Legislative Notebook: Veterans panel pushing for Veterans Court

mlee@macon.comMarch 5, 2014 

The state House Defense and Veterans Affairs Committee brought certain Georgia veterans who get in trouble with the law a step closer to a special court meant to offer treatment rather than punishment.

They unanimously approved a framework for Veterans Courts. Already operating in some places such as Bibb County Superior Court, Veterans Courts tap attorneys, judges and other professionals who are trained to understand some of the problems that may come with postwar adjustment.

Supervision, counseling and treatment are offered to certain nonviolent offenders. It would be up to each Superior Court to decide if they want to set up a Veterans Court. Senate Bill 320 by state Sen. Ed Harbison, D-Columbus, now awaits a full House vote.

Sandra Deal, Pearlie Toliver in women’s history honors

In one of several resolutions marking Women’s History Month, the Legislative Women’s Caucus, with House and Senate leadership, honored Georgia first lady Sandra Deal for her career in childhood education.

The retired teacher turned into a cheerleader and case study for child literacy work when she landed her high-profile spot in the Governor’s Mansion. Since 2010, she’s visited all 181 Georgia school districts to read to groups of children, among other work.

“I thank you for the opportunity to travel this state and teach kids to read ... so that one of these days one of them may be sitting where you are,” Deal told the state House on Wednesday morning after the ceremonial reading of House Resolution 1503 by House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge.

In a separate House Resolution 1647, authored by House Minority Whip Carolyn Hugley, D-Columbus, female legislators named female Servant Leadership Award recipients from their districts. State Rep. Nikki Randall, D-Macon, who is co-chairwoman of the Women’s Caucus, named Pearlie Toliver, a retired Macon banker and volunteer who most recently was a member of the Macon-Bibb Consolidation Transition Task Force.

Maternal mortality study approved

The state House agreed in a 162-4 vote that Georgia needs to study why it’s at the bottom of studies ranking maternal mortality by state.

“This legislation is the first step in protecting Georgia’s mothers,” said state Rep. Matt Hatchett, R-Dublin, ahead of the House vote on Senate Bill 273.

If signed by the governor, it would create the Maternal Mortality Review Committee, which will issue annual reports.

Medical marijuana critic offers alternative

The committee chairwoman who slowed down a bill by state Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, to legalize a cannabis-derived liquid medicine for seizure disorders has filed a different bill to do the same thing.

House Bill 1107 by state Rep. Sharon Cooper, R-Marietta, lays out what she urged during Health and Human Services Committee hearings on Peake’s bill: Children who have severe seizure disorders and who have already tried many medications should join U.S. trials of FDA-approved drugs, not take unlicensed drugs from Colorado.

During hearings, she specifically named Epidiolex, a British drug that could be imported via the FDA. It’s high in cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive cannabis-derived compound that relieves seizures.

Her bill comes too late in the session to become law, unless it is amended into a bill that has already passed either the House or the Senate.

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