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Week 8 Update: - Crossover Day has Passed

Crossover Day has Passed
L to R: CEO Matt Hasbrouck, VP of Operations Mike Hagan, Rep. Leesa Hagan (R-Lyons), and CNO Jeffrey Harden.
Crossover Day has Passed
L to R: CEO Matt Hasbrouck, VP of Operations Mike Hagan, Rep. Leesa Hagan (R-Lyons), and CNO Jeffrey Harden.

Week 8 Update:

The eighth week of the 2024 legislative session commenced on February 26 with the House convening for three days of legislative work and one busy committee day. Notably, Thursday marked Legislative Day 28, or “Crossover Day,” a pivotal deadline for bills and resolutions to transition to the next phase in the process to becoming law. Cottage Food Expansion

Late in the evening on Crossover Day, House Bill 583, which I am proud to sponsor, passed almost unanimously. It creates new law relating to cottage food items and operators. This bill would allow cottage food operators to sell their products to third-party vendors, including restaurants and grocery stores. Currently, they may only sell to consumers directly. The Georgia Department of Agriculture retains authorization to inspect these kitchens and to administer the program. This legislation is important to encourage entrepreneurship particularly in rural areas. It now moves over to the Senate. Certificate of Need Reform During this impactful week, the House decisively passed House Bill 1339, focusing on healthcare reform with a targeted emphasis on addressing rural communities’ unique challenges. Derived from the House Study Committee on Certificate of Need Modernization of which I was a member, HB 1339 proposes a substantial overhaul of the state’s certificate of need (CON) laws. To bolster accessibility and affordability for Georgians, the bill mandates regular reviews and updates of the state health plan every five years. Streamlining the CON application process, the legislation shortens the timeframe for submitting applications and expands CON exemptions. Additionally, the bill establishes the Comprehensive Health Coverage Commission to advise on healthcare access and quality, reinforcing our commitment to equitable healthcare delivery. This bill moves on to the Senate.

Gun Safety

With only three dissenting votes, the House championed firearm safety with the passage of House Bill 971, the Firearm Safe Handling and Secure Storage Tax Credit Act. This legislation allows taxpayers to claim a tax credit for expenses related to firearm safe handling instructional courses and secure gun safes. Our goal is to promote responsible gun ownership while maintaining fiscal responsibility. Some organizations have misled many by claiming this is a form of gun control. This could not be further from the truth. These are simply optional tax credits that those interested may choose to claim. It now crosses over to the Senate.

Military Spouse Licensing Addressing the needs of Georgia’s servicemembers, House Bill 880 ensures compliance with the federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. The bill enables military spouses to continue practicing their jobs without a license in specific circumstances, streamlining the licensing process for expedited applications. Georgia is known for being a military-friendly state and this bill helps us maintain that reputation. This bill now moves to the Senate.

Patients’ Rights

On Crossover Day, House Bill 663, the “No Patient Left Alone Act,” received unanimous passage. This legislation permits designated caregivers to be present at all times with patients in hospitals or long-term care facilities. Operating rooms and other restricted areas would be exceptions. This bill would ensure emotional support and advocacy during vulnerable moments would be allowed. This bill now passes over to the Senate. Protecting Minors from Pornography House Bill 910 would require a website owner to use a reasonable age verification method to ensure minors do not have access to pornography. The entity would be liable for damages and a fine of up to $10,000 per violation. This bill crossed over to the Senate. Hunting in Blaze Pink

Another bill I am proud to sponsor is House Bill 927, which passed the House last Monday. This bill would make fluorescent pink an acceptable outer garment color to wear while hunting in addition to blaze orange. This bill came at the request of a 14-yearold young lady who loves to hunt but wanted an option besides orange. I love that she took the time to research the process and present her idea to her representative. HB 927 moves on to the Senate. Recourse for Trespassing

House Bill 1017 would create the offense of unlawful squatting when someone enters and resides on the land or the premises without the owner’s knowledge or consent. If the person does not provide proof that they are authorized to be on the land or premises within three business days, they would be subject to arrest for criminal trespass. It moves to the Senate.

There were many other bills that passed out of the House last week, but they are too numerous to include here. You will find a list and summary of all bills that made it through the House last week in the Week 8 Update on my website. I’ll keep you informed as they pass out of the Senate or come back to the House for an agree vote. Also, I’d like to apologize for not sending my Week 7 Update to the paper in time for publication last week. If you’d like to read it, you will find it at LeesaHaganforGeorgia. com.

Many Visitors to the Capitol The 156th House district was represented from east to west last Wednesday to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Georgia Department of Agriculture, the oldest state agriculture department in the United States. Handy Kennedy of HK Farm in Cobbtown spoke at the ceremony, and Jason Dunn, Melissa Dark, and Tara Smith from Fitzgerald were present.

Heather Williams, Sexual Assault Coordinator at the Refuge, testified before the House Judicial Non-Civil Committee regarding House Bill 1367. She did a phenomenal job and the bill passed unanimously out of committee.

Michael Plowman, Pastor at Liberty Baptist Church in Lyons, visited the Gold Dome for Pastors’ Day. He is committed to encouraging Christians to engage with their government.

CEO Matt Hasbrouck, CNO Jeffrey Harden, and VP of Operations Mike Hagan of Memorial Health Meadows Hospital joined us at the Capitol for Georgia Hospital Association Day.

I was so happy to see Toombs County Schools Superintendent Barry Waller and Vidalia City Schools Superintendent Garrett Wilcox at the Capitol. I’m grateful for their hard work and dedication to educating the children of our community.

The annual Vidalia Onion Festival is drawing near, and the committee came to the Gold Dome to accept a proclamation from Governor Kemp.

With Crossover Day concluded, the House will shift its focus to reviewing Senate-passed legislation and pushing our House bills through the Senate. The commitment to legislative transparency and accessibility remains a priority as we approach the final weeks of the session. I encourage you to connect with me via email at to discuss matters significant to you and your family. Thank you for entrusting me with the privilege of serving as your representative.


L to R: Toombs Superintendent Barry Waller, Rep. Leesa Hagan, and Vidalia Superintendent Garrett Wilcox.

By Leesa Hagan R-Vidalia (District 156, Georgia House of Representatives)

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