Georgia's lottery-funded HOPE program has been the envy of many states since its inception in 1993. But because of the downturn in the economy the program is facing a financial deficit.
Confession: I'm not on Facebook or Twitter; although my phone has the capability, I do not text and do not wish to; I open my e-mail every two or three days, but admit that I don't forward all the entries which carry that request.
March 7 marked the 25th day of the Georgia General Assembly's 40-day 2011 Legislative Session. The House has already succeeded in passing legislation improving our early voting system, increasing the safety of bicyclists, and amending our Fiscal Year 2011 Budget.
The pace at the capitol quickened this week as we worked our way closer to the halfway point of the 2011 legislative session. As committees continued to scrutinize legislation, my colleagues and I in the House passed several important pieces of legislation. The HOPE Scholarship, K-12 education funding, and early voting reform were addressed by the House last week.
We see challenges, problems, conflicts on many fronts and we clamor for quick, obvious solutions. No way.
This week brought some high profile issues to the table, including the budget and a HOPE bill that are putting us on the right track to taking care of the issues most important to Georgians.
This week, a number of bills were introduced that aim to protect Georgians' fundamental rights.
The family of Junior Gee gives thanks to all who visited, brought food, sent flowers, cards or e-mails during our time of sorrow. We want to thank the doctors, nurses, pallbearers and singers.
In a joint session with the Senate, the House of Representatives welcomed Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Carol Hunstein to the House as she presented the annual State of the Judiciary address.
It is my feeling that a great injustice has been done to a former county employee.
Many of us watched Larry the Cable Guy interview local citizens as they described the moonshine and car-racing part of Dawson County's heritage on his "Only in America" series on the History channel. Then as I perused the pages of our weekly newspapers, I was very much aware that, just as those early residents did what they had to do in order to make it through a great depression, so are today's residents getting things done in their own way. I want to salute a few, but there's no way to cover them all.
Last year the General Assembly passed the original FY 2011 budget totaling $17.8 billion. That budget directs all state spending from July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011 and reflects the effects of our unprecedented economic downturn at the time.
A number of high profile bills have been introduced this week that are aimed at responding to the needs of our state's citizens. Georgians, along with voters across the nation, have told their elected officials loud and clear that they want smaller government and less intrusion. Here at the state level, we're working to meet that request.
Any property owner in the state of Georgia may file a "Taxpayer's Return of Real Property." If one feels the tax evaluation of their property the previous year is incorrect.
There are some organizations that would dearly love to work themselves out of existence - no longer needed. I am sure that the small group of nurses and interested residents who initiated No One Alone (then called NOA's Ark) would have been happy to think that its services would not be required 20 years later.
Last week consisted of an important few days, as it was the last week for bills to pass out of committees, since "Crossover Day" was on Monday.
This week, the Georgia General Assembly hit an important deadline: Crossover Day.
As predicted in this space a few weeks ago, there is compromise legislation pending in the General Assembly regarding the Common Core curriculum, the controversial program which seeks to establish consistent education standards across the country.
I had the pleasure of knowing Ken Newell for the past eight years. Ken was a well-liked and respected man, and had a real love for the people of Dawson County.
The Cherokee County Republican Party has a blurb on its website about Rep. Sam Moore, who won the 22nd District house seat earlier this month following the death of veteran lawmaker Calvin Hill. Among other tidbits about Moore are his hobbies, including this: "Playing jokes ... watch out. You have been warned."
The snow and ice melted from Winter Storm Pax, and we returned to Capitol Hill on Feb. 17. This was the sixth week of the 2014 legislative session and an important one. This past week, we passed the Fiscal Year 2015 budget, as well as many other significant pieces of legislation.
State projects are often hindered by two things: Personnel needs and a lack of funding. We do not have an unlimited bank account or line of credit, and every taxpayer dollar counts. This means we often look to creative methods to bring in the employees and technology needed to address Georgia's biggest needs.
Severe winter weather in Georgia is a rare occurrence. Although a few snowflakes do fall during the winter months, the snowflakes only stick around long enough to take a few pictures before melting away the next day in 50 degree weather.
Monday, February 10, 2014, marked the 20th day and half-way point of the 2014 legislative session. With only 20 days left to pass laws this year, we quickly got to work, voting on legislation and reviewing bills in committee.
The Georgia General Assembly is now halfway through the 40-day legislative session and just days away from a significant deadline. The 30th day of the legislative session - also known as Crossover Day - is the last day for Senate bills to transfer to the House for consideration, and vice versa.
We returned to the Gold Dome on Feb. 3, 2014. With the 2014 legislative session heating up, we had a very busy and productive week.
Many of you have written to say you oppose HB 875, which would allow weapons in houses of worship and is currently making its way through the legislature faster than a speeding bullet. I suggest you let the bill's author, State Rep. Rick Jasperse, R-Jasper, know, too. Call him at (404) 656-0188, or email: email@example.com.
Do you know how much water a family of four uses in one day?
In case you haven't noticed, it's an election year. Soon, those of you who are responsible citizens will begin receiving prerecorded phone calls from candidates and their supporters asking for your vote, and your mailbox, well, it will begin to fill up with mailers from candidates asking for your vote, too.
Thank you for your leadership in making the difficult decision to close school last week because of the weather.