Last week was our first week after “Crossover Day”. Much our work last week was spent in committee meetings dealing with many House Bills passed during the last few days leading up to “Crossover Day” to get the Bills we can consider in the last weeks of the 2017 Session. We also were hard at work completing our work on the FY 2018 state budget.
We took time last week to celebrate Law Enforcement Appreciation Day at the State Capitol. SR 295 recognized March 6 as Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. This day was dedicated to honoring Georgia’s highly trained and professional certified peace officers who daily put their lives on the line to serve and protect every one of us.
Georgia’s approximately 54,000 certified peace officers serve across many state agencies. All of these officers must undergo a comprehensive training program that includes classroom instruction, practical skills building sessions and advanced specialized courses based off of their specific sections, such as criminal investigations and legal and organizational development.
Georgia’s certified peace officers enforce traffic laws and investigations, provide criminal investigation and forensic laboratory assistance, respond to natural disasters and promote and facilitate overall crime prevention and public safety. We have lost 699 officers in the line of duty throughout our state’s history, including nine officers within the past year alone, and it was only fitting that we honor the lives of the brave men and women we have lost and those who continue to serve and protect our communities.
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Week in Review
HB 176 designates the Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture as the state agency responsible for cooperating with the administration under the provisions of the Food Safety Modernization Act, 21 U.S.C. Section 301, et seq., relating to standards, labeling, and adulteration of food. In discharging our responsibilities under the federal act the Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture to enter agreements with the federal government to enforce provisions of certain federal law, and to conduct inspections and take other regulatory actions as necessary to assist the administration in enforcement of the federal act.
HB 127 is a technical corrections Bill which repeals obsolete provisions and revises other sections of the law regarding nonprofit medical service corporations and nonprofit hospital service corporations.
HB 146 requires legally organized fire departments to maintain insurance coverage beginning January 1, 2018 for all firefighters in the department to pay claims for cancer diagnosed after a firefighter has served at the department for 12 consecutive months.
The minimum benefit includes a lump sum benefit of $25,000 made payable to the firefighter upon submission of proof of their diagnosis to the fire department. This benefit is subordinate to any government health insurance benefit paid on behalf of, or as a reimbursement to, the member for such cancer, and shall be limited to the difference between the amount of such other paid benefit and the amount specified under this provision.
If, because of such cancerous condition or treatment, the member is unable to perform his or her duties as a firefighter, then a monthly benefit equal to 60% of the member’s monthly salary at the time of diagnosis or a monthly benefit of $5,000, whichever is less, will begin six months after submission of acceptable proof of diagnosis and will continue for a total of 36 consecutive months.
If a member is a volunteer, as defined in Georgia law, then a monthly benefit of $1,500 shall begin six months after submission of acceptable proof and continue for a total of 36 consecutive months. These benefits shall be subordinate to any other benefit actually paid to the firefighter for such disability from any other source, not including private insurance. They shall be limited to the difference between the amount of such other paid benefit and the amount specified in this Bill.
HB 283 is an annual housekeeping Bill amends our Revenue Code to incorporate and conform to the legislative changes at the federal level which affect the Georgia Revenue code.