By Rep. Craig Gordon

April 9, 2019 - The Georgia General Assembly adjourned near midnight on April 2 and many bills were passed in the final hours of a very productive legislative session.

HB 525 specifically relates to our community, changing the name of the Georgia International Maritime Trade Center to the Savannah Convention Center. The bill also creates a state authority, the Savannah-Georgia Convention Center Authority, to operate it. This name change will undoubtedly bring more interest and economic development to our great city, fueling our local economy as well as that of our state.

Regarding the safety of our school children, House Bill 459 requires each local school board to submit to the Department of Public Safety the full name and driver's license number of every person who is to be employed or used as a school bus driver before authorizing that person to operate a school bus. This list of authorized drivers is to be updated twice within a calendar year. The Department of Public Safety (DPS) is required to maintain a database of the names and license information of these authorized operators in coordination with the Georgia Technology Authority and the Department of Driver Services for the immediate electronic furnishing of information.

Medicaid was addressed in HB 424. This bill requires that Medicaid recipients have the same access to antiretroviral regimens, including single-tablet regimens, used to treat HIV and AIDS as included in the formulary established for the Georgia AIDS Drug Assistance Program.

SB 9 prohibits sexual extortion. The bill outlaws the conduct of intentionally coercing orally, in writing, or electronically another individual, 18 years or older, to distribute a photograph, video, or image that depicts any individual in a state of nudity or engaged in sexually-explicit conduct. The punishment upon the first offense is a misdemeanor of high and aggravated nature. The punishment upon the second or subsequent offense is punished as a felony with imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years.

In support of our military, HB 25 allows active duty members of the U.S. armed forces, Georgia National Guard, or Georgia Air National Guard, to terminate a contract with a provider of television, video, and audio programming services, internet access services or health, spa or gym services when the military member is ordered to relocate to a location that does not support the contract from that provider for a period of at least 90 days.

House Bill 314, the 'Georgia Uniform Certificate of Title for Vessels Act,' requires that every vessel using the waters of this state be titled unless it is exempt from being required to be numbered. All outboard motors greater than 25 horsepower must be included on the vessel title. In addition, if an owner transfers the ownership of a damaged hull vessel that is covered by a certificate of number, the owner must submit an application to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for a new certificate including the title brand designation "damaged hull" or indicate on the certificate of title or bill of sale that the vessel is hull-damaged.

Thank you for your encouragement and support during this session! I kept our community in mind with each decision I made and every bill I considered. I appreciate the privilege of representing you!

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