When you have down time from fishing, it’s a good idea to check your gear and tie a few replacement flies. Last week was such a time under the Gold Dome. No new legislation affecting cold, clean fishable water was introduced and none advanced from committee. Legislative Day 18 of 40 passed last week. Crossover Day, Legislative Day 30 will not be scheduled until after March 5th. Tighten your wading belt and sharpen your hooks as March 5th draws nearer. Legislative hatches are common in the days just before Crossover Day. Crossover Day is when bills must have received a favorable floor vote in one chamber to proceed in the other chamber.
HB 199 and HB 255 are scheduled for a hearing before the House Environmental Quality Subcommittee of Natural Resources Tuesday, February 19th.
HB 199 filed by Rep. Edward Lindsey (R) 54th– Atlanta proposes Georgia Environmental Finance Authority’s (GEFA) charter be expanded to include a favorable provision allowing GEFA to fund water efficiency and conservation projects. Georgia Trout Unlimited has advocated for water conservation and expansion of existing reservoirs before development of new impoundments. Impact on a watershed aside, new dams and reservoirs are very costly and it can be well over a decade before water flows from a new reservoir through kitchen faucets. Georgia Trout Unlimited views the bill as beneficial.
GA EPD would be on a short leash if HB 255 is enacted. Rep. Tom Kirby (R) 114th-Loganville has suggested that no GA EPD rules should be put into effect until after being approved by the General Assembly. The current process is that the General Assembly sets policy by passing the laws and the agencies administer the laws by implementing rules. This is not a perfect system but the process outlined in HB 255 could bring rulemaking to a standstill. Georgia Trout Unlimited views the bill as unfavorable.
Bill Count. We closed the week at 376 House Bills and 387 House Resolutions. In the Senate, 166 bills and 206 resolutions have been introduced.
See you on the stream.
Kevin McGrath is Georgia Trout Unlimited’s Advocacy Chairman.