Check those bills before it’s too late

Far too often it seems the scariest time for a citizenry is when its elected officials are in session. You never know what crazy bill might get through.

There’s always a collective sigh of relief when these legislative bodies call it a day, or a year. And afterward, people start digging to find out exactly what damage — or good — their elected body did.

Such is the case here in Georgia, as the General Assembly winds down another session. We are now within the final 10-day window, and there is lots of action still going on. Reporter Sarah Campbell did a write-up on Sunday of many of those bills. We encourage you to check them out on our website at www.times-herald.com.

Many bills are still between chambers or committees, and it’s important you contact our state officials to let them know your position before final votes are taken.

Among some key ones that impact Coweta County:

• HB 742 would add a seventh judge to the Coweta Judicial Circuit. This district is one of the busiest in the state and we strongly support easing the caseload on the current judges by adding another.

• HB 459 would address a major headache —those who refuse to move over when drivers are trying to pass on multilane highways. Sad that we have to legislate courtesy.

• HB 965 gives amnesty from prosecution for drug possession to those calling for medical care for another individual having an overdose. We also support this measure. An overdose could end a person’s life and those trying to call for help should not be penalized. And yes, we realize the irony that if they weren’t doing drugs in the first place, we wouldn’t need this bill.

• HB 863 toughens punishment on state animal cruelty charges and adding “torture” of an animal not resulting in death or disability. We’ve had problems with dog fighting in neighboring counties. Anyone who would torture an animal needs to be put away.

• HB 826 would allow schools to allow designated individuals to carry weapons. There has been a lot of talk about this bill. The most disheartening aspect is that we even need to consider this issue. Yet with recent school and university shootings in the not too distant past, it needs to be addressed. Here in Coweta, School Resource Officers carry weapons just like sheriff’s deputies or police officers. This bill would allow others to as well and we hope any approval includes stringent guidelines and training.

Again, if you have a vested interest in any of these or other bills, contact your state representatives and senators and let your voices be heard. Even if a bill you support or oppose has passed the General Assembly, it still needs to be signed by the governor, so let him know your views as well.



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