Week Ending January 24, 2020
A Message from Rep. Jeff Jones
The following report about the very important 2020 budget hearings was prepared by the House Media Office. I am not a member of budget or appropriations committees so I was not in Atlanta during the week of Budget hearings. Like many Georgians and Legislators, I watched portions of the hearings LIVE from a link on the House official website.
This newsletter will give you important information about the 2020 budget process.
Joint House and Senate Budget Hearings Began Tuesday, January 21, 2020
The House and Senate returned to the State Capitol on Tuesday, January 21, 2020, for the second week of the 2020 legislative session, which is commonly referred to as “budget week.” This week, the House and Senate began the state budget process, which is singularly the most important responsibilities we have during the legislative session - we are constitutionally required to pass a balanced budget each year. Over the course of three days, the House and Senate Appropriations committees held a series of joint budget hearings, and Gov. Kemp presented his recommendations and priorities for the amended budget and upcoming 2021 fiscal year budget, which is set at $28.1 billion in total funding. Our second week under the Gold Dome was certainly busy as these committees worked to ensure that we efficiently allocate our state revenue to best serve the needs of all Georgians.Read more
On Monday, January 13, 2020 both the Georgia House and Senate returned to the State Capitol in Atlanta to begin the first full week (legislative days 1 – 4) of the 2020 session. The 2020 session is the second year of this biennial; Georgia’s General Assembly operates each term on a two-year basis called the biennial.
As is typically the case, the first week of the 2020 session was comprised primarily of the annual official session opening procedures. A few of House committees met generally to set rules and procedures for how the committees will function.
Governor Kemp Delivers 2020 State of the State Address
Following years old tradition, Governor Brian Kemp delivered his second annual State of the State address to a joint session of the General Assembly on Thursday, January 16,2020. I highly recommend you watch the Governor’s address by clicking on this link: Watch Governor Kemp’s State of the State.
Gov. Kemp reminded us of the great successes that we have experienced in Georgia recently, including reaching the lowest unemployment rate in the state’s history at 3.3 percent, creating 64,000 new private sector jobs and being named the number one state to do business for the seventh straight year. Despite these successes, we have much work to do to make our state even stronger.Read more
The following remarks were delivered by Representative Jeff Jones this Veteran's Day, November 11, 2019 on St. Simons Island.
Pictured from Left Commander Bennie Williams, Chairman of the Veterans Council of the Golden Isles ; Colonel Mike A. Adams, Chief of Staff, 3rd Infantry Division, US Army, Fort Stewart, GA, guest speaker at the Glynn County Veterans Day Celebration.
"Good morning everyone.
Each and every one of us here today is here for a singular purpose, to recognize and thank our veterans for their noble and selfless service to our country. To every veteran I offer my sincerest thanks for a job well done.
At last year’s Veterans Day ceremony, I quoted veteran Dan Crenshaw who is Texas’ 2nd Congressional District’s Republican Representative. Crenshaw a former Navy SEAL said “Certainly say, ‘Thanks for your service,’ but I would actually encourage you to say something else: Tell a veteran ‘never forget.’”
“When you say ‘never forget’ to a veteran, you are implying that as an American, you are in it with them, not separated by some imaginary barrier between civilians and veterans, but connected together as grateful fellow Americans.”
In that vein, I want to mention a way that we, as a community, can act on the “Never forget” promise in support of our vets.Read more
June 5, 2019
Mr. Mark Williams, Commissioner
Georgia Department of Natural Resources
2 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, SE
Suite 1252 – East Tower
Atlanta, GA 30334
SUBJ: Request for Alternative Public Boat Ramp Access to the
DNR/Musgrove/Guale Reserve Boat Ramp
Dear Commissioner Williams:
By this letter, on behalf of the residents and property owners of the historic German Village neighborhood known as Village Bluff on St Simons Island, I am formally requesting that the Georgia Department of Natural Resources initiate and grant approval for an access road across the Musgrove Plantation/Guale Reserve property to the DNR boat ramp located in the northeast corner of the above referenced property. The GA DNR has the full authority to grant such access by virtue of long-standing policy and practice, by virtue of the documents filed with various state and federal agencies related to acquisition of portions of the Musgrove Plantation property, and under the terms of the conservation easement applicable to the property.Read more
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 18, 2019
Contact: Jeff Jones
House Members Call for Speaker Ralston to Resign as Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives
ATLANTA – State Representative Jeff Jones (R-Brunswick, D167), along with a number of other House Members, announced his continued support for Rep. David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge, D7) to immediately resign his position as the Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives.
In February, 2019, news outlets reported that in a 2-year period, Speaker Ralston had filed 57 requests for continuance on 21 cases. Of the 93 days that Ralston told the courts he was unavailable, 76 (81%) were outside of the legislative session. “It was because of the initial reports of Speaker Ralston’s abuse of the legislative leave law that I decided to sign on to House Resolution 328 calling on Speaker Ralston to resign his position as Speaker of the House of Representatives”, explained Rep. Jones. “I knew in my heart that this was just the tip of the iceberg which has since been proven to be true.”
