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Another busy week in the General Assembly

POSTED: February 27, 2013 4:00 a.m.

Last Wednesday marked the 20th legislative day, which puts us half way through the 2013 legislative session. The day was extremely special for me, because this was the day that House Bill 122 passed the House of Representatives.


This is a bill that I had been working on for several months with Katie Strayhorn and others.


The bill will allow the Sex Offender Registration Review Board to have access to the Parole Board's files. These files contain important information that will allow the Sex Offender Board to do a more accurate job when classifying sex offenders.


The classification process is important because the level the offender is classified will determine whether or not there is a possibility of the offender being removed from the list or in some cases whether or not they are electronically monitored.


Under current law they cannot access this important information.


House Bill 122 will change this and has the potential to make Georgians safer.


This was the first bill that I had to come to the floor, and I was the first freshman to get a bill to the floor for a vote this session.


I am extremely proud of this accomplishment, and I appreciate Katie, the Sex Offender Registration Review Board, the Parole Board and the Attorney General's Office for all of their help in this process. The members of the House passed the bill unanimously, and it is now in the Senate awaiting a committee hearing. I am hopeful that we will see Gov. Nathan Deal sign this bill into law later this year.


We also passed several other bills last week, including House Bill 234.


This would protect Georgia consumers from getting trapped in contracts with automatic renewal provisions.


The legislation is necessary because businesses now frequently include provisions in service contracts that automatically renew the contract on the cancelation date without notice.


HB 234 would require sellers to make sure consumers are aware of any automatic renewal provisions in a service contract before the consumer signs the contract.


Additionally, the bill requires sellers to notify consumers one to two months before their contract's cancelation date. This would give consumers a chance to prevent an unwanted automatic contract renewal. Several other states have already passed legislation similar to HB 234 in response to consumer complaints. If this bill is approved by the senate and then signed into law by the Governor, the legislation would give the state another tool to help protect consumers.


House Bill 178 was also passed, and it would protect Georgians from the practices of "pill mills" that can lead to prescription drug addiction problems.


Pill mills are set up as walk-in pain management clinics that accept cash only in exchange for prescription drugs.


They often operate without a physician, and conduct fraudulent medical exams to "justify" unnecessary prescriptions. While pill mills may initially help Georgians with chronic pain, the type of drugs and dosages they prescribe has led many well intentioned patients to become addicts and has even resulted in death.


HB 178 would combat this problem by allowing the Georgia Medical Composite Board to regulate the licensing of pain management clinics. It would also require pain management clinics to be owned and operated by either a licensed physician or hospital, because the risk of losing their medical license gives them a greater incentive to properly manage pain clinics than owners with non-medical backgrounds who have less to lose. Additionally, HB 178 would give law enforcement the tools it needs to shut down pill mills.


I am honored to serve as your Representative at the State Capitol.


This Saturday I will be holding my weekly informational breakfast at 9 a.m. at Ryan's in Dawsonville.


The following Saturday morning Dawson and Lumpkin counties will be holding their County Republican Conventions; so I will not hold the normal Saturday informational breakfast on March 9.


I am always available to assist you and encourage you to contact me with questions or your opinions. Tanner can be reached on his cell phone at (678) 776-5059, at the Capitol at (404) 656-0152 or by e-mail at kevin.tanner@house.ga.gov.

 

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