State lawmakers look at 'Life Act'

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Georgia lawmakers plan to work into the night to meet an important deadline.  Day 28 is Crossover Day and bills must be approved in one chamber or the other to have any hope of becoming law this year without some sort of legislative creativity.

After more than two hours of debate, the State Senate approved legislation to create the "Georgia Major Airport Authority," which would give the state oversight of Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Airport.  The measure passed 34-22. 

The bill's sponsors said it was crafted to help minimize the corruption that has plagued the City of Atlanta. 

"Someone should look into those instances that have been going on there causing so much I guess, really embarassment to the State of Georgia as whole," said State Senator Burt Jones, R- Jackson. 

Opponents, however, called it a power and money grab by the state.

"We are going down a slippery slope and the airport belongs to the City of Atlanta," said State Sen. Nikema Williams, D- Atlanta.  "I hope that my colleagues that voted for this bill are hearing from their counterparts in the municipalities that they represent because as I always say, today it's Atlanta; tomorrow it could be them or anyone else." 

In the House of Representatives, much of the attention has been focused on the possibility of an abortion bill coming to the floor for a vote.  The "LIFE Act," also known as the "Heartbeat Bill" would outlaw abortions in Georgia after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, which is around six weeks’ gestation. 

"This is a powerful moment in Georgia. It’s bigger than politics and partisanship. Let’s champion life today and ensure that all Georgians - including the unborn - have the chance to live, grow, and prosper," said Governor Brian Kemp, R-Georgia, in a video statement Thursday afternoon.

Members of the House Democratic Caucus held a news conference with physicians and advocates speaking out against the measure.

"This ban pretty much bans abortion in the State of Georgia.  At six weeks, many people don't even know that they are pregnant," said Dr. Atsuko Koyama.  "It's a total disgrace and [...] I have patients who take it upon themselves to have an abortion.  So, banning all abortion in Georgia does not make it so women will not seek the service.  It just makes it unsafe." 

The LIFE Act is not currently on the House rules calendar for a vote but could be added before the clock strikes midnight. 

Members of the Senate also approved the "Tim Tebow Act," which would allow home-schooled students to participate in sports and extracurricular activities at their assigned public school. 

The House of Representatives passed legislation that requires law enforcement agencies to preserve sexual assault evidence kits as long as a case remains unsolved.