Scott Maxwell, legislative liaison for GPHA, provided an update about recent legislative activity concerning public health. The following is Maxwells’ report for March 13, 2015.
Friday was “crossover day” at the General Assembly, the deadline for a bill to pass out of its house of origin, or be set aside until next session. Here’s what happened to some of the bills we’ve been following:
The Sale of Fireworks Crosses Over
The House voted 119-49 Monday to pass legislation (HB 110) that would legalize the sale of all fireworks in Georgia. Fireworks are now available in every bordering state except North Carolina. Supporters argue that Georgians are going to buy, handle and shoot fireworks regardless, so the state should capture the sales taxes they could produce for both state and local governments. Opponents point to the lost fingers, hands and eyesight of youth who mishandle fireworks as a reason to limit local sales to sparklers, as is current law.
Ban on Smoking in Auto with Children
Sen. Bruce Thompson (R-White) has been on a personal quest this year to prohibit smoking in an automobile while a child is present. The personal part comes from the fact that Thompson suffers from asthma and believes it’s a result of the secondhand smoke he inhaled as a youth. His legislative effort, SB 130, made the crossover from Senate to House on Friday with a strong 37-3 showing. The bill would make it a misdemeanor to smoke or allow smoking in a car when someone 15 years or younger is present.