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Senate passes bills to create boundary, defense commissions
Rep. Ron Stephens

With only five legislative days and two weeks left to the legislative session, the House spent much of last week considering legislation that was passed by our colleagues in the Senate.

SR 794 was passed and would create the Joint Georgia-North Carolina and Georgia-Tennessee Boundary Line Commission to establish the true boundary lines between these states. The commission will be comprised of three individuals appointed by the House and three appointed by the Senate.

This resolution also directs the governor of Georgia to communicate with the governors of North Carolina and Tennessee to conduct joint surveys and settlements of disputed boundary questions. The commission will be abolished on Dec. 1, 2018.

SB 395, sponsored by my colleague Sen. Ben Watson, passed in the House and would create the Georgia Joint Defense Commission.

This commission would advise the governor and legislature on defense and military issues within the state and nationwide, make recommendations regarding plans to support the long-term development of our state’s military and develop ways to enhance a community’s relationship with military installations and defense-related business.

The commission would also serve as a task force that would seek advice and prepare for potential base realignment or closure of military installations in our state. I believe this is good legislation that prepares our state militarily and supports our fine military men and women who valiantly serve our great nation.

Another bill passed regarding our military, SB 82, would help our service men and women further their education while serving in the armed forces.

This legislation states that members of the Georgia National Guard or a member of a reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces located in Georgia will be classified as a legal resident allowing them to be eligible for HOPE scholarships and grants.

This bill was authored by my colleague Sen. Lester Jackson, and I was pleased that this bill passed unanimously as it represents support for our brave military members who seek a higher education.

Regarding confidential information secured in the administration of taxes, we passed Senate Bill 371, which allows counties and municipalities to request information included on the vendor’s sales tax certificate for all vendors that have filed a report for a designated period from the commissioner of the Department of Revenue.

Any information provided by the commissioner is to remain privileged and confidential and the taxing official is prohibited from contacting any taxpayer identified by such information. To read the full version of this bill, please go to

SB 357 passed, which would establish the Health Coordination and Innovation Council of the State of Georgia. Appointments would be made to ensure that the council always includes a dentist, a pharmacist, a primary care physician and a member representing a private health care industry.

The council will provide a forum for innovative ideas, maximize resources and organize a health care approach.

There’s still much work to be done in the final days of the legislative session, and I appreciate your input as we continue to consider legislation. I’m available to you at 404-656-5115 or Thank you for allowing me to represent you!

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