“Since the Atlanta Journal Constitution first broke the story about Ralston’s abuse of Georgia’s legislative leave law a few months ago,” said Jones, “additional research has turned up an astonishing number of abuses of legislative leave in criminal and civil cases Ralston handles.”Read more
Week 9 & 10, Ending March 15 and March 22, 2019
At this stage of the 2019 session, with “Crossover Day” behind us, legislative and political posturing and maneuvering is in full-court press, to borrow from NCAA Basketball “March Madness” jargon. For a few days during Week 9, the Legislature is in a bit of a holding period while each body holds committee hearings on legislation that has “crossed-over.” During the upcoming week, two full days are set aside for committee hearings giving each body has ample time to consider and discuss bills that are still in play. This is also that time when Legislators have to be on full alert so bad legislation doesn’t slip through the cracks. As always, please contact me if you read, see or hear of legislation that I need to be alert to; I count on your eyes and ears to watch all of these moving parts.
This is a very personal, emotional issue for many and I believe I understand the argument that some women make that they do not want the government or anyone telling them what to do with their bodies or the babies they carry in their wombs.
In stark contrast to that view, I believe every life is precious and that abortion should not be used a “birth control” as opponents of HB481 support.
When a heartbeat is detected, then that is a clear, definitive sign of life, a precious life that deserves the full legal protection of the State of Georgia. In the Senate, there were a couple of substantive changes made to make the bill even better that I also support. Here is a link to an excellent explanation of the “Heartbeat Bill” by Sen. Ligon, of Senate District 3, with the Senator’s permission.Read more
Week 8, Ending March 8, 2019
Thursday, February 28 this past week was that important annual legislative date we call “crossover day” in the Georgia General Assembly. Any bills not passed by either the House or Senate have no chance of being signed into law by Governor Kemp. Sometime that’s a good thing, except of course unless its legislation I am working on. That is said only partially tongue-in-cheek.
A Crisis in House Leadership
Because of the stand I and others have taken publicly regarding a serious crisis in our State General Assembly leadership at the highest levels, important legislation I have been working on in behalf of the citizens of Georgia is “politically” stuck, and will not move in 2019. I could easily spend this entire newsletter discussing this issue, so much more information that the public has yet to hear, but instead please indulge me while I share one particularly inspiring, but typical, comment I received from a District 167 supporter, and then I will move on to other important state matters:
“Thanks, Jeff. And thank you for standing up for all of us in your efforts to assure that our state leaders are worthy of honor. I stand with you.” - Mark N. Glynn County, GA
Week 7, Ending March 1, 2019
We ended the seventh week, also the 25th day, of the 40-day 2019 legislative session on Friday, March 1, 2019, after a five-day session; the month of February just flew by for me. Next Thursday, March 7 is “cross-over day”, that critical annual deadline when legislation must have passed out of at least one body (House or Senate) to continue to be in play for signing onto law in 2019.
Southwest Georgia Disaster Relief Continues
On Monday, the House passed another bill to support and provide disaster relief to farmers in South Georgia impacted by Hurricane Michael. Hurricane Michael had a catastrophic impact, what I would characterize as “generational damage”, on the citizens and the economy of southwest Georgia; agriculture was particularly devastated. Commercial pecan groves and commercial pine tree stands will take 10, 15 years and longer to return to their marketable maturity. As another common sense measure, House Bill 105 would provide a Georgia income tax exemption for income received as payments from a disaster relief or assistance program if those payments are connected to Hurricane Michael and administered by the United States Department of Agriculture. Those affected by Hurricane Michael would not be taxed on this federal aid over the next three years under this bill to ensure citizens are given the relief and time to rebuild Georgia's agriculture industry.Read more
Week 6, Ending February 22, 2019
The Georgia House of Representatives resumed our work on Tuesday, February 19 to begin the sixth week of the 2019 legislative session.
2019’s Annual State of the Judiciary Address
We started this week by convening for a joint session with our colleagues from the Senate to hear the recently appointed Supreme Court of Georgia’s Chief Justice Harold D. Melton deliver the annual State of the Judiciary address. I was impressed with hearing Chief Justice Melton speak, as this was my first opportunity. Not only is he a sharp jurist but he also has a great sense of humor.
This annual address recounts the accomplishments of Georgia’s judicial branch and the challenges it will face in the year ahead. Due to the great relationships built between the judiciary branch, the state legislature and the executive branch, Chief Justice Melton reported that Georgia’s judiciary branch stands sturdy, stable and strong and is poised to meet the inevitable changes that lie ahead.Read more
District 167 Constituents of Glynn, McIntosh and Long Counties and Citizens and Residents of the State of Georgia.
As most of you know, I am working hard every day to represent the citizens of House District 167 and the State of Georgia by following sound and honorable practices. You are to whom I report and to whom I am held accountable in my legislative activities.
Today, February 22, 2019 ended day twenty of the 2019 session, and I am pleased to report that I am making significant progress on the legislation listed on my published 2019-20 legislative agenda. My progress includes filing the very important Georgia Mariculture Development Act of 2019 (HB450). I have hearings scheduled for two coal ash bills (HB93 & HB94) this coming Monday and Tuesday, February 25th and 26th, and a tentatively scheduled hearing on Oyster Mariculture next week as well. Plus progress on changing the drivers licenses issued too non-citizens in our state.
There are many activities going on in addition to working on my legislation.
Today, Friday, February 22, 2019, I signed on to a resolution asking House Speaker David Ralston to voluntarily step down from his position as Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Georgia General Assembly. This was not a decision taken lightly.
My dedication and commitment to work and honorably serve the citizens of District 167 and the State of Georgia is unwavering. Despite my having signed the resolution, I am fully expectant that Speaker Ralston will separate the politics of the office he holds as Speaker of the House of Representatives from fulfilling the same solemn oath both Speaker Ralston and I made on opening day of the 2019 session. The oath of service I made is to you.
In your service, I remain,