Following the legislative session, the Governor has 40 days to review legislation we’ve passed and decide whether to sign it into law. As he continues to exercise his authority, I wanted to provide you an update on legislation he has signed in recent days.
Earlier this week the Governor visited Dickey Farms in middle Georgia to sign into law several important pieces of legislation affecting Georgia’s agricultural communities in District 159 and statewide. This seventh-generation peach farm is owned by my colleague Robert Dickey, who is an important employer in his middle Georgia community and Chairman of the House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee.
Over the last few years, an agricultural education pilot program has served elementary school students at twenty schools around the state, in both rural and urban areas. This program has provided great opportunities for students to learn about the important role of agriculture in Georgia - particularly students that aren’t exposed to the industry every day.
With the success of this program, I was proud to vote for House Bill 1303, which expanded the program and made it permanent. I look forward to learning about schools in District 159 that are participating in this program to their curriculum.
Senate Bill 396 acknowledges the important role our farming communities can play in feeding less fortunate Georgians by renaming the state’s existing food assistance program the “Georgia Grown Farm to Food Bank Program”.
New requirements are put in place that will strengthen ties between Georgia farms and Georgia’s community food banks, building these community relationships without increasing costs to taxpayers.
Finally, I was glad to see the Freedom to Farm Act, which I discussed in more detail last week, signed into law by the Governor. House Bill 1150 works to protect farming communities from encroachment by development - so important in areas of the state like District 159 that are seeing rapid growth.
Protecting the Second Amendment
Governor Kemp signed Georgia’s Constitutional Carry bill into law in the last few days. Senate Bill 319 doesn’t change the rules about who is allowed to own a gun or who is allowed to carry a gun. Criminals who were breaking the law before SB 319 was signed are breaking the law now.
SB 319 simply stands up for the Second Amendment and allows Georgians to protect themselves without having to pay fees or wait several months for a license from the government.
This legislation will have a real impact on Georgians like my colleague Bonnie Rich, who gave an impassioned floor speech about a time in her life she needed a firearm to protect her children, and the impact permitting delays had on her family.
With crime continuing to be an issue in cities like Atlanta, Georgians like Bonnie will now be able to protect themselves.
At Home in District 159
Now that session is over, I look forward to spending more time visiting with Georgians outside the Capitol, especially at home in District 159.
As the Governor continues to review legislation during the “bill review” period, I will provide additional updates on his decisions; remember you can always reach out to me at (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.