House Bill 838, sponsored by Shaw Blackmon, got a do pass recommendation this morning in the Senate Insurance and Labor committee. The vote was 4-2, with Senators Josh McKoon and Burt Jones voting no. The bill provides for a minimum commission percentage for health insurance policies, and was co-sponsored by House Rules Committee Chairman John Meadows.
Following a hearing on Monday on the bill, four members of the committee recused themselves from voting on whether to advance the measure, citing a conflict of interest because they sold health insurance. After an investigation into parliamentary procedure, it was decided that those excused didn’t count for purposes of a quorum. To ensure the necessary number of members to get a quorum, senators Lindsey Tippins and Bruce Thompson attended ex-officio.
As the AJC reported on Sunday, passing the bill was of interest to Meadows, who is an insurance agent. Gold Dome observers noted that today’s House Rules Calendar is notably short, despite plenty of bills that originated in the upper chamber.
Prior to the vote, Sen. McKoon said he didn’t want to be pressured to vote on a measure, saying legislation should be considered on its merits. Jones expressed concern that the measure showed favoritism to the insurance industry but not to the average Georgian. He pointed out that the Senate refused to act on a measure that would have increased the minimum wage.
With the measure safely on the way to the Senate Rules Committee, it’s logical to expect more Senate bills to end up on the House calendar for Tuesday, Day 39. Don’t be surprised if a supplemental calendar is added later today in the House, both to include Senate bills not placed on the main calendar, but also to add Senate Bill 369, which has become the session’s MARTA vehicle and got a do pass recommendation yesterday afternoon. that measure would provide for a vote in the city of Atlanta for a sales tax up to 1/2 of one percent for transit, and a referendum in Fulton county outside of Atlanta for a 3/4 percent sales tax over five years that could be used to improve transportation infrastructure.