Legislative Weeks 7 & 8 – Nine Legislative Days Remaining

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By Representative Jeff Jones

We have been very busy in the Georgia General Assembly!  But this is typical for this point in the session each year.  Let’s just hope and pray that all this “busy” activity is good for the people of Georgia.

The Georgia House of Representatives wrapped up the 29th day (week seven) on Friday, February 26.  The following Monday was “Crossover Day”, session Day 30 which is significant in the annual legislative session.  Day 30 is an important time because it’s the cut-off date for bills to be passed by either the House or Senate, to “crossover” to the other legislative body. Then, the committee process and floor debate start all over again.  This is always a hectic time and requires us, as legislators, to pay very close attention to details of legislation brought for a House vote; Reps are working to get their bills passed and so they can “crossover” to the Senate.

Casino Gambling - HR 807 and HB 677 (I would have voted NO, as I have publicly pledged.)

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North Georgia rep picks up SSI incorporation

By Pamela Permar-Shierling - The Islander

Rep. Tom TaylorRep. Tom Taylor (R-79), who represents Dunwoody, and parts of Chamblee and Doraville in North DeKalb County has agreed to introduce a bill to incorporate the City of St. Simons Island during the regular 2016 session of the Georgia legislature. Taylor was elected to the legislature in 2010.

The legal notice placed by Taylor ran in The Brunswick News on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016. Taylor is picking up sponsorship of the controversial bill despite the objections of the Glynn County delegation.

In a statement issued Feb. 16 local Representative Jeff Jones said, “After a careful and thorough review of the city charter bill prepared by the Citizens for Saint Simons and Sea Island, Inc. (C4SSI/SI/SI), it is abundantly clear that the legislation is so onerous and has so many problems that I have withdrawn my support for the legislation at this time.”

“While I strongly believe the citizens of St. Simons deserve the right of self-determination and a vote on controlling development on the island, this bill is not the answer to that effort.”

“The bill includes statutes and provisions that are over-reaching and create a concentration of almost unlimited power and authority to the Mayor and City Council.”

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Legislative Update Week 6 - February 19, 2016

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By Representative Jeff Jones

This past Friday, February 19 marked the end of week 6, day 24, of the 40 day 2016 legislative session. With “Crossover Day” (day 30) rapidly approaching, the pace of activity has picked up dramatically.  Crossover Day is the deadline for all general bills to have been voted on and passed by either the House or Senate to “crossover” to the other body for consideration. When bills crossover, they are subject to the same process – testimony at committee hearings – to then be considered to be place on the Rules Calendar for a vote by either the House or Senate.  A number of bills passed out to the House this week, the single most important being the Fiscal Year 2017 (FY2017) state budget, House Bill 751.

St. Simons Island City-Hood – Press Release Issued February 16, 2016

I have inserted a copy (Click Here) of the Press Release I issued explaining my decision to step away from the incorporation legislation draft I was provided by the Citizens for St. Simons Island & Sea Island.  I remain committed to finding a solution to the challenges of managing St. Simons continued growth without creation of a burdensome bureaucracy or extensive tax increases, which none of us want to see. My website (www.votejeffjones.com) contains links to a number of newspaper articles, and other materials explaining my position on this subject.  This issue is far from over.

Ed. Note: please also see this thoughtful opinion editorial by Reg Murphy. Brunswick News - Glynn County has avoided a very bad idea — for now, at least 2/20/2016

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Legislative Update Week 5 - February 12, 2016

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By Representative Jeff Jones

This week completed week five, and the 20th day of the session. With “cross-over day”, the 30th legislative day looming and only 20 session days remaining until adjournment, the pace of committee hearings and legislative activity increased dramatically.

Spencer Pass Law - HB 767  (I voted YES): - The House voted to add utility service vehicles and workers in the fields of electric, natural gas, water, waste-water, cable, telephone, or telecommunication services to the list of those covered under Georgia’s Spencer Pass Law, also known as the “Move Over Law.”

