We kicked off the ninth week of the 2016 session on Monday, March 7 with legislative day 32 and by the end of Friday, March 11, we had completed 35 days of the legislative session.
With Crossover Day behind us, the House has shifted much of its focus to considering Senate Bills and monitoring any changes made in the Senate to House Bills and vice versa.
This past week, we saw the first of many bills receive final passage in the General Assembly. These bills, having passed both the House and Senate chambers, will go to Governor Deal for his consideration. This week I was proud to see the House take up many important measures including SB308, SB305, and SB309.
Last Friday I was proud to vote and see the passage of Senate Bill 308 which I consider one of the most important pieces of legislation this session. Senate Bill 308 creates the Positive Alternatives for Pregnancy and Parenting Grant Program within the Georgia Department of Public Health. The purpose of this grant is to promote healthy pregnancies and childbirth by awarding grants to pro-life non-profit organizations that provide pregnancy support services. As we know, unfortunately, our Federal Government uses our tax dollars to fund such pro-abortion groups as Planned Parenthood.
Because of this government funding pro-abortion centers have an advantage against pro-life pregnancy centers. Under Senate Bill 308 Georgia is putting our money where our values are to help support pro-life alternatives which will encourage healthy pregnancies in our state. I am proudly pro-life and I was proud to support this measure. Supported by Georgia Right to Life, SB305 requires the Department of Public Health to notify the chairpersons and members of the House and Senate Health and Human Services
Committees at least 60 days before implementing changes to the Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) form. POLST forms are portable documents that contain actual medical orders that can be followed by health care professionals. Many pro-life advocates including myself have been concerned these POLST forms could one day be used to encourage those nearing the end of life to seek physician assisted suicides which would bring their lives to an unnatural end. I was proud to support this measure as it passed the House and see it now headed to Governor Deal for his signature.
Senate Bill 309 prohibits high schools that receive state funding from participating in an athletic association which prohibits religious expression on athletic clothing. This bill does not change current rules but, rather, simply confirms that if expression is allowed within the rules of the event, it won’t be arbitrarily prohibited. Furthermore, this bill would prohibit these high schools from participating in athletic associations that prohibit member schools from organizing and playing scrimmage matches, games, and other competition with nonmember schools – many of which are religiously affiliated. GHSA is allowing one private school association to play certain public schools but, in doing so, has prohibited them from playing other private schools.
This has resulted in instances of schools being forced to travel around the state to play a game. I was proud to support this measure which will provide important religious freedom protections as well as creating more competition opportunities for our high school athletes.
With only 5 legislative days left to complete our work for the 2016 legislative session I am proud of the work we have already accomplished. If you have any questions about the bills I mentioned, or about any that will be considered by either chamber, I hope you will reach out to me in the remaining days. As your representative, your thoughts and opinions on these important issues are essential to my decision-making process, and I appreciate your input. If you are nearby, you are always welcome at your State Capitol, and I would be happy to serve as your host. My cell phone is 770.324.2275 and you can reach me by email at email@example.com.
May God bless you and your family.