Efforts by the Georgia Senate for a State “takeover” of Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson International Airport are firmly in the breast of the House Rules Committee. This article from the Atlanta Business Chronicle explains the situation in the House at the moment. However there is HB 417 relating to jet fuel tax that could be amended with the airport takeover language so we will be ready to oppose that amendment.
Also in the Senate is the “heartbeat” bill, HB 481, that has passed the House with the enthusiastic support of our new Governor Bryan Kemp. They will be voting on that bill either Thursday or Friday of this week.
Since these are both Senate bills, please contact the Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan 404-656-5030 or email him and Senate President Pro Tempore Butch Miller 404-656-6578 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
With Crossover Day behind us, the House reconvened under the Gold Dome for the ninth week of the legislative session on Monday, March 11. We quickly got back to work this week for three legislative days and committee work days where we considered several Senate measures.
The House also unanimously passed legislation that would provide citizens with a new pathway to become an organ donor. Not only does Senate Bill 99 promote public education and awareness for the ever-increasing need for organ donors in Georgia, this measure would also allow those applying for a hunting, fishing or trapping license to have the option to register to become an organ donor through the Department of Resources’ (DNR) online hunting licensing system. This legislation would enable the DNR to create an organ donor option for those applying for a hunting, fishing or trapping license online, similar to the way citizens can sign-up for organ donor status through a state driver’s license application, and the DNR would be responsible for providing the appropriate organizations with the information of the organ donor. The DNR’s website would also provide online resources to help citizens learn more about the organ donation process, along with the benefits of the organ donation registry. If signed into law, this bill would educate citizens about the life-saving gift of organ donation and could increase the number of donors available to help the 5,330 patients in Georgia who are currently waiting for organ or tissue transplants.
The House continued to promote greater health care opportunities for our citizens this week with the passage of Senate Bill 16. This measure would add Georgia to the list of 25 other states that are part of the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact. Taking part in this compact would allow for certain physicians moving to Georgia from a compact member state to go through an expedited licensure process to practice across state borders and become licensed in multiple states. The compact would create a pathway to licensure that would not change a member state’s existing licensing process, as long as that state has equal or higher standards than Georgia. States entered into the compact are able to share information with each other regarding a doctor’s disciplinary record and background check information to screen qualified doctors to protect our citizens. In order for a doctor to be admitted to practice under this act, the doctor must be licensed under the prevailing standard for medical licensure, and all applicants would be required to pay for and pass a criminal background check so our state could verify any potential licensing issues. This bill would address doctor shortages and the lack of accessible health care, especially in our rural areas, by increasing our doctor population. In turn, this legislation would expand the use of telemedicine, which is essential to developing innovative health care resources within our rural communities. SB 16 would help our state license qualified doctors more efficiently and would help all Georgians receive greater access to health care without having to travel to do so.
The House passed Senate Bill 18, or the “Direct Primary Care Act,” which would give Georgians the option to keep health care directly between the patient and a doctor without requiring insurance. The Direct Primary Care Act would provide an alternative approach to affordable health care by allowing primary care providers to provide health care to a patient through a direct primary care agreement. This would allow patients to pay a monthly fee to a participating physician in order to receive care, and the agreement would not be considered insurance and therefore, would not be subject to state insurance laws or insurance billing. Under the Direct Primary Care Act, a physician that is offering, marketing, selling or entering into a direct primary care agreement would not need a certificate of authority or license other than maintaining a current license to practice medicine in Georgia. The payment agreements would include a 30-day notice for either the patient or the doctor if either party chooses to terminate the contract. Lastly, this measure would allow physicians providing health care services under a direct primary care agreement the right to decline a patient if the physician is unable to provide the appropriate level and type of health care services the patient needs. SB 18 would provide citizens with an alternative avenue towards efficient and affordable health care by removing the unnecessary red tape.