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Georgias children are top priority
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The legislature reached day 30 of the legislative session on March 13.

Each year the 30th legislative day marks a crucial deadline for the Georgia General Assembly.

The date, which is also known as "Crossover Day," is the final chance for bills to pass the legislative chamber from which they originated.

After Crossover Day, all bills passed by the House must "crossover" to the Senate, and vice versa, and we will then spend the remaining 10 legislative days considering Senate bills.

As a result, we worked long days this week to ensure a quality review of as much legislation as possible before the critical "crossover" deadline.

As always, Georgia's children were our top priority as we made legislative decisions during the crucial week.

One of the bills passed, House Bill 131, strives to provide our children with a safer, healthier learning environment.

HB 131, also known as "The End to Cyberbullying Act" would expand public school policies on anti-bullying to include any bullying that occurs over the internet, also known as "cyberbullying."

Under HB 131, bullying would be prohibited through the use of technological equipment such as cell phones, wireless communication devices, computers, email, instant messaging, etc.

The End to Cyberbullying Act would apply to any case of cyberbullying, regardless of whether the act originated on school property, using school equipment, or off campus through personal cell phones and social media websites.

With the popularity and increased use of technology in today's society, the legislation is necessary to address a common problem among our youth.

According to the National Crime Prevention Council, 43 percent of teens were victims of cyberbullying in the last year, and another study found that cyberbullying victims were almost twice as likely to have attempted suicide compared to youth who had not experienced cyberbullying.

Because cyberbullying has such a profound impact on the happiness and health of our students, it is necessary that we take precautions to combat this detrimental act.

Over the past two months I have been busy working with my fellow committee members to review and discuss each bill assigned to one of the committees I serve on.

I was fortunate this year to be added to the Appropriations Committee and to the Special Rules Committee.

Serving on five committees has been challenging, but very rewarding this session.

I am looking forward to continuing this work as we begin the process of holding hearings on the bills that started in and have now passed the Senate.

At the beginning of session I introduced a total of seven bills.

All but one of these passed the House prior to Crossover Day.

The seventh bill I chose to leave in committee to work on over the summer.

One of my last bills to pass the House was the Pardon and Parole Transparency Act legislation.

The bill has received a great deal of publicity in the local communities I serve and all across the state.

The bill will bring transparency to the Parole Board for the first time in its 70-year history.

I have already had meetings with the Lieutenant Governor's Office and Sen. Steve Gooch to start working on this legislation in the Senate.

I am looking forward to working with Gooch to see this bill pass the Senate over the next few weeks and then be signed into law by Gov. Nathan Deal.

It is my hope that this will allow victims and their families to receive the answers they deserve in the future.

On March 14, every county Republican Party across our state held its convention to elect local officers and to elect delegates to the district and state conventions to be held in April and May.

I was honored to serve as the keynote speaker at the Dawson County Republican Convention. It is always nice to be able to come home and fellowship with likeminded individuals in my community. I appreciate what each one of them does each day, not only in our community, but to make our state a better place to live and to raise a family.

We have had great turnouts at our weekly informational breakfasts over the past several weeks.

Saturday, March 21st, we will be meeting at 9 a.m. at Wagon Wheel in Dahlonega.

I encourage you to come join us to learn about what is happening with your state government and to discuss your thoughts and concerns.

Now that Crossover Day has passed, we will begin considering pieces of legislation that have already been approved by the Senate.

The next few weeks will be extremely busy, but I am looking forward to the challenge.

I am honored to serve as your Representative at the State Capitol. I am always available to assist you and encourage you to contact me with questions or your opinions.

Rep. Kevin Tanner can be reached on his cell phone at (678) 776-5059, at the Capitol at (404) 656-0152 or by email at kevin.tanner@house.ga.gov.

 

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