By: Elizabeth Holland
Athens was a little quieter this week as students were away for spring break, but debate under the Gold Dome was loud as members of the General Assembly made their final push to get bills to the opposite chamber before Crossover day. Crossover day, the 30th day of session, is the final day for bills that originated in the House to be passed and to continue through the legislative process. The same is true for bills that originate in the Senate. However, bills that do not get passed can sometimes be attached as amendments to other bills, creating another opportunity for ideas to become law.
House Bill 268: Mandatory Child Abuse Reporting
Rep. Frye and the other members of the House voted unanimously for legislation requiring professionals such as health care workers or teachers to file reports in cases of suspected child abuse. These professionals must present a written or oral report documenting that they notified the appropriate hospital, school, agency, or facility leadership of the suspected abuse.
House Bill 152: Age Requirements for Bouncers
This session, Rep. Frye is co-sponsoring HB 152 to help protect the constituents in his district as well as those who visit the establishments in downtown Athens. This bill establishes that businesses which have had alcohol related infractions must report these to the Department of Revenue. Also, it prohibits anyone under 21 (except military personnel) from being bouncers. Bouncers are defined as individuals primarily performing duties related to security, maintaining order or safety at locations where alcoholic beverages are served.
HB 152 passed the House of Representatives 157-12 on Friday. The bill will now be read and referred to a committee in the Senate.
House Bill 3: Strengthened Protections for Student-Athletes
Every Georgia Bulldog fan remembers where he or she was when the news broke of Todd Gurley’s suspension for taking money for autographs. But just as Gurley rallied the Bulldog nation, the tactics used against him have motivated legislation under the Gold Dome to protect student athletes across the state.
HB 3, a bill co-sponsored by Rep. Frye, prohibits someone from engaging in transactions directly with a student athlete or through a dealer if the person knows the action could cause the player to lose their scholarship or athletic eligibility. It also establishes that the public and private institutions shall have a right of action against any person who engages in such activities.
Rep. Frye and 144 other members of the House voted in favor of this bill to ensure passage to the Senate…Go Dawgs and Rep. Frye!
House Bill 174: Federal Funding for Communities in Need
HB 174 passed unanimously in the House of Representatives. This bill eliminates the use of the word ‘slum’ in Urban Redevelopment Law and replaces and revises that definition with the term ‘pockets of blight.’ This bill catches Georgia up with current federal terminology and makes these areas eligible for federal money.
Limited Medical Marijuana Bill Passes the Senate
A hot topic this legislative session has been Haleigh’s Hope Act, a bill legalizing medical marijuana for use under certain criteria. The bill that passed the House would have allowed the use of medical marijuana to help in cases of cancer, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s disease and sickle cell anemia. There were also discussions about importing medical marijuana from other states instead of growing it in Georgia.
The Senate passed an altered version of the bill on Crossover day. SB only allows for clinical trials instead, only opens up clinical trials to patients under 18, and limits treatments to a single disease: epilepsy. The Senate’s version reduces the number of potential patients that could benefit from this form of treatment and does less to keep families in Georgia than the original proposal offered by Rep. Peake of Macon.
From football to downtown bouncers, the House voted on many bills that have a direct and large effect on Athens and the district. As the legislative session winds down in Atlanta, Rep. Frye continues to be your voice at the Capitol for the issues that can affect your family and community every day.
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