Senate Bill 98 also prohibits any state employee health plan from offering abortion coverage except in the case of a medical emergency. Last year, Gov. Nathan Deal worked with the board of the Department of Community Health to implement a policy banning coverage of abortions in the state employee plan unless the life of the mother is in danger. The bill would put that action into law.
Legislators have largely avoided bills having to do with illegal immigration since passing a sweeping crackdown in 2011, but two pieces of legislation have passed committee and could come up for a vote in the Senate on Monday.
Senate Bill 404 would deny Georgia driver's licenses to immigrants who have been granted deferred action status, which allows them to stay in the country temporarily and get a work permit. Meanwhile, Senate Resolution 1031 would propose a constitutional amendment to declare English as the official language of the state of Georgia and would require driver's license exams to be given only in English. Currently, the on-the-road driving test and the signs section of the written test are conducted in English only, but the written road rules section is offered in English and 11 other languages.
If the resolution gets a two-thirds vote in both chambers of the Legislature, the proposed constitutional amendment would be on the ballot for voters to consider.
Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft are fighting legislation that would regulate their services.
Proponents of Republican Rep. Alan Powell's bill say it would impose minimum safety and other standards on rideshare drivers and vehicles. The ridesharing companies, which allow drivers to order a ride using their cell phones, say the proposed rules are really meant to make it tougher for them to enter the market in Atlanta and protect existing taxi and limousine companies.
A bill with bipartisan support would call for a statue of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to be placed on the grounds of the Capitol or another prominent location.
House Bill 1080 has several sponsors including Rep. Calvin Smyre, R-Columbus, House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, D-Atlanta and House Majority Leader Larry O'Neal, R-Bonaire. The bill has passed out of committee and is expected to reach a vote in the House on Monday.
Earlier, Gov. Nathan Deal had said he would work to find a way to honor King at the Capitol. Currently, a portrait of King is the only tribute.
MEDICAL MALPRACTICE REFORM
A bill to reform the state's medical malpractice system has yet to advance and is unlikely to come up for a floor vote on Monday.
Senate Bill 141, also known as the "Patient Injury Act," would move medical malpractice claims out of the courts and into an administrative system. It would establish a Patient Compensation Board within the Department of Community Health to oversee the system and patients would submit claims directly to an Office of Medical Review.
Lawmakers studied the measure over the summer but it has not moved out of committee. The Medical Association of Georgia and the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association oppose the reform, saying it will increase costs.