As always, Capitol Hill was full of excitement as we continue to make our way through the 2017 legislative session. Week three was eventful as we overwhelmingly passed the amended fiscal year 2017 budget and during week four, we took up measures regarding public safety and agriculture.
House bills 38 & 58 are public safety initiatives aimed at keeping us in line with federal regulation. HB 38
clarifies the definition and license requirements where three-wheeled vehicles controlled by a steering wheel are concerned. HB 58
simply updates the reference date in current law to federal regulations regarding the safe operation of motor carriers and commercial motor vehicles. All bills that have passed the House are now under consideration in the Senate.
House Bill 49
works to protect our Georgia farmers from fraudulent activity in regards to the sell and acquisition of livestock. Fraud has dramatically increased with the use of internet sale transactions. This bill will tighten regulations regarding licenses and close regulatory loopholes within the Department of AG.
In addition to vetting initiatives presented by fellow House members, I have also been working hard on legislation of which I am the primary sponsor. I am pleased to announce that two of my bills have successfully jumped the first legislative hurdle, each favorably passing out of committee. Last year, you may remember House Bill 216, which I sponsored in an effort to allow firefighters workers compensation for a work related cancer diagnosis as a result from their service on the job. After working with our firefighters and state leadership, we have decided to continue these efforts in the form of two separate bills.
House Bill 146
, requires legally organized fire departments to provide and maintain certain insurance coverage for firefighters and includes an exemption for benefits received under insurance coverage. The legislation also allows for local governing authorities to allocate public dollars in funding for the needed insurance coverage. HB 146 was passed out of the Insurance Committee and now moves to the House Rules Committee.
House Bill 152
would add cancer to the list of occupational diseases covered by a firefighter’s worker’s compensation benefits if it is proven that the cancer was caused by the individual’s employment. The coverage is currently not allowed under state law. HB 152 will change that. The bill was voted out of the House Industry & Labor Committee and now awaits its fate in the House Rules Committee before moving to the floor for a full House vote.
This legislation is personal to me because my family is full of firefighters, and I see what they go through on a daily basis. I am committed to continuing the fight for this legislation. These brave men and women diagnosed with cancer due to their service deserve a fighting chance. I will continue to update you on these efforts as we make our way towards the last day of session which has been set for March 30th.