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Senator plans to revive legislation
State Sen. William Ligon, R-St. Simons Island, has some unfinished business to take care of during the upcoming session of the state Legislature.

In 2013, Ligon set in motion a pair of bills that would block the state from implementing the Common Core Curriculum, a set of national education standards voluntarily adopted by 45 states. Senate Bills 167 and 203 remain in the Senate, and Ligon says his goal is to get both considered this year.

The Legislature will convene Jan. 13 for 40 legislative days, which typically last into April.

"Currently, federal educational grants generally bypass the Legislature, leaving out the voice of the people who pay the taxes, yet these grants create new, unproven and expensive policy directions which drive up state and local costs for education," Ligon said. "These bills would help return authority over education back to Georgia's citizens."

New for the upcoming session, Ligon says he is drafting a bill that would bar Georgia insurers from accepting federal subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. The idea, he says, is to protect businesses and residents in the state from penalties for non-compliance with the federal law.

"Employers especially need relief from the threat of these punitive health care taxes in order to maintain economic stability and retain opportunities for growth," Ligon said. "I hope this law would provide the protection they need."

Ligon says he plans to introduce a resolution in the Senate denouncing the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012. The federal law, passed by Congress in 2012, is causing a number of problems for constituents, he said.

The intent of the federal act is to end federal subsidies to homeowners by shifting the true costs of flood insurance to them. That will mean an increase for many property owners in high-risk flood zones across the nation.

Ligon says the state Legislature doesn't have the power to change a federal law, but the resolution would send a "strong message" to Congress, urging its leaders to provide some relief.

Ligon hopes to garner more support in the Senate and House for two pieces of legislation he sponsored during the 2013 legislative term that are eligible for action this year:

* Senate Bill 68, known as Celebrate Freedom Week, passed the Senate last year and is now in the House Education Committee. It would designate the week of Sept. 17 as Celebrate Freedom Week in all public schools.

* Senate Bill 186 would allow emergency medical technicians to use their discretion to require a person they respond to in an emergency to go to a hospital. Ligon said EMTs often deal with people who refuse medical attention. He said the bill could prevent stressful conditions for mental patients who only need medical care, instead of police intervention.

Ligon is chairman of the Senate State and Local Government Operations Committee and vice chairman of the Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

* Reporter Kelly Quimby writes about government and other local topics. Contact her at kquimby@thebrunswicknews.com, on Facebook or at 265-8320, ext. 321.



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