Valdosta Daily Times

April 17, 2014

Signed into law

Gov. Deal signs bills into law at Valdosta Airport

Stuart Taylor
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — Gov. Nathan Deal went on a signing tour Wednesday across Georgia, flying into the Valdosta Regional Airport to sign three bills into law.

The first bill, House Bill 998, modifies Georgia's Medical Scholarship Repayment Program, which grants loan repayment to doctors who work in rural areas and offers scholarships to medical students who will be practicing in rural areas.

The new legislation will remove the cap that limits qualifying areas to a population of 35,000 or less.

“It's worked for a very long period of time, but as some of our counties have grown and exceeded that population cap, they find they no longer qualify,” said Deal. “This will remove it. There will be no arbitrary population cap. It will simply be the determination of our board and the commissioners on our board.”

The second bill is Senate Bill 273, which establishes a Maternal Mortality Review Committee.

Georgia currently ranks last in the United States for maternal mortality rates.

The committee will examine cases of maternal mortality, work to determine the reasons behind it, and formulate policies based off of its work.

“I think within a year we'll see some initial reports come out of the committee. The first thing of course will be for the commission to appoint the members of the committee.”

The third bill, House Bill 986, adds a second state court judgeship to Lowndes County.