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Slow poke bill moves ahead
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The Georgia General Assembly surpassed the halfway point of our 40 legislative days under the Gold Dome last week, with 18 days of session remaining in the 2013 legislative session.  This week I introduced two pieces of legislation (HB 459 and HB 368) and some of the bills passed by the full House are listed below.

One of the bills I sponsored is HB 459, which I am referring to as the “slow poke” bill.  This legislation relates to driving in the left lane on four-lane highways and failing to move right when a faster vehicle approaches from the rear. While we all appreciate the caution of slower drivers and those driving below the posted speed limit, this bill encourages them to give right of way to faster vehicles and not impede the flow of traffic.

Another bill I sponsored this week was House Bill 368. This legislation pertains to the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) and would remove the current licensing requirement for nongovernmental rescue organizations, groups, teams, search and rescue dog teams, and individuals by the director of GEMA. Also, in the event of a death or disability in the line of duty, the nongovernmental emergency management professionals would be eligible for the same types of compensation as are other personnel, such as firefighters or law enforcement, who are injured or killed in the line of duty.

I also co-sponsored House Bill 255 (passed 165-2) and it would move the responsibility of the administration of the Unified Carrier Registration Act of 2005 from the Department of Revenue to the Department of Public Safety.

Often times, it is difficult to find our insurance card when we need it the most. HB 254 passed unanimously and would allow the electronic image of proof of vehicle insurance to be accepted in lieu of a paper card under certain circumstances, such as with new policies, the purchase of a new vehicle, fleet policies, etc.

In an effort to prevent health care professionals, which care for our loved ones in nursing homes, from contracting the flu virus, the House passed HB 208 (passed 118-40). The flu can sometimes be very severe for our seniors and this bill would require nursing homes to offer annual influenza vaccinations free to health care workers and employees.

House Bill 235 passed unanimously and relates to optometrists and the eye care for the citizens of Georgia. This legislation allows the prescription of oral steroids for treatment, permits the continued use of hydrocodone by optometrists, prohibits the administration of pharmaceutical agents via injection, and requires that optometrists 65 years old and older be required to continue educational requirements.

On Friday, a conference committee was created between the House and Senate for the amended fiscal year 2013 budget, which ends on June 30. This conference committee will discuss the differences in the amended budget and will work together to come to an agreement that balances the budget, while ensuring the most important priorities are funded.

The General Assembly returned to the Gold Dome on Monday for the 23rd day of the 2013 legislative session. I will keep you apprised of important legislation that affects your families, your freedoms, and your pocketbooks. Working with and alongside the other members of both the House and Senate, your best interests will always remain my first priority.

Please let me know if I can ever be of assistance to you or your family. Please feel welcome to write to me at: 501 Coverdell Legislative Office Bldg., Atlanta, GA 30334, email me at, or call my office at (404) 656-0178.