The GA General Assembly session closed on March 29, 2018. Our policy consultant, Scott Maxwell of Mathews & Maxwell Inc., has provided weekly updates throughout the session, highlighting activity of interest to public health. Click here to read his report on the final week of activity, ending March 29.
Some of the highlights include information on a new Rural Health Innovation Center to be established, along with a Health Coordination and Innovation Council. Another successful bill enables the Department of Public Health to create a regime where hospital perinatal centers can be designated by level of care provided.
We were following two tobacco-related bills – HB 877 would have cut the sales tax in half for modified-risk tobacco products, and HB 835 would simplify obtaining temporary permits to sell tobacco for special events. Both measures failed.
All of the successful bills still have one important step left — the Governor’s signature. The Georgia Constitution allows the Governor 40 calendar days following the General Assembly’s adjournment in which to sign or veto a bill, or it becomes law without his signature. That makes May 8th the deadline for Gov. Deal to act on legislation this year. In the meantime, his legal and policy staff will be reviewing the final language of bills, looking for unintended consequences, outright mistakes and policy differences. Deal also has an option to veto line items in the budget, but he hasn’t had any significant arguments with the General Assembly regarding the budget this year.