Making Progress on Vital Georgia Issues
By Bill Hamrick
CARROLLTON (February 11, 2011) – Daily business in the Senate is steaming full-speed ahead. The House of Representatives has passed the Amended Fiscal Year 2011 budget, the Senate passed their first bill and committee hearings are gearing up under the Gold Dome. Legislation that addresses the critical needs of Georgians is also being introduced on a daily basis.
The first bill passed out of the Senate was Senate Bill 30, legislation I sponsored to ensure municipal court judges are licensed attorneys and standing members of the State Bar of Georgia. Those judges already serving without this qualification on June 30, 2011 will be grandfathered in and will retain their positions. This measure passed with a vote of 51-4.
Medicaid fraud is a very serious and rapidly growing issue. Legislation was introduced to address this problem by establishing the Georgia Medical Assistance Fraud Prevention Program. The bill requires that Medicaid cards integrate a computer chip that includes a digital photograph and fingerprint of the card holder. When a Medicaid patient swipes their card, the doctor’s office can verify that patient’s identity using their digital photograph and fingerprint. Patients will provide a fingerprint scan when they enter the office and before they leave, providing proof that the patient received services and will prevent doctors from billing for services that were never rendered. The bill creates a pilot program that will be implemented before the technology is rolled out statewide.
A proper funding mechanism for trauma care has unfortunately eluded Georgians for years. We must find a way to fund statewide trauma care that will work for everyone. The resolution would draw $10 from each vehicle registration into a trauma trust fund. If passed by the legislature, citizens would vote on an amendment to allow the state to fund trauma care from license tag fees. A constitutional amendment passed last year by the legislature would have required everyone to pay an additional $10 per vehicle registration to fund trauma care, but citizens voted against it. You spoke and we listened. This amended version will be able to fund trauma care without any additional taxpayer dollars.
U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss visited the Senate Chamber this week to encourage senators to pass a balanced state budget. He thanked everyone for their work on the budget and on other significant legislation, including immigration. It was an encouraging visit as we continue to grapple with a large budget shortfall.
Wednesday was Georgia State University Day at the Capitol Wednesday. As an alumnus of the College of Law at this prestigious university, I was proud to host students, faculty and staff of this great school at the Capitol. Founded in 1913 with a class of 48 students, the school now provides educational opportunities to more than 31,000 students. Georgia State is recognized as having the largest business school in the South, a law school ranked number one in the country and an acclaimed science center in the Southeast. In addition to 98 years of education, a Senate resolution commends the school’s new Panthers football team on a winning first season.
Please continue to contact me with your thoughts and concerns. Your voice is crucial to the success of our representative government, and I’m honored to serve on your behalf in the Senate.
Sen. Bill Hamrick serves as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee. He represents the 30th Senate District which includes portions of Carroll, Douglas, and Paulding counties. He may be reached at 404.656.0036 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For Immediate Release:
February 11, 2011
For Information Contact:
Natalie Strong, Director
Katie Wright, Communication Manager