2012-03-28 / Editorials

Legislative Update

By Rep. Jon Burns

The Georgia General Assembly is in the final stretch of the 2012 legislative session with only seven official days of session remaining. With the passage of Cross-Over Day, our days will consist of the House reviewing, debating, and voting on Senate bills that have passed that chamber and vice versa. As the sponsor of legislation, it is important to follow our bills to ensure that the intended goal of our legislation is clearly explained and defined, as well as being available to answer any questions regarding our proposed legislation. This requires our attendance in the Senate Committee meetings to which our bills have been assigned.

Several bills regarding local legislation passed the House last week. Two pieces of the legislation, House Bill 1015 and House Bill 1057, relate to the Jenkins County Board of Commissioners and the Jenkins County Board of Education. This legislation was required to establish new districts based on the 2010 census data. The other legislation, House Bill 1226, relates to the City of Springfield and establishes a new charter for the City.

Numerous pieces of Senate legislation were passed by the House. Senate Bill 309 passed 161 to 1 and is called Taylor’s Law. Sometimes people’s lives are cut shorter than they expected and this leaves a short amount of time to do things on one’s bucket list, such as to hunt big game in Georgia. This bill would allow the authorization of special hunting privileges to people under 21 years old with a life expectancy of less than 12 months. Also passed was Senate Bill 343 and it would simply assign the State Accounting Officer as the Comptroller General therefore transferring all of those duties and responsibilities from the Com- missioner of Insurance to the State Accounting Office. Senate Bill 300 passed last Wednesday and relates to food standards by requiring the label on bottles containing sugar cane or sorghum syrup to list the producer’s name, address, and all added ingredients.

While much of the week was spent studying Senate bills, I would like to update you on House Bill 673. This proposition would establish a “return to play” policy that requires youth sports coaches to take an annual course on the signs of concussions so that they can prevent youth athletes from continuing to play after experiencing a concussion. As currently written, this legislation may unintentionally open parents and volunteer coaches up to potential legal liabilities and discourage parents and volunteers from coaching. HB 673 did not make it to through the House in time for Crossover Day and is thus unlikely to become law this year. However, my colleagues announced this week that the House will form a study committee to continue working on this important legislation. This will allow us to consider the issue next year, after the study committee completes its work and reveals its findings.

As we continue to review Senate legislation during these last few weeks of the session, I encourage you to contact me with any concerns you might have regarding Senate bills or resolutions. Though the legislative session may be coming to an end, I still need to know your opinion on the issues that affect you and your family. You can reach me at my Capitol office at 404-656- 5099 or through email at jon.burns@house.ga.gov .

Thank you for allowing me to serve as your representative.

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