Gold Dome Update  
Highlights from the House  
Week Four

On Monday, January 30th, we reconvened for a hectic fourth week of our 2017 Session. Several committee and Subcommittee hearings met to diligently work through various bills, including measures dealing with public safety and agriculture.  

Public Safety Measures

Last week we passed two initiatives in the House that will benefit Georgia's public safety initiatives and keep us in line with federal regulations. The first was House Bill 38 which would distinguish a three-wheeled vehicle that is controlled by a steering wheel from a motorcycle which is controlled by handlebars. This bill would also update licensing requirements for drivers of three-wheeled motor vehicles. Federal safety standards define three-wheeled motor vehicles, equipped with steering wheels, as automobiles. However, current Georgia law considers all three-wheeled vehicles as motorcycles. HB 38 would require drivers of these three-wheeled automobiles with steering wheels to obtain Class C commercial driver’s licenses rather than Class M motorcycle licenses.

The second measure passed was House Bill 58. This legislation would update the reference date in Georgia law to the federal regulations regarding the safe operation of motor carriers and commercial motor vehicles. HB 58 would update the effective date to January 1, 2017 and keep us in line with federal regulations. 


In order to protect Georgia’s agriculture industry, we overwhelmingly passed House Bill 49. HB 49 protects farmers from fraudulent practices that occur in the selling and acquisition of livestock, especially online, while closing current regulatory gaps. Georgia law currently requires livestock market operators and dealers to obtain livestock dealer licenses; however, these licenses have no expiration date and no fee association, making it impossible for the Department of AG to track the number of licensed livestock dealers in our state. As a result, Georgia farmers are often taken advantage of by fraudulent dealers. The legislation requires the following:

  • Requires licensed livestock dealers and auction operators to apply for and obtain a license from the AG Commissioner every three years.
  • Requires the Commissioner of AG to publish the names and locations of licensed individuals online and in writing. 
  • Revises language on what defines a “livestock dealer” and “surety,” or a letter of credit, certificate of deposit or other written document guaranteeing the faithful performance of the terms by the contract purchase.
  • Allows the Department of AG to charge a $25 triennial fee for livestock dealers and livestock order buyers. 
  • Allows a triennial fee not to exceed $200 for livestock markets based on the surety requirement. 

If approved by the Senate and signed by Governor Deal, the requirements of HB 49 will promote greater consistency and transparency within our ag industry, which generates over $71 billion annually into Georgia’s economy.   

Sponsored Legislation 

House Bill 9, more commonly known as the "Upskirting" bill, will have a hearing in the Non-Civil Judiciary Committee this week. We have been working diligently on crafting this legislation since Summer, when a Houston County man's upskirting conviction was overturned by the Georgia court of Appeals stating that the privacy law did not extend to "upskirting." The court decision made it clear that the General Assembly would need to update current law so that "upskirting" or filming under one's clothing was included in privacy law. HB 9 will essentially close the privacy law loophole which currently does not address these restrictions. We have high hopes that the bill will pass favorably out of Committee, which is the first hurdle on the road to passage. 

House Bill 64 ensures that consumers have an advocate working on their behalf with respect to their health care plans. The bill also provides that local insurance agents receive compensation from carriers for services provided to individuals and small businesses for their health benefit plans. We are hopeful that this legislation will receive a full House vote sometime in the next couple of weeks.

HB 222 would allow members of the Georgia National Guard and Reservists, serving in Georgia, to be eligible to receive HOPE funding. Georgia has one of the largest military populations in the Union and we need to ensure that all those serving are granted the same educational opportunities. 

The highlight of my week on Capitol Hill was having the opportunity to welcome the Robins Regional Chamber Youth Leadership group! While it is a privilege to work on behalf of our district in Atlanta, it is always nice to see friends from home. If you are in Atlanta, please let me know so that we can arrange a tour for you on Capitol Hill.

As we continue to move forward, please be on the lookout for our weekly updates. My first priority is ensuring that we continue our efforts for simple, smart and effective government. If you have questions, concerns, ideas or advice, please let me know! Thank you again for the honor of serving on your behalf, as we work for the betterment of our state and district.  


Shaw Blackmon

Representative of Georgia's 146th House District

Representative Shaw Blackmon
District 146
Phone: 404-656-0177
Address: 501-E Coverdell Legislative Office Building
Atlanta, Georgia 30334

Rep. Shaw Blackmon represents District 146.  He currently serves as a Deputy Whip and as a member of  Ways & Means, Economic Development and Tourism, Special Rules, Insurance and
Governmental Affairs Committees. Shaw is also a member of the Military Affairs Working Group.