With Crossover Day behind us, the General Assembly is working diligently to pass meaningful legislation before the clock strikes midnight on Sine Die (adjournment) later this month.
Conference committee for fiscal year 2017 state budget
Last week, the Georgia Senate passed its version of the state budget for fiscal year 2017. Because the Senate made a few changes to the budget proposal which previously passed the House, a conference committee was created to resolve the differences between the House and Senate versions of the budget.
On Thursday, the Speaker of the House appointed me to that conference committee, which consists of three House members and three Senate members. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the conference committee to reach a consensus version of the state budget for 2017, which will then be voted on by both chambers and sent to the Governor for his approval.
Celebrating Georgia Southern football and academics
On Monday at the Capitol, we celebrated the Georgia Southern football program’s victory at the 2015 GoDaddy Bowl. This was GSU’s first appearance and victory in a bowl game at the FBS level.
In my address to the House chamber, I acknowledged the influence of GSU football legend Erk Russell, who built the GSU football program. We also recognized the success the GSU student-athletes have had both on the field and in the classroom.
Along with the success of our athletic programs, Georgia Southern students and alumni have made outstanding contributions to the state and to the nation. I am proud to call Georgia Southern my alma mater and look forward to doing my part to ensure a successful future for this important research institution.
Protecting religious expression
On Thursday, the House passed Senate Bill 309 with my support, reaffirming the General Assembly’s commitment to protecting religious expression. This bill, along with House Bill 870 which previously passed the House, would permit personal and voluntary religious expression by student athletes in accordance with the rules of the athletic association. For the time, public high school teams would be allowed to play or scrimmage teams from non-GHSA schools.
Defending our small business owners
Last Friday, the House passed Senate Bill 277, the “Protecting Georgia Small Business Act.” This measure would clarify that, under state law, neither a franchisee nor a franchisee’s employees will be considered employees of the franchisor. This bill is designed to help our small businesses control costs and ensure decision-making at the local level.
Increasing health care services for women and children
Last week, the House also passed Senate Bill 308, which would provide grants to non-profit organizations that provide pregnancy support services. The purpose of this grant program is to promote healthy pregnancies and childbirth by funding medical care and information, nutritional services, housing and employment assistance, adoption education and child care assistance. This grant program will be administered by the Department of Public Health.
Reinstating Salzburgers in Georgia history
I have made multiple contacts and met this week with education leaders and administrators from the Georgia Department of Education regarding the plan to remove all references to the Georgia Salzburgers from our eighth grade social studies curriculum in Georgia. As many of you are aware, our first governor, John Adam Treutlen, was a Salzburger and Ebenezer was once our state capital. This unbelievable proposal is disturbing, and we will stay the course to have the Salzburgers’ part of Georgia history reinstated, along with other portions of Georgia history that have been proposed for removal.
Qualifying for re-election
Last Monday, I officially qualified to run for re-election as District 159 representative of the Georgia House. During my time in office, we have weathered the Great Recession, enhanced educational opportunities for students, reformed the criminal justice system, and protected our constitutional rights. I humbly ask for your continued support and vote of confidence on May 24.
Jon Burns represents District 159 in the Georgia General Assembly where he serves as the House Majority Leader.