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Jeffares: Week 7 from under the Gold Dome
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We are now at the point in the session where legislation originating in the Senate must be passed favorably out of Senate committees, or it will be dead for the session. The deadline has come very fast, and now we are shifting into overdrive to ensure sound legislation has the opportunity to go to the Senate floor for a full body vote. We passed a number of bills this week that deal with healthcare in Georgia, transportation initiatives and women veterans.

Ensuring all Georgians and visitors to our state are able to get the healthcare they need was a common theme in the legislation brought to the floor. Tuesday we passed two bills, Senate Bill 106 and Senate Bill 125, which will provide Certified Registered Nurses (CRN) and Physician’s Assistants (PA) with more flexibility in the duties they perform. SB 106 allows CRNs to provide medical treatment and services without a physician on-site. However, under this bill, CRNs are not permitted to distribute, prescribe or dispense any controlled substance without a physician or PA present. Senate Bill 125, which I sponsored, allows a physician to delegate to a PA the authority to issue a 5 day or less prescription for hydrocodone products. This will allow people who injure themselves, but cannot get in to see their primary care physician for a few days, to get some relief until they can get to their doctor.

It’s no secret that traffic in metro Atlanta is some of the worst in the nation. In fact, according to INRIX’s 2016 Global Traffic Scorecard, Atlanta ranked eighth in the world for congestion with the average commuter spending 70.8 hours in traffic each year. Our commitment to finding a solution to this growing issue is one we will not back down from. This week, the Senate passed SB 6, which creates the Georgia Regional Transit Council to develop a plan to ease traffic congestion, ensure commute times are more dependable, enhance access to highways and study plans for future transportation innovations. As our state continues to grow and prosper, it is imperative that we find answers so we can offer 21st century methods of providing first mile and last mile transit options.

There are a few groups of individuals who will always have my support – law enforcement, first responders, educators and veterans. This week I was pleased to see the Senate recognize the contributions female veterans make to our state and nation. Tuesday, we adopted SR 237 to commend Dr. Tincie M. Lynch for her service in the United States Army and to recognize February 21, 2017, as Female Veterans Day at the Capitol. We also passed Senate Bill 108 Thursday which creates the Women Veterans’ Office under the Department of Veteran Services. SB 108 provides for the Office to work specifically with female veterans to ensure they are aware of and are utilizing all the resources available to them.

As always, it is my honor to represent the 17th Senate District and I will strive to do my best to ensure my voting decisions reflect the needs and opinions of our area. Please feel free to contact my office at any time if you have questions or concerns about pending legislation or to address other concerns in our district.                     

Sen. Rick Jeffares serves as Chairman of the Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee.  He represents the 17th Senate District which includes portions of Henry, Rockdale and Newton counties.  He may be reached by phone at 404.651.7738 or by email at