By: Sen. Blake Tillery (R – Vidalia)


This week in the Senate we completed week six and legislative days 17 through 20. Halfway through my first session, I’ve had the privilege of hosting several groups from Long, Wayne, Appling, Tattnall, Jeff Davis and Toombs Counties just this week.


Of all the bills we heard on the Senate floor this week, Senate Bill 16, sponsored by Sen. Ben Watson (R – Savannah), received the most attention. SB 16 aims to expand the conditions medical cannabis can cover to include autism; however, it reduces the amount of THC in medical cannabis oil from five percent to three percent. I agree with the addition of autism to the conditions that could use low THC oil, it just doesn’t seem fair to blindside families who have been benefiting from using five percent THC oil with regulations that would change that. There was an amendment brought up on the Senate floor that would have changed this provision in the bill, however it failed.


In the end, I voted against the SB 16 because of the reduction of the THC allowed in the oil. I can only imagine how difficult it must be for families to uproot their lives and move to another state just to seek treatment for their children so they can live a more normal life.


Last, but certainly not least, I co-sponsored Senate Bill 165 with Sen. William Ligon (R – Brunswick) which seeks to address the transportation and disposal of coal ash in Georgia. Most people in our district are familiar with the issue of coal ash and the harm it poses to residents if it were to leak into the water supply. I understand it is hard for small, rural communities to turn down the money a landfill that accepts coal ash could bring to their local economy and we want economic opportunity for our counties, but I believe that keeping you healthy and safe is more important. The federal Constitution prevents us from passing a total ban on coal ash coming into Georgia, so we had to get creative. Therefore, this bill proposes that coal ash originators cannot get away from liability for physical harm from coal ash toxins even if they carry their coal ash to third party landfills. Entities who dispose of the coal ash must have at least $100 million in assets in Georgia to cover liability.


As always, I am honored to represent and serve you at the state Capitol. If you have any questions or concerns about bills that you feel will affect our region, please email me. I enjoy hearing your feedback and always take into consideration your thoughts and feelings. Thanks for the opportunity to serve you.