Today the Georgia State Senate passed several bills to address issues that were outlined as Majority Caucus priorities before the start of the 2020 legislative session. 
First, the Senate passed SB 359, the Surprise Billing Consumer Protection Act, sponsored by Sen. Chuck Hufstetler (R-Rome). This legislation provides consumer protections against surprise billing and establishes mechanisms for resolving payment disputes between insurers and out-of-network providers. The bill passed the Senate unanimously today and now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration. 
“Surprise billing plagues our healthcare system and presents extraordinary burdens for many Georgians every year,” said Hufstetler. “We want patients to focus on getting well following a procedure, not worrying about whether they will face an enormous unexpected bill related to complicated network coverage. I’ve seen firsthand how surprise billing can be detrimental to families, and I appreciate my Senate colleagues joining me in supporting this legislation to stop surprise billing and keep the consumer out of the middle of this complicated system.”
Second, the Senate passed SB 302, the Tax Credit Return on Investment Act of 2020. This legislation, sponsored by Sen. John Albers (R-Alpharetta), would allow the chairpersons of the House Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate Finance Committee to request economic analyses detailing the return on investments of tax incentives offered by the state. 
“We are enormously proud that Georgia has been named the No. 1 state for business for seven years in a row and we want to see this success continue, as this ranking translates to new opportunities and meaningful jobs for Georgians,” said Albers. “With the Tax Credit Return on Investment Act of 2020, we’ve worked closely with Gov. Brian Kemp and others to produce legislation that will ensure tax incentives provide the best possible return for the state. With generous tax credits to encourage business growth, it’s important that communities see new jobs and investment as a result of the credits offered; this legislation provides the necessary transparency to ensure Georgians in every ZIP code see the benefits of our tax credit infrastructure.”
SB 302 unanimously passed the Senate today, and the bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration. 
Third, the Senate passed SB 341, the Public Safety Assistance Act, sponsored by Sen. Randy Robertson (R-Cataula). This bill would allow retired peace officers or correctional officers to return to service during a disaster, state of emergency or events requiring large numbers of safety personnel. Under the legislation, when a sheriff, local public safety director or the governor declares a state of emergency, local law enforcement units may supplement personnel by requesting retired officers to return to service for the duration of the emergency.
“SB 341 will help keep communities safe in times of crisis by giving more flexibility to local law enforcement when public safety is most at risk and lives may be in jeopardy,” said Robertson. “I hope this legislation will move quickly to Gov. Kemp’s desk, as retired law enforcement officers have put their lives on the line for their communities for years; the Public Safety Assistance Act would allow them to continue demonstrating their commitment to service when they are needed most. Protecting the public is always the first concern of law enforcement officers, even those in retirement, and this legislation will ensure that local emergency agencies can find capable support, not red tape, when requesting assistance during times of disaster or an emergency.”
SB 341 would require retired officers to meet specific qualifications and undergo annual training for eligibility to ensure they are up-to-date with regulations and procedures. The bill today passed the Senate by a vote of 54 to 0, and now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration. 
“Today was a very productive day for Senate Republicans, as we have prioritized lowering the costs of healthcare, growing the economy and creating jobs, and keeping our communities safe – and today we delivered on some of our top priorities,” said Senate Majority Leader Mike Dugan (R-Carrollton). “I appreciate the Republican senators who spent weeks and months listening to constituents, meeting with stakeholders and painstakingly preparing legislation that will improve the lives of citizens across the state. It’s important that we take on the tough issues that matter most, and I look forward to the House’s favorable consideration of our legislative priorities.”