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Savannah River Caucus backs compact

Friday, Feb. 7, 2014 2:44 PM
Last updated 7:15 PM
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ATLANTA -- Legislators from the more than two-dozen districts bordering the Savannah River introduced a resolution in the House Friday urging the U.S. Corps of Engineers to use adaptive-management practices on the river’s lakes.

Such management practices are designed to widen the environmental and economic factors considered in the Corps’ decision making, such as timing water releases.

The Savannah River Caucus met Thursday to coordinate strategy for the current legislative session and talk about the resolution and its other legislation, a boating compact.

The caucus formed last year in conjunction with South Carolina legislators to pursue issues of common concern.

“The metro folks are organized. The South Georgia folks are organized. It’s time we got organized,” said the caucus’ chairman, Rep. Alan Powell, R-Hartwell.

Powell said the leadership of the Corps has become more responsive since a pair of joint meetings with the two states’ caucuses. The resolution is another way to demonstrate the new spirit of cooperation.

The caucus is also sponsoring House Bill 777 which would create a bi-state compact between Georgia and South Carolina over mutual enforcement of boating laws. The agreement would allow residents of one state to return home without immediately paying a fine or posting bond for boating infractions in the other state.

“A little bit of cooperation goes a long way,” Powell said, predicting that the compact and caucuses would smooth over some of the previous disagreements between the two states, like differences over expansion of the harbor in Savannah.

“Alan came up with and birthed this baby,” said Sen. Frank Ginn, R-Danielsville.

Ginn launched his own diplomatic effort with a bill introduced last year for Georgia to honor concealed-weapons permits issued by South Carolina. The Palmetto State doesn’t recognize Georgia’s permits, and Ginn said he hopes that Georgia’s demonstration of goodwill can prompt South Carolina legislators to return the favor.

Ginn’s bill, however, got lumped in with other controversial provisions relaxing certain gun controls, and stalled on the final day of last year’s session after passing the House and Senate in different versions.


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