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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Georgia General Assembly 2016 Session Underway

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The Georgia General Assembly began the second year, our first day, of the 2015-16 biennial session on Monday, January 11, 2016. This is the second year of my freshman term, and more importantly - this is an election year.  The reason I mention this being an election year is because it changes the political dynamics of how the session will proceed.

As I commented early in the 2015 session, it is important to manage the 40-day session to ensure that the truly important, constitutional mandates for the Georgia General Assembly are accomplished, specifically developing and funding a balanced budget. Constitutionally, the only item the General Assembly must accomplish each session is the state’s balanced budget.

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Rep. Jeff Jones Petitions DNR to Expand Access to Wildlife Management Areas

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Friday, January 15, 2016
Contact: Betsy Lynch
(404) 656-3996
betsy.lynch@house.ga.gov

Rep. Jeff Jones Petitions DNR to Expand Access to Wildlife Management Areas

ATLANTA - State Representative Jeff Jones (R-Brunswick) recently petitioned the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to expand access to wildlife management areas in Long County, Georgia.

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Rep. Jeff Jones Calls on the Shore Protection Committee Reconsider Recent Decision

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PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Contact: Betsy Lynch
(404) 656-3996
betsy.lynch@house.ga.gov

Rep. Jeff Jones Calls on the Shore Protection Committee Reconsider Recent Decision

ATLANTA - State Representative Jeff Jones (R-Brunswick) recently requested that the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Shore Protection Committee reconsider its recent decision to allow construction of a new groin at the south end of Sea Island due to “a significant threat to wildlife and private property on St. Simons Island.”

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