Georgia Capitol

The state’s counter-terrorism plans will likely be part of the Georgia General Assembly’s discussion when the 40-day legislative session begins today, Sen. Chuck Hufstetler said.

Hufstetler, R-Rome, said there is a need to be more aggressive in light of the recent terrorist attacks in California and Paris.

“We need to beef up our security,” he said.

The state government will work closely with Georgia’s Emergency Management Agency and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, he said — and the legislature will also try to add more funding to improve cybersecurity.

Other topics Huf­stetler expects to take center stage this session include improving the healthcare infrastructure and eliminating unnecessary student testing so teachers will have more time in the classroom.

Rep. Katie Demp­sey, R-Rome, said the legislature will also look to improve the state’s transportation infrastructure.

Additionally, she expects the House of Representatives to quickly move on the issue of medical marijuana. Cannabis oil can now be legally prescribed for certain medical conditions, but it can’t be grown in the state or transported across state lines.

State Rep. Eddie Lumsden, R-Arm­uchee, also expressed interest in resolving the impasse. The oil is very important to children who have seizures, he added.

Dempsey said the House will discuss sites where marijuana can be grown for medical purposes only — and if it would be privatized or a government operation.

She said her vote on the subject will depend on how the bill is written.

Lumsden said growing marijuana in the state is a logical next step but, like Dempsey, he wants to know specifics of any bill before deciding if he can support it. One piece of legislation Lumsden wants to push through is an education bill that would allow a discount of up to 5 percent on workers’ compensation premiums for companies that partner with schools for internships and other work-based learning programs. He said the idea is mainly targeted at allowing more 16 and 17-year-olds to get on-the-job experience.


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