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FAX: (912) 537-4477
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I returned to the Gold Dome on Monday, March 18, 2024, to begin the eleventh week of the 2024 Legislative Session. Last week, we convened in the House Chamber for three legislative days and continued to give passage to a number of Senate bills. There are now only two legislative days remaining in the session until we reach Sine Die on Thursday, March 28, 2024. These finals legislative days are among the busiest days of the entire session as we finalize our legislative business for the year before the Sine Die deadline.

HB 1339, a bill I carried, is a culmination of issues I have been working on for the past several years. It will aid rural hospitals-allowing for more to be built and some that are closed to reopen. It increases the number of beds in our mental health system. It will further aid in the creation of birthing centers for better access to maternal healthcare. Lastly, it increases the Georgia HEART rural hospital tax credit allowing our rural hospitals to have access to more capital that will aid them in caring for patients. I am pleased that this bill passed the House and I am hopeful it will make its way to the Governor’s desk.

The House took legislative action to combat the growing fentanyl crisis in our state. My colleagues and I unanimously passed this important, life saving measure, Senate Bill 465, would create the crime of aggravated involuntary manslaughter when someone intentionally manufactures or sells a controlled substance that contains fentanyl and fentanyl is determined as the sole cause or a contributing factor in a victim’s death. SB 465 is known as “Austin’s Law,” named after a young man who died tragically after unknowingly taking a substance laced with fentanyl. His parents joined us in the House Chamber while we honored his life with the passage of the bill. Later in the day, our counterparts in the Senate voted to give this legislation final passage, sending this important bill to Governor Kemp’s desk to be signed into law.

The House has focused its efforts on improving and expanding mental health services across our state in recent years, and last week, we continued those efforts by giving final passage to Senate Bill 480. This legislation would provide student loan repayment assistance to mental health and substance use providers who offer services to underserved youth or practice in geographic areas of the state that lack adequate services.

My colleagues and I also took action to continue our efforts to support victims of domestic violence and human trafficking. Senate Bill 324 would create a victim-centered address confidentiality program within the Office of the Secretary of State. This program would allow certified participants to utilize an address confidentiality card instead of disclosing their personal address to governmental entities in order to prevent their confidential address from being published. This bipartisan measure is a crucial step toward providing more protection and support to these victims in our state, allowing them the opportunity to safely rebuild their lives without fear.

Finally, the House passed Senate Bill 464 to improve literacy rates among our students and provide financial relief to educators to purchase classroom supplies. SB 464 would help to ensure that we are supporting our students and improving literacy outcomes for Georgia’s young learners. Furthermore, this bill would also lessen the financial burden that many teachers face when supplying their classrooms with necessary learning materials and supplies.

With Sine Die now days away, the pace under the Gold Dome continues to intensify as we near the finish line of the 2024 Legislative Session. The House will return to session on Tuesday, March 26, 2024, for Legislative Day 39. With the session ending soon, I encourage you to contact me to discuss legislative matters that are significant to you and your family.

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