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As your representatives, it is important for us to consider your views throughout the legislative process. Please feel free to call our capitol office at 404-656-0109 or email us to tell us what you think about the issues facing our state.
Friday, February 22, 2013 marked the 22nd legislative day, which puts us more than half way through the 2013 legislative session. Now that we are in the last half of session, more bills are making their way out of committee to receive a vote from the entire House of Representatives. This week, we passed several bills that would help protect Georgians and make their lives easier.
House Bill 234, for example, would protect Georgia consumers from getting trapped in contracts with automatic renewal provisions. This legislation is necessary because businesses now frequently include provisions in service contracts that automatically renew the contract on the cancellation date without notice. HB 234 would require sellers to make sure consumers are aware of any automatic renewal provisions in a service contract before the consumer signs the contract. Additionally, the bill requires sellers to notify consumers one to two months before their contract’s cancellation date. This would give consumers a chance to prevent an unwanted automatic contract renewal. Several other states have already passed legislation similar to HB 234 in response to consumer complaints. If this bill is approved by the senate and then signed into law by the Governor, this legislation would give the state another tool to help protect consumers.
House Bill 254 would make it easier for Georgia drivers to prove that they have state required auto insurance when pulled over or involved in a car accident. Although most insurance companies now provide smart phone applications or other ways to electronically access policy information, current state law only recognizes printed policy information cards as valid proof of insurance. If a driver does not have a policy card, state law allows law enforcement to access state records to verify the driver’s insurance coverage. However, these records only confirm insurance coverage, and do not provide policy numbers and other information needed for accident reports. HB 254 would simplify this process for both drivers and law enforcement by allowing drivers the option of using an electronic proof of insurance, like a picture of their policy card or application on their phone, if they do not have a printed proof of insurance card.
House Bill 178 would protect Georgians from the practices of “pill mills” that can lead to prescription drug addiction problems. Pill mills are set up as walk-in pain management clinics that accept cash only in exchange for prescription drugs. They often operate without a physician, and conduct fraudulent medical exams to “justify” unnecessary prescriptions. While pill mills may initially help Georgians with chronic pain, the type of drugs and dosages they prescribe has led many well intentioned patients to become addicts and has even resulted in death. HB 178 would combat this problem by allowing the Georgia Medical Composite Board to regulate the licensing of pain management clinics. It would also require pain management clinics to be owned and operated by either a licensed physician or hospital, because the risk of losing their medical license gives them a greater incentive to properly manage pain clinics than owners with non-medical backgrounds who have less to lose. Additionally, HB 178 would give law enforcement the tools it needs to shut down pill mills.
In addition to House Bills 234, 254, and 178, we also passed House Bills 68, 83, 122, 126, 160, 161, 179, 182, 208, 209, 232, 235, 246, 255, 264, 265, 274, 286, and 312. Now that this legislation has been approved by the House, it has been sent to the Senate for consideration. Senate Bill 26 also received final approval from the House, so it has been transmitted to the Governor for his review.