By: Sen. Blake Tillery (R – Vidalia)
This week in the Senate, we passed two pieced of legislation and heard several more in committee. I know that many of you are excited to hear legislation concerning broadband and healthcare, and I can assure you that those are coming up shortly, we’re just working on perfecting them as much as possible.
The first bill of this session hit the Senate Floor. Senate Bill 25 clarifies ambiguous language in last year’s House Bill 978 that allowed drivers to pass stopped school buses when driving in the opposite direction with only the separation of a turn lane. This was pretty confusing for most people as it was different than previous law, and law enforcement officials were concerned that students crossing a street with a turn lane might get hit. SB 25 clearly states that drivers can only pass a stopped school bus while driving in the opposite direction if there is a grass median, unpaved area or physical barrier separating the roadways. There should be no more confusion as you should always stop for school busses unless there is one of the mentioned barriers between you and the bus.
Our area is pivotal to moving freight from the Ports of Savannah and Brunswick throughout the Southeastern United States. The truck traffic increase on US Highways 341, 280, and Interstate 16. Even Highways 1 and 441 are all evidence of this. I want to see our area lead in logistics technology, including warehousing, trucking, and rail, so we can use these assets to provide quality paying jobs to our friends and neighbors. Many of these jobs also come with health insurance benefits, which would further strengthen our rural hospitals. Senate Resolution 19 does this by creating Georgia Commission on Freight, Innovation and Logistics. This commission would be charged with recommending where funding for future projects should be allocated to enhance the logistics industry. It would also be tasked with coming up with additional routes that improve travel for infrastructure. This commission is vital to ensuring that we are creating the best possible infrastructure for freight transit without clogging up our roads and endangering the safety of our citizens. I support this bill and have asked Senate Leadership to consider appointing me to this commission should it also pass the House.
Governor Kemp also released the first part of his healthcare agenda. While the idea does not yet have a bill number, this attempt will focus on development of a high-risk pool for the purpose of reducing the cost of healthcare insurance premiums for all Georgians.
Each week we have many special guests in chamber, but I was especially excited to see the Wheeler County 4-H club on Thursday. All the work 4-H does is wonderful and their involvement in both rural and urban communities certainly helps our students make friendships and connections across the state. Additionally, we had the UGA Blue Key chapter, of which I was a member several years ago, in the chamber this week. I am glad they made the trek up here to experience a day in the life of a Georgia state legislator under the Gold Dome!
Many of you like to visit or bring your children to page on our two busiest days – Crossover Day and Sine Die. We now know when those days will be: Crossover Day will be on March 7, 2019, and Sine Die will take place on April 2, 2019. If you or your children would like to page one of those days, please call my office to schedule. If you are curious to know or want to schedule to visit on another “session day” – the days when we’re in chamber voting on legislation – those dates are available online at http://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/en-US/Display/20192020/HR/152
As always, if you have any questions or concerns about legislation, please do not hesitate to let me know. I am more than happy to answer your questions via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 404-656-0089. Thanks for the opportunity to serve you.
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Sen. Blake Tillery represents the 19th Senate District, which includes Appling, Jeff Davis, Long, Montgomery, Telfair, Toombs, Treutlen, Wayne, and Wheeler counties and a portion of Liberty and Tattnall counties. He can be reached at 404.656.0089 or by email at email@example.com.