Greetings from the Gold Dome! I am humbled to say that a number of measures I have been directly involved with are slowly but surely making it through our tough legislative process. The past couple of weeks has been like running a half-marathon, as we try to make sure our bills pass before the Crossover Day deadline, which is midnight tonight! All bills must be passed today in order to have enough time to make it through the other chamber before day 40.
HB 146- Firefighter Protection
First and foremost, I am pleased to report that House Bill 146, insurance protection for firefighters, crossed the first hurdle last week on the Senate side. Last Wednesday the bill unanimously passed out of the State and Local Government Committee. The bill now awaits a hearing in the Senate Rules Committee, where if passed, will go to the full Senate floor for a chamber vote. I would like to say thank you to Senator John Albers, who has worked tirelessly with me on this legislation for the past couple of years. I feel confident that Senator Albers will work with his colleagues to ensure this bill makes its way to Governor Deal's desk.
HB 9- Upskirting Legislation
House Bill 9 passed overwhelmingly through the House during week 6 and now awaits review in the Senate. We brought this bill forward in response to a Court of Appeals ruling that overturned the conviction of an individual for recording cell phone video underneath a woman’s skirt in a grocery store. The court ruled that the defendant’s actions did not violate Georgia’s current invasion of privacy law because the incident occurred in a public space. Current Georgia law states that privacy only applies to activities that occur in any “private place out of viewing.” HB 9 criminalizes the use of a device, such as a camera or mobile phone, to secretly observe, photograph, videotape, film or recording underneath or through a person’s clothing. This legislation would also make it unlawful to disseminate images or recordings that were obtained this way.
House Resolution 340
I am proud to cosponsor House Resolution 340 with Reps Heath Clark, Allen Peake, State Rep. Katie Dempsey, and David Clark urging Congress to act and reschedule marijuana. As we continue to see the positive results of medical cannabis for hundreds, (literally 1,300 registered patients in GA), of Georgia families, and their quality of life; it is imperative for Congress to act on rescheduling marijuana from a schedule 1 to a schedule II drug. RESCHEDULING will allow for research and development without the fear of criminal prosecution for being in possession of a medical oil or having federal funds withheld for further research. You can read the resolution here.
House Bill 65- Expansion of Medical Cannabis
House Bill 65 pertaining to Medical Cannabis oil expansion passed the House overwhelmingly in a 156-6 vote this week! The Senate has also passed their version and that legislation is now under review in the House.The Senate version lowers the THC level in Cannabis oil to 3%, and it also adds autism spectrum disorder to the list of allowable conditions under the legislation. As we continue to work out details of each bill, I remain optimistic that we will see some form of the expansion pass prior to day 40.
House Bill 280- Campus Carry
This year, Campus Carry legislation makes a comeback in the form of House Bill 280. Under this year's legislation, licensed gun owners, 21 years of age, could carry concealed handguns on public college campuses. Different from last year's bill, on-campus preschools, along with student housing and athletic venues, have been added onto the list of exempted buildings. Currently, Georgia is among 17 states that ban concealed weapons on campus. The bill has made it out of a House Public Safety Sub-Committee and will now go before the full committee. As always, my commitment to uphold YOUR God given Constitutional rights remain a priority and I will work with my colleagues to ensure this bill is passed.