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General Assembly passes mid point
Legislative update
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The Georgia General Assembly saw the completion of the 22nd day of the 2013 legislative session, officially crossing through the mid-way point.
On Friday, the House passed a motion to insist on the changes made by the House to the Amended 2013 Budget (the “little” budget). This annual ritual ultimately begins the process of setting up a conference committee between the two chambers in order to work through the differences and come to a final agreement. The House has also already started the committee hearings and budget process for the upcoming fiscal 2014 “big” budget. Legislative highlights this week are included below:
On Thursday, day 21, I had the privilege of introducing our doctor of the day at the Capitol, Dr. Keith Cobb, an internal medicine physician with the SouthCoast Medical Group and also a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine.
Many bills that I have sponsored and co-sponsored are moving through the House committee process and I will describe these pieces of legislation in detail in the coming weeks.
I co-sponsored House Bill 179, which passed unanimously Friday and would change certain provisions relating to the Pharmacy Audit Bill of Rights. This legislation would close a loophole in the Pharmacy Audit Bill of Rights by protecting pharmacists during corporate and governmental audits by allowing 30 days to allow the correction of any clerical or record-keeping errors.
House Bill 209, a bill introduced by Rep. Ben Watson, which I also co-sponsored, passed unanimously and is a clean-up bill regarding the requirements for what is allowable by a pharmacy as a prescription pad. This measure will permit the acceptance of either Georgia paper or the official security paper by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as approved prescription pads.
HB 178, the Georgia Pain Management Clinic Act, passed the House 150-15. This act would provide state administrative control, oversight and regulation of pain management clinics in Georgia. The intent of this legislation is to prevent and restrict those clinics that are operating as “pill mills.”
Park rangers are vital to monitoring and preserving the beauty and health of our parks and wildlife across Georgia. House Bill 126 passed 167-2 and would create a misdemeanor or felony charge for any person obstructing or hindering the official duties of a park ranger.
A significant piece of consumer protection legislation that passed this week was House Bill 234. It passed 167-2 and would require that notice be given to consumers prior to the automatic renewal of a service contract. The notice would be given between 30-60 days prior to the renewal of the contract, giving the consumer adequate time and notice to decide whether or not to continue the agreement.
Please contact me with your ideas and opinions or if I can be of service to you in any way. It is your input and common sense ideas that develop into the best legislation and potentially becomes the laws of our state.
If you would like to reach me, please call me at (404) 656-5099 or write me at: State Rep. Ron Stephens, 226 CAP, State Capitol, Atlanta, Ga. 30334, or e-mail me at

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