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Tanner to introduce sludge legislation this week
I-Tanner mug

The issue of sludge application is expected to go before state lawmakers this week.

In one of his first orders of business for the 2014 session of the Georgia General Assembly, State Rep. Kevin Tanner on Monday said he plans to introduce legislation that would require those seeking sludge application permits to go before the respective city or county governments and show they are in compliance with their land use ordinances or zoning requirements.

The debate over sludge application started more than a year ago when developer Ken Curren filed an application with the state Environmental Protection Division to amend the Hampton Creek Water Reclamation Facility sludge management plan.

According to the application, Curren wanted to spread partially treated liquid waste from the Forsyth County plant on about 65 acres at Lumpkin Campground and Harry Sosebee roads in Dawson County, about one mile away from the busy Ga. 400 corridor, which includes the North Georgia Premium Outlets, the county's largest source of sales tax revenue.

"This has been very important to the Dawson County community," Tanner said.

The 2014 session of the Georgia General Assembly began at 10 a.m. on Monday and is expected to run through March.

As the session progresses, Tanner said the budget will be the top issue for state leaders.

"Overall, the budget will be the number one issue we'll be facing in session this year," he said.

A major focus, he said, will be to try to restore funding to K-12 education.

"I'm committed, and the House is committed, to looking for ways to increase funding for K-12 education," he said. "K-12 education has experienced many cuts in the past few years due to the economy, and I'm hopeful we'll be able to restore some of that funding."

Tanner has also been working on legislation that would increase penalties for drivers involved in road rage incidents where serious injury or death is involved.

"Chelsea's Law is named in memory of Chelsea Gerrish who lived in Dawson County and was killed in an accident by an aggressive driver in Hall County about three months ago," he said.

Additionally, he plans to introduce bills that would make it less costly for those serving on active duty in the United States military to be able to obtain a Georgia hunting license.

Tanner has also written resolutions to rename the intersection of Hwy. 53 and Perimeter Road in honor of Kenny Stewart, a Dawsonville boy who succumbed to cancer in 2013, and the Hwy. 53 bridge over the Etowah River in memory of Marcus Byrd.

Throughout the session, Tanner will continue a longstanding tradition started by his 9th district predecessor Amos Amerson by meeting with local community members to discuss issues that affect Dawson County residents.

His first informational meeting will be at 9 a.m. Saturday at Ryan's in Dawsonville.

The weekly meetings, which will continue throughout the legislative session, give residents of the district an opportunity to meet and discuss issues with their representative in Atlanta.