When it comes to handing out taxpayers' money, the governor and the General Assembly sometimes seem more willing to direct those funds to people who don't really need them instead of those who really do.
If you watched the Super Bowl a couple of weeks ago - and reports say that 114 million of us did - perhaps you saw a portion of the reprehensible behavior of Seattle wide receiver Doug Baldwin, who after scoring a touchdown proceeded to mime pulling down his pants, squatting as if on a commode before dropping the ball to the ground as if defecating. The NFL fined Baldwin $11,000, which has to be chump change to this boor. Astonishingly, the incident has gotten very little mention in the media. You can bet this kind of obscene showboating will wend its ...
Chief Justice Hugh P. Thompson delivered the state of the judiciary address to the General Assembly on Feb. 4, focusing on the achievements and challenges currently facing Georgia's judicial system. He highlighted Georgia's specialty courts and veterans' courts and their role as an alternative to prison for the state's non-violent offenders. Justice Thompson also celebrated Georgia's first Hispanic and Asian superior court judges in the state's history.
Last week in the Georgia House of Representatives, most of our time was spent in committee meetings vetting legislation. A subcommittee meeting regarding the transportation bill was held as we considered the pros and cons of possible solutions toward improving our infrastructure, roads and bridges.
We had a busy week in the Georgia General Assembly as our efforts have been focused on the committee process. This is where we review legislative initiatives, listen to the testimony of those supporting and opposing the bills, and then make a decision whether or not it is acceptable to forward bills to the full House for a vote.
Monday, Feb. 2: I start the week in Glynn County to speak at the Georgia Foreign Trade Conference. This annual conference is important to shipping and maritime companies as well as the many businesses associated with the Georgia Ports Authority and the movement of international freight. We are truly blessed to have two of the finest international ports in the country right here in the First District located in Brunswick and Savannah.
The stage has been set for the issue that will draw most of the attention in this legislative session: revising Georgia's transportation taxes.
Let's get off the backs of law enforcement, shall we? Most of us couldn't do their job or wouldn't do it if we had the chance.
Legislation that has passed the Senate and is on its way to the House of Representatives:
The Georgia General Assembly convened for its third week and it was especially nice to welcome folks from Effingham County for their annual day at the Capitol who came to the State House to discuss issues of importance. It is always beneficial to have input from you and I welcome visits, email and phone calls as topics are considered in the Legislature that will ultimately affect our life.
We just completed a very busy week at the state capital. It was such a pleasure to see so many Effingham County residents come for Effingham Day and to visit with many folks from Chatham County at the Savannah-Chatham Day seafood festival, as well.
It is no fun to be wrong.
Georgia's elected leaders agree the most pressing issue right now is the state's transportation system.
The state of Georgia's Juvenile Justice System is going to the dogs. And that's a good thing.
Governor Deal's fiscal year 2015 amended and FY16 general budget proposals were reviewed during a week of budget hearings.
Judging from the recent session of the General Assembly, Republicans seem to have become the new Democrats in state politics.
Sometimes we forget that there are a lot of good people on this earth doing good things. I was reminded of that by my friend, Jack Cookston, who recently had some medical issues that required him to cart around an oxygen tank wherever he went. (Happily, his health has improved and the oxygen tank is history.)
Another excellent month, 9 percent growth in March, pushed Georgia to a year-to-date 6.1 percent increase, which leads virtually every other state in the South and puts the state neck-and-neck with Texas. Here are March's numbers:
There are many members of the Legislature who work hard and try to represent the best interests of their constituents back home.
Fortune magazine has announced its list of the World's Greatest Leaders for 2015 and would you believe that I got snubbed again this year?
The House and Senate approved a $21.82 billion budget for fiscal year 2016, with only one dissenting vote between the two bodies. A total of $490 million in new funds were directed for K-12 education, including an austerity reduction of $280 million. Other big issues addressed in the budget included continuing health care coverage for non-certified public school employees, like school bus drivers and cafeteria workers.
The General Assembly concluded business last week, and while we were in session for just two days, they were very long days in an effort to complete important tasks. The following are some of the bills that were agreed upon by both the House and Senate and have been sent to the governor for his approval.
On Thursday, the House and Senate completed the 40th and final legislative day. While we passed numerous bills in the final days of session, I would like to bring to your attention several key pieces of legislation that were passed to improve the quality of life for all Georgians.
Fifteen months ago, a local reporter asked me if there was any interest within the General Assembly in taking on the medical marijuana issue for the 2014 legislative session, and I told him, emphatically, that there was none and that I did not foresee that issue coming up anytime soon in Georgia. Then, a week later, I met a little four-year-old girl named Haleigh, and her courageous mom and dad, and was I proved ever so wrong.
If you want to meet the person who's the real state school superintendent, it's easy to find his office.
If you are a high school senior hoping to attend the University of Georgia, the oldest state-chartered university in the nation, located in Athens, the Classic City of the South, you have probably heard by now whether or not you have been accepted.
Transportation and budget conference committees highlight the final week as the medical marijuana bill, HB 1, is passed and an agreement on autism.
Those of us who love Georgia football often use coach Mark Richt's phrase "finish the drill," whether we are talking about the game or about other important goals. Usually, getting to the point where you are ready to finish has taken a lot of hard work, involved some tough decisions, and forced you to think about priorities. That is what Georgia's leaders have done throughout the past 10 weeks of this year's legislative session.
I am happy to report that the General Assembly session for 2015 is down to its last two legislative days. We have had a productive session but several important issues remain unresolved. The following are bills passed by the House this week.
The 2015 General Assembly session has just two days left, and we are expected to adjourn sine die on Thursday. Consequently, a flurry of legislation will travel back and forth between the House of Representatives and the Senate. I will be fully ensconced in many of the debates on pending legislation.