The Georgia General Assembly saw the completion of the 22nd day of the 2013 legislative session, officially crossing through the mid-way point of this legislative season. On Friday, the House passed a motion to insist on the changes made by the House to the Amended 2013 Budget (the “little” budget). This annual ritual ultimately begins the process of setting up a Conference Committee between the two chambers in order to work through the differences and come to a final agreement. The House has also already started the committee hearings and budget process for the upcoming Fiscal Year 2014 “big” budget. Legislative highlights this week are included below.
Two bills I have sponsored are moving through the House committee process and I will describe these pieces of legislation in detail in the coming weeks. One relates to uniform, statewide performance evaluations for elementary and secondary educators and administrators and the other seeks to reduce the illegal dumping of scrap tires by addressing the process of transportation, storage, and disposal. Each of these bills has passed its respective committee and now is in the Rules committee. I anticipate having them up for a vote before the full House in a few days.
HB 178, the Georgia Pain Management Clinic Act, passed the House 150 to 15. This Act would provide state administrative control, oversight, and regulation of pain management clinics in Georgia. The intent of this legislation is to prevent and restrict those pain management clinics that are operating as “pill mills.”
House Bill 209 passed unanimously and is a clean-up bill regarding the requirements for what is allowable by a pharmacy as a prescription pad. This measure will permit the acceptance of either Georgia paper or the official security paper by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as approved prescription pads.
House Bill 246 passed with only one dissenting vote and would allow the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) Authority the power to provide flexible benefits to its officers and employers, as they are no longer part of the state employee benefits program. This flexibility and benefits package would be a recruitment tool to attract world class talent for employment by the GWCC.
Park rangers are vital to monitoring and preserving the beauty and health of our parks and wildlife across Georgia. House Bill 126 passed 167 to 2 and would create a misdemeanor or felony charge for any person obstructing or hindering the official duties of a park ranger.
House Bill 274 passed unanimously and would allow the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to regulate the sport of falconry in our state. It would also repeal the current code section relating to the practice of falconry, replacing it with a new section requiring a valid falconry permit in order for anyone to trap, take, transport, or possess raptors for falconry. Without this legislation, the sport of falconry in Georgia could potentially be taken away and this bill will ensure protection of falconry in our state.
A significant piece of consumer protection legislation that passed this week was House Bill 234. It passed 167 to 2 and would require that notice be given to consumers prior to the automatic renewal of a service contract. The notice would be given between 30-60 days prior to the renewal of the contract, giving the consumer adequate time and notice to decide whether or not to continue the agreement.
The Georgia General Assembly will continue day twenty-three of the 2013 Legislative Session on Monday, February 25th. Please contact me with your ideas and opinions or if I can be of service to you in anyway. It is your input and common sense ideas that develop into the best legislation and potentially becomes the laws of our State. If you would like to reach me, please call me at (404) 656-5087 or write to me at: State Rep. Randy Nix, 18 Capitol Square, Suite 402 CLOB State Capitol, Atlanta, GA 30334 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.