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,
Week 5, Ending February 15, 2019
My colleagues and I returned to the Gold Dome in Atlanta on Monday, February 11 for the fifth week of the 2019 legislative session. We are now over one-fourth of the way through this 40-day legislative session, but we still have a great deal of work ahead of us. I still have a number of bills that I am still perfecting.Read more
Week 4, Ending February 8, 2019
Tuesday, February 4, marked the start of a very busy fourth week of the 2019 legislative session. The pace of the session is picking up, and this week brought about notable progress as we convened in the House Chamber for four legislative days and voted on the first bills and resolutions of the session. This week, the House passed several pieces of legislation on the House floor, including important measures like the Amended Fiscal Year 2019 budget and an adjournment resolution that sets the legislative calendar for the remainder of the session.Read more
Week Three, Ending February 1, 2019
The Georgia General Assembly returned to the Gold Dome on Monday, January 22, for the third week of the 2019 legislative session. Committee meetings started in earnest this week, some of them organizational while others are already working on significant and meaningful legislation. Despite the threat of severe winter weather socking in Atlanta, that ultimately did not materialize, and in full view of the looming Super Bowl 53 craziness happening in downtown Atlanta near the Capitol, the House continued to meet and work, as did our Committees. A forty-day session is not much time to work on legislation to get it through the committee process and to the House floor for a vote. As I have said in past newsletters, it is not easy to pass legislation in the Georgia House of Representatives, but that is in fact a good thing – except of course unless its legislation I am working on that I believe is important, then it should be easy, right – but everyone working legislation thinks the same thing.Read more
Budget Week of 2019-20 Session
The following report about the very important 2019 budget hearings was prepared by the House Media Office. I am not a member of any budget or appropriations committees so I was not in Atlanta during the week of Budget hearings. This report, nonetheless, will give you important information about the 2019 budget process.
- Rep. Jeff Jones, HD167
House Budget Hearings Began Tuesday, January 22, 2019
Tuesday, January 22 marked the beginning of the second week of the 2019 legislative session, also known as “budget week.” During this eventful week, the House and Senate Appropriations committees held a series of joint budget hearings, and Governor Brian Kemp presented his budget recommendations for the amended current and upcoming fiscal years to the committees. The joint Appropriations committees and subcommittees also met and began reviewing Gov. Kemp’s recommendations in order to turn those recommendations into actual legislation that will guide our state’s spending. This week was especially busy as we began the arduous process of ensuring that our state revenue is spent wisely to meet the needs of all Georgians.Read more