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Report from the Capitol: Final week packed with action, fights

By State Rep. Rick Jasperse

Well, we are in the final week of the session for 2024. We have been at it for a while, it seems, taking into account the special session we had in November for re-redistricting. When you read this, we will be on our last day, Thursday. Boy! There is a lot going on and a number of fights will be had, to protect you from government overreach.

            I enjoyed going to our local Pickens GOP (Republican party) convention on Saturday morning. Great to see so many friendly faces and answer a bunch of questions about what is going on right now in the House and Capitol and why things are done in certain ways. Marcia and I enjoyed it a lot. These folks are committed to having a great voter turnout in November.

            Last week, the House took legislative action to combat the growing fentanyl crisis in our state. We unanimously passed this important, life saving measure, Senate Bill 465, which would create the crime of aggravated involuntary manslaughter when someone intentionally manufactures or sells a controlled substance that contains fentanyl, and fentanyl is determined as the sole cause or a contributing factor in a victim’s death. Additionally, SB 465 would create a felony crime for unlawfully possessing, purchasing, or selling a pill press or tableting machine for this use.

            Senate Bill 420 passed, which would prohibit a person who is not a U.S. citizen or legal resident, is an agent of a foreign government designated as a foreign adversary, and has been out of the country for a period of time preceding the acquisition of land from acquiring directly or indirectly any possessory interest in agricultural land or land within a 10-mile radius of a military installation, excluding residential property.

            Senate Bill 368 passed, which would prohibit foreign nationals from making contributions to a candidate, campaign committee, independent committee, or political action committee, as well as prohibiting those entities from accepting contributions from foreign nationals.

            There were a number of bills that affected children and those in our foster care system in an effort to help them move forward when they are adults: SB 230, SB 376, SB 401, and SB 454. Senate Bill 340 passed, which would amend current law related to the Georgia Agricultural Tax Exemption to extend the sales and use exemption to diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) used for agricultural purposes.

            Senate Bill 464 passed, to improve literacy rates among our students and provide financial relief to educators to purchase classroom supplies. SB 464 would make changes to the Georgia Early Literacy Act to require the Department of Education (DOE) and Georgia Council on Literacy to identify up to five universal reading screeners to help identify students who are experiencing literacy problems. The second part of SB 464 outlines the School Supplies for Educators Act, which would establish a program to provide financial and technical assistance to educators to purchase school supplies.

            Yes, we are busy in our office these days, but never too busy to talk with you. Call me if you have any questions or concerns regarding the bills, the legislative process, or any other measures considered under the Gold Dome.

            My Capitol office number is 404-656-7153. My email is rick.jasperse@house.ga.gov. As always, thank you for allowing me to serve as your State Representative.

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