Session 2017: Week 5
Session 2017: Week 5
My colleagues and I met on February 7th for the 5th week of the 2017 legislative session. After several committee hearings, we were able to pass more bills that will improve our state and the lives of its citizens. Continue reading to learn about bills concerning GA’s public safety officials, agriculture, and the safety of our young citizens.
GA Firefighters – HB 146, 83, and 84.
House Bill 146 passed which concerns the health and well-being of Georgia’s firefighters. HB 146 requires fire departments to provide adequate insurance coverage for firefighters who have served for 12 consecutive months, have been diagnosed with cancer, and are unable to continue their line of work. If you weren’t aware, firefighters are exposed to more cancer-causing carcinogens and have a higher chance of getting certain types of cancer. Benefits of this insurance would and/or could include:
a lump sum of $6,250 or $25,000, based on the type of cancer.
a monthly benefit of 60% of the firefighter’s monthly salary at the time of diagnosis or 5,000 a month (the lesser of the two). The affected firefighter will receive this 6 months after submitting proof of his or her diagnosis. Funds will continue for 3 years.
a monthly benefit of $1,500 to volunteer firefighters who can no longer work for 3 years.
Under HB 146, firefighters can keep their insurance coverage once they enter into retirement or a career change but will still be responsible for paying insurance premiums. This bill will give counties license to use tax revenue to purchase insurance for eligible firefighters. HB 146 will provide coverage for bladder, blood, brain, breast, cervical, esophageal, intestinal, kidney, lymphatic, lung, prostate, rectal, respiratory tract, skin, testicular, thyroid, leukemia, multiple myeloma or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
We were also able to pass HB 83 and HB 84 which will support the Georgia’s Firefighters’ Pension Fund. HB 83 will allow this fund to invest up to 10% of its total assets in real estate. If the fund’s assets undergo a decrease in value, the fund will be able to retain the real estate investments if they were owned before the decrease. This change will provide the Firefighters’ Pension Fund with an increased income from the money they collect from rent and will help them secure funds for future recipients. HB 84 will allow the Firefighter’s Pension Fund to invest up to 10% as opposed to 5% of its total assets in alternative investments such as privately placed invest pools, private investment funds etc.
I hope the addition of these bills will ease the suffering of the men and women who are currently affected as well as give their families some peace of mind. I look forward to doing whatever I can to help these public servants.
Georgia Department of Agriculture – House Bill 176
Legislation for HB 176 will allow the Georgia Department of Agriculture to conduct inspections of certain farms and packing houses in order to aid the FDA in fulfilling the provisions of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Currently the federal government is responsible for these operations, but this bill will allow the Georgia Department of Agriculture to act independently thereby streamlining the process.
The safety of our young citizens – House Bill 75
House Bill 75 will allow law enforcement or prosecution agencies to confidentially share information on ongoing child abuse with the Department of Human Services, Divisions of Family and Children Services, and other governmental child protective agencies. As it stands now, information that law enforcement share with child protective agencies in pending investigations or prosecution of criminal activity is recorded in case files and subject to open records requests. HB 75 will allow law enforcement officials to share private information about a case to governmental child protective agencies that cannot be obtained through that loophole. This will keep vital information about a case confidential during an investigation to ensure further safety.
As we quickly approach our last day of this year’s session (March 30th), my colleagues and I will continue passing more bills that concern our state’s health and success. Please check back here next week for more updates on the current legislative session.
You are welcome to visit me at my capitol office located at 228-A State Capitol Atlanta, GA 30334. I can also be reached by phone at 404.656.5099 or by email at email@example.com. I look forward to hearing from you on how I can help serve Georgia.
For more information about me, interact with me on Facebook. You can also visit www.house.ga.gov to view live streaming of the House proceedings. Check back here next week for more updates on the current legislative session. Thank you for allowing me to serve as your representative!
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