On Monday, March 6, 2017 we reconvened both the Georgia House and Senate at the State Capitol in Atlanta to begin the 9th Week (legislative days 29 - 31) of the 2017 session. The last time you heard from me in my “weekly” newsletters was at the conclusion of week 6, for week ending February 17; so I am behind by three weeks in updating you on Legislative activities. But not-to-worry, I am not going to cover every nitty-gritty detail for the past three weeks. It would likely put you to sleep.
In these past three weeks, leading up to Day 28 or “Crossover Day” on March 3, 2017, I and many other House and Senate members worked long hours to perfect sponsored legislation, to get the bills voted favorably out of sub-committee and full committee by testifying on our sponsored legislation, then work to get them on the Rules Calendar to be voted on and passed out of the full House, in my case. The legislative goal is to get all of this done by Crossover Day.
Highway 17 widening project, Glynn County:
a meeting was held in Glynn County on March 9 hosted by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) as GDOT finalizes plans to widen Highway 17 from Yacht Road to intersection of Highway 99.
Many citizens object to the GDOT’s plan which entails installing a raised median the full length of the project with very limited turn access as the roadway is widened to four lanes. In some cases, this means residents will need to turn right out of their neighbors, and drive two miles to the first turn opening to make a U-Turn to be able to go in the direction they originally intended. In many other cases, shoppers who wish to visit one of the many businesses that have operated for years along the roadway, will not be able to turn into the business without driving well beyond the business, then making a U-Turn to get back to the business.
For the past couple of years, I have been working with area residents and GDOT engineers in support of an alternative plan which entails adding a CENTER TURN lane the majority length of the project, perhaps selectively building a RAISED MEDIAN in stretches of the roadway where it will not adversely affect residents or businesses.
At this point, GDOT is not in favor of the alternate center turn lane plan. Interested citizens can voice their concerns and ideas to GDOT by the DEADLINE of March 23, 2017:
At the bottom, select “Glynn County” and hit GO;
At the bottom, select “SR 25/US 17 WIDENING AND IMPROVEMENT PROJECT"
Finally, select “Comment”.
2) Mail your comment to:
Mr. Eric Duff, GDOT
600 W Peachtree St. NW, 16th Fl
Atlanta, GA 30308
On February 8, Brunswick-Glynn County Library Manager Lori Hull visited the State Capitol in Atlanta to represent our libraries at an event affectionately known as "Hot Dog Day." Public library staff from across Georgia serve our legislators Varsity hot dogs as we remind them about the important roles that libraries play in our communities. Pictured above, left to right, are State Librarian Julie Walker, State Representative Jeff Jones, and Lori Hull.
Rep. Jones is a strong supporter of Georgia Public Libraries and in particular the Glynn County Public Library.
"Unfortunately Rep. Hogan and I were unsuccessful in obtaining $2 million in state funding from the House Appropriations Committee that would have been used for a much needed $4 million renovation project for our local library," explained Rep. Jones. "There is a possibility that the Senate may still appropriate the funds. And I want to give a big `Thank you` to the Glynn County Board of Commissioners for appropriating $1.5 million towards the project. We are fortunate that we have a vibrant, busy library in Glynn County."
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:
Judge Neil Gorsuch is an outstanding choice by President Trump to fill Antonin Scalia's seat on the Supreme Court. He is the kind of conservative America needs on the Supreme Court. In fact, I am personally, extremely pleased with every action President Trump has made since his swearing in. We are on a path to make America great again for everyone!
Rep. Jeff Jones
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.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Contact: Betsy Lynch
ATLANTA — State Representative Jeff Jones (R-Brunswick) today issued the following statement in response to the City of Brunswick City Commission’s effort to draft a resolution asking state lawmakers to create stricter regulations governing coal ash storage:
“I applaud the efforts of the City of Brunswick’s City Commission to call for state leaders to protect our state’s pristine water resources. I, likewise, encourage the Glynn County Board of Commissioners to consider similar efforts, as well as all communities throughout the state of Georgia that are impacted by coal ash storage. It is my intention to introduce legislation this session that seeks to protect our valuable, finite water resources from the potential damaging effects of long-term coal ash storage and the closing of existing coal ash ponds.Read more
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.