News from under the Gold Dome
by Whitley Clifton | March 15, 2019 10:17 am
by REP. BUTCH PARRISH, 158th District
Last week, the Georgia General Assembly reached Legislative Day 28, also known as “Crossover Day.” Crossover Day is a crucial deadline for the House and Senate as this is the last day for bills to pass out of the legislative chamber from which they originated in order to remain eligible for consideration for this session.
The House remained committed to helping suffering Georgians with the passage of a bill that would provide a legal pathway to manufacture and dispense low THC oil in our state. House Bill 324, or the “Georgia’s Hope Act,” would allow for the cultivation, manufacturing and dispensing of low THC oil with a lawful valid license issued by the Low THC Oil License Oversight Board to allow registered patients to obtain low THC oil in Georgia. As a result of previous legislation that was enacted in 2015, patients with certain medical conditions, such as terminal cancer, epilepsy, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, severe autism and others, can register with the Department of Public Health’s (DPH) THC Oil Patient Registry to legally possess up to 20 fluid ounces of medical cannabis oil that contains up to five percent THC. While we have decriminalized the possession of this oil, these patients cannot legally purchase this oil in Georgia, and therefore, thousands of registered Georgians must still break the law to purchase low THC oil from other states. To solve this issue, this bill would authorize the DPH to issue two classes of licenses to produce, grow and manufacture low THC oil in Georgia. The DPH would also issue separate retail licenses for qualified Georgia applicants by January 1, 2020. This legislation would create a sophisticated seed-to-sale tracking system, and it would require facility inspections and sample testing of medical cannabis oil products. This legislation would help the more than 8,000 registered Georgians who suffer from serious medical conditions by establishing a secure, regulated and legal way to obtain this vital treatment.
The House passed important bipartisan legislation that would create a hate crime statute in Georgia. House Bill 426 would increase the penalties for anyone convicted of a crime that was committed because of an offender’s belief or perception regarding the race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, mental disability or physical disability of a person or group. Georgia is one of only five states that does not have a law to protect its citizens from hate crimes, and this bill would bring our state in line with the 45 other states that have enacted similar legislation.
We approved a measure to eradicate human trafficking and help victims of this grievous crime. The Anti-Human Trafficking Protective Response Act, House Bill 234, would provide treatment for human trafficking victims through a streamlined process involving the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) and law enforcement.
House Bill 224, a recommendation of the House Rural Development Council, passed to amend Georgia’s Investment Tax Credit, Job Tax Credit and Quality Jobs Tax Credit to assist and incentivize employers to bring dependable jobs to rural areas. The Quality Jobs Tax Credit was designed to incentivize better paying jobs in rural areas by providing a credit for positions that pay 110 percent of the average lowest wage when at least 50 jobs are created.
The House took steps towards implementing the 2019 House Transit Proposal to streamline state government agencies that oversee Georgia’s transit, address opportunities for local and regional input and encourage innovation and private sector investments. At the recommendations of the House Commission on Transit Governance and Funding, House Bill 511 would create the Department of Mobility and Innovation (GMobile) in order to govern, coordinate, consolidate and rebuild the state’s complex transit governance structure that currently spreads across six state-level agencies and authorities, while promoting economic development.
Finally, the House passed House Bill 446, which would refine income tax credits for timber producers who suffered losses from Hurricane Michael.
We returned to the Gold Dome on Monday, March 4, for week eight of the 2019 legislative session. I hope you will look for my next newsletter with all the highlights!
Chairman: House Health Sub-Committee on Appropriations
Member: Economic Development, Banks and Banking, Rules
I remain dedicated to serving your interests as your state representative, and I hope that you will contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns you may have regarding the 2019 legislative session or with any proposals or recommendations for future legislation.
You can also stay in touch by visiting our website at www.house.ga.gov to watch a live stream of the House in action, as well as archived committee meetings, and review legislation that we are considering.
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Capitol address: 245 State Capitol, Atlanta, GA 30334
Capitol phone number: 404-463-2247.