Two Very Different Bills: Assisted Suicide & Smart Meters
Radio Commentary, 90.7, 91.7 New Life FM, March 16, 2012
By Sue Ella Deadwyler
Good morning, Jim. We should be glad H.B. 1114 passed the House 124 to 45 March 7th and should pass the Senate without any trouble, since it prohibits assisted suicide in Georgia. This bill was introduced after the Georgia Supreme Court recently overturned the law against assisted suicide. The case was filed by The Final Exit Network, claiming the law infringed on their free speech right to advertise assisted suicide services.
H.B. 1114 makes it a felony for anyone to knowingly and willfully help a person commit suicide. Anyone found guilty and convicted of providing such help could be sent to prison for one to ten years. However, this would not interfere with a patient’s written non resuscitation order or living will or durable power of attorney for health care or a Physician Order for Life-sustaining Treatment or an advance directive.
A health care provider who is convicted of violating this Code section could lose his license to practice or if convicted of homicide in a civil suit, the court could award the plaintiff reasonable attorney’s fees and legal expenses. Please call Senator Hamrick at 404 656-0036 and ask him to pass H.B. 1114 out of committee.
S.B. 459 passed the Senate 36 to 13 March 7th. It authorizes the Public Service Commission to allow consumers to elect NOT to use smart meters that have two-way communication capacity to transmit between the meter and the electric supplier to record the quantity of electricity used and calculate the amount to bill consumers. It, also, authorizes the PSC to create and regulate a surcharge for consumers who choose NOT to have a smart meter.
It’s important to understand that the PSC fully regulates Georgia Power Company, because it is an investor-owned electric utility. However, PSC has limited regulatory authority over the 42 electric membership corporations (EMCs) and 52 municipally-owned electric systems in the state. The PSC regulatory system can be changed only by federal law. Please call Representative Parsons at 404 656-9198 and ask him to move S.B. 459 out of his committee. For Georgia Insight, I’m Sue Ella Deadwyler, your Capitol correspondent.