Legislative Day 23: Hemp, Kemp And 'Theft' Of The Airport
It's the end of day 23 in the 2019 legislative session, and the frenetic pace of lawmaking will only increase from here. More than 500 bills have been introduced so far in the House and more than 200 in the Senate. A bill must make it through at least one chamber before Crossover Day next Thursday.
One of those is the fiscal year 2020 budget that begins July 1. That document is set to be debated in the House Thursday.
Here are some brief updates from under the Gold Dome.
-The House passed a bill today that would allow industrial hemp to be grown in Georgia. If signed into law, a dozen licences across the state would be approved for hemp processing, and farmers can apply for a hemp grower's license at $1,000 each year.
-Gov. Brian Kemp and Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black say they are hopeful Congress can pass a bill that would provide nearly $14 billion in disaster relief aid to Georgia and other places affected by hurricanes last year.
-Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is strongly pushing back against a bill working its way through the state Senate that would give the state control of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
The Senate Transportation committee Tuesday narrowly approved SB 131, which would create the Georgia Major Airport Authority by a 5-4 vote.
Bottoms says it is a "theft of the airport from the people of Georgia."
-The House also passed a bill today that would make it legal for drivers to have some sort of hands-free mount on their windshield. Current Georgia code O.C.G.A. § 40-8-73:
(a) No person shall drive any motor vehicle with any sign, poster, or other nontransparent material upon the front windshield, side windows, or rear windows of such vehicle which obstructs the driver's clear view of the highway or any intersecting highway.
UPDATE 2/28: The bill about hemp growing would allow for 12 processors of hemp, not producers, and adds more information about the licenses hemp farmers could get.