January 31, 2014

This week was supposed to be a five-day work week for the General Assembly, but it was interrupted by the worse than anticipated snow storm in Atlanta.  The bad weather and slick streets wreaked havoc on traffic all around the metro Atlanta area as commuters tried to get home Tuesday afternoon and evening.  Most businesses and state and local governments were closed on Wednesday and Thursday, including the legislature.  However, because there was no quorum to stop the legislative clock, the two snow days this week were counted as legislative days.  We have now completed 14 legislative days and will reconvene on Monday, February 3.

Rep. Allen Peake introduced legislation this week that would authorize doctors to prescribe cannabis oil, a derivative of marijuana, to treat seizure disorders in children (HB 885).  The bill is narrowly drawn and has gotten the support of the Medical Association of Ga.  Also introduced this week was the “Safe Carry Protection Act” (HB 875) which expands the areas into which concealed weapons may be carried and makes it more difficult for persons with mental issues to obtain a gun license.  Rep. Rick Jasperse, the bill’s author, removed the controversial “campus carry” provision that would have allowed guns on college campuses; however, it does decrease the penalty for carrying guns on campus, changing it from a criminal misdemeanor to a civil fine.

The House passed several bills this morning, including a bill purported to streamline the approval process for cell tower location by regulating negotiations between local governments and cell phone companies (HB 176), legislation that would cap the number of acres that can be commercially developed on Jekyll Island (HB 715), and a technical correction to last year’s ethics bill that would exempt candidates for county or city offices from election cycle campaign filings when they spend $2500 or less (SB 297).

The Senate Appropriations subcommittees are working on the amended FY 2014 budget and it is expected that the full Senate will vote on the AFY ’14 budget next Friday.

 

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