Some good bills that are flying under the radar

 

 

state-capitol

The headlines for this legislative session will be dominated by a handful of big issues. Here are a few good bills that deserve more attention than they’ll get.

Solar Power Free-Market Financing Act: This is a holdover from 2014, when Rep. Mike Dudgeon, R-Johns Creek, couldn’t assuage the concerns of the power companies about his bill to allow homeowners and businesses to finance the purchase of solar-power equipment. It’s back this year as House Bill 57, and the interested parties have signed off on a text that caps the capacity of financed equipment. This bill is a sound way to help an alternative power source grow without public subsidies or risk.

Georgia Right to Try Act: Also from Dudgeon, this bill follows the lead of at least five other states in permitting terminally ill patients to try a medication that has cleared the Food and Drug Administration’s initial screening phase for toxicity. The drug’s effectiveness may not have been proven yet, but patients facing death by an irreversible disease and few if any FDA-approved options don’t have the luxury of waiting out a full process that can take several years. Like many state bills dealing with federal laws or regulations, the benefits of HB 34 may go only so far. But any good that comes from the bill would seem to outweigh any negative consequences.

The “Beer Jobs Bill”: This measure by Sen. Hunter Hill, R-Atlanta, would loosen — just a tad — the restrictions on Georgia’s emerging microbrew and craft-brew industry. Visitors to breweries, such as Atlanta’s Sweetwater or Monday Night Brewing, could taste up to 72 ounces of beer and buy up to 144 ounces to take home by can, bottle or growler. This idea has been opposed by wholesalers as an attack on Georgia’s “three tier system” of alcohol distribution (although Georgia’s wineries already enjoy a similar provision). But while SB 63 enables brewers to boost their sales just when they are trying to grow their businesses, wholesalers and retailers also stand to benefit from future sales if the consumer likes what he tastes.

Ballot Access Reform Act: Do you wonder why there aren’t more independent candidates, when so many people say they’re sick of the Republicans and Democrats? One reason is Georgia has some of the nation’s strictest ballot-access rules for third-party candidates. HB 58 by Rep. John Pezold, R-Fortson, would lower the threshold for these candidates to get on the ballot. Instead of needing petition signatures from 5 percent of all registered voters eligible to vote in the race, a candidate would need signatures equal to 2 percent of the total votes cast in the last election for the office. Example: In my state House district last year, an independent candidate needed 1,776 signatures to get on the ballot. Under this law, he would have needed less than 500. This could bring competition for seats at the General Assembly, 80 percent of which had only one candidate on last November’s ballot, as well as congressional seats.

Reader Comments 0

43 comments
straker
straker

Kyle - "that sounds cute but did you actually mean anything by it"


Well, yes, actually.


Power companies in Georgia and elsewhere are making huge profits with the existing system and are afraid solar power will upset their profit gravy train.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@straker And yet, they've agreed to a bill that the solar industry is happy with. So, apparently you didn't mean anything meaningful.

JamVet
JamVet

Solar Power Free-Market Financing Act: This is a holdover from 2014, when Rep. Mike Dudgeon, R-Johns Creek, couldn’t assuage the concerns of the power companies about his bill to allow homeowners and businesses to finance the purchase of solar-power equipment. ~Mike Dudgeon, 2015


The use of solar energy has not been opened up because the oil industry does not own the sun. ~Ralph Nader, 2000


The other three propositions also challenge some of the right wing fascism struggling to stay in power in Georgia. Who knows, maybe the BIG gubmint, immorality legislating Republicans are starting to fade away to the dustbin of history?

IReportYouWhine
IReportYouWhine

 Some Republicans might already be asking how it is Democrats feel comfortable sitting on money provided by firms connected to the Silver scandal, or others. And when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell does hold a vote on the FACT Act, those Democrats opposed should have to explain why they are going to bat for a law firm that employed a politician who is accused of engaging in asbestos-related fraud and corruption. Or why they are swinging for an industry that essentially pays doctors to buy plaintiffs.


Tort reform.


If it ain't on Georgia's agenda, it should be.


http://www.wsj.com/articles/kim-strassel-a-silver-lining-in-washington-1422577344

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

I posted this inquiry in the earlier thread, but since we're talking legislation, I hope you'll indulge it appearing here too.

According to the transportation bill, (h/t Kyle), page 15:

http://www.legis.ga.gov/Legislation/20152016/146354.pdf

...it appears that the additional $200 charge will be for vehicles that are powered solely by alternative fuels, defined as "electricity, natural gas, and propane".

This means the Chevy Volt is exempt, doesn't it?

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@Kyle_Wingfield @Visual_Cortex

It is a plug-in hybrid. It can run solely on electricity, but it has a gas-powered engine that can be deployed when the juice runs out, to recharge the batteries.

Now that I've checked, this would include a couple of Fords as well, perhaps some others. The Volt was the first of its kind to be marketed in the US, I think. 

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@Kyle_Wingfield

And it turns out there are a lot more plug-in hybrids available in the US than I had realized, including some from the likes of Porsche, Cadillac, and BMW.