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The Carl Vinson Institute SSI Incorporation Study Summary

FROM: Jeff Jones <jeff@votejeffjones.com>
TO: John A O'Looney <gio@uga.edu> 

Sun, Nov 8, 2015 at 2:33 PM  

(Ed NOTE:  John O’Looney is the CVI analyst who prepared the CVI – SSI Report)

John,

Thank you for taking time out of your Friday evening to discuss the Carl Vinson Institute (CVI) St Simons Island Incorporation study.

Below is my understanding of our discussion; please correct anything I have misstated or add to any key items I missed.

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New island city would be called Village of St. Simons

Rep_Jeff_Jones.jpgSarah Lundgren/The Brunswick News

Brunswick and Glynn County, meet the Village of St. Simons Island — the proposed name of the new city that residents of St. Simons and Sea islands will vote on if the Georgia Legislature allows it.

State Rep. Jeff Jones, R-St. Simons Island, said the charter for the Village of St. Simons Island is now in the hands of legislative services, which is writing it in the form of legislation. He presented it last week.

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Legislative Update Week 4 - February 4, 2016

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By Rep. Jeff Jones

The House reconvened on Monday, February 1 to start our fourth week of the 2016 legislative session. With a month of session behind us, we are hard at work in the General Assembly passing legislation that will hopefully have a positive impact on all Georgians.  Numerous bills have been approved and passed out of their respective committees and many made their way to the House floor this week for a vote before the entire House of Representatives. I discuss a variety of these bills later in this newsletter.

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Editorial: St. Simons Island deserves right to vote

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Posted: Wednesday, February 3, 2016 12:00 am

State Rep. Jeff Jones announced Monday his intentions to sponsor a bill that could lead to cityhood for St. Simons Island. On the immediate surface we in fact agree with Jones that this is the right course of action to allow any area its own opportunity to determine its own future.

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Legislative Update Week 3 - January 29, 2016

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We returned to the Gold Dome on Monday, January 25 for the third week the 2016 legislative session. This week brought more exciting and important work for my colleagues and I in the House. Several House committees and subcommittees met throughout the week to take up legislation, and the full body of the House unanimously passed our first two pieces of legislation of the session. Chief Justice Hugh Thompson also delivered the annual State of the Judiciary Address this week to a joint session of the House and Senate.

Following last week’s budget hearings, the House successfully passed the amended fiscal year (AFY 2016) budget, or the mid-year adjustment of state spending through June 30, 2016. The amended budget, HB-750, is very similar to Gov. Deal’s recommendations, consisting of $1.1 billion, or 5.3 percent, in “new” funds, bringing the total appropriation for AFY 2016 to $22.9 billion with education and transportation funds account for approximately 85 percent of the new appropriations. As a result of the diligent work of the members of the House Appropriations Committee and the staff in the House Budget and Research Office, HB-750 passed the House on Thursday, January 28, 2016 by a vote of 176-0.

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Legislative Update Week 2 - January 22, 2016

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On Friday, January 22, 2016, we completed the eighth day of the 40 day 2016 General Assembly session.  Although not much activity occurred while we were actually “convened” and “in session”, a lot of work is going on behind the scenes particularly with Budget hearings, which are important and very time-consuming, and Committee hearings on bills and other issues. Governor Deal presented his 2017 budget which includes $23.7 billion in projected revenue and expenditure requests totaling of $20.4 billion.

Budget Proposal for 2017

As I have mentioned before, we are constitutionally required to pass a balanced state budget each year which is a very good thing for the State of Georgia. The budget process has two broad components – preparing and passing the  Fiscal Year 2017 (FY2017) budget and making adjustments to the Amended Fiscal Year 2016 (AFY2016) budget.  The full fiscal year budget uses a projected state revenue estimates to guide state spending from July 1 to June 30 of the following fiscal year (in this case 2017).  The amended budget is “tweaked” using a more accurate estimate of actual state revenue and adjusts the AYF2016 budget for any discrepancies between the projected and actual revenue.

While I am pleased to see our state continue to place a priority on education spending (discussed below), I must admit my genuine concern that we are being presented a FY2017 budget that increases spending by $1.0 billion over 2016.  Why must we always increase spending when revenue increases?  Why not instead reduce our state income tax, for example?

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