Jekyll Island, Alzheimer’s bills pass Senate

A proposal to open up more of Jekyll Island to possible development unanimously passed the state Senate on Monday.

The Senate also approved proposals aimed at caring for Georgia’s older residents, including the creation of an Alzheimer’s disease registry by the state.

Senate Bill 296 appears to reflect changes approved in October by the Jekyll Island Authority and mirrors a bill passed last week by the House. Instead of requiring that no more than 35 percent of the island be available for commercial development, the authority wanted to settle on a hard number. The compromise was 1,675 acres.

All but 78 of those acres are already developed, and the bill sets out specific rules for how the remaining land may be improved. Twelve acres are set aside for expansion of the existing campground; 20 acres are available for “unrestricted uses”; and the remaining 46 acres must be used for “public health, public safety or public recreation.”

The same standards are in House Bill 715, sponsored by state Rep. Mark Hamilton, R-Cumming. SB 296 is sponsored by Senate Natural Resources and the Environment Chairman Ross Tolleson, R-Perry.

Among the other bills, Senate Bill 291 would create an "adult and aging services" agency within state government. It passed on a 45-5 vote. Senate Bill 292 would form an Alzheimer's registry within the Department of Public Health. It passed on a 45-6 vote. Both bills are sponsored by Sen. Renee Unterman, R-Buford, chairwoman of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

All three bills now go to the House for consideration.