On February 14, 2017 both bodies of the Georgia General Assembly convened for the sixth week of the 2017 session; by weeks-end we concluded the 20th day or the halfway point of this session.
HB44 – 2018 Budget (I voted YES)
The singular Constitutional requirement for the Georgia General Assembly each year is to pass a “balanced budget.” Were it not for all of the other business that we conduct, we could call it a good year and go home. As I have commented in past newsletters, our federal government could learn from states such as Georgia regarding balancing our budget.
On February 7, 2017 just two days after our Atlanta Falcons valiant efforts fell short to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI, both the Georgia House and Senate returned to the Gold Dome in Atlanta to begin the 5th Week (legislative days 13 – 16) of the 2017 session. By the end of next week, we will have completed 20 days or half of the 2017 session, and it seems there is still much work to be done.
HB146 - (I voted YES) Fire Fighters Cancer Insurance bill passed overwhelmingly out of the House thanks to Rep. Micah Gravely (D67). Last year, Rep. Gravely was able to get a Firefighter’s Workers Comp bill passed by the House and Senate, only to have Gov. Deal veto the measure. I agree that this version of firefighter insurance is much better primarily because it allows our counties, cities and community to better project and manage the costs for the coverage. I am proud to support this important step to help our brave firefighters.
Also look at two Firefighter related bills that passed the House HB83 and HB84 (I voted YES to both) which seek to improve Firefighter Pension Fund management.
Rep. Jeff Jones pledges to work to protect Georgia from potential coal ash disposal problems by sponsoring three pieces of coal-ash related legislation, to be introduced to the Georgia House of Representatives this session:
On Monday, January 23, both the Georgia House and Senate returned to the Gold Dome in Atlanta to begin the Third Week (legislative days 5-8) of the 2017 session.
Week Two was devoted entirely to Budget and Appropriations Hearings which are integral in the process of developing the 2018 budget do not count in the 40 day session. Read More>>
This week issues ranged from, helping a Glynn County Iraq/Afghanistan Vet deal with VA medical issues in our dysfunctional VA system; to assisting a deserving couple work through the DFACS bureaucracy to become foster parents, thus binging together brothers and sisters that had become separated; to helping improve traffic flow at the intersection of the Spur 25 at the Altama Connector in Brunswick (Home Depot/Chick-Fil-A center intersection). Dealing with these local matters, while simultaneously looking out for the interests of South Georgia in the context of state-wide legislative matters. Is a lot of work, and I enjoy doing it.Read more
On Tuesday, January 17, the General Assembly began one of the most important weeks of the 2017 legislative session as the House and Senate Appropriations committees held a series of joint budget hearings. During this week, the joint House and Senate Appropriations committees and subcommittees met and started the process of reviewing Governor Nathan Deal’s budget recommendations for the amended current and upcoming fiscal years in order to turn those recommendations into actual legislation that will ultimately guide our state’s spending.
Each legislative session, as required by our state constitution, we must pass a balanced state budget. After reviewing Gov. Deal’s budget proposals presented this week, members of the General Assembly will begin drafting two budget bills: the Amended Fiscal Year 2017 (AFY 2017) budget and the Fiscal Year 2018 (FY 2018) budget. The AFY 2017 budget is an amended budget for the current fiscal year, ending June 30, and uses a more accurate estimate of state revenue to account for any differences between the projected estimate and actual revenue obtained. The FY 2018 budget is a full budget for fiscal year 2018 that uses a projected state revenue estimate to guide state spending beginning on July 1.
Monday, January 9, 2017, marked day-one of the 154th Legislative Session of the Georgia General Assembly, and the first day of the two-year 2017-2018 term (aka “biennial”). As such, all 180 members of the Georgia House of Representatives took the oath of office and were formally sworn in.
The first sections I discuss the procedural opening of the 2017-18 session and the Governor’s State of the State address to the joint session of the House and Senate. Later in this email, I discuss legislative issues I am involved in.
Opening of the 2017 Session of the Georgia General Assembly
Bear with me a minute as I explain what happens in the opening days of each session of the Georgia General Assembly. You may have read previous emails over my first two years in office, explaining that the first few days of every legislative session is a combination of necessary procedural and ceremonial activity. By rule, and to make everything legal, we must formally call the 2017 session of the House of Representatives of the Georgia General Assembly to order; the Georgia Senate followed very similar procedures. The House formally nominated and elected the 2017-18 Speaker of the House Rep. David Ralston, (R-Blue Ridge), Speaker Pro-Tempore Jan Jones (R-Milton) was also re-elected to her respective positions.
The Georgia General Assembly convened today on Monday, January 9, 2017, the first day of the 2017-18 biennial session. This is the first year of my second term as the District 167 State Representative, an honor I do not take lightly nor will I ever violate. Representative Don Hogan, District 179, was sworn-in on Monday January 9, 2017, replacing Alex Atwood, who was elected to serve as Glynn County’s Chief Magistrate Judge. I personally wish Representative Hogan the very best as he works to serve the constituents of District 179, and of course, Judge Atwood, as he works to serve the citizens of Glynn County.Read more
Dear Friend --
As we spend time with our family, loved ones and friends this Christmas season, we give all the praise and glory to God as we celebrate the birth of His son, Jesus Christ. We also give a special thanks to those who are serving in our Armed Forces for without them we would not be free. Also, thank you to our law enforcement and first responders who put their lives on the line everyday to protect and rescue us from difficult and dangerous situations.
We also feel a renewed sense of optimism about the future of our country this joyous season for we truly believe that America’s best days are ahead of us! All of us!
It's an honor to serve the people of Southeast Georgia, and indeed the entire State of Georgia. Thank you for your support, notes of encouragement and input - both when we agree and when we differ.
Lisa, Brant and I pray that you have a blessed Christmas season and a prosperous, happy and healthy 2017!
Rep. Jeff Jones
GA State Rep Jeff Jones, D167, in Athens attending the 30th annual Biennial Institute for Georgia Legislators, by UGA's Carl Vinson Institute of Government, signing up for Georgia's PeachPass to help him get around Atlanta's crazy traffic while "in session" at our State Capital.