Ga. Capitol roundup: Governor weighs bills on to-go cocktails, parental leave and more

Gov. Brian Kemp
Gov. Brian Kemp(WRDW)
Published: Mar. 29, 2021 at 4:16 PM EDT
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ATLANTA - Georgia diners could permanently order mixed alcoholic drinks to go when ordering food under a measure that passed the General Assembly on Monday.

The House voted 120-48 for Senate Bill 236, sending it to Gov. Brian Kemp for his approval or veto.

Georgia lawmakers already agreed to allow restaurants to sell beer or wine to go.

The drinks would have to be packaged in tamper-proof containers with no straw holes.

They would have to be transported in a vehicle’s trunk, glove compartment or behind the last seats.

Only two drinks per entree could be ordered.

Local governments could still prohibit such sales.

The measure would take effect as soon as the governor signs it.

Lawmakers approve paid parental leave for state workers

ATLANTA - A plan to give Georgia state workers, teachers and university employees three weeks of paid parental leave has passed the General Assembly.

The House voted Monday to agree to changes to House Bill 146 made by the Senate, sending it to Gov. Brian Kemp for his signature or veto.

Nearly 250,000 workers could be eligible for the leave after the birth, adoption or foster placement of a child.

House Speaker David Ralston, a Blue Ridge Republican, has made the measure a priority. A similar bill nearly passed last year but failed on the last day of the session in the Senate.

Currently, state employees in Georgia are eligible for 12 weeks of unpaid leave as required by federal law.

Georgia lawmakers pass special education voucher expansion

ATLANTA - More special education students would be eligible for subsidies to attend private schools under a plan passing the General Assembly.

The Senate voted 30-18 on Monday to approve House changes made to  Senate Bill 47, sending it to Gov. Brian Kemp for his signature or veto.

Georgia’s special needs scholarship program grants money to about 5,000 students with individualized education plans who left public schools.

The bill would expand eligibility to public school students who have Section 504 accommodation plans. Opponents say it’s unclear if the program works and that it drains money from public schools.

Lawmakers endorse higher penalties for drag racing

ATLANTA - Georgia lawmakers are enacting heavier penalties on street racing, saying they’re reacting to an outbreak of drag racing and stunt driving during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, when traffic thinned on roads.

The Senate voted 46-3 on Monday to give final approval to House Bill 534, which would require at least 10 days of jail time for all convictions and would call for someone convicted a third time within five years to forfeit their vehicle.

The measure goes to Gov. Brian Kemp for his signature.

The Republican governor is among those who’s called for a crackdown.

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