Sen. Harbison Leads Passage of Resolution to Protect Fort Benning

ATLANTA (March 4, 2013) –Senator Ed Harbison (D-Columbus) led the unanimous passage of Senate Resolution 201 which asks the Department of the Army carefully consider the socioeconomic impact the Programmatic Environmental Assessment for Army 2020 Force Restructuring will have on Fort Benning.“The proposed cuts to the Department of the Army would have a devastating effect on the people of the 15th district and surrounding areas,” said Sen. Harbison.  “Fort Benning is essential to the economic vitality of Columbus and we must call on our elected officials in Washington to halt any reduction in active duty and civilian personnel.”

According to the Assessment, a reduction of 7,100 active duty and civilian personnel would result in a 17,815 loss in total population, which represents a 5.74 percent decrease in the region, a 3.16 percent loss of sales volume, a 4.99 percent drop in regional income, and 5.94 percent loss in regional nonfarm employment, which has the potential to affect low-income populations the most negatively.

Sen. Harbison Named Chairman of Veterans, Military and Homeland Security Committee

ATLANTA (January 15, 2013) – Senator Ed Harbison (D-Columbus) has been named the Chairman of the Senate Veterans, Military and Homeland Security Committee for the 2013- 2014 term by the Senate Committee on Assignments.

“It is an honor and a privilege to once again serve my constituents as the Chairman of this invaluable committee,” said Sen. Harbison.  “There is a lot of work to be done but I am confident that, with the help of my colleagues, we can address the needs and concerns of our hero’s: the men and women who have selflessly served our country in the armed forces.”

This committee handles legislation and oversight related to Georgia’s Department of Defense, military personnel, Department of Homeland Security, emergency response organizations, and organizations providing service to military veterans.

“I’m humbled to preside over a Senate that is strongly unified and filled with individuals that are hard-working, intelligent and dedicated to solving problems,” Lieutenant Governor Cagle said. “I look forward to working hand-in-hand with Chairman Harbison, who is extremely well-versed and passionate about this important subject matter, to deliver Georgians real results on the major issues facing this State.”

“We are fortunate to have a wealth of talent and experience in the State Senate,” said President Pro Tem David Shafer (R-Duluth). “I have every confidence in our new committee leadership team.”

Once a piece of legislation is introduced in the Senate, it is assigned to a Committee, depending on its topic.  If the Committee gives the legislation a “do pass” recommendation, then the proposed law is sent to the Rules Committee for consideration.  The appointed chairs will oversee the operation and order of Senate committee meetings, including calling for action on bills, resolutions or other matters assigned to that committee.

The first term of the 152nd Legislative Session of the Georgia General Assembly convened January 14, 2013 at the Georgia State Capitol.

Sen. Harbison Champions Veterans Legislation

ATLANTA (March 7, 2012) – Senator Ed Harbison (D-Columbus) led the unanimous passage of Senate Bill 473 which will extend the eligibility for Purple Heart license tags to include service members on active duty or in reserves.

“Men and women throughout the entire state have made great sacrifices for our country by serving in our armed forces,” said Sen. Harbison.  “I was disheartened to discover that recipients of this distinguished award had to wait until retirement to receive their license tag.  I am proud that my colleagues in the Senate supported this measure to honor veterans both past and present.”

Ms. Kim Kapacziewski, of Columbus, GA, brought this issue to Sen. Harbison earlier this legislative session.  Her husband, SFC Kapacziewski, is a veteran amputee still serving in the armed forces.  He was given his Purple Heart license tag but was asked to return it when the Georgia Department of Veteran Services realized he was still active personnel.

Currently, the Purple Heart license tag is only available to discharged veterans who received a Purple Heart citation. By amending the definition of a “Veteran,” this legislation expands availability of the tag to include recipients who are currently serving on active duty or in the reserves.

Senator Harbison’s Bill Ending Sales of Synthetic Marijuana Passes Senate

ATLANTA (March 24, 2010) – Sen. Ed Harbison’s (D-Columbus) legislation (SB 498) ending the sales of synthetic marijuana in Georgia passed the Senate today with a unanimous vote.  Recently, sale of synthetic marijuana also known as K2 or spice, have ballooned across the state. This bill would make the sale of these substances illegal, and add them to Schedule 1 on Georgia’s controlled substance list. Harbison was inspired to create the legislation after Atlanta area teens were hospitalized as a result of using the drug.

“Georgia citizens need to be protected from products that may cause irreversible harm to their bodies,” said Sen. Harbison.  “Teens assume these drugs are harmless because they are so easily accessible.  These drugs, however, are so dangerous it’s sending our young people to the emergency room.”

Additional substances on Schedule 1 of Georgia’s controlled substance list include heroin and meth. Use or sale of these substances carry the most severe penalties and are highly addictive.  Synthetic marijuana is ten times stronger than marijuana, and cannot be detected by drug testing.

“These drugs are not harmless recreational substances, but actually potent concoctions of harmful materials that can cause a variety of problems.  The manufactures for these products do not put the ingredients on packaging, and do not have to follow any type of regulated standards,” said Sen. Harbison.  “We need to act now before we have an epidemic of people addicted to these substances.”

Harbison will continue to gain support for the legislation as it goes to the House.

Senator Harbison’s Fallen Veterans Bill Passes Senate

ATLANTA (Feb. 19, 2010) – Sen. Ed Harbison’s (D-Columbus) Fallen Veterans Bill (SB 355) overwhelmingly passed Senate on Thursday.  The bill designates that a deceased veteran’s remains go to the individual listed on their U.S. Department of Defense Record of Emergency Data or DD Form 93.  This bill will alleviate any discrepancies among family members regarding the final resting place of the deceased veteran.

“I’ve seen so many families struggling to decide where the final resting place should be for their fallen solider. With the passage of this bill, families will no longer have to deal with this issue while grieving the loss of a loved one,” said Sen. Harbison.  “This bill can take away some of the stress families go through in making this difficult decision and hopefully aid in the healing process.”

Sen. Harbison served in the Vietnam War and uses his experiences as a veteran to craft meaningful and innovative legislation to benefit military families.  The bill will now go onto the House for voting.

Sen. Harbison participates in pandemic preparedness hearing

State Sen. Ed Harbison (D-Columbus) will participate in a hearing on Georgia’s preparedness to deal with pandemic situations Monday at 10:15 a.m. at the State Capitol.

Harbison and other legislators will hear presentations from Dr. Patrick O’Neal, chief of the Emergency Preparedness & Response Division of the Georgia Department of Community Health and from the Georgia Emergency Managment Agency.

Representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have also been invited to speak.

Sen. Harbison Urges Congressional Delegation to Fund Statewide First Responder System

ATLANTA (Feb. 26, 2009) – State Sen. Ed Harbison (D-Columbus) is requesting that the Georgia Congressional Delegation use a portion of the funds from President Barack Obama’s stimulus bill to assist with the creation and operation of a statewide first responder building mapping information system. The statewide system was established through Senate Bill 33, which passed in the Georgia General Assembly in 2008. Through the implementation of the system, state and local governments would be better prepared to respond to disasters, criminal behavior and acts of terrorism.

“There is always a significant amount of danger present when first responders such as our police officers and firefighters have to evacuate or secure a building,” said Sen. Harbison. “It is vital that we fully fund the building mapping information system to provide first responders with information they need to be successful when disaster strikes.”

Building mapping provides electronic blueprints of a building describing every room, along with its dimensions. The maps are designed to give an emergency responder as much information about the physical structure of the building as possible. Building map information can include floor plans, fire protection information, evacuation plans, utility information, known hazards and images showing emergency personnel contact information.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 has allocated an estimated $50 million to aid Georgia with State and Local Emergency Assistance Programs, Aviation Security Funds and Emergency Food and Shelter for the Homeless.

The Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) would be responsible for the creation and operation of the statewide building mapping information system. Once the system is operational, GEMA will make the information available electronically to all state, local and federal law enforcement agencies, public fire departments, and the Georgia Department of Defense. Any private entity, federal agency, or state and local governments electing to participate in the building mapping information system will forward their data to GEMA.

For more information on Senate Bill 33, please visit

Sen. Ed Harbison serves as Chairman of the Interstate Cooperation Committee. He represents the 15th Senate District, which includes Chattahoochee County and a portion of Muscogee County. He may be reached at 404.656.0074 or via e-mail at [email protected].

For Immediate Release:
February 26, 2009
For Information Contact:
Raegan Weber, Director
Ravae Graham, Communications Specialist
[email protected]

Sen. Ed Harbison announces candidacy for re-election

State Sen. Ed Harbison (D-Columbus) has officially qualified as a 2008 candidate for Georgia Senate District 15, which includes part of Muscogee County and all of Chattahoochee County.

Sen. Harbison is currently Chairman of the Senate Interstate Cooperation Committee. He is also secretary of the Regulated Industries & Utilities Committee and serves on the Banking & Financial Institutions, Insurance & Labor and Reapportionment & Redistricting Utilities Committees.

“I look forward to meeting with and talking with the voters of the 15th District during the course of this campaign,” Harbison said. “This is a very important election year in Georgia, and I pledge to continue listen to the views of the people and use my experience and leadership positions to deal effectively with the issues important to the Columbus area and the entire state.”

The Democratic Primary is scheduled for July 15, and the General Election will be held November 4.