Rep. David Stover is a brave man. He may well be one of the gutsiest people serving in the General Assembly.
I suspect my recent silence on the subject of public education in Georgia has been deafening to some of you. I will explain.
The Senate passed its version of the 2016 general budget with only one dissenting vote.
Last Friday was the 30th legislative day for the 2015 Georgia General Assembly. With "crossover day" behind us, we returned to Capitol Hill this week to focus on legislation that has already been passed by the Georgia Senate.
As I left us off last week, we were still in session waiting to conclude day 30 or "crossover day." For the most part this week, we focused on a few Senate bills and some House resolutions. The real work was in the committees as we started to review the Senate bills that crossed over.
I spent last week helping to assess a group of people for a job I couldn't do if my life depended on it. Actually, what they were seeking is not a job; it is a calling. And my life here and in the hereafter depends on how well they do it.
When I first started writing about politics, my conservative friends would preach the gospel of "local control." They believed that local governments did a better job of running things because local officeholders were closer to the people who elected them.
The Legislature begins the last three weeks of the 2015 session having passed "crossover day." Most of the top issues remain to be settled. Transportation, medical marijuana and the 2016 budget will all ultimately be completed by conference committees.
On March 13, we reached day 30 of the 2015 legislative session. This date, which is also known as "crossover day," is the final chance for bills to pass the legislative chamber from which they originated. Listed below is a brief description of several bills that passed the House and are moving forward.
Last week, the General Assembly passed the 30th legislative day, or "crossover day" as it's commonly referred. As I have mentioned before, any legislation that hasn't crossed over to the Senate or the House of Representatives is dead legislation until we reconvene next year.
Monday, March 9: I was honored this past weekend to speak at the 270th birthday celebration of Gen. Casimir Pulaski, the famous American Revolutionary War hero who is buried in Monterey Square in Savannah. I also had the opportunity to wish my good friend Jerry Loupe a happy 80th birthday as well as attend the Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremony of Brett Kohler in Ellabell. Brett is the youngest of three brothers who have all earned the rank of Eagle Scout. It was truly an honor for me to be invited to this ceremony and have the opportunity to ...
Democrats don't have a lot of influence in the General Assembly these days. They hold roughly one-third of the seats in both the House and Senate, which means the Republican majority can safely ignore them 99 percent of the time.
It is with regret I tell you that our intrepid public servants in the Legislature have scuttled a bill that would have lowered the age of eligibility to serve as a member of the House of Representatives to 18 years of age and to 21 in the state Senate.
The Senate Appropriations committee is working on its version of the fiscal year 2016 general budget.
The General Assembly has completed 27 legislative days and many bills have been sent to the Senate for their review. This is significant because bills that do not go to the Senate after day 30 or "crossover day" will not become law this legislative session.
Maybe it's a sign of better times, or a sign of clearer communication between the House, Senate Appropriations Committees and the governor's office, but there was only one veto of an appropriations from HB 76 when he signed the Appropriations Act in Statesboro last Monday.
Georgia Republicans chose electoral pragmatism over ideological purity when they elected their state chairman last weekend, but it was a close call.
I have been trying to figure out what to do with my free time now that I have decided not to run for president of the United States (or what's left of it.) Some of you wrote and asked me to reconsider my decision. I am humbled by your pledges of support but I don't want to broach the subject again with the Woman Who Shares My Name. She has access to a lot of broccoli and says she know where she can get more. I had best leave that alone.
Both in funding and in legislation, issues facing human services, the disabled and the elderly were addressed by the Legislature this session. Legislation included the following:
Now that the General Assembly has adjourned for the year and all of the bills have either been signed or vetoed, what lessons can we take away from this latest legislative session? I can think of a few.
Dear Public School Teachers in Georgia:
Each year since 1963, Small Business Week is held to recognize the contributions of America's small businesses. In America, 99.7 percent of all employers are small businesses and they employ more than half of America's workforce. Responsible for more than half of our gross domestic product, small businesses are the backbone of our nation.
While you were distracted by this year's transportation funding or Opportunity School District debates - or possibly ignoring the Legislature entirely - Gov. Nathan Deal, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, and both parties in both chambers unanimously set a tiny pebble rolling from the top of the mountain known as public education.
While transportation legislation and funding along with issues such as medical marijuana took the headlines, important education legislation passed the Legislature this year and increased funding for education was a centerpiece of the fiscal year 2016 budget. High school students will have a wide array of opportunities from dual enrollment in colleges and universities to technical certification that will give them both a skill certification and a high school diploma.
Gov. Nathan Deal has finally signed the bill that dominated most of the discussion and media coverage in this year's legislative session: HB 170, the transportation funding bill.
You are going to have to give me a little scat room today. I am having an attack of the nostalgias. Going down someone else's Memory Lane can be as boring as a lecture on the life cycle of guppies but this has been a reflective few weeks for me. My beloved Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Georgia and the campus chapter of my college fraternity, Lambda Chi Alpha, both celebrated their 100th anniversaries this past month in Athens.
What if you were told that 95 percent of Georgians are using a product that may not always be the best value for money?
Tuesday, April 28: My weekend began with the annual Stand Up For America Parade in my hometown of Port Wentworth. While all parades are special, this one always brings back memories of my childhood as I can remember riding my bicycle in this parade as well as marching with my youth baseball teams when I was growing up here. Despite the inclement weather that shortened the day's activities, the parade was a special event as usual.
Georgia agriculture continues to be a critical part of the state's economy. The Legislature provided a number of funding additions to benefit agriculture and forestry in the fiscal year 2016 Budget. In addition, a number of bills were passed which affect agriculture positively.
What time is it, boys and girls? It's time for Answer Man! Time to dip into the ol' mailbag and see what is on your mind and show you how little is on ours. While we can't guarantee total and complete accuracy in our answers, it is Answer Man's opinion that this won't matter because if you knew the answer, you probably wouldn't have asked the question in the first place.