- Associated Press - Friday, March 11, 2016

ATLANTA (AP) - The Latest on key developments at the Georgia Capitol (all times local):

12:15 p.m.

Georgians with terminal illnesses may soon have expanded access to emerging treatments methods.

The Senate unanimously approved a bill on Tuesday that has been referred to as the “Right to Try” law. If signed by Gov. Nathan Deal, the bill would provide access to drugs, medical devices and treatments that have completed the first phase of a federal trial and remain under study.

Similar legislation has been passed in more than 20 states. Rep. Mike Dudgeon, a Republican from Johns Creek, sponsored the bill. Dudgeon introduced the bill during the 2015 session but it failed to get a vote by the full House last year.



The proposal now goes to Deal’s desk.

___

11:30 a.m.

Several Georgia lawmakers are defending a Georgia Baptist official, a day after House members blasted him for comparing them to Hitler.

Mike Griffin, also the lobbyist for the Georgia Baptist Convention, has been an outspoken supporter of a bill granting legal exemptions to individuals and organizations that oppose same-sex marriage.

State Sen. Josh McKoon, R-Columbus, said Friday that House members are trying to deflect criticism for not acting on the bill.

In an article published last week by a Christian publication, Griffin wrote that Hitler told faith leaders to “leave government to me.”

“Pastors, this is happening before our eyes today!” he added.

The mention of Hitler was later removed.

House Republicans, including Speaker David Ralston, criticized Griffin’s remarks on Thursday. Ralston said it could make any discussions on a compromise difficult.

___

9 a.m.

Georgia teachers may soon see changes in how they are evaluated.

A House committee unanimously approved a bill that decreases the importance of students’ performance on standardized tests in annual evaluations for public school teachers.

The bill was sponsored by Sen. Lindsey Tippins, a Marietta Republican. The bill’s passage was viewed as a major victory by supporters in the education field, who had called for revisions to the state’s current scoring system.

If signed into law, the bill will also move the assessment window back as far in the school year as possible for teachers, principals and vice principals. This would provide more time for schools to prepare students for state evaluation.

The bill could make it to the Senate floor for a vote next week.

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