As we approach the first week of the 2021 Session, I want to thank you all for placing your trust in me to continue to represent District 159 in Atlanta. This upcoming Session will have some notable differences, particularly as we implement precautions to reduce the spread of COVID-19, but the general structure of our Session will remain the same.
Members of the Georgia General Assembly are elected in even-numbered years and are sworn in and seated the following January. The Georgia Constitution requires that the Georgia General Assembly enter into its legislative Session by the second Monday in January each year. The Georgia Constitution also sets forty days as the maximum number of days that the General Assembly can be in Session each year. Legislative Sessions are arranged in two-year periods that line up with the elections cycle. This year’s Session will be the first half of the full 2021-2022 Session, and the second half will begin in January 2022.
The first week of this year’s Session begins with swearing-in all General Assembly members, including our newest House members, who we are excited to welcome to the Capitol. After all House members are sworn in, we begin the process of electing the House’s leadership, the Speaker of the House and the Speaker Pro Tem, who are voted on by all House members. This year our caucus re-nominated Speaker David Ralston and Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones to continue to serve in their current roles. Once we settle these housekeeping matters, the Session’s real work begins.
Representative Terry England, Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, and Senator Blake Tillery, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, have already been hard at work on the budget. The budget for Fiscal Year 2022, which begins on July 1, 2021, will be completed towards the end of Session, and revisions to the budget for Fiscal Year 2021, which will end on June 30, 2021, will be completed much more quickly. The budget will be one of our highest priorities this Session as we deal with the repercussions of COVID-19 and its impact on Georgians and their lives. We will also be turning our attention to election law and giving Georgians renewed confidence in our election process’s security and accuracy.
The House Republican Caucus will be focusing on the impact of COVID-19 on Georgians’ health and livelihoods. We will continue our efforts to lower healthcare costs, which has taken on renewed importance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, we will support our businesses and schools as they seek to operate safely while providing vital services to all Georgians.
I hope that you all will join me in praying for our nation and our nation’s Capitol after the regrettable events that took place on January 6 in the United States Capitol building. Peaceful protests are a hallmark of American democracy, but violence against other Americans, particularly against law enforcement is inexcusable. I hope that we all can move forward, united by our love for our country, toward healing and reconciliation. As we begin this next Session, I look forward to hearing your feedback on bills that we will consider in the legislature. Thank you all for allowing me to represent Georgia House District 159. It is truly an honor to work for you and this great state. If you have any feedback, do not hesitate to call (404.656.5052), email, or engage on Facebook. If you would like to receive email updates, please visit my website to sign up for my newsletter or email me.
Jon Burns represents District 159 in the Georgia General Assembly, where he serves as the House majority leader.