Ga. lawmakers spend last day of session bickering over amendments; cannabis bill passes
ATLANTA, Ga. -- On the final day of the legislative session, Georgia lawmakers spent the morning fighting over what some members say are irrelevant amendments to bills up for vote.
Many senators expressed their frustration at members of the House for tacking on amendments to bills that they say have nothing to do with the issues in those bills.
For instance, Sen. Bill Cowsert cited amendments to SB3, the Creating Opportunities Needed Now to Expand Credentialed Training (CONNECT) Act. The bill is focused on providing industry credentialing in graduation plans. The House added an amendment to that bill related to the enforcement of motor vehicle law and speed detection devices.
Cowsert called this tactic "gamesmanship" and called for a fix to what he called a "major flaw" in the system making it impossible to read all bill amendments in the last day.
Due to the addition to amendments such as this on various bills up for vote, many senators refused to hear those bills, despite the Senate having dozens of bills up for vote before the end of the session.
Despite the gridlock, the Senate passed the updated medical cannabis legislation which adds six medical conditions to the list of conditions approved for medical cannabis use in the state.
Rep. Allen Peake, who sponsored the bill, said that the decision is a big win for hurting Georgians.
Medical cannabis advocate Dale Jackson said he has seen the benefits of cannabis oil with his autistic son and said he is overjoyed that other families can use the drug with legal protection.
"To see the benefits that me and my wife have seen with our first born just this week and as a family to be able to go out and eat dinner together as a family--that is the hope that this bill represented for so many autistic families," Jackson said.
The bill will now go to the governor's desk.
Peake said that the next step will be to improve access by working out a legal route for cultivation in the state, though he said he worries that it may be a tough sell.