Also, there are three kinds of plug-ins, some have gas engines that kick in and directly power the car, some power an electric generator, and some can do either/or as needed.


http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/PowerSearch.do?action=Cars&path=1&year1=2011&year2=2015&vtype=Plug-in+Hybrid&pageno=1&sortBy=Comb&tabView=0&rowLimit=100

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

An outburst of Freedom in America- whodda thunk it.  


If a conservative red state like Georgia has us so bound up in the clutches of government, that all of these common sense things were heretofore illegal, think how bad it is in places like the Peoples Republic of Massachusetts.  Let Freedom ring!

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@RafeHollister think how bad it is in places like the Peoples Republic of Massachusetts.  


Where they have much lower uninsured rates ( Guess why ? ) and unemployment ?


Where the standard of living is much much higher ?


That Massachusetts ?

PJ25
PJ25

@HeadleyLamar @RafeHollister Massachusetts is only 8% African American and Georgia is over 30% African American.  Factor in their poor high school graduation rates, most children living in single parent homes and 90% of African American children eating from food stamps some time before they turn age 18 and there lies your answers. 

Nobody_Knows
Nobody_Knows

@RafeHollister


Is that the same Mass that has a lower poverty rate,  higher per capita income and higher percentage of college graduates than GA?

Want to make sure we are talking about the same one. 


Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Nobody_Knows @RafeHollister Want to make sure we are talking about the same one. 


You arent.


You are talking about the actual place


He is talking about the Taxachusetts he has been told about.



RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@Nobody_Knows @RafeHollister Funny, all the replies never mention Freedom or individual freedom,, not once, which was the subject of the post.  


So, you proggies, are willing to surrender your freedoms for minor improvements in unemployment and poverty rates, which is an apples to asparagus argument debating which state is the best, due to multiple factors anyway.  Georgia is better than MA in multiple ways and MA better than GA on others. 


Freedom, individual and economic, GA wins, which BTW was the point.

Mr_B
Mr_B

@Andy123 @HeadleyLamar @RafeHollister SOOOO... our problem here in Gawguh is that we have too many Negruhs?


Did I get that about right?

(I couldn't write a parody this good if I tried)

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

Not a bad bill in the bunch...stealth though they may be.

Thanks, Kyle!

You always bring to light what your fellow AJC journalists choose to ignore.

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

Solar: FINALLY.  Stupid state laws made it financially unfeasible for most to install solar, but with many companies now using long term leases to manage the bills, we can have more solar and less reliance on coal and other dirty 

Access to test drugs is also a good step.  When the state has rules restricting access to these it gives much less hope to those facing death.

Beer!  Good to see puritan rules being relaxed by common sense.  I'll raise a glass (or growler) if this passes. 

Third party access is good, but I fear very very fringe elements will muddy the waters.  I hope this gives availability for genuine third parties. 

AvailableName
AvailableName

All good proposals.  


But "taste up to 72 ounces of beer...?"  Seven bottles or four and a half pints is a bit more than a taste. I suppose the limit is a way to give them an on-premises permit without saying so.  Kind of like the billion dollars in new transportation funding without a tax increase.

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

@AvailableName If they have 20 flavors, and each taste is 4 ounces, then you can only taste 18 flavors. 


Not sure how much you'd be able to taste after the first 10 though. 

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

Good bills all and all deserve to be signed into law.


Especially the Right to Try Act. No one should deny ANY terminally ill individual the right to try something they feel could save their life. 



Elvez
Elvez

@HeadleyLamar Oh my God, Headley agreed with something Kyle wrote.  Did hell freeze over?

MHSmith
MHSmith

The "right to try act" should pass along with the "ballot access reform act". Two good bills long overdue becoming laws.


The "right to die with dignity law" - similar to the one Oregon now has on their books - should have been included among these other two bills.

All three of these bills "enhance individual liberty".    


I strongly support the passage of all three.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

Freedom from government regulations is always refreshing.  To think we need special permission or new legislation in order to buy beer from whomever we wish, to get on an election ballot for an elected position, and to finance our solar panels anyway we wish, is just sick.  


Whoa, the next thing you know we will be throwing away our food scraps, without government intrusion.

Finn-McCool
Finn-McCool

Taste 72oz of beer? That's a 6-pack! Jeez.

IReportYouWhine
IReportYouWhine

Every single bill you mentioned in some way corrects an example of government interference of our freedom. Wouldn't it be easier to just get rid of government?

straker
straker

"couldn't assuage the concerns of the power companies"


And there's your sign.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@JohnBuck2 I wrote last year that the bill should have been passed. That said, the power companies' concerns seem to have been addressed in a way that doesn't harm consumers. I don't have a problem with that.

JohnBuck2
JohnBuck2

@Kyle_Wingfield @straker That the concerns of a corporation need to be assuaged so individuals can finance their own access to alternative electricity is what's wrong.  Corporations don't vote, individuals do.  What needs assuaging is the politicians access to the corporations money.