By Rep. Craig Gordon

March 27, 2019 - The Georgia General Assembly has completed 35 legislative days with five days remaining. We have been very busy and productive, considering legislation passed by the Senate, and keeping in mind our adjournment scheduled for Tuesday, April 2. This week we will be another diligent one with sessions scheduled for Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and with Wednesday set aside for committee meetings. This week many bills passed the House regarding a wide variety of issues.

Drugs are a problem that plagues our communities, destroying lives, hurting families, and ensnaring even our youth in its terrible grip. The rise of opioid addiction is a major concern within our state and SB 121 passed lengthening the data retention time of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Data Base from two years to five years. This bill also adds the attorney general's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit to the list of entities that can have access to the data through the issuance of an administrative subpoena. I believe we must do all that we can to battle drug addiction and I hope this legislation will help stop the rise of illegal prescription drug use for the betterment of Georgia’s citizens.

Senate Bill 100 passed relating to telephone systems for the physically impaired. This bill states that wireless devices and applications may be distributed as part of the telecommunications equipment distribution program, allowing for audible universal information access. I was pleased this legislation passed overwhelmingly as I believe it will benefit physically impaired Georgians.

In an effort to further our state’s economic development and create new jobs in rural areas, House Resolution 368 passed urging the construction of Interstate 14 which would link rural communities to cities along a new route stretching from Kileen, Texas, to Augusta, Georgia. Additional benefits include connecting a significant number of military installations, seaports, major cities, and highways to each other, further developing the economy of many rural areas. This resolution passed unanimously and although it doesn’t directly impact our community, I believe it could have a positive ripple effect on our area.

SB 67 allows school systems damaged by fire or natural disaster to immediately qualify for regular state capital outlay funds, regular advance capital outlay funds, and low-wealth capital outlay funds. In addition, these funds may be used for a portion of the building that was not damaged, if the building is 20-years old or older. The bill also adds criteria for school systems to qualify for low-wealth capital outlay grants. School systems that are consolidating educational facilities according to their local facilities plan and where five years of SPLOST revenue does not generate enough for the local required match will qualify for low-wealth capital outlay grants. This is legislation passed unanimously and will undoubtedly help school systems in a time of need.

Although the legislative session is quickly coming to a close, I always appreciate your questions and concerns and would like to hear from you! My local office number is 912.231.8958 . It’s a privilege to represent our great community in Atlanta.

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