U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., is trying once more to make it illegal to take a loaded firearm into an airport, the congressman’s office announced on Wednesday.

Johnson has reintroduced the Airport Security Act of 2017, which is designed to make airports safer for passengers and public safety officers. The bill would stipulate only people who are authorized to carry a loaded gun in an airport would be allowed to do so.

“Our nation’s airports are economic engines and cultural gateways that drive our local, state and national economies,” Johnson said in a statement. “They are the front door for many of our communities. Unfortunately, they are also targets for those seeking to incite fear.

“Only law enforcement officials should be allowed to carry loaded weapons in the unsecured sections of our nation’s airports. Over time, we have seen evidence that our airports are increasingly vulnerable to small-scaled attacks by armed gunmen.”

Johnson’s office pointed to several incidents of shootings at airports in recent years as reasons why the bill was reintroduced. The examples include 2013 incidents at the LAX airport in Los Angeles and the La Mesa International Airport in Honduras, as well as a 2016 incident at an airport in Istanbul.

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, the Violence Policy Center, the Center for American Violence, States United to Prevent Gun Violence, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence and the GunSence Georgia Coalition are all supporting the bill.

Johnson’s co-sponsors on the bill include Reps. John Lewis and David Scott, both D-Ga., Jackie Speier, D-Cali., Gerry Connolly and Don Beyer, both D-Va., Jamie Raskin, D-Md., Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., Robin Kelly, D-Ill., and Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-DC.

Efstration’s Power of Attorney bill headed to governor

A bill filed by state Rep. Chuck Efstration, R-Dacula, to protect people who are in the care of someone else is one step away from becoming state law.

The state House of Representatives gave final approval of the Uniform Power of Attorney Act on Tuesday, and it is now headed to Gov. Nathan Deal for his consideration. The bill outlines the power of attorney process and rules that a person who holds that authority must follow.

It passed in both the House and Senate earlier this month, but it had to go back to the House for final review of changes made in the Senate.

“The Uniform Power of Attorney Act provides a much-needed update to Georgia’s power of attorney statute,” Efstration said in a statement. “The bill allows protections for individuals who grant the power of attorney while also giving clarification for responsible caregivers and financial institutions.”

Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vernon Keenan said the bill will help protect someone who has to assign power of attorney to another person. Among other things, the bill says a person cannot argue that use of their power of attorney authority absolves them from prosecution for a crime.

“The passage of House Bill 221, Uniform Power of Attorney Act, will give law enforcement and prosecutors the tools necessary to address individuals who are using the power of attorney to exploit elderly and disabled persons,” Keenan said in a statement. “A power of attorney should not be used as a license to steal.”

Woodall: ‘I was all-in’ for GOP health care plan

If the Republican plan to replace to Obamacare had come up for a vote in the House of Representatives last month, U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Ga., was ready to support it.

Woodall took to Facebook this past week to discuss the plan, which faced opposition within the GOP as well as among Democrats, causing House leaders to pull it from a planned vote.

“President Trump was all-in, and I was all-in, but we simply couldn’t find enough votes in the House to pass it,” Woodall said.

Woodall said former President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare bill should still be repealed and “escape one-size-fits-all federal solutions and provide complete flexibility to Georgia and other states to craft a Medicaid safety net program that can make an even more powerful difference for its citizens in crisis.”

Political Notebook appears in the Wednesday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

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I'm a Crawford Long baby who grew up in Marietta and eventually wandered to the University of Southern Mississippi for college. Earned a BA in journalism (double minor in political science and history). Previously worked in Florida and Clayton County.

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