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Medical marijuana bill for children suffering from seizures passes

POSTED: March 10, 2014 7:08 p.m.

The 30th day of the legislation session was considered a victorious one for Georgia families who found a viable solution in medical marijuana for their children who suffer from multiple seizure disorder. These families fought hard for the passage of HB 885, which has become known as “Haleigh’s Hope Act,” named for a young girl who suffers from seizures and whose mother has championed the cause of the benefits of medical cannabis.

The bill passed the House on Crossover Day the last day for legislation be considered and move on to the Senate. The legislation allows for such low amounts of THC, the chemical that causes the “high” in marijuana, that there would be no “high” effect for patients.

However, the medicinal value of the plant is from a chemical called CBD, which is found to significantly relieve the symptoms of this disorder. Legislators overwhelmingly recognized the benefits and safety of this medical solution and I am personally glad to know there is relief in sight for young people who suffer from this terrible illness, particularly those who suffer from Dravet syndrome, a severe and debilitating disorder that results in more than 100 seizures a day.

Also on Monday, the House passed HB 933, which allows for a permanent exemption from sales taxes on parts to repair airplanes. Currently, only the owners of planes registered in other states are eligible for this tax exemption. This exemption will make Georgia more competitive with nearby states like South Carolina and Florida who already have this exclusion in place.

This legislation would result in a huge boon for the state in job creation and one that I strongly support, not only because Savannah has a large airplane facility, but because increased business in our community results in a stronger overall economy for our great state.

For quite some time, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), known most commonly as “Obamacare,” has been making headlines both locally and nationally. This week, the House passed HB 707, which states that no individual may use state resources to support the ACA. In addition, the legislation prohibits a state employee from voicing their support for the ACA during working hours or using government-funded resources in the support of the ACA.

Emotions run high on both sides of the fence regarding the ACA, but regardless of one’s opinion, it makes sound fiscal sense that state employees not waste government resources or time to promote the Affordable Care Act. I will unequivocally support any measure that supports not wasting the state’s money or the hard-earned tax dollars of the good people of Georgia.

Speaking of money, legislation was passed with HB 348 that creates a two-year tax credit to purchase heavy and medium duty alternative fuel vehicles. Each taxpayer is capped at a maximum allowable credit of up to $250,000 per year with a total program cap of $2.5 million per year. This bill is particularly important as we try to move our many fleet vehicles from fossil fuel burning to clean alternatives. This will allow many trucking and industrial businesses who have large fleets of vehicles to help the environment on a schedule that befits their capabilities without a federal-style mandate.

Near the end of the week, the House voted to pass a measure calling for a convention of states to amend the U.S. Constitution. A convention of states is one of two ways the Constitution allows to amend the document. The measure has previously passed the state Senate.

Georgia legislators have taken the lead in calling for a convention of states because we recognize the need for a balanced federal budget. It’s important to note that in order for the Constitution to be amended by a convention of states, such a convention can be convened only when requested by two-thirds of the states. I have always supported and worked for the state to maintain a balanced budget and to function without a deficit. It is my strong belief that it is irresponsible and perilous as a country to run up a deficit that is now in the trillions of dollars.

This country was founded by hard-working, determined individuals who became successful by planning carefully and living within their means. It’s absolutely essential that our federal government run on a balanced budget.

Please let me know if I can be of assistance to you, as we consider legislation that affects your family and future. I can be reached at (404) 656-0178 or by email at My mailing address at the State Capitol is 501 Coverdell Legislative Office Building, Atlanta, GA 30334.


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