligon, R-White Oak, said, coal ash stored in Georgia is being subsidized.

Ligon, who sponsored the bill, said that hopefully the effort will curb disposal of coal ash from out of state in Georgia landfills.

Residents of Juliette, Ga. at the same time protested contamination of their well water from coal ash — demanding action from lawmakers and the governor.