By Lynne Riley, Georgia State Rep. (R-Dist. 50)
2014 Legislative Update – Week 9
March 15, 2014
Monday, March 10th began the ninth week of the 2014 legislative session. In the House, we focused on reviewing, debating, and voting upon legislation that had originally been passed by our colleagues in the Senate.
On Wednesday, we passed legislation to better preserve Georgia’s natural resources and wildlife. The Flint River Drought Protection Act (Senate Bill 213) allows the Director of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) to utilize best practices to manage water withdrawals from creeks and streams in the Flint River basin during times of drought. SB 213 aims to do four things: protect endangered aquatic wildlife, protect the private property rights of our farmers, conserve water resources, and support the continued success of Georgia’s agriculture industry. This bill recognizes the need for balance in managing Georgia’s precious water resources and ensures that both our wildlife and agricultural resources have adequate access to water. SB 213 is limited in scope, affecting only four Southwest Georgia streams. It is not a matter of whether our state will experience another drought, but when, and it is imperative that we have a plan that effectively mitigates the risks associated with drought.
Also approved by the House this week, Senate Resolution 746 expresses support for the State Plan for Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias. Developed by a multidisciplinary group of state leaders, the plan aims to improve dementia prevention and treatment. It will increase community services, family support, and public awareness for the disease. SB 292 was approved on Thursday, and will establish the Alzheimer's Disease Registry, which will serve as a central database of all individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. The confidential database is expected to provide researchers, doctors, and caregivers with a better understanding of the disease, its risk factors and its victims.
This week, I was proud to observe the Senate approve two bills I have sponsored this year. House Bill 843 will provide for public retirement systems in Georgia to remain compliant with Federal Internal Revenue Code. House Bill 908 will extend the collection period of scrap tire fees in Georgia to June of 2019, which will continue to provide funds to clean up scrap tires sites, to use preventative and corrective actions at solid waste facilities, and to increase solid waste education and enforcement. These bills will now go to Governor Deal for his signature.
In addition to passing legislation last week, we also took some time to welcome special guests to the Capitol. On Wednesday, the House recognized an amazing student athlete, Aaron Murray. In his time as UGA’s quarterback, Murray set 27 Georgia records. In addition to being an outstanding football player, Murray has a deep commitment for serving the state of Georgia.
Thursday was Leadership Johns Creek Day at the Capitol. It was a pleasure to welcome my city’s rising leaders to the State Capitol, and witness their enthusiasm for good government policies and programs in Georgia.
Also on Thursday, it was an honor to attend the Senate tribute to a great Georgian from North Fulton, Mr. Roger Wise. Roger has devoted his life to helping others in countless ways, and it was a delight to be part of an event that honored his passion for service.
Our last legislative day of the 2014 session, scheduled for Thursday, March 20, is quickly approaching. Also known as Sine Die, this 40th legislative day will be our last opportunity to pass state legislation this year. The Joint Appropriations Conference Committee will work this week to agree on the final version of the Fiscal Year 2015 budget, which must pass both chambers before we adjourn for the year. It will be a busy week as we put finishing touches on many bills to enhance the quality of life for Georgians.
You can observe our work this week by visiting the Capitol, or watching us in action via our website at www.house.ga.gov . If I can ever be of service to you, please call my office at the State Capitol at 404-651-7737 or reach out to me via my website www.LynneRiley.com.