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by State Rep. Leesa Hagan

On February 20, my House colleagues and I reconvened for days 23 through 25 of the legislative session and many hours of committee hearings. During week seven, we focused on key legislation to better Georgians' lives. With the approaching February 29 "Crossover Day" deadline, we prioritized public safety, behavioral healthcare, and education. The week was short but impactful, ensuring progress as we work to pass legislation for the benefit of our constituents.

Other bills passed by the House during the seventh week of session include:

House Bill 793 -  would allow applicants for a license in social work who are enrolled in the last semester of their Master’s degree program for social work to sit for the social work licensing examination before graduation. This would expedite their entrance into the workforce.

House Bill 896 - would allow a woman to petition the court after divorce to restore her legal surname to her maiden name. The motion could be filed at any time after the judgment and decree of divorce is entered, with no publication in a legal organ required. This process can take up to eight months and cost several hundred dollars currently.

House Bill 907 - would outline the responsibilities of motor vehicle drivers in the event they encounter a funeral procession. The bill would require drivers on a two-lane road to pull to the edge or curb of the road to give the funeral

procession the right-of-way. In order for drivers not in the funeral procession to be aware of its beginning and end, both lead and rear vehicles must display flashing hazard lights.

House Bill 987 - would amend current law relating to the school equalization grant. The minimum required millage rate or effective millage rate would be reduced from 14 to 10 mills, beginning July 1, 2024. School systems that receive equalization would have to meet this requirement or risk a 25 percent midterm adjustment of the initial equalization grant amount.

House Bill 1001 - would allow drivers to present their license digitally on their cell phone upon the request of a law enforcement officer. The bill would not require the licensee to release their cell phone to the officer under this circumstance. Presenting a digital copy of the license would not constitute a consent to search and seizure of the cell phone.

House Bill 1170 – would require government buildings and courthouses that already contain AEDs to provide opioid antagonists, like Naloxone, that could save lives in the event of opioid overdose on the premises. The potentially life-saving drug would be located in AED boxes.  With the current alarming fentanyl presence in drugs and with the federal government’s continued refusal to address the drug trafficking nightmare at the southern border, my colleagues and I have worked hard to combat tragic drug overdoses in Georgia.

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