Last week, we gaveled in to start the second session of the 153rd General Assembly.
This is my 12th year representing the citizens of District 159 in the Georgia House of Representatives, and it will be my first year serving as majority leader. What an honor it is for me to serve the citizens of the 159th District and the people of Georgia in this capacity.
On our first legislative day, I sponsored four resolutions and addressed the House chamber for the first time as majority leader. These resolutions notified the state Senate we are in session, called for a joint session of the General Assembly to hear the governor’s state of the state address, and invited the chief justice of the Supreme Court to address the state of the judiciary. I also sponsored a resolution setting the legislative calendar for the first 13 legislative days (through Feb. 1).
On Wednesday, the Honorable Nathan Deal gave his State of the State address to a joint session of the General Assembly. In his address, Gov. Deal called on local school districts to give our teachers a 3 percent raise on their salaries, proposed an additional $300 million to allow local school districts to give salary increases, eliminate furlough days and increase instructional days. Gov. Deal also laid out plans to appoint a teacher advisory panel to help draft and vet education policies. I was pleased with these proposals, and it is my priority that we reward teachers for their hard work and ensure their voices are heard on legislation affecting our k-12 education system.
On Thursday, we received the governor’s proposed amended budget for fiscal year 2016 and proposed general budget for 2017. That day, we also honored the lives of two great Georgians: Mike Egan and Julian Bond. Mr. Eagan was an accomplished attorney, a highly respected legislator and a pioneer of the Georgia Republican Party who also served in the Justice Department under President Jimmy Carter. Julian Bond was a civil rights activist, scholar and former member of the Georgia House of Representatives and Georgia Senate.
Next week, we begin the process of reviewing and debating the governor’s proposed amended budget for fiscal year 2016 and the proposed general budget for fiscal year 2017. The joint budget hearings of the House and Senate began Tuesday. The legislature reconvenes today for legislative day 6. We were not in session on Monday in observance of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday.
It is an honor for me to serve as majority leader of the House and to continue serving the citizens of Screven, Effingham and Bulloch counties.
If you have any questions or comments concerning the state government or our community, or if you want to discuss any issue that is important to you, please do not hesitate to contact my legislative office at (404) 656-5052 or Jon.Burns@house.ga.gov.