The Legislature has finally acted to solve the falcons situation.
No, not the Falcons. The falcons.
More precisely, falconry.
House Bill 274 deals with the actual feathered friends, not the helmeted gladiators of the gridiron. The bill refines Georgia regulations dealing with the practice of falconry to match new federal guidelines.
“Is there a provision in the bill that has to do with a new athletic facility in Georgia?” House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, said as the bill’s sponsor made his way to the House floor.
“There’s nothing about a dome that pertains to this falconry bill,” said Rep. Jon Burns, R-Newington.
The Falcons, the local NFL team, want a new stadium to replace the Georgia Dome, and the team is seeking public money to pay for 20 percent of it. It is an issue that has caused no shortage of squawking.
But Burns’ bill is about raptors, which in Georgia is primarily falcons and hawks. There are 179 licensed practitioners of falconry in Georgia, Burns said, who could lose their rights if the state doesn’t match new federal rules.
“This is an ancient sport,” Burns said. “This is a carrying on of an ancient tradition.”
Burns warned, jokingly, that one of these fierce birds was circling the Gold Dome at about 3,000 feet to make sure lawmakers acted.
“It’s like a predator drone,” Burns said. “You won’t see anything until it happens.”
Not wanting to risk an attack on the walk to the parking lot, the House voted 165-0 to send the bill to the Senate.