Medical marijuana is one step closer to becoming legal in Georgia, but it's taken a different form from its original version that passed the House 171-4 last week.AP reports:
The Senate Health and Human Services committee unanimously approved House Bill 885 on Wednesday, which would legalize a form of medical marijuana in Georgia.
But the bill now also requires insurance companies to cover autism treatment for children ages 6 and under.
A few minutes before the vote, the committee's chairwoman, Renee Unterman, said the medical marijuana bill will be combined with the autism bill.
"We also combined the autism bill with it. We're calling it the Care for Kids Act," Unterman told 13WMAZ. "All the people in this legislature care about the children of Georgia."
The death of a bill to require insurers to cover autism inspired a South Dakota legislator to set up a task force on the issue.
"This came really hard and fast to me," said Rep. Scott Munsterman, R-Brookings. "Everyone agrees they needed to have that discussion whether (that bill) failed or not."
A South Dakota special committee of representatives and senators agreed Thursday on parameters for that study on autism spectrum disorders.
The task force would explore the issue and make policy suggestions. The study would cover insurance and treatment costs, availability of services and treatment protocols.
The state's human services and labor and regulation departments would collaborate on the project.
Representatives in the House and the Senate voted unanimously Thursday to accept the special committee's plan. Gov. Dennis Daugaard's administration has expressed support for the measure.