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Guest column: Restroom Access Act introduced
Guest columnist

By State Rep. Ron Stephens.

This week in the Georgia General Assembly, we were in full swing as many of us started to introduce bills we have talked about in the past and new legislation that just has become more pressing for us to do something about.

One bill I introduced, is a bill that most people would never consider an issue, but those afflicted, it’s a real problem. I introduced House Bill 99 or the Restroom Assess Act. Some people are afflicted with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, other inflammatory bowel diseases, irritable bowel syndrome, or any other medical condition that requires immediate access to a toilet facility or that requires use of an ostomy device. Many stores in this country have private restroom facilities for employees only and are not normally given access to patrons. This bill allows a customer to request usage of the facility and holds harmless the restroom provider for any injuries for providing this facility for a patron. The customer requesting access to the employee toilet facility must presents a copy of a written statement and issued from a healthcare provider. This is common-sense legislation, bore out by store owners afraid of litigation for a restroom not meeting standards for a customer while allowing those in need, a closer please to take care of their issue.

I have discussed over the past few years, the lack of funding for the HOPE Scholarship plan. This extraordinarily successful program for providing scholarships to in-state schools has been a godsend for many families in assuring their children can go to college while allowing full access to all students across the state. Because of the success, funding of he HOPE program, which is done through the Georgia Lottery Commission, has diminished as more students qualify for it. Earlier this month I introduced an additional funding plan that allows legalized sports betting. House Bill 86 has many advantages by keeping those dollars in the state versus being sent outside the state. This week, I reintroduced House Resolution 30, which proposes an amendment to the Constitution allowing the General Assembly to authorize by law for the local authorization of a limited number of licensed destination casino resorts within the state. This isn’t an effort to turn our seashores into Atlantic City or our big cities into a Las Vegas-style town. It allows for a limited number of casinos that can capture tourists to resort-type atmospheres that also allows for casino style games.

We will return to the State Capitol on Monday, February 1, for Legislative Day 9. I encourage you to contact me with your input and thoughts on proposed legislation or current events that may impact our community.

 I am in 226-A of the State Capitol. My office phone number is (404) 656-5115 and my email is I look forward to this session and serving all of you.

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