Even though the start of the legislative session is two months away, the Georgia House and Senate clerks opened their doors on Monday and began accepting bills to be considered by the legislature in 2016. You can see the list of House prefiles here, and Senate prefiles here.
House Bill 1 is the 2015 version of the Haleigh’s Hope Act, the bill sponsored by Rep. Allen Peake that would allow the use of medical marijuana. While at present, the bill is incomplete, Rep. Peake told us that it will be more encompassing than the version that failed to pass in the final days of the 2014 session. Not only has the scope of the bill been broadened to include illnesses other than childhood seizures, but it incorporates some lessons learned in other states over the last year. Over at the Macon Telegraph, Maggie Lee has a good history of the bill, and what it might cover.
On the Senate side of the capitol, Sen. Josh McKoon has introduced the Georgia Road Safety and Drivers License Integrity Act, which appears to be the 2015 effort to control the effects of illegal immigration. Jeremy Redmon of the AJC has the story on what could be a controversial piece of legislation.
Republican state Sen. Joshua McKoon of Columbus on Monday filed Senate Bill 6, which would block state licenses for people who have received work permits and deportation deferrals through the federal deferred action program.
McKoon described his legislation as a pre-emptive strike now that President Barack Obama is reportedly preparing to expand the deferred action program. Obama has pledged to act unilaterally by the end of this year now that immigration overhaul legislation remains stalled in Congress.
McKoon cites the possibility of people who could receive a driver’s license because of loosened restrictions on illegal aliens improperly voting as one of the reasons for his bill. Immigration attorney Charles Kuck is not amused, however. He’s quoted in the AJC article saying, “At the end of the day, if Georgia wants to be known as an anti-immigration state, Josh McKoon should keep talking.”
While McKoon’s bill was the only one prefiled from the Senate, there were several additional House bills put into the hopper. House Bill 2 and accompanying House Resolution 1, sponsored by Harry Geisinger, would provide for a constitutional amendment legalizing pari-mutuel betting on horse racing. House Bill 3 could be called the Todd Gurley Bill. It’s Barry Fleming’s legislation that would impose sanctions on people encouraging student athletes to break the law. Geisinger also filed two other pieces of legislation, one having to do with drones, and the other with inter-basin transfers of water.