Last week, agricultural measures were a top priority as we passed two Senate bills for the betterment of our state’s largest industry. The first measure, Senate Bill 69, would eliminate the double registration requirements for those handling any certified organic food products in Georgia.Under this legislation, certified organic producers would only be required to register with USDA. The second Agricultural bill passed was Senate Bill 78, which works to alleviate costly regulations within the foodservice industry. This bill would authorize the AG Commissioner, to issue exemptions or waivers to rules regarding food contamination and misbranding within grocery stores and meat markets making certain food products. This bill allows the Commissioner to modify all or part of a food safety requirement if the rule creates an obvious hardship, impairing one’s ability to continue business practices.
Improved access to quality healthcare continues with the passage Senate Bill 102 which works to incentivize statewide health care facility improvements, specific to cardiac care. Sadly, Cardiovascular disease claims the lives of nearly 23,000 Georgians each year, making it the leading cause of death in our state. In an effort to provide improved cardiac care, this bill creates the Office of Cardiac Care (OCC) within the Department of Public Health. The OCC would be responsible for designating qualified hospitals throughout the state as “emergency cardiac care centers.” SB 102 also allows hospitals to apply through the OCC to be designated as an emergency cardiac care center and receive grant funding if needed. We are hopeful that the improvement of cardiac care in our state will grant citizens with the quick and quality care they need and save lives.
Last week we passed House Resolution 389, which would create the House Rural Development Council. This Council will be tasked with finding ways to promote our rural communities through economic development, while working to identify the various challenges facing our less populated areas. Appointed members will explore legislative solutions in policy areas such as education, infrastructure, health care access and economic growth incentives to revitalize rural areas. The council will begin their two-year study, beginning this April and hold meetings throughout rural Georgia on a regular basis to study relevant issues.
House Resolution 492 recognized March 6th under the Gold Dome as Law Enforcement Appreciation Day! We took time to give thanks to the 54,000 men and women who put their lives on the line to protect and serve us. Throughout our state’s history we have lost 699 officers in the line of duty, with nine of those occurring in the last year alone. Although our brave officers deserve to be recognized for their courage every day, we were proud to pay special tribute to those we have lost as well as those still serving.
House Resolution 490 recognized Major General James E. Rainey as well as service members of the Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield’s Third Infantry Division. The House recognized their heroism and service for the Third Infantry Division Day at The Capitol. The Third Infantry Division has one of the most successful combat records of any U.S. Army division, having been deployed in both world wars, the Korean War, the Persian Gulf War, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and played a key role during the Cold War. Fort Stewart is home to more than 20,000 active duty military soldiers and has been distinguished as the top U.S. Army installation worldwide six times, having created 51 Congressional Medal of Honor recipients.