Greg Kirk: Week 6 update from the Capitol

Published 3:30 pm Wednesday, February 22, 2017

If you’ve been keeping up with local news, then you know that the Senate has started discussing some of its more controversial bills. We’ve discussed gun bills and bills involving breweries, and soon we’ll likely discuss bills involving things like destination resorts and alcohol sales on Sunday mornings.
One of the more controversial bills was one that I co-sponsored: Senate Bill 16, which would reduce the amount of cannabidiol in THC oil from five to three percent and include those diagnosed with autism to the registry list. I signed onto Sen. Ben Watson’s bill because of my background in the psychiatric field. I saw firsthand how this medicine affected my clients, and I am glad that the bill passed. I look forward to discussing the bill’s House counterpart.
Georgia’s law enforcement officers play a huge role in protecting the lives of our citizens day in and day out. We’ve passed several bills over the past few years that support law enforcement initiatives and provide additional funding for pay increases and equipment. These men and women should still have our respect even after they leave the force. This is why we passed Senate Bill 15, a bill that authorizes retired, disabled law enforcement officers to get a free weapons carry license if they meet the 10-year service requirement or left their position due to an injury suffered while in the line of duty. These individuals have extensive weapons training and it’s the least we can do to thank them for their service.
We also passed Senate Bill 89, or the “Georgia Right Track Act.” In essence, the Georgia Right Track Act would invest Georgia’s tax dollars into enhancing Georgia’s freight train infrastructure. If properly implemented, the bill would also relieve Georgia’s roads of freight trucks and improve Georgia commerce as a whole. Furthermore, it would bring more commercial traffic to Georgia’s port in Savannah and bring more revenue into an already booming area.
On Friday, we passed Senate Bill 2, the “FAST Act – Fairness, Accountability, Simplification and Transparency – Empowering Our Small Businesses to Succeed.” This bill represents one of the six Senate Majority Caucus priorities, and seeks to reduce the regulatory burdens placed on Georgia’s small businesses, while simplifying the licensing processes and eliminating nuisance taxes. SB 2 would mandate that counties and municipalities set timelines for processing. This bill states that any county or municipality that does not meet their designated timeline must reduce the regulatory fee by 10 percent for every 10 days they are late. SB 2 passed with a unanimous vote, thereby telling Georgia’s small business owners that we are working to ensure they can be successful.
We’re only going to get busier as we approach the second half of the 2017 session, but I can promise that I will keep the interests of District 13 as a prism to focus all of my energy through. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out. I’m here to help.

Sen. Greg Kirk represents the 13th Senate District which includes Crisp, Dooly, Lee, Tift, Turner, and Worth counties, and portions of Sumter and Wilcox counties. He may be reached at 229-854-9706 or by email at