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Greg Kirk: Week four of the 2019 Legislative Session

We are now a quarter of the way through the 2019 Legislative Session with 11 legislative days complete. Last week, the Senate began hearing several bills in committee meetings and also heard, and passed, the first bill of the session out of our chamber. Additionally, the week was full of special visitors at the Capitol, and both the House and Senate adopted the adjournment calendar, designating April 2, as Sine Die. To say this week in the Senate was a busy one is an understatement — and we are only getting started.

So far the Senate passed two pieces of legislation out of our chamber: Senate Bill 25 and Senate Resolution 19. Last year, the General Assembly passed legislation stating that drivers coming from the opposite direction could pass a stopped school bus if there was a turn lane separating the two flows of traffic. This language was unintentionally confusing for drivers, causing accidents with students getting on and off the bus. SB 25 clarifies this language stating that drivers coming from the opposite direction of the stopped school bus may only pass if separated by a grass median, unpaved area or other physical barrier. The second piece of legislation that passed out of the Senate last week, SR 19, would create the Georgia Commission on Freight, Innovation and Logistics. The commission would be tasked to look into current traffic flow and transportation of goods and come up with a solution to make this issue more convenient and efficient for all parties.

On Thursday, the Senate recognized the “End It” movement by drawing red x’s on our hands to bring awareness to the issue of human slavery and sex trafficking. Unfortunately, sex trafficking is a major issue within our state, nation, and world, and I am thankful for all of the hard work our law enforcement and public safety agencies are doing to identify and arrest anyone involved in this horrific act.

Lastly, on Thursday the Senate Health and Human Services Committee heard Senate Bill 16, or the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact Act. This bill would allow licensure of physicians from other states to practice in Georgia, as well as the addition of background checks for incoming physicians. This will allow qualified physicians to practice in Georgia without having to jump through unnecessary hoops. The bill passed out of committee Thursday and has been set on the calendar by the Rules Committee to be heard on the Senate Floor on Monday.

Things are moving right along here under the Gold Dome, but I am always happy to make time for visitors. Please feel free to reach out to my office if you find yourself at the Capitol, I would be happy to meet with you! There is much to come this legislative session and I will be sure to keep you updated as we move along.

 

Sen. Greg Kirk, R-Americus, serves as Chairman of the State and Local Governmental Operations Committee. He 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 greg.kirk@senate.ga.gov.