Day 22 (Feb. 17): Today we celebrate President’s Day. While we would normally be off in order to observe the holiday, we are in session today to make up for some of the time that last week’s inclement weather caused us to miss.
We have three bills on the agenda, including SB 318 sponsored by Sen. Lester Jackson, D-Savannah. This bill would allow cities and counties that already allow the sale of alcohol on Sundays from 12:30 p.m. to midnight in establishments deriving the majority of their sales from food to adopt a resolution or ordinance allowing bars not deriving the majority of their sales from food the same right on any Sunday before or on which a “spirited holiday” falls.
“Spirited holiday” is defined in the bill as Independence Day, Labor Day, Memorial Day and St. Patrick’s Day. Opposition to the bill is, not surprisingly, heavy and the bill appears to be heading for defeat. In an attempt to salvage the bill, I presented an amendment that removes “spirited holidays” and only includes St. Patrick’s Day.
Although the amendment passed, it is not enough to salvage the bill and it fails by one vote. A motion for reconsideration is made immediately following the vote and the motion is passed, meaning that the bill will be sent back to the Rules Committee for future consideration.
SB 60, a bill mandating that all official communications sent to officers, members and employees of the General Assembly be in electronic format, and SB 746, a bill expressing support for a state plan for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, both pass.
Day 23 (Feb. 18): Today is a special day for us in the Senate as we recognize Hall of Fame pitcher and Atlanta Brave great Tom Glavin for his outstanding career and for the philanthropic work that he and his wife, Chris, do in our state.
Today is also Lupus Day, Thrombosis Day, Future Farmers of America Day and University of West Georgia Day at the Capitol. While it may seem that recognizing so many groups on one day diminishes their importance, nothing could be further from the truth. Regardless of how many groups we recognize on any given day, they are important and very special for all of us.
Day 24 (Wednesday, Feb. 19): While every day is special at the Capitol, today is very special for me for two reasons. First of all, I am honored this morning to have the opportunity to address the Fraternal Order of Police, some of our finest public safety officers in the state who are here visiting. Secondly, I have the very special honor of recognizing one of our state’s most distinguished citizens, Jim Chavers, the remaining living member of the 4th Marine Division that fought in World War II’s infamous Battle of Iwo Jima. This American hero is a Savannah resident and borrowing a saying from my friend Sen. Bill Jackson, R-Appling, I remind the senators that with Chavers here they “are in the presence of a great man.”
Day 25 (Thursday, Feb. 20): We have three bills on the calendar today including SB 325, a bill that strengthens provisions regulating fire protection sprinkler contractors and fire suppression contractors.
The afternoon proves to be very busy and quite successful as I present two very important bills before the Insurance and Labor Committee, chaired by Sen. Tim Golden, R- Valdosta. SR 747, which I co-sponsored with Sen. William Ligon, R-Brunswick, encourages Congress to repeal or amend the flood insurance bill known as Biggert Waters passes out first. SB 334, a bill prohibiting any state department or agency of the state from assisting in implementing any part of the Affordable Care Act, also passes out.
Carter, R-Pooler, can be reached at 421-B State Capitol, Atlanta, GA, 30334. His Capitol office number is 404-656-5109 or connect with him on Facebook at facebook.com/buddycarterga. He is reporting each week during the legislative session, which is expected to last until the beginning of March.