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Week 9 Session Update

Week 9 Session Update
L to R: County Manager John Jones, Commissioner Tommy Rollins, Representative Leesa Hagan, Chairman David Sikes.
Week 9 Session Update
L to R: County Manager John Jones, Commissioner Tommy Rollins, Representative Leesa Hagan, Chairman David Sikes.

Af ter an exciting eighth week, the Ho u s e resumed its duties on Monday, Mar c h 4. Transitioning into the ninth week, our primary focus shifted to the review of and voting on Senate Bills following the “Crossover Day” deadline from the previous week. Furthermore, we successfully passed the House’s version of the Fiscal Year 2025 budget. As we traverse the final days of this session, our work intensifies to perfect legislation and ensure that what we send to the governor mirrors the best interests of our citizens.

Qualifying Week

Last week, hundreds of candidates came to the Capitol to qualify for state races. I am happy to share that for State Representative for House district 156, I was the only candidate to qualify. Although I do not have an opponent, I look forward to meeting with many of you over the next several months to discuss legislation and issues that are important to the communities in the six counties in our district. The Semiquincentennial

A notable achievement in the legislative agenda this past week is Senate Bill 369, a bill I was honored to sponsor in the House. This bill creates a license plate commemorating the United States’ semiquincentennial, marking its 250th anniversary. The design for this plate will be selected from submissions by middle school students through their civics education class. It will be the default plate issued from 2026 through 2030 with no extra fee. The peach plate will still be available at no charge upon request during that time. More licensed veterinarians Senate Bill 410 aims to solve a serious problem rural Georgia has faced for quite some time. It calls on the State Board of Veterinary Medicine to allow individuals with an active veterinary license or veterinary technician license from another state to acquire a license for practice in specific shelters or clinics within our state. By the end of 2024, the board is mandated to implement a process enabling technicians in good standing with another state to qualify for a one-time, temporary sixmonth license to practice in government or nonprofit shelter medicine, nonprofit sterilization clinics, or nonprofit mobile sterilization programs registered in Georgia. This rule applies for states meeting or exceeding Georgia’s license requirements in training, experience, and testing. This bill addresses the pressing need for more licensed veterinarians, offering a remedy to the significant backlog of spay and neutering services in veterinary practices across Georgia. Helping our Firefighters Ensuring public safety and upholding the integrity of communities across the state is paramount. Consequently, my House colleagues and I unanimously granted final passage to SB 334, known as the Helping Firefighters Beat Cancer Act. This legislation streamlines the transfer of benefits for eligible firefighters transitioning between departments within Georgia. Its core aim is to guarantee that firefighters moving between departments can consistently access crucial benefits, supporting them and providing adequate coverage in the event of accidents, injuries, or illnesses, such as cancer resulting from hazardous chemicals encountered on duty. Firefighters, who bravely serve every community across our state, face heightened risks of being diagnosed with cancer simply by doing their jobs. Casting my vote in favor of this legislation was a proud moment, affirming support for these courageous men and women and ensuring they have the insurance coverage they need.

Other Bills Passed

The House successfully passed several other bills last week including: Senate Bill 19 introduces reporting requirements for passport duty fees performed by clerks of superior courts and probate judges. Both clerks and probate judges are mandated to issue quarterly written reports to counties, disclosing the total fees received during the previous quarter.

Senate Bill 352 revises current law to make it unlawful to alter the suspension system of a motor vehicle by more than two inches above or below the factory recommendation. This bill effectively makes the “Carolina Squat” illegal.

Finally, Senate Bill 377 defines and clarifies qualified residential treatment programs as a type of licensed child-care institution.

Visitors to the Capitol Last week, many county commissioners were in Atlanta and under the Gold Dome for the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG) Day at the Capitol. I enjoyed good visits with Hope Harmon (Ben Hill County), Dakkia Bradshaw and Carla Sirmans (Telfair County), and David Sikes, Tommy Rollins and John Jones (Toombs County). Final Weeks of Session

Approaching “Sine Die,” the final day of the legislative session, I extend an invitation to connect on issues significant to you and your family that are being considered this session. With only three weeks remaining, our commitment is unwavering as we work collaboratively with our Senate colleagues to advance legislation that positively impacts our constituents. Your inquiries or concerns are always welcomed via email at Leesa. As always, thank you for the privilege of allowing me to serve as your representative.

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

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