Week 5 In the Senate

By: Sen. Blake Tillery (R – Vidalia)

Rubber hit the road this week on the Senate. The following four bills were vetted and passed on the Senate floor:

  • SB 38 – Clarifies language having to do with fees for electronic filing of leaves of absences and conflict letters in court.
  • SB 16 – Allows Georgia to enter into the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact which would give doctors moving here from other compact states an expedited licensing process. We hope this will encourage more doctors to move to our state and fill the shortage of doctors we see in rural Georgia.
  • SB 6 – Would make it a criminal offense to use a drone for the transportation of contraband or taking pictures or video above an incarceration facility. While drones are fun to fly, they pose a serious threat because of their ability to fly packages inside prison airspace. This is a good bill to protect both inmates and the men and women who work inside these facilities.
  • SB 52 – The annual code revision bill that makes updates regarding redundancy, punctuation, grammar and sentence structure to the Official Code of Georgia.

Each of these bills are on their way to the House. You can track their progress on the General Assembly’s website here: http://www.legis.ga.gov/en-US/default.aspx.

I’ve told you for several weeks that I expect big moves on broadband and healthcare this year.  This week saw movement on both.

Much like electric membership co-ops (EMC’s) were stared to bring electricity to rural areas almost 100 years ago, many people think EMC’s can be used to bring broadband internet access to rural areas now.  Senate Bill 2, taken up this week by the Senate Regulated Industries Committee, does just this.  It also allows EMC’s to apply for federal grants to extend broadband service to new areas.

This week also included major news on healthcare.  Governor Brian P. Kemp unveiled his “Patients First Act,” his plan to address the high cost of health insurance for Georgia’s working families.  Today, health insurance for many Georgians is financially unattainable.  For those that can afford health insurance, many Georgians are spending more on monthly premiums than they are on their home mortgage! Governor Kemp has made it very clear that he feels Medicaid is a broken system and expanding a broken system makes sense for no one.  I agree.  Instead, Governor Kemp has asked the legislature to grant him the authority to ask the federal government to allow Georgia to develop its own healthcare plan, waving certain federal requirements and tailoring a solution to problems affecting Georgians.  President Trump has actively asked states to request such waivers.  I look forward to keeping you informed as this bill moves through the legislature.

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 blake.tillery@senate.ga.gov 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 blake.tillery@senate.ga.gov.