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Session begins under Gold Dome
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The Legislative Session is under way and it is off to a busy start.

Gov. Nathan Deal delivered his annual State of the State address to a joint session of the Senate and the House of Representatives on Thursday. During the speech he discussed his key legislative agenda items for the year and delivered his proposed budget to the General Assembly.

We have much work ahead of us, but the governor's message was a positive one. The State of Georgia is working hard to be the number one state in the country to do business, and we are ready as our economy begins to grow. We will continue to focus on this as we enter into this new legislative session.

Speaker David Ralston and the Committee on Assignments announced committee assignments on Jan. 16.

Freshman legislators are assigned to three committees their first year in office. I was honored to receive three strong committees for this session. I will be serving on Natural Resources and Environment, Education and Intergovernmental Coordination.

The House Natural Resources and Environment Committee is assigned legislation pertaining to management, quality and usage of Georgia's natural resources.

Within the full committee, there are two standing subcommittees: Environmental Quality and Resource Management.

Legislation is assigned to these subcommittees based on the subject matter of each individual bill or resolution.

Our area is rich in natural resources and many of you earn your living from the agricultural industry. These industries can be heavily affected by bills that are considered by this committee. I plan to be a vigilant supporter of our farmers and their ability to use and maintain their land as they have for generations in this district.

The Education Committee is responsible for all aspects of legislation dealing with Pre-K and K-12 education in Georgia.

This committee has been busy over the past year and will continue to work on major legislation that will change how schools are measured and will give increased flexibility to the higher performing schools. The schools that are not performing will be subjected to more restrictions.

I am looking forward to being involved in this process and plan to continue to engage the school officials in our local community to assist in this effort.

The Intergovernmental Coordination Committee is assigned all Local Legislation, or bills that primarily affect only one political subdivision such as a city or a county, processed through the House and is also assigned general legislation affecting a variety of subjects including local governments.

I believe my background in local government management will serve this committee and our district well.

I held my first informational breakfast in Dawson County on Saturday at Ryans and plan to do the next one at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Wagon Wheel in Dahlonega.

I am going to work extremely hard to keep each of you informed about what is happening in Atlanta.

I look forward to meeting with you and to hearing from you on issues during the session.

Rep. Kevin Tanner can be reached at (404) 656-0152 or by cell phone at (678) 776-5059 or