(State Senate Photo)
ATLANTA – A proposed amendment to the state constitution that proponents say would have protected Georgians from federal regulations requiring that they purchase a health care plan – or face punishment if they refused – failed to proceed on Wednesday.
But, the state Senate on Thursday passed a bill that offers a similar protection. SB 317 declares that no law can force a Georgia resident to buy health insurance; the legislation now moves to the state House.
On Wednesday all 34 Republicans in the state Senate – but none of the Senate’s 19 Democrats – voted in favor of the “Health Care Freedom of Choice Constitutional Amendment.” To pass, the measure needed a 2/3 majority. Had the General Assembly approved the legislation, voters statewide would have voted on the amendment.
However, state Senators voted 31-16 Thursday in favor of SB 317, News/Talk 750 WSB reported. Since the bill is not proposing amending the state constitution, it did not need a 2/3 majority.
“While I would have preferred to let Georgians vote to have their rights protected in the State Constitution, this legislation will protect Georgians in a similar way,” News/Talk 750 WSB quoted state Sen. Judson Hill, R-Marietta, as saying.