Georgia’s craft brewery and distillery industries will benefit from the passage of Senate Bill 85. This Bill would allow our craft breweries and spirit distilleries to sell limited amounts of product directly to visitors. Conditions of the legislation are as follows:
- Brewers/manufactures can sell up to 3,000 barrels per year for consumption on and off the premise.
- Limit of 288 ounces per consumer per day for consumption off-premises.
- Spirit distilleries could sell up to 500 barrels of distilled spirits per year for consumption on or off the premises
- Limits sales to 2,250 milliliters per consumer per day for consumption off-premises.
Lessened regulation will help these small businesses grow, keep us competitive with neighboring states and solidify our reputation as a business-friendly state.
Back the Badge
To show support of our law enforcement officers, we overwhelmingly passed Senate Bill 169, which creates a specialty license plate with the phrase “Back the Badge.” Proceeds from plate sales will be distributed to the Peace Officers’ Annuity and Benefit Fund of Georgia. This fund prepares Georgia’s peace officers for retirement and provides retired law enforcement officers with pension benefits. We are so grateful for our officers’ selfless service and this measure gives Georgians an opportunity to express support for the brave officers who put their lives on the line to keep us safe.
This week we passed a number of measures dealing with quality healthcare access. The first came in the form of Senate Bill 96, dealing with organ donations. SB 96 expands the list of non-physician medical personnel authorized to pronounce the death of a patient in a nursing home or hospice care facility. This bill will streamline the donation process ensuring those willing to donate, are able to do so, in the timely manner required for successful transplant surgeries.
Another health care measure passing last week was Senate Bill 47, which would permit medical personnel and athletic trainers traveling with sports teams, the ability to provide care for athletes and coaches while visiting our state.
Similarly, we also passed Senate Bill 109, which would create the Recognition of Emergency Medical Services Personnel Licensure Interstate Compact (REPLICA) to legally allow out-of-state emergency management services (EMS) over state lines during declared “states of emergency.”
Over the last few years, Georgia and neighboring southern states have been in battle over each state’s water rights. Better known as, “Water Wars,” we are taking steps to further protect our water sources through the passage of two resolutions calling for Joint Study Committees in the House and Senate directly dealing with water issues. Each study committee will hold meetings to explore problem areas and file final recommendation reports by December 31, 2017.
The first, Senate Resolution 152, would establish the Joint House and Senate Study Committee on Stream Buffers. Buffers are strips of natural vegetation along the banks of a stream, lake or body of water that separates the water from lawns, buildings, roads, driveways and other structures, usually located on private property. The joint committee would review collected data and current practices relating to the problems associated with stream buffers. Further the committee would be tasked to find ways we can protect our water supplies, while keeping in line with private property rights.
Senate Resolution 224 would establish the Joint Study Committee on Storm-Water Management Fees. Many of our local governments have storm-water management plans and utilities in place to lessen storm-water runoff, however, these plans charge private property owners a fee to collect and dispose of storm-water. Further, collection and disposal often take place without consideration of the property damage an owner may incur because of chosen practices. To help remedy this, the committee would study ways to protect water quality, while holding stakeholders equally responsible for storm-water systems which impact individual property owners.
House Resolution 173 recognized February 13th, 2017 as National Guard Day at the Capitol. The resolution commends the Georgia Department of Defense’s 10,908 Army National Guard Soldiers, 2,986 Air National Guard Airmen and 509 State Defense Force members currently serving the U.S. Department of Defense. Georgia’s Army National Guard is the eighth largest in the country, and we were honored to celebrate this resolution Tuesday, March 14th with Adjutant General Joe Jarrard and many other brave patriots serving Georgia’s National Guard.
Last week, we had the pleasure to introduce and welcome, Miss Georgia's Outstanding Teen 2016, Kelsey Hollis to the House chamber. Kelsey attends Houston County High School, where she’s been a class officer and honor student. In addition to her various school activities, Kelsey also takes a role in many community organizations. She is a great role model for students across our state and we are proud that she calls our district home!
We are currently working with Senate leadership to ensure our bills receive hearings and hopefully, a full floor vote, prior to midnight on Sine Die. All bills that I am carrying on behalf of the House have made it through the first round of the committee process and are awaiting there hearing in the Senate Rules Committee which is the final step before a floor vote. House Bill 9, dealing with privacy law, is still in the Senate Judiciary Committee, but we have been working closely with the Committee Chairman in hopes of moving that bill forward.
Monday, March 20th, the 5-day countdown began as we make our way to Day 40, Sine Die. I will continue to send updates regarding legislation and in the meantime, please reach out to me with questions or concerns. It is a pleasure to work for the betterment of our district and I am honored to continue our efforts for simple, smart and effective government.