The Georgia General Assembly reconvened last Tuesday for a busy week during which the House considered several important pieces of legislation.
Governor Deal signs amended fiscal year 2016 budget
Governor Nathan Deal signed into law the amended budget for fiscal year 2016. The amended budget prioritizes education investments and authorizes key road improvements in our community and around the state.
House passes fiscal year 2017 budget
On Friday, the General Assembly passed a budget for fiscal year 2017 that increased support for K-12 education, higher education, health care, transportation and economic development. This proposed budget will now go to the Senate for consideration.
Moratorium on eminent domain
I am proud to support HB 1036 introduced by Rep. Bill Hitchens, which calls for a temporary moratorium on use of eminent domain for petroleum pipelines by private companies. This legislation also bars the state from issuing permits or easements to private companies for petroleum pipelines during the moratorium. While the moratorium is in place, HB 1036 would create a State Commission on Petroleum Pipelines to study the legal and regulatory framework, environmental impact, and economic need for petroleum pipelines in Georgia.
Other bills passed by the House this week included:
• HB 847 works to reduce fraud in obtaining food stamps, Medicaid, or public assistance by changing the terminology within Georgia Code and enhancing accountability through the Department of Human Services.
• HB 579 allows any person 16 years or older to drive a farm vehicle on a public road when the operation is connected with agricultural pursuits on a tract of land (or an adjacent tract of land) and the vehicle has a slow-moving vehicle emblem.
• HB 762 makes it unlawful to buy or sell human fetuses in Georgia, and makes such acts punishable by a fine not exceeding $25,000 and/or by imprisonment for one to five years.
• HB 561 designates the adoptable dog, which is defined as a dog in any animal shelter, humane society, or public or private animal refuge that is available for adoption by the general public, as the official state dog of Georgia.
• HB 588 compels retail distributors to require customers to show a valid government ID when purchasing a product containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine. The retail distributor must maintain a record of certain “required information” and track sales using a “real-time electronic logging system.”
• HB 852 authorizes the Department of Public Health to establish, in consultation with the Georgia Coverdell Acute Stroke Registry, one or more additional levels of stroke centers. This bill also promotes the establishment of remote treatment stroke centers to help underserved areas of Georgia.
As always, it is an absolute honor to represent District 159 in the Georgia General Assembly. If I can be of service to you or your loved ones, please do not hesitate to call (404.656.5052), e-mail (Jon.Burns@House.Ga.Gov) or engage on Facebook.