This week, the Georgia Senate completed day 33 of the 40-day Legislative Session. With Crossover Day successfully behind us, my colleagues and I are now focused on getting our bills heard in the opposite chamber. This process means that Senators stand before House Committees to present their bills and representatives do the same before Senate Committees.
In January 2011, President Obama signed into law the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act to ensure the food supply in the United States is safe. With this, several steps were made in an effort to prevent contamination by shifting focus from being reactive, to being proactive. This Act not only addressed the concerns of foodborne illnesses and the fact that one in six Americans get sick each year from such illnesses, but also the importance of public health and the necessary regulations needed to ensure a system of accountability is in place.
Monday, the Senate passed House Bill 176 which designates the Georgia Department of Agriculture as the agency responsible for ensuring Georgia remains in compliance with the guidelines established by the federal Food Safety Modernization Act. HB 176 will enable our state to uphold our obligation to public health and the well-being of all Georgians.
There are so many groups of people whose purpose in life is to protect others. This couldn’t be truer of the firefighters in our state. They work around the clock to help Georgians in their most desperate hour. Thursday, we passed HB 146, a bill that will require fire departments to provide each firefighter with health insurance coverage for certain cancers. This legislation also establishes separate disability benefits for when a firefighter is unable to work due to injury or illness. I’m happy to support an initiative that will have a great impact on the lives of those who work to save Georgians.
As we wind down the clock on the 2017 legislative session, committees are working to ensure the best versions of bills are being presented on the floor. The next three weeks will determine which bills pass this session and which ones will have to wait until next year.
As the final days of session are quickly approaching, I encourage anyone with questions or comments to contact my office at any time. As always, I am honored to represent you in the 17th Senate 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 email@example.com.