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State tries to cap pill mills
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The General Assembly passed HB 284, known as “The Return to Play Act of 2013,” to help raise awareness of concussions in youth sports, and give better protection to kids suffering from concussions. HB 284 requires that all local school boards, public and private, and sports leagues send out an information sheet pointing out the signs and risks associated with concussions before a child participates in a sanctioned sport.

Coaches will be required to remove children from games if they are experiencing concussion-like symptoms, and the children must then be cleared by a health care provider to return to play.  Coaches also must be educated on the symptoms of concussions, to help them better understand when their players are at risk. “The Return to Play Act” requires the Department of Public Health to provide a concussion education course to educate the citizens of Georgia about the danger of concussions. It becomes effective Jan. 1, 2014.

State cracks down on illegal pain management clinics
HB 178, known as “The Pain Management Clinic Act,” is aimed at targeting illegal pain management clinics that provide highly addictive pain pills to the general population. The problem has escalated in Georgia due to our bordering states regulating pain management clinics. HB 78 gives the Georgia Composite Medical Board authority to regulate and license pain management clinics and pain management physicians. HB 178 requires that the owners of any new pain management clinics must be certified physicians. Regulating pain management clinics will help curb the flow of pain pills to non-prescription holders. The licensing requirement effective July 1, 2013.

Bills passed by the General Assembly
HB 244 - Establishes a uniform statewide annual evaluation system for teachers of tested subjects and school leaders to be implemented by the 2014-15 school year. The board of education is given the authority to develop the evaluation system, which will focus on growth in academic achievement. 
SB 97 - Creates the Agricultural Commodity Commission for Beef and allows for the review of existing commodity commissions every three years.
HB 298 - Creates the Agricultural Commodity Commission for Georgia-Grown Products.
HB 338 - Creates the Georgia Council of the Arts to promote art as an important factor in economic development and tourism in the state of Georgia, and reduces the size of the council to nine members. HB 338 also establishes the azalea as the official Georgia state wildflower.
SB 212 - Requires that schools which teach grades nine-12 present a program on CPR and the use of automated external defibrillators.
HB 70 - Allows the state Board of Education to require local school boards to expedite the development of a student’s IED, as well as allowing the board to waive the prior year public school attendance requirement for qualifying for a Georgia Special Needs Scholarship.
HB 131 - Requires that dual-credit courses be treated the same as AP courses when determining HOPE eligibility.
HB 350 - Requires employees of childcare centers to go through criminal background checks. Previously only the directors were required to undergo background checks.
HB 193 - Renews a former exemption for sales taxes to non-profit health centers, volunteer health clinics, food banks, prepared food for non-profit agencies and during natural disasters. HB 193 also reinstates the Georgia sales tax holiday for the first week of August 2013.
HB 210 - Ratifies the governor’s executive order that suspended the automatic increase of the gas tax due to price fluctuation.
HB 463 - Increases the annual registration fee for motor vehicles licenses which register under the International Registration Plan. Tries to make taxation and registration of trucks easier, so that companies will register their vehicles in Georgia instead of other states. Effective Jan. 1, 2014.
SB 14 - Creates the Georgia Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias State Plan Task Force to formulate a comprehensive state plan to address Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

In the next few weeks, more legislative review, FY 2014 budget review and March state revenues.

If you would like additional information regarding a specific piece of legislation, you may access the Georgia General Assembly Web site at

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