• State lawmakers pass controversial bills at end of session

    By: Tony Thomas


    ATLANTA - The Georgia legislature wrapped up its session on Thursday by passing some controversial bills in the final minutes. 

    Lawmakers toughened the state’s abortion laws to ban abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy, except for situations where doctors say the fetus would not survive.
    During the vote, some female legislators turned their backs on speakers in the House chambers and wrapped themselves in yellow caution tape.
    Outside, protesters chanted, "Women will remember in November."
    But the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Doug McKillip (R – Athens) said the law will save lives.
    "What we have done here today stops all convenience abortions after 20 weeks," McKillip said.
    Lawmakers also passed a bill requiring drug testing for welfare recipients and reduced the benefits for the unemployed.
    Despite all the controversy, a bill banning picketing in front of private residences was not voted on.

    Union members, Occupy Atlanta members, and even tea partiers celebrated together in an unusual coalition.
    "We the people won another one in defeating 469!" said tea party member Debbie Dooley.
    After the session wrapped up, House Speaker David Ralston reflected on the past few weeks.
    "When I think of this session, I'm going to think about tax reform and the initiatives that are going to make Georgia more competitive." Ralston said.
    This is an election year for every lawmaker in the House and Senate. They now head back to their districts -- campaigning on what happened and did not happen under the Gold Dome.

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    State lawmakers pass controversial bills at end of session