After a long, cold and wet winter, spring has finally arrived in North Georgia.
Congress' passage of national health care reform proves that despite speaking loudly, Americans' voices were not heard in Washington. For the 59 percent of Americans who did not want Washington to pass such reform, we have been abandoned by a government that used to work for us, not against us.
Congratulations to Sally Sorohan for all of her work to get a "no texting while driving" bill passed. We still have a long way to go, but SB 360 and HB 938 both passed their respective houses. Surely one of them will make it to the Governor's desk. It was my privilege to be a sponsor of a House version of the bill. The final bill will incorporate the best efforts of all legislators who participated in this landmark legislation.
I am a new face to the Dawsonville Community and love it here.
Many of you have contacted me wanting to know what the General Assembly is doing to collect from delinquent taxpayers. We are determined to make sure everyone is paying their fair share of taxes and are looking at ways to reform our tax code to make it fair for all Georgians. This is what you honest, hardworking, taxpaying Georgians deserve.
Based on state revenues, Georgia's government is 25 percent smaller than it was two and a half years ago. In order to meet the demands of our state's growing population, we are finding ways to do more with less. To that end, the Budget Task Force released their recommendations to the Senate this week on new ways to cut state spending.
When we are looking at all the red ink in the FY 2010 Budget, it is very difficult to find ways of dispensing hope. In spite of the difficulties, I'll try my best.
For those who can't come to Atlanta to see first-hand how the state legislature operates, I'd like to take this opportunity to explain how business works under the Gold Dome.
To cope with a sluggish economy and plummeting revenues, Georgia's state government needs a major lifestyle change. We're putting our budget on a lean diet of essential spending by concentrating funding in the vital areas of government; such as education, public safety and transportation.
Passing a responsible, balanced state budget that meets the needs of all Georgians is the House's greatest responsibility and number one priority.
Trying to come up with a balanced budget for FY 2011 that requires another $1.2 billion cut is like riding on the back of a tiger. One slip and you are lunch for the tiger.
By now a lot of you know that most members of the General Assembly are taking a two-week recess while the rest of us work on the FY 2011 Budget.
Halfway through session, the Senate and House have passed a Fiscal Year 2010 Amended budget that takes us to July 1 and has been reduced to $15.5 billion.
In (Real story on Gov. Perdue's performance pay for teachers, Feb. 17, 2010), we at the Georgia Association of Educators (GAE), felt compelled to set the record straight for your readership. Rep. Amos Amerson's contention that we spread "pay myths" is incorrect.
I applaud the school boards in the 9th Georgia House District for making the same tough decisions that we at the capitol have been coping with. We have tried to cut the least from those who are the most vulnerable; still, some people and organizations can't seem to accept or deal with today's reality.
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.