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Jeffares update from the capitol
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As we complete day 38 of the 2015 legislative session, we are quickly approaching day 40, also known as Sine Die, which is the last day for any bills to be passed to move on to the Governor.

This week, the Senate passed one of the most watched bills of this session, House Bill 1. This legislation, also known as Haleigh’s Hope Act, legalizes possession of up to 20 fluid ounces of THC cannabis oil for treatment of certain medical conditions.

Originally, there were two versions of the medical marijuana bill, SB 185 and HB 1. Last week, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee worked with the sponsors of HB 1 to combine the two versions of the bill. After hours of deliberation, the committee passed a version that kept the THC content at five percent and reduced the number of conditions covered to eight. Georgians who suffer from cancer, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, mitochondrial disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, sickle cell disease and various seizure disorders will now be able to get relief for their discomfort.

It was incredible to witness both chambers collaborate with one another to create a stronger and more beneficial bill. The Senate passed HB 1 with a few changes; therefore, it had to go back to the House for their approval. Haleigh’s Hope Act has now gone to Gov. Deal’s desk for approval.

Here are brief summaries of other bills passed in the Senate this week:

HB 554: Monday, the Senate passed HB 554, which defines the roles and responsibilities of the Henry County Board of Commissioners. This legislation provides compensation to district commissioners and chairpersons of the board of commissioners and will allow the board of commissioners to control personnel hiring, firing and discipline of personnel.

HB 18: This legislation passed on Tuesday, exempts employees of aviation, space and aerospace companies from complying with certain provisions in law governing engineers and land surveyors. HB 18 also exempts contract workers, subcontractors and independent contractors working for aviation, space and aerospace companies.

HB 393: Also known as the “Tesla Bill” will allow manufacturers of zero emission vehicles to sell factory-direct to their customers. Currently, there is a limit on how many dealerships zero emission vehicle manufacturers can have in the state of Georgia. This bill will increase the number of dealerships allowed from three to no more than five.

HB 177: This bill, passed Thursday, requires the Department of Human Services to acknowledge the report made by a school employee of suspected child abuse and disclose to certain school personnel whether the suspected child abuse was confirmed by an investigation.

In the week before Sine Die, your legislators worked diligently to ensure sound legislation was being passed. Even though this session is coming to a close, I remain committed to supporting policies that promote the success and wellbeing of Georgians. I am honored you have put your faith in me to serve the 17th Senate District. I look forward to helping my colleagues accomplish a strong finish for the 2015 Legislative Session, and keep District 17’s needs at the top of my list.