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Georgia lawmakers back bills on opioids
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Forsyth County News

ATLANTA (AP) — The Latest on the Georgia General Assembly (all times local):

1:05 p.m.

A drug used to reverse opioid overdoses called naloxone will be available over-the-counter under a bill approved by the Georgia Senate.

Senators on Monday unanimously approved the bill, which will codify an emergency order put in place by Gov. Nathan Deal last year.

Sen. Butch Miller, R- Gainesville, said the change will allow loved ones of an addicted person to be ready for the worst case scenario.

The House voted Monday to add fentanyl to state laws on penalties for possessing, manufacturing, delivering or selling certain drugs. Rep. Rich Golick, R-Smyrna, said the change would give law enforcement another tool against people selling fentanyl.

Fentanyl is more potent than other opioids. The Centers for Disease Control says roughly 9,500 people fatally overdosed on synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, nationwide in 2015.


11:30 a.m.

Victims of domestic violence could change their names privately under a bill approved by the Georgia House.

House members voted unanimously Monday in support of the proposal from Rep. Mandi Ballinger, R-Canton. The Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence has also supported the change.

Allison Smith-Burk is the group's director of public policy and says the change would give advocacy organizations another tool to help victims stay safe.

Name changes now are required to be listed in public court documents. Smith-Burk says that's frightening for victims who worry that an abusive spouse or partner will continue to stalk them.

The bill would allow a judge to keep name-change records sealed in domestic violence cases.

Friday marks a key deadline for lawmakers. Bills must pass at least one chamber to remain alive.


11:22 a.m.

The sponsor of legislation to allow casino gambling in Georgia says the effort is dead for the year.

State Sen. Brandon Beach, R-Alpharetta, said Monday that he doesn't have enough votes to get the bill out of the Senate Regulated Industries Committee. Beach says he will travel around Georgia before the next legislative session to promote the idea.

Friday marks a key deadline for lawmakers. Bills must pass at least one chamber to remain alive for the year.

Beach's proposal would have allowed two resorts to offer gambling.

The first required a $2 billion investment in the counties surrounding Atlanta and the second required a $450 million investment in another area. Taxes on gambling would support college scholarships along with rural hospital grants.

But religious organizations opposed any gambling expansion.