Tight lines. That’s what Speaker David Ralston (R) 7th – Blue Ridge seeks to provide with his ethics bill – HB 142. The bill would require members of organizations, like Trout Unlimited, actively representing its mission for more than five days per year to register as lobbyists. The current registration fee is proposed to be reduced from $325 per year to $25 to cover the cost of providing a lobbyist badge. Registered lobbyists would be required to wear their badge and submit periodic reports of their activities. The registration and reporting requirements seem reasonable to Georgia Trout Unlimited. Other aspects of the bill trouble some Georgia Water Coalition partners by not imposing tighter restrictions on gifts and spending. House Bill 142 was modified by House Rules and set for a floor vote on Monday, February 25th.
Legislative Day 22 of 40 passed last week. Remember that Crossover Day, Legislative Day 30, is an important milestone when bills must have received a favorable floor vote in one chamber to proceed in the other chamber. Expect a ‘hatch of legiglative activity’. We closed the week with 465 House Bills and 484 House Resolutions. In the Senate, 200 bills and 339 resolutions have been introduced.
HB 199 sponsored by Rep. Edward Lindsey (R) 54th– Atlanta was favorably referred from the House Environmental Quality Subcommittee of Natural Resources Tuesday, February 19th. The bill proposes Georgia Environmental Finance Authority’s (GEFA) charter be expanded to include a favorable provision allowing GEFA to fund water conservation projects. Georgia Trout Unlimited views the bill as beneficial.
Filed by Rep. Tom Kirby (R) 114th– Loganville, HB 255 would have no GA EPD rules put into effect until after being approved by the General Assembly. The bill appears dead. The House Environmental Quality Subcommittee of Natural Resources held a hearing on Tuesday, February 19th but did not act. Georgia Trout Unlimited views the bill as unfavorable.
HB 381 is on a fast track. Filed by rep. Matt Hatchett (R) 150th – Dublin, the bill would allow for up to three GA DNR Board Members to sit on a GA DNR Foundation Board. A House Natural Resources Committee hearing is slated for Monday, Feb 25th. We’ll monitor the bill and keep you advised.
See you on the stream.
Kevin McGrath is Georgia Trout Unlimited’s Advocacy Chairman