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Lawmakers honor fallen Guardsmen
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This week we took time to recognize the brave Georgians in uniform who protect our great state and nation. Feb. 22 was Georgia National Guard Day. On this day, we honored the sacrifice of our 45 fallen heroes who were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan and welcomed their families to the Capitol. We also recognized our current National Guard troops who serve and protect us. It was an honor to recognize these incredible soldiers and airmen at the state Capitol. We are forever grateful for the sacrifices that they have made for our freedom.

Our state recently received some exciting news that serves to validate our efforts aimed at job creation. Gov. Nathan Deal announced that Caterpillar Inc. will bring over 1,400 jobs to Georgia with the construction of a new manufacturing plant in Athens. In addition to the jobs at the new plant, Caterpillar’s suppliers and increased retail sales are expected to create another 2,800 jobs. The announcement proves Georgia is an internationally competitive market, as Caterpillar will relocate Japanese production of small excavators and backhoes to the new plant.

On Tuesday, the House passed several bills, in addition to many bills relating to local legislation. House Bill 895 passed unanimously and would expand the powers and duties of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in regard to gathering information relating to sexual offenders by allowing the GBI to assist the Sexual Offender Registration Review Board and transferring investigators from the Board to the GBI.

Also passed was House Bill 850 (171-2) that would allow probate judges to require people seeking to become a guardian of another person to submit to a background check, but only if the judge chooses to require it. The intent is to ensure that any person taking care of those that are unable to take care of themselves (or are not of legal age) are capable of doing so.

House Bill 687 passed 132-9 and would require alarm monitoring companies to place two phone calls for verification that there is an emergency in the event that no contact is made on the first call. This would eliminate false alarms and does not include instances whereby it is a fire alarm, panic button, robbery, crime, or medical need. Many times our police and fire personnel are dispatched due to false alarms and this seeks to remedy that situation.

House Bill 875 passed unanimously and relates to the privacy of the records obtained by the Department of Natural Resources. This legislation ensures that the personal information that DNR gathers on individuals is not released through an open records request. The intent is to prevent commercial solicitations. For example, DNR has hunting and fishing records that contain our personal information, and this bill would make certain that our information is not obtained by merchants or other outside sources.

House Bill 419 passed 143-8 on Friday and would give the consumer a right to bring their mortgage up to date if they pay all past due payments, as well as fees. The current law requires permission from the lender; however, this legislation would give the homeowner the right to do this.

If you would like to reach me, please call me at (404) 656-5099 or write to me at: State Rep. Jon Burns, 18 Capitol Square, 228 State Capitol, Atlanta, GA 30334 or e-mail me at