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Report from the Capitol

3/18/2019 - We have finished the ninth week and have just three more weeks until we finish this legislative session. We are now looking at bills that passed the Senate and crossed over to the House last week.
The House committees will now study the Senate bills and sometimes change them and add the House members’ thoughts on a subject, or sometimes disagree with what the Senate has sent over, and the bill will be held up for further study. This sounds drastic, but it is really not; and some bills are complex and need the time of the summer /fall for a new committee chairman or member to learn about the subject and make a sound decision. I will have to say that this does cause a lot of anger and frustration amongst the bill sponsors and interested parties when this happens. In the end, all members want to do what it right, and sometimes taking some time to figure out the long term consequences of what a bill can do to the State is best for all.
Besides committee meetings, we did vote on a few bills I will mention this week. We adopted House Resolution 135 to support Georgians living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). We all know someone who has had this serious disease. HR 135 urges the U.S. Congress to pass a bill they have in committee to change the current processing time for patients who are seeking Social Security Disability Insurance benefit assistance. Under current federal law, patients are required to wait five months after being diagnosed with ALS before receiving their Social Security Disability Insurance benefit payments, which help patients with the significant costs of medical care, equipment and home health caregiving.
The House also passed legislation that would provide us with a new pathway to become an organ donor. Senate Bill 99 would allow those applying for a hunting, fishing or trapping license to have the option to register to become an organ donor through the Department of Resources’ (DNR) online hunting licensing system.
We agreed to the Senate’s changes to the voting machine bill we have been working on this session. I have written about this in the past and now that bill is on to the Governor’s office to be signed.
The House passed Senate Bill 18, or the “Direct Primary Care Act,” which would give Georgians the option to keep health care directly between the patient and a doctor without requiring insurance. This is a growing practice that a lot of folks want. This would allow patients to pay a monthly fee to a participating physician in order to receive care, and the agreement would not be considered insurance and therefore, would not be subject to state insurance laws or insurance billing.
I will have to tell you my email is overloaded right now. Being the chairman of the Education committee and a member of a number of other important committees, I get a ton. Folks from all over the state weigh in on all sorts of issues and are quite passionate. My staff and I work every day to read them and learn what is important to those in our fine state.
Your comments are always important to me, and I hope to hear from you soon. You can call my office number at (404) 656-7153 or email me at rick.jasperse@house.ga.gov.
Thank you for allowing me to serve as your Representative. Marcia and I appreciate the kind words of support when we see you around town.

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