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Rep. Ron Stephens' update from State Capitol (week of Feb. 4)
Ron Stephens
Rep. Ron Stephens

Our great state was on display before a watching world during the Super Bowl last weekend and as the fans went back home, legislators arrived under the gold dome to continue the legislative session. We considered a variety of bills that could have a direct impact on our community.

I sponsored HB 186 which provides guidelines for the sale or lease of state health care facilities and hospitals. This bill states that after all debt is paid from the sale, money from the interest may be used to provide healthcare within the indigent care system, which historically has been underfunded. I believe this legislation is another step to providing necessary healthcare for Georgians in need and I’m pleased that similar legislation has been introduced in the State Senate.

Healthcare continued to be a priority topic as my colleague, Rep. Bill Hitchens, introduced House Bill 62, which would require healthcare facilities conducting a mammogram on patients with dense breast tissue to provide a notification to the patient within the mammogram results summary. I’m in strong support of this legislation as it’s important for women to have the information necessary to make decisions regarding their health. I’ll keep you updated about the progress of this bill as it receives further consideration.

A bill that affects the Skidaway Island community quickly passed both the House and Senate and is now on Governor Kemp’s desk for his signature. The bill, HB 29, amends the act to incorporate the city of Skidaway Island by providing homestead exemptions and requires a referendum before any increase in property taxes. This bill has received wide support both locally and at the capitol and I fully expect the governor to sign it into law.

Technology is vital to educational opportunities and economic development and the House is deliberating HB 22 which would provide, improve, and expand broadband services to rural areas. It’s estimated that 16% of Georgia households don’t have access to high-speed internet, a tool that has become vital to daily communication, both personally and professionally. Expanding this service is a priority for many of us in the legislature, because in our technological world online availability is equally essential to families as well as to the betterment of hospitals, schools, and businesses.

In honor of former Governor Nathan Deal, HR 1 passed the House naming the forthcoming new state appellate judicial complex as the "Nathan Deal Judicial Center". This is a fitting salute to Governor Deal, a former judge who appointed most of the judges on Georgia’s top courts during his time in office.

The state legislature will continue to debate important legislation that could affect your family, job, and future. Your input is valuable to me as I represent you at the capitol and I appreciate hearing from you. Please know that I’m available to you at 404-656-5115 or at Thank you for allowing me to represent you!

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