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Paying tribute to law enforcement
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The General Assembly finished an additional five days of session last week, steadily marching toward the completion of the 2013 legislative session. With 26 legislative days remaining, the pace continues to increase.

Although there were not many pieces of legislation on the House floor, bills continue making their way through House and Senate committees.

The highlight of this week was the passage of the Supplemental Appropriation Bill, HB 105, which passed 145 to 18. This amended appropriation bill covers the remainder of this fiscal year, up until June 30, 2013. Some changes were made to the original supplemental budget as it was proposed by Governor Deal.

As described previously, the governor sets the outline and the legislature determines the exact path for our state budgets.

This week, I sponsored a privileged invitation resolution, HR 181, inviting representatives of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to be recognized by the state House of Representatives. This resolution commended law enforcement and military cooperation between the state of Georgia, the U.S. Department of State, and the Republic of Georgia. The senior police advisor from the U.S. Embassy in Tiblisi, Georgia, who formerly served as the director of the Henry County Department of Public Safety, along with senior members of the Georgia Air and Army National Guard and a representative of the State Department in Washington, D.C., stood on the Speaker’s podium with police representatives from the Republic of Georgia as I gave an explanation of the cooperative efforts between the state of Georgia, the United States and the Republic of Georgia.

Governor Deal announced several beneficial changes to expand the HOPE Grant program that reduced the grade-point average (GPA) requirement of those seeking a technical degree from a 3.0 GPA to a 2.0 GPA. In order for this proposal to become law, it must still pass through both chambers of the legislature.

The expansion of the HOPE Grant will strengthen the efforts by the state to become more attractive to new investment by focusing on teaching the skills necessary for better workforce development. The goal of the HOPE program is to increase educational opportunities for our young students and to enable these students to obtain the higher education degrees that business and industry are seeking.

On Thursday, the Honorable Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia, Carol Hunstein, presented the State of the Judiciary to a joint session of the General Assembly. Chief Justice Hunstein focused on second chances for our young offenders with non-violent crimes, and more investment in behavioral health programs. The Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform has contributed to the proposal for juvenile justice reform and this legislation, HB 242, will continue moving through the House committee process.

The General Assembly returned to the Gold Dome on Monday for the 15th day of the 2013 legislative session. I will keep you apprised of important legislation that affects your families, your freedoms, and your pocketbooks.

Working with and alongside the other members of both the House and Senate, your best interests will always remain my first priority.

Please let me know if I can ever be of assistance to you or your family. Please feel welcome to write to me at: 501 Coverdell Legislative Office Bldg., Atlanta, GA 30334, email me at, or call my office at (404) 656-0178.