Week 10 up­date from the Capi­tol

The Catoosa County News - - WORSHIP DIRECTORY - By Sen. Jeff Mullis

Dur­ing our tenth week (last week) un­der the Gold Dome, we were as busy as we have been all year. We met three days for ses­sion and passed 22 pieces of leg­is­la­tion. In ad­di­tion to our work on the Sen­ate floor, we held com­mit­tee meet­ings through­out the week.

One of the most im­por­tant pieces of leg­is­la­tion we passed last week was House Bill 769, which cre­ates the Ru­ral Health Sys­tem In­no­va­tion Cen­ter. The in­no­va­tion cen­ter will act as the re­search arm for ad­vanc­ing the state’s ru­ral health­care agenda and di­rects the Depart­ment of Com­mu­nity Health to stream­line and ex­pe­dite all cre­den­tial­ing and billing pro­cesses for state med­i­cal plans. In ad­di­tion, HB 769 au­tho­rizes a grant pro­gram to in­cen­tivize physi­cians to prac­tice in ru­ral ar­eas, in­creases a tax credit for ru­ral hospi­tal do­na­tions and sim­pli­fies the re­mote order en­try process for phar­ma­cists. Th­ese are just a few of the many rec­om­men­da­tions made by a House study com­mit­tee that met over the in­terim to eval­u­ate ways to im­prove ac­cess to health­care across Ge­or­gia. Pass­ing this bill is cer­tainly a step in the right di­rec­tion.

Two other pieces of leg­is­la­tion from last week re­late to li­cense plates, and while this may not im­me­di­ately peak your in­ter­est, the sales will go to­ward good causes. House Bill 695 cre­ates a new pro­mo­tional li­cense plate that will read “#1 in Forestry” to ad­ver­tise Ge­or­gia’s na­tional rank­ing for forestry. The tag will cost $25.00 and $20.00 of the li­cense plate sales will go di­rectly to the Ge­or­gia Forestry Foun­da­tion to fund its ed­u­ca­tion ini­tia­tives, projects and goals. Ad­di­tion­ally, un­der HB 695, a spe­cialty li­cense plate would also be cre­ated to sup­port the Sickle Cell Foun­da­tion of Ge­or­gia, Inc.

House Bill 784 does the same thing, but all pro­ceeds will go to the Wildlife Re­sources Di­vi­sion of the Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources for the pur­poses of wa­ter­fowl habi­tat restora­tion, re­search and pro­mot­ing man­age­ment pro­grams.

House Bill 885 also passed the Sen­ate last week. The bill would amend the Ge­or­gia Air Qual­ity Act to limit lo­cal govern­ment’s reg­u­la­tory pow­ers re­lat­ing to con­trolled burn­ing of veg­e­ta­tive tracts or land parcels greater than five acres be­ing used for agri­cul­tural op­er­a­tions. So long as the burn­ing is done in a man­ner con­sis­tent with fed­eral law and is lim­ited to veg­e­ta­tive ma­te­rial, lo­cal govern­ment can­not en­force un­nec­es­sary restric­tions on such acts.

A piece of leg­is­la­tion I spon­sored last week was Sen­ate Res­o­lu­tion 966, which hon­ors our friend and for­mer Sen­ate col­league Jack Murphy. Jack served Forsyth County in the Ge­or­gia Gen­eral As­sem­bly for 12 years and he is a true pub­lic ser­vant. It is an honor to call him not only a for­mer col­league, but a true friend who com­mit­ted his life to civil ser­vice.

Last week may have been busy, but with only five leg­isla­tive days re­main­ing (as of Mon­day), this week and next week will in­clude some very long days. There is much more leg­is­la­tion to be heard be­fore Sine Die, and I am com­mit­ted to serv­ing the men and women of the 53rd District in the best way I can. As al­ways, please never hes­i­tate to get in touch if I can help you in any way or if you have in­put re­gard­ing leg­is­la­tion fac­ing the Sen­ate.

Sen. Jeff Mullis is chair­man of the Rules Com­mit­tee. He rep­re­sents the 53rd Sen­ate District, which in­cludes Ca­toosa, Dade, and Walker coun­ties and por­tions of Chat­tooga County. He can be reached at his of­fice in At­lanta at 404-656-0057 or by email at jeff.mullis@sen­ate. ga.gov.

Jeff Mullis

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