By: Chad Nimmer
On Friday, March 3, we completed legislative day 28, also known this year as Crossover Day.
This was the last day for bills to move from one chamber to the other — that is, to cross over — and still have a clear path to becoming law this year. We worked into the evening considering the impact of proposed legislation on all of us as Georgians. While we, as the House, passed many pieces of legislation, some legislation did not garner enough support for approval.
One such bill was House Bill (HB) 158, the legislative measure that would allow two “destination resort” casinos. This measure did not come to the House floor for a vote after failing to gain enough sponsors for passage out of committee. In the Senate, Senator Brandon Beach, ceased to push for his measure this year because he did not have the votes to pass Senate Bill 79 out of the Senate Regulated Industries Committee.
Also of note, the two legislative bills dealing with coal ash, HB 387 and 388, discussed in a recent column, dewatering and municipal waste plan for storing CCRs, did not receive a vote on the House floor. However, it is important to note a new development in this discussion. On Tuesday afternoon, with the legislative clock ticking, both subcommittee chairmen announced there would be no vote that day; I made a motion in subcommittee at that time, explaining that I had a joint resolution from the City of Jesup and Wayne County, asking us to take these matters very seriously. I asked that the measures be moved to the full Natural Resources Committee. On Thursday morning, the full committee met and Chairwoman Lynn Smith of the Natural Resources and Environment Committee set up a task force to review this issue. Chairwoman Smith appointed herself, Resource Management Subcommittee Chairman Chuck Williams, Environmental Quality subcommittee chairman Buddy Harden and myself because I represent Wayne County. The task force is already working to get public notice put in the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) plan since we heard more about public notice than anything else. We are working directly with EPD Director Rick Dunn. I will not allow this important issue to drop simply because a certain day on the calendar has passed.
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