This is a legislative update from State Representative Lehman Franklin.
The Georgia House of Representatives returned to the Gold Dome for the third week of the 2024 legislative session on Monday, January 22. It was an action-packed week as the House Rules Committee held its first meeting, we voted on our first set of bills of the session, and several House committees held meetings. As we are now in the second session of the 157th Georgia General Assembly, or the second year of the biennial, any bills that did not receive passage during the 2023 legislative session are still eligible for consideration. As such, we also gave final passage this week to an important measure that carried over from last session.
Bills that Passed the House:
On Friday, the House passed House Bill 502, or the “Georgia Cosmetic Laser Services Act.” HB 502 would update the definition of “cosmetic laser services” in state law as a result of the development of new dermatological procedures that were not encompassed in the previous definition, including energy-based medical procedures using an ultrasound, cryolipolysis, microwave or radio frequency devices. In addition, HB 502 would revise the supervision requirements by allowing cosmetic laser practitioners at the assistant laser practitioner level to practice without the on-site supervision of a senior laser practitioner; however, a senior laser practitioner would still provide a supervisory role to these assistant laser practitioners. This bill passed almost unanimously by a vote of 153-1.
House Bill 804 passed unanimously in the House this week. This legislation would require the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue two distinct license plates to ambulance and hearse owners: one for ambulances that indicates “Ambulance” and one for funeral vehicles that indicates “Hearse.” Currently, the license plates issued for both vehicles reads “Hearse/Ambulance.” Many years ago, hearses were used to transport people to both hospitals and funeral homes. Today, ambulances and hearses serve separate purposes, so this legislation would confirm their distinctive transport roles. For each motor driven hearse and each motor driven ambulance, the cost for the license plates would remain at $20 annually. If passed and signed into law, this bill would become effective on January 1, 2025.
The House also voted on House Bill 434, which would create the licensure of radiologist assistants in our state. Under this bill, the Georgia Composite Medical Board would establish criteria for licensure and licensure renewal for radiologist assistants, as well as establishing rules and regulations related to the qualifications, scope of practice and supervision of these healthcare workers. Radiologist assistants work alongside radiologists, and their work assists in improving efficiency and productivity for radiologists. By creating this licensure, this legislation would help to recruit and retain the healthcare workforce in Georgia, while also improving healthcare delivery and shortening patient wait times. This bill passed by a vote of 152-2.
Lastly, the House gave final passage this week to an important measure previously introduced and passed by the House during the 2023 legislative session. House Bill 30 addresses antisemitism in our state and would add antisemitism as a category covered by our hate crimes law. Under HB 30, the internationally recognized definition of “antisemitism,” as adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), would become part of state law. Additionally, this bill would require all state agencies that enforce criminal or noncriminal law or regulation that prohibits discrimination to consider the definition of antisemitism during that enforcement. The final passage of this bill is a victory for our friends in the Jewish community and was especially timely given the rise in anti-Semitic acts in our state and across the country. I was proud to vote in favor of this legislation and proud of the House for leading on this vital effort. HB 30 now heads to Governor Kemp’s desk to be signed into law.
Special Guest at the Capitol:
Aside from our work in committees and on the House floor, it was a busy week under the Gold Dome with many events, activities and recognition of special guests. This week, the Japanese Consulate in Atlanta held a 50-year celebration at the Capitol and received a special recognition while the House was in session. My colleagues and I also welcomed guests for Korean American Day who were recognized by the House during session. Events were also held at the Capitol this week for Addiction Recovery Awareness Day and Mental Health Day to raise awareness for these important initiatives. Finally, we honored National Guard Day in the House with a special invitation resolution recognizing January 25 as National Guard Day at the State Capitol. Members of Georgia’s National Guard joined us on the floor of the House Chamber and were honored for their heroic acts and selfless service to our state and nation.
We will return to the State Capitol on Monday, January 29 for our fourth week of session. My colleagues and I will continue to consider legislation that best serves Georgians, and I will be sure to update you about our legislative work. As we continue through the session, I hope that you will reach out with your questions or concerns regarding legislation and the issues that are significant to you and your family. As always, you are welcome to schedule a phone call or plan a visit to the State Capitol to discuss matters that are important to you and our community. You can reach me at 404-656-1178 and via email at Lehman.Franklin@house.ga.gov. You can also sign up to receive our newsletters at www.LehmanFranklin.com
Thank you for allowing me to serve as your representative.