Legislative Notebook: Ogeechee fish kill inspires legislation

February 6, 2014 

A Senate panel on Thursday unanimously approved a bill that says if someone causes a big pollution spill in a river, he or she must call a state hotline, and the state must coordinate response to serious events with other agencies within 24 hours.

House Bill 549 is a response to the 2011 Ogeechee River fish kill, when thousands of aquatic creatures were killed by poison below a Screven County textile plant.

At the time, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division’s emergency response team was understaffed.

“In defense of the prior EPD thoughts on this, there was a legitimate concern about speaking before you knew” what was going on, said EPD Director Jud Turner. But, “we really did take a look and start communicating ... better in the last two years.”

Ogeechee Riverkeeper Emily Markesteyn praised the bill and called it “proactive.”

The bill, by Newington Republican state Rep. Jon Burns now moves to the full House Natural Resources and Environment Committee.

Google Glass deployed in Senate

Google Glass, the Internet-enabled eyeglass add-on that projects a little screen into the wearer’s field of vision appeared in the state Senate.

State Sen. Brandon Beach, R-Alpharetta, hosted Google reps who brought some of the glasses to the state Capitol building for a public trial.

There is no legislation in the works around such wearable computers, and they’re not yet for sale.

They take some getting used to, like a new pair of glasses.

Fortified wine endorsed

Most state senators at work on Thursday, 48 out of 53 of them, think Georgia wineries should be able to go into the “fortified wine” business.

They approved Senate Bill 286, which allows production of beverages, such as sherry, which are made of wine plus an alcohol.

Now the bill, by state Sen. Jack Murphy, R-Cumming, moves to the House.

-- Maggie Lee

The Telegraph is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service