Legislative Update: Sine Die

The Legislative Session adjourned on March 29th. The Governor then has 40 days to determine whether to sign the bill — creating a law — or veto the bill. If he or she vetoes the bill, it will then go back to the chamber it originated during the next year’s session to see if they wish to override the veto. A vetoed bill requires two-thirds vote of the House/Senate in order to override, according to the “veto power” outlined in the Georgia State Constitution, Article V, Section II, Paragraph IV. In Georgia, the Governor actually has a third option. So, he or she can sign a bill making it a law, veto a bill sending it back to the General Assembly or do nothing at all. In that case, after the 40 days are up, the bill will automatically become a law.

See below for sine die status of bills related to substance use, misuse and prevention.


General Substance Use and Misuse

HB 716 (Rakestraw-19th) Allows individuals to contact law enforcement agencies for referrals to treatment for drug and alcohol abuse or dependence and mental health issues. This bill also provides immunity from arrest or prosecution for certain drug violations for persons who initiate self-referral. STATUS: Died in the Judiciary Non-Civil Committee

SB 352 (Unterman-45th) This bill consist of 3 sections. The first section is geared towards reducing patient brokering and fraudulent Medicaid claims. The third section suggest establishing a Commission for Substance Abuse and Recovery. It also allows the Governor to appoint an Executive Director of Substance Abuse, Addiction or related disorders. STATUS: Passed the Senate on February 7th; DIED in the House Health and Human Services Committee.

HB 895 (Cooper-43rd) Prohibits the sale to and by minors of drug products containing dextromethorphan STATUS: DIED in the House Health and Human Services Committee

HB 161 (Price-48th) Authorizes an employee or agent of a registered syringe serves program to distribute hypodermic syringes or needles. STATUS: House Health and Human Services committee passed bill on February 21st; Senate Health and Human Services committee passed a substitute (amended version) on March 27th, which required approval from the house prior to sine die (March 29th). Thus, substitute bill DIED in the House.

SR 832 (Mullis-53rd) Creates a Senate study committee to review the use and risks of Kratom to determine if action by the state is necessary to address the issue. STATUS: PASSED the Senate on March 27, 2018.


HB 860 (Dunahoo-30th) Allows social host criminal responsibility for adults who allow persons under 21 to consume alcohol on property that they own, lease, or otherwise control. The bill also offers medical amnesty to individuals who seeks medical assistance for a person experiencing an alcohol overdose. STATUS: DIED in the House Non-Civil committee


HB 835 (Lott-122nd) Allows the issuance of special event tobacco permits to licensed dealers authorizing off-premise sales of certain tobacco products (cigars, cigarettes, or loose or smokeless tobacco) at special events or temporary locations. STATUS: Passed House; DIED in the Senate Finance Committee on February 23, 2018.

Prescription Drugs & Opioids

HB 782 (Rhodes-120th) Expands users with access to the prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) to allow for monitoring of the database and use of data. Bill also prohibits patient brokering; creates an executive director of substance abuse, addiction and related disorders; and establishes a commission on substance abuse and recovery. STATUS: Language specific to the PDMP was added to SB 407 and reached final passage; HB 782 itself, DIED in the House.

HB 701 (Tanner-9th) Expands drug testing for state employment to include all forms opioids. STATUS: PASSED the Senate on March 21, 2018; sent to the Governor for signature on April 2, 2018.


HB 65 (Peake- 141st) Adds post-traumatic stress disorder and intractable pain to the conditions authorized for the use of low THC oil. The bill also creates a joint study commission on cultivation, manufacturing, access and sales. STATUS: PASSED on March 29, 2018; sent to the Governor for signature on April 4, 2018.