With Crossover Day behind us, last week, the House and Senate focused their efforts on vetting legislation through the committee process. With only eight legislative days left, much work remains ahead of us!
On Thursday, I had the honor of being recognized by the Georgia Water Coalition as one of their 2018 “Clean 13” honorees for my work on conservation and environmental stewardship. I was humbled to receive this honor in recognition of my efforts to pass the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Act in 2018 as well as my work to ensure better coordinated state responses to environmental disasters.
In this week’s newsletter, I want to discuss a few of the bills the House passed last week ahead of Crossover:
House Bill 324: Known as the “Georgia’s Hope Act,” allows for the production, manufacturing and dispensing of low THC cannabis oil in Georgia. Georgia currently allows for the use of low THC cannabis oil for the treatment of 16 chronic diseases — including cancer, seizure disorders, Parkinson’s disease and Multiple Sclerosis.
Currently, patients approved to use low THC cannabis oil cannot access this treatment in Georgia. HB 324 implements the necessary licensing and regulatory framework to enable the secure production and distribution of medical cannabis oil.
House Bill 247: House Bill 247 provides that all forms of battery against an elderly person 65 or older is a felony and updates the definition of exploitation to include the illegal taking of resources belonging to a disabled adult or elder person when access to those resources was obtained because of the victim’s incapacity. Further, this bill empowers law enforcement to conduct inspections of unlicensed personal care homes.
House Bill 424: This legislation builds on the important work of our caucus to fight sex trafficking and protect the victims of this horrible crime. Unfortunately, our state has become ground-zero in the fight against human trafficking thanks, in part, to the heavy international traffic at the Atlanta airport. HB 424 adds the offenses of trafficking persons for labor or sexual servitude and keeping a place of prostitution, pimping, and pandering to the list of offenses defined as criminal gang activity.
House Bill 514: House Bill 514 creates the Georgia Behavioral Health Reform and Innovation Commission for the purpose of conducting a comprehensive review of the behavioral and mental health system in Georgia. The commission would also study the impacts of behavioral health disorders on children and adults, the systemic barriers to mental health treatment, and the shortage of mental health providers in Georgia. With the increased focus on mental illness across our country, this commission is of vital importance as we seek to ensure those suffering can get the care they deserve.
As we work hard in the days ahead to strengthen Georgia families and businesses, please do not hesitate to call (404.656.5052), e-mail (Jon.Burns@House.Ga.Gov) or engage on Facebook with your feedback. It is an honor to represent you in the General Assembly, and I look forward to seeing you soon.
Rep. Jon Burns
Georgia General Assembly