ATLANTA — Months after a deadly shooting in Charleston sparked calls for the removal of Confederate symbols, Georgia leaders are still batting around proposals, including ideas related to Stone Mountain, the state’s Confederate memorial