Welcome constituents, friends and supporters to our first newsletter of the 2018 legislative session of the Georgia General Assembly - House of Representatives, which convened on January 8th. Thanks for taking a few minutes to let me catch you up on Georgia law-making activities. The first two weeks (6 session days) were primarily ceremonial, “session opening” activities, including Governor Deal’s State of the State address. Georgia’s economy continues to grow, and our state was once again named the number-one state in which to do business. Governor’s Deal education initiatives continue to reap great rewards. We are a state on the move.
On Monday, January 22, 2018, we convened week three and as of January 29, we completed over one-fourth of the way through our 40-day session. This session week was considerably busier and productive, and the pace has noticeably picked up as House committees met more frequently to consider and vet proposed legislation. Remember, the majority of debate and discussion about legislation occurs in committee hearings well before bills reach the House floor for a vote.
November 06, 2017 5:39 PM
As the late U.S. House Speaker Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill, D-Mass., famously observed, “All politics is local.” That observation is frequently validated all over the country, including, at the moment, the state of Georgia.
Georgia might be a Red state, but at least one part of it (and almost certainly more) wants Washington to hang on to at least some Blue policy for at least a while longer. And with very good reason.
Late last month, three coastal Georgia members of the General Assembly — Reps. Jeff Jones and Don Hogan of St. Simons, and Sen. Jason Spencer of Woodbine — sent a letter to U.S. Sens. Johnny Isakson and David Perdue and Rep. Buddy Carter asking them to oppose an announced plan by Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt to weaken regulations governing coal ash discharge.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Betsy Lynch
Thursday, May 18, 2017
Rep. Jeff Jones Presents Shawn Williams with House Resolution
ATLANTA – State Representative Jeff Jones (R-Brunswick) recently presented Shawn Williams, executive director of the Coastal Outreach Soccer (COS) program, with House Resolution 322 during a ceremony at the Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce. This resolution commends and congratulates Williams for being named the Georgia State Soccer Association’s 2016 Administrator of the Year.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, April 6, 2017
Contact: Betsy Lynch
Rep. Jeff Jones Applauds Republic Services’ Decision to Withdraw Coal Ash Disposal Permit Applications
ATLANTA – State Representative Jeff Jones (R-Brunswick) today commended Republic Services Corporation’s recent decision to withdraw three pending coal ash disposal permit applications. These permit applications would have allowed Republic Services, a waste management company, to dispose coal ash at its Broadhurst Environmental Landfill in Wayne County, near Jesup, Georgia.
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 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.
On Monday, February 3, 2017, both bodies of the Georgia General Assembly reconvened in Atlanta to begin the Fourth Week (legislative days 9 - 12) of the 2017 session. Committee and subcommittee hearings are in full swing as we considered various bills that are making their way through the legislative process. As I have mentioned before, 90% of the legislative debate occurs in sub-committees and full committees. If a bill makes it to the House floor for a vote, except in the rare occasions, the debate has already occurred in committee.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of my role as your Rep is the occasional opportunity to help someone deal with a difficult situation with a State agency, or being able to give “my two cents” about problems citizens have shared with me. One such concern, that I share, is with poor traffic flow on Altama Connector (Home Depot plaza) where it intersects with the Spur 25. Even though it is time consuming, I enjoy it. As do I also the legislative process and maneuverings that occur daily in the General Assembly.
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.