SEVERE WEATHER:

Download the WSB Radio App and Enable Push Notifications for Storm Updates

ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

heavy-rain-night
64°
Thundershowers
H 68° L 44°
  • heavy-rain-night
    64°
    Current Conditions
    Thundershowers. H 68° L 44°
  • partly-cloudy-tstorms-day
    68°
    Today
    Thundershowers. H 68° L 44°
  • heavy-rain-day
    56°
    Tomorrow
    Chance of Rain. H 56° L 44°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb news on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb weather on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

State & Regional Govt & Politics
Georgia lawmakers pass medical marijuana bill, not airport takeover
Close

Georgia lawmakers pass medical marijuana bill, not airport takeover

Delta Air Lines has had its headquarters in Atlanta since 1941. Founder C.E. Woolman moved the airline’s headquarters from Monroe, La., to Atlanta.

Georgia lawmakers pass medical marijuana bill, not airport takeover

With the clock ticking down on the 2019 session, Georgia lawmakers on Tuesday night passed a measure giving medical marijuana patients a way to buy the drug legally in the state.

The clock ran out, however, on legislation giving airlines a jet fuel tax break, creating new rural transit options and allowing the state to take over Atlanta’s airport.

Lawmakers often wait until the waning hours, and even minutes of the session, to pass major legislation. Tuesday, the 40th day of the 2019 session, was no different.

Some of this session’s big issues were already out of the way before Tuesday. The $27.5 billion budget with a $3,000 teacher pay raise for the upcoming fiscal year won passage last week. Legislation that would outlaw most abortions gained approval Friday. A new, $150 million voting system got legislators’ OK earlier in the session.

But with a few hours left Tuesday night, many issues were still up in the air until the end. Gov. Brian Kemp, a former state senator, played a key role in trying to get lawmakers to reach agreement on several bills.

In an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Kemp called it a “historic” legislative session.

“We’ve done a lot this session — a lot more than people thought I’d do,” he said. “I’m just doing what I told people I would do. And that’s what I heard from people during the campaign — they were starving for people to do what they told them they would actually do.”

House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, said: “We’ve had a good session. We have accomplished things that matter a lot to a lot of Georgians.”

Lawmakers reached a deal late Tuesday to allow medical marijuana patients to buy the drug that they’re already allowed to use.

Kemp helped broker the agreement between House and Senate leaders who had struggled to strike a balance between providing access to legitimate patients while preventing illegal marijuana distribution.

Georgia legalized medical marijuana consumption in 2015 for patients suffering from severe seizures, deadly cancers and other illnesses, but the government didn’t provide any way for them to buy it. Patients obtained the drug illegally through the mail, by driving out of state or through friends.

The compromise on House Bill 324 provides several ways for Georgia’s 8,400 registered patients to buy medical marijuana oil, including through six private growing companies, state universities and pharmacies.

It’s unclear how many dispensaries would be allowed to sell medical marijuana oil. That would be determined by a state oversight commission. Smoking or eating marijuana would remain prohibited.

“Over the years, I’ve met with children who are battling chronic, debilitating diseases. I’ve heard from parents who are struggling with access and losing hope,” Kemp said. “This compromise legislation is carefully crafted to provide access to medical cannabis oil to those in need. This is simply the right thing to do.”

Earlier in the day, the Georgia House took a last-ditch shot at winning approval for a tax break on jet fuel for air carriers such as Delta Air Lines and a rural transit bill. They tried this time to pass the measures without a proposal to set up an oversight committee for Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

But it never got a vote in the Georgia Senate.

The House had tacked the state jet-fuel tax break — which was backed by Kemp — and the rural transit bill, including a 50-cents-per-ride tax on ride-share services, onto Senate Bill 200. SB 200 was originally legislation to require the Department of Transportation to set up procedures to appeal rejected bids for contracts.

Last week, the House passed a similar jet-fuel and rural transit bill, except it included a state oversight committee for the airport. The House measure was written in reaction to a Senate bill seeking a state takeover of Hartsfield-Jackson.

City of Atlanta officials opposed both bills.

SB 200 included a measure the House also passed earlier this year to suspend state jet-fuel taxes on airlines such as Delta for 20 years. The suspension would save airlines $40 million to $45 million a year. Most of the savings would have gone to Delta.

That proposal included a small excise tax that would raise $3.5 million to $4 million a year and would have been used as matching money to attract more federal funding. That money, in turn, would have been used for projects at small airports, such as runway resurfacing.

State Rep. David Knight, R-Griffin, who had been fighting for more money for small-town airports, said the newest House version didn’t do enough for rural airports.

“This is not a win-win for everyone around the state,” Knight said.

Knight noted that Delta and other airlines already got a $25 million annual tax break last year when then-Gov. Nathan Deal had the Department of Revenue stop collecting local sales taxes on jet fuel.

Advocates for small-town airports say they are important for economic development and particularly for recruiting businesses.

SB 200 also included the rural transit bill the House passed on its own earlier this year. It would have established programs to aid unemployed residents who need transportation to find jobs. Fee money from ride-share services such as Uber and Lyft would have gone toward supporting rural transit.

Staff writer Greg Bluestein contributed to this article.

Read More

News

  • A 19-year veteran of the Phoenix Police Department is accused of assaulting a homeless man who was allegedly shoplifting pants from a Walmart, KNXV reported. >> Read more trending news  Roger Moran, 22, was arrested Dec. 8, and his mugshot shows several cuts and bruises on his face, the television station reported. According to Maricopa County court documents, Moran is accused on three occasions of resisting arrest and trying to assault an officer. The officer, Tim Baiardi, is accused of delivering “23 knee strikes to (the suspect's) face,' KNXV reported. The Phoenix Police Department has recommended Baiardi be charged with aggravated assault, the television station reported. The report, written by a different responding officer, added '(Moran) attempted to escape again and the officer was able to deliver 45 closed fist strikes,' the television station reported. When Moran continued to resist arrest, Baiardi allegedly 'struck (the suspect) about 23 more times with a closed fist,' according to the incident report. Phoenix Police Department officials said they have launched an internal investigation, KNXV reported.
  • A woman driving along a Nevada highway had a scary moment when a ladder bounced off her windshield, KTNV reported. >> Read more trending news  Madi Nelson was driving on U.S. 95 near Las Vegas when a van ran over a ladder on the highway, the television station reported. Video obtained by KTNV shows the ladder going airborne after a van drove over it and bouncing off Nelson’s windshield, cracking it. 'From across the right lane, the ladder kind of rolls and everyone else kind of rolls over it. I was in the far left lane, so I was just able to get over to the emergency lane. I threw my hazards on and I was just trying to figure out what just happened,' Nelson said. 
  • Easter is a day to spend with family and friends.  And if you don’t want to spend that time in the kitchen rushing to get a meal together, plenty of restaurants will be opening their doors Sunday. If you are going to take the day off from cooking and want to relax with family and friends at a local restaurant, here are a few deals that you might want to consider.  Some restaurants require reservations, and some locations may not be open. Call ahead to your local restaurant to make sure they will be open. Here are some restaurants open on Easter: Baskin-Robbins  Bob Evans   Boston Market >>Easter 2019: When is it; what is it; why isn't it on the same date every year? Buca di Beppo   The Capital Grille  Claim Jumper  Cracker Barrel  Eddie V’s Prime Seafood  >>Easter 2019: How to make perfect hard-boiled eggs for Easter egg dyeing Fleming’s  Hometown Buffet   Krispy Kreme    Legal Sea Foods   Maggiano’s Marie Callender’s   McCormick & Schmick’s   Mimi’s Cafe Country Buffet  Ruth’s Chris Ryan’s  >>How did crucifixion kill Jesus? Shoney’s  Waffle House 
  • A woman is accused of assaulting a 70-year-old Houston parking enforcement volunteer who was writing her father -- a double amputee -- a ticket for not having a disabled permit placard, KTRK reported. >> Read more trending news  Jade Williams, 18, was charged with misdemeanor assault for the Tuesday incident, according to the Harris County Pct. 5 Constable's Office.  David Hansen said he was writing a citation when the SUV owner and his daughters confronted him about it, KPRC reported. 'Then she wanted to fight me,' Hansen told KTRK. 'She's walking around going, 'Come on, let's fight.' I kept retreating all the way back to my truck, and when I got to my truck, she, with an open hand, slapped my face and that's when I called 911.'  Williams’ father, Byron Williams, was wearing a prosthetic leg at the time of the incident, KTRK reported. He also lost his arm in a motorcycle accident. 'He started swinging,' Williams told the television station. 'Yes, he pushed my dad and when he pushed my dad, my dad backed up, like my dad was about to fall, and I said, 'Don't put your hands on him.''  In a statement, Houston city officials said they were “very upset to hear about this incident,” KPRC reported. Williams denies she hit Hansen.  'He's trying to make it seem like since I'm young, I assaulted an elderly person,' Williams told KTRK. 'That's not me. I'm a very respectful person.' 
  • Three people, including a 1-year-old boy, were shot early Friday morning at a South Fulton apartment complex, police said.  Officers responded to the triple shooting at the Hickory Park Apartments shortly after midnight, according to South Fulton police spokesman Lt. Derrick Rogers. Investigators at the scene in the 4900 block of Delano Road learned there was an argument about a burglary at one of the apartments inside the complex. “The argument became very heated and at some point, gunfire erupted resulting in the three victims receiving a gunshot wound,” Rogers told Channel 2 Action News in a statement. A stray bullet hit the 1-year-old boy in the leg, according to the news station. He is expected to be OK. The others are stable at a hospital, Lt. Marcus Dennard told Channel 2 from the scene. Their injuries are not considered life-threatening.  “I have no details on suspect(s) at this time and no names of the victims,” Rogers said in the statement.  We’re working to learn more. —Please return to AJC.com for updates. In other news:
  • Who will sit on the Iron Throne when “Game of Thrones” ends its run later this year? You can -- well, sort of. >> Read more trending news  A student at a Kentucky welding school built a 200-pound replica of the Iron Throne as a wedding gift for his wife, WLKY reported. He is also renting it out, the television station reported. Michael Hayes is a student at the Knight School of Welding in Louisville. He and his instructors spent nearly 110 hours over two months to craft the throne, which includes 400 swords, WLKY reported. The school funded the project, which cost $7,000. The throne is not made of iron or steel, but aluminum, otherwise “it would pretty much stay wherever it sat,' Hayes told the television station. Hayes said he made the throne as a wedding gift for his wife, Kacie Hayes. 'The show is one of the first things my wife and I bonded over,” Michael Hayes told WLKY. “It's a really important thing to us.” >>  Social media reacts to season premiere of ‘Game of Thrones’ The throne was a centerpiece at the Hayes’ wedding, and the couple struck a pose similar to ones by “Game of Thrones” characters Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen. 'Besides the awesome fact that my wife pretty much does look like Daenerys, especially when she's in her get-up,” Michael Hayes told WLKY. “It made it all the more awesome when I could see her sitting in the throne and doing her thing. It's just been awesome.” Hayes said if you want to rent the throne, email him at mqhayes1@yahoo.com, WLKY reported.