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Greg Kirk: Week 9 — Update from the Capitol

ATLANTA — Your Georgia legislators have made it through Crossover Day and are now 10 days from the end of the 2015 legislative session. Crossover Day was the last day for legislation to pass the chamber in which it was introduced in order for it to move to the other chamber for consideration. Now that my colleagues and I have passed all current Senate bills to the House of Representatives, the remainder of the 2015 Legislative Session will be spent reviewing and voting on bills that made it out of the House.

One of my favorite hobbies is hopping on my motorcycle and taking a ride through Georgia’s beautiful landscapes. I’ve often experienced the frustration of pulling up to a stop light only to wait endlessly for the light to turn green. Many stop lights are triggered by sensors in the ground and motorcycles are often too light-weight to trigger the sensor that forces the light to change.  This week, the Senate passed SBl 76, which allows motorcyclists to disregard the traffic signal and proceed cautiously through the intersection when lights fail to react in a timely manner.

One of the many bills the Senate passed this week relates to medical marijuana use in Georgia. SB 185, of which I am a co-sponsor, is a much more restrained approach to allowing products containing cannabidiol to be used for medical treatment than other versions of legislation that is still under consideration in the Georgia General Assembly. SB 185 charges the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia to create a five-year pilot research program on the effects cannabidiol-containing products with a THC amount less than 0.3 percent on persons 18 years old and younger. Currently, the Senate and the House will be working to combine HB 1 and SB 185 in an effort to create the best possible legislation to help those who suffer from various ailments.

As a citizen of South Georgia, I know the impact a lack of clean drinking water can have on a community as we rely on aquifers to supply the majority if our clean water. On Friday, the Senate passed SB 36, a bill I support 100 percent. This bill requires the Board of Natural Resources to adopt regulations on or before July 1, 2016, providing for the protection and preservation of the Floridan aquifer.

On Friday, the Senate passed SB 63, a bill that allows patrons to consume up to 36 ounces of beer per visitor on-site at licensed brewpubs, as well as take home up to 64 ounces of beer in a single container such as a growler. I voted “no” on this piece of legislation because I feel that it is unsafe for a person to consume that much alcohol and proceed to operate a vehicle.

This week, SB 53, my piece of legislation authorizing Licensed Professional Counselors to perform emergency examinations, passed out of the House of Representatives and has been signed into law by Governor Deal.

As the senator for District 13, I strive to make wise voting decisions that reflect the needs and opinions of my constituents. Throughout the upcoming weeks, we will focus our attention on bills that originated in the House. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns about pending legislation. My phone lines and doors are always open.

Sen. Greg Kirk, R-Americus, represents the 13th Senate District which includes Crisp, Dodge, Dooly, Lee, Tift, Turner, and Worth counties and portions of Sumter and Wilcox counties. He can be reached by phone at 404-463-5258 or email at greg.kirk@senate.ga.gov