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.
The senate recently voted to override former Gov. Sonny Perdue's veto of SB 1, a zero-based budget bill from the 2010 Legislative Session.
The committee process started in earnest last week. As Chairperson of the House Science and Technology Committee, I have scheduled meetings at 8 a.m. every Wednesday morning. These sessions can be watched live online or at some later time. They will be videotaped and archived for your review.
The election results at the national level in November underscored the fact that people do not want government encroaching upon their individual freedoms. One of the most personal aspects of a person's life is their decision regarding their health care needs. President Obama's health care legislation compromised fundamental constitutional rights of citizens as well increase the size of federal government. The U.S. House's vote to repeal Obamacare was a dramatic move to swing the pendulum back to common sense public policy in Washington.
Last week, Winter Storm Leon brought snow and ice to many parts of our great state. Leon's impact on the metro Atlanta area was particularly harsh.
Columbia University's John McWhorter lectures on English linguistics and he, along with other linguists, are excited people these days. That is good because I would hate to think of them being bored.
My fellow Georgians, in order to keep my national certification as a modest and much-beloved columnist, it is a requirement that I submit to you annually a State of the Column message. This I do today. (Yea! Clap! Clap! Clap!)
Since I can't get out and about too much these days and since the weather has been too cold to be out and about much anyway, I decided to share some email chatter that might make you smile.
Every January, legislators from across the state convene at the Georgia State Capitol to set the course for Georgia's future. Because 2014 is the second half of a legislative biennial term, bills that did not pass in 2013 are still eligible for consideration in addition to the new bills introduced this year - which means legislators have a significant pile of work (literally, when you think about the stacks of printed bills on our desks...) ahead of us.
The purpose of this letter to the editor is to request the residents of Dawson County to assist me in contacting our local and state officials to work toward improving the unsafe intersection of Hwy. 53 and Hugh Stowers Road.
Gov. Nathan Deal gave his annual State of the State address to a joint session of the General Assembly on Jan. 15. The annual event takes place in the House of Representatives and is attended by members of the House, Senate, State Supreme Court Justices, State Court of Appeal Judges and the State's Constitutional Officers.
I read a news report this week that says while we are living longer in the U.S., people in other countries are living even longer. Bummer.
Before 2013 faded out, my intentions were to congratulate a number of local people receiving honors. And though it is late, and I'll probably overlook some important ones, I'll still tip my hat to these.
I hope each of you had a safe and wonderful Christmas and that your New Year is off to a good start. My family was blessed this past year in so many ways, and we had a wonderful holiday season. Stacie and I have a tradition of taking the girls to the mountains for New Year's, and we had a great time again this year. The girls were extremely excited to be there to see their first snow of the season.