Governor Nathan Deal on Tuesday green lighted the commercial sale and regulation of fireworks in Georgia.
The new law, which cleared the General Assembly only hours before the legislative session expired, will take affect July 1 — in time for Independence Day celebrations across the state.
All of Georgia’s neighbors already allow for the sale of fireworks, though previous attempts to legalize their sale locally bombed amid opposition from health groups and public safety officials.
Deal, on Tuesday, said he believed the debate this year was less incendiary because of safety carveouts included in the bill. The new law requires those businesses or nonprofits selling fireworks to be licensed by the state and pay a $5,000 fee, which will be used for public safety purposes.
“People in our state are crossing state lines and buying fireworks,” Deal said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We have so many neighbors around us that already authorize the sale of fireworks, I think this just made sense. And I think we have taken every precaution we can to try to eliminate any injuries associated with it.”
The number-three Republican in the Georgia House of Representatives confirmed Wednesday to his hometown newspaper that he would resign his seat at the end of the month.
House Majority Leader Larry O’Neal will be dumping his leadership post in exchange for an appointment as the first permanent judge in Georgia’s Tax Tribunal, which settles disputes between taxpayers and the Department of Revenue, according to the Macon Telegraph.
O’Neal, a tax attorney by trade, told the paper he considered the appointment a “bucket list opportunity.”
Tipsheet reported Monday that O’Neal would be resign in exchange for a state appointment by Gov. Nathan Deal, though the majority leader did not respond to requests for comment. An aide to Speaker David Ralston refused comment when asked earlier this week if O’Neal had consulted House leadership on his plans.
Gold Dome Republicans tell Tipsheet that O’Neal has been eying his possible retirement since last summer, when he had hoped to run the state Department of Revenue. That job instead went to former state Rep. Lynne Riley.
The American Collegiate Rowing Association said Monday it was “deeply concerned” with religious freedom legislation under consideration in the Georgia General Assembly.
The rowing conference, which for the last four years has hosted its national championship at the Lake Lanier Olympic Venue, said in a statement that it’s worried the legislation could negatively impact the sport’s gay and lesbian coaches, athletes, and spectators.
“[W]e are deeply concerned with legislation being considered by the Georgia General Assembly … that could negatively impact our athletic community, coaching staff, and fans,” the Monday statement reads. “In particular, we are cognizant of the impact such legislation could have on the LGBT coaches, athletes, and family members who attend the regatta annually.
“ACRA does not stand for discrimination in any form, and we will continue to monitor the issue in Georgia should this legislation be signed into law.”
The group said in the four years it has hosted its championship in Gainesville, the hometown of Gov. Nathan Deal, it has injected $2 million into the local economy.
Earlier Monday the president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association told NBC that the athletic association was also “deeply concerned” that Indiana’s newly-approved religious freedom bill could become a vehicle to discriminate agains gays and lesbians.
Read ACRA’s full statement after the jump.
A lobbyist for the Georgia Baptist Convention says he and a group of local religious leaders were denied a Monday meeting with Governor Nathan Deal to discuss religious freedom legislation that remains stalled in the state House.
Mike Griffin, a pastor who whips votes on behalf of the church confederation, said on Twitter that “no time was found” by the governor or his staff to meet with the dozen-plus faith leaders who crashed Deal’s office on Monday. (Griffin also posted a picture of the mostly-stone-faced crew from the governor’s parlor in the state capitol.)
— Michael R. Griffin (@mikegriffinsr) March 30, 2015
But a Republican with knowledge of the governor’s schedule tells Tipsheet that Griffin and co. had not previously scheduled a meeting with Deal, whose calendar was already blocked out.
“There was no meeting schedule,” the GOPer said. “The General Assembly is in its last days of session and the governor’s calendar is busy. Most items on his schedule—as you would expect for a governor—are booked weeks in advance.”
Deal’s Monday morning schedule, of which a portion was shared with Tipseet, included a speech at an event honoring Georgia’s Vietnam War veterans, a weekly senior staff meeting, a huddle with lawmakers, and a bill signing.
The Georgia House of Representatives on Wednesday legalized a non-euphoric form of medical marijuana for the treatment of a handful of acute medical conditions.
The legislation, which the state Senate green lighted on Tuesday, now heads to the desk of Gov. Nathan Deal for final approval.
If signed into law, the new program would allow for the use of cannabis oil for only those Georgians suffering from severe seizure disorders, Parkinson’s disease, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, amytrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and terminal cancer or those whose treatments induce vomiting.
Deal’s office rebuffed a reporter on Tuesday when asked whether the governor would sign the bill even as the governor’s top spokesman was celebrating the legislation’s passage in the upper chamber.
“Cannot wait to put this bill signing event together,” Deal communications director Brian Robinson wrote on Facebook after the bill cleared the Senate. “Great accomplishment for children in need of help.”
The comment, first flagged by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, was made on the profile of state Rep. Allen Peake, the primary House sponsor of the legislation.
Georgia Senate lawmakers approved legislation Tuesday legalizing cannibis oil for patients suffering from one of eight conditions.
The bill, which now heads to the lower chamber, does not give blanket license to use the substance, though: only those sufferings from diagnosed seizure disorders, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, amytrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or cancer patients whose diagnosis is terminal or whose treatment program is inducing vomiting or gastrointestinal distress.
The marijuana normalization outfit NORML says the proposal would bring Georgia to parity with eleven other states that already allow non-euphoric cannibis oil, but twenty-three other states already have more expansive allowances for medicinal marijuana.
Even as the bill has cleared one critical hurdle, two more remain.
State Rep. Allen Peake, the bill’s primary sponsor, will reintroduce the Senate-approved legislation next Monday for debate in the House.
A spokesperson for Gov. Nathan Deal declined to comment Tuesday when asked by Reuters if the governor would approve the legislation, but conservative consultant Todd Rehm wrote Wednesday on his blog that he has been “told the governor will sign it as early as Friday,” if it clears the House.