November 2017 Newsletter

Confederate Monument Bills Prefiled for 2018 Session

“During the period which begins on November 15 of each calendar year and ends on the Friday before the second Monday in January of the following calendar year, bills and resolutions considered for introduction in the General Assembly may be prefiled with the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House as authorized in this Code section.”
– O.C.G.A. 28-1-17, Prefiling Law, 1994

At this writing, one Senate bill and three House bills have been prefiled for the next session of the Georgia General Assembly, which convenes January 8, 2018. Although prefiled bills receive permanent identification numbers, they must be officially introduced during the session. Then, they are assigned to committees for appropriate action. Two of those prefiled bills alter current laws that protect Georgia’s Confederate monuments and memorials.

Prefiled Legislation, Confederate Monuments, State Symbols

S.B. 302, Public Monuments, prefiled by Senator Elena Parent on November 15th, and H.B. 650, State Symbols, prefiled November 15th by Representative Mary Margaret Oliver, change current law as follows: (a) A state or local governmental agency or department that owns a monument, plaque, marker, or memorial, may not remove, alter, or conceal it from display until a resolution is adopted to authorize the change. (b) Also, if a private entity owns a monument, plaque, marker, or memorial that’s located on public property, the public property owner may remove such object from display and return it to the private owner. A lawsuit may be filed by any person or entity that suffers injury or damages as a result of violations.

ACTION – Contact your senator and representative in the Georgia General Assembly to comment on this issue.

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October 6, 2017 Radio Commentary

Two Study Committees: Homelessness and Growing Marijuana

Radio Commentary, 90.7, 91.7 New Life FM, October 6, 2017 – By Sue Ella Deadwyler

You may be interested to know that our state senators will be formally studying homelessness in Georgia as authorized by S.R. 352 that passed last session with only two dissenting votes. The 15-member committee includes two appointees of the governor, three senators appointed by the Lt. Governor and ten state agency commissioners.

To learn how much homelessness costs the state, the committee will require input from three of those agencies – the Departments of Human Services, Community Health, and Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities.

Their discussions will include the many factors that may contribute to homelessness, such as a lack of affordable housing, a shortage of supportive housing and family wage jobs, domestic violence, high debt, substance abuse, mental illness, access to affordable healthcare, and release of individuals from institutions. Continue reading

May 2017 Newsletter

“Gray Death” Opioid Confirmed in Georgia

“If you put this in your body you will die, no questions asked. This is something that I want to be very clear about … it’s not a scare tactic … it’s not a shock factor. …if you put this drug into your body you will die, it will kill you.
There’s a reason why it’s been nicknamed Grey Death. It is deadly.”
– Shelby County Alabama Drug Enforcement Task Force Commander Clay Hammac

Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman Russ Baer says gray death is a combination of heroin, fentanyl and other fentanyl-class substances, such as Carfentanil, a tranquilizer for use on elephants and other large animals. Atlanta law enforcement coined the term “gray gravel heroin” in 2012. Recently, the GBI confirmed Georgia’s first gray death victim as a 24-year-old female in Brookhaven who died February 10, 2017, and described the opioid as follows:

“The gray material was found to contain a toxic cocktail of opiate drugs. The ingredients vary, but often contain heroin, fentanyl, furanyl fentanyl, and U-47700, mixed together in the same powder. The solid material has the appearance of gray concrete mixing powder, with texture variations from light/powdery to chunky/rock-like.”

Reportedly, gray death can be absorbed through the skin, is 10,000 times more potent than morphine, 100 times more powerful than fentanyl, and includes Carfentanil, the elephant tranquilizer described as “crazy dangerous” by a Colorado DEA spokesman. The GBI lab first identified it as gray death in March and, so far, has found it in about 50 different drug seizures.

Three New Laws to Fight Opioid Epidemic in Georgia

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March 10, 2017 Radio Commentary

Marijuana Bills Alive in Georgia: The Hemp Connection

Radio Commentary, 90.7, 91.7 New Life FM, March 10, 2017 – By Sue Ella Deadwyler

Four marijuana bills were introduced this session. S.B. 16 to lower the THC level of marijuana to three percent and add autism to the treatment list passed the Senate 41-12 February 16th and is in the House. H.B. 65 passed the House 156-6 March 1st and is in the Senate.

H.B. 65 weakens the current THC Oil Patient Registry law by (a) deleting the one-year state residency requirement; (b) deleting physicians’ reports on dosage, clinical and treatment response, and side effects; and (c) building demand for medical marijuana (d) by adding eight more eligible diseases, making a total of 16 conditions eligible for treatment.

H.R. 36 is a proposed constitutional amendment authorizing medical cannabis (marijuana) and in-state cultivation and sale of marijuana. As a constitutional amendment, two-thirds vote is required in both House and Senate; and, if they pass it, it would be on the November 2018 ballot for ratification. Therefore, proponents may linger until next session to get it passed. Continue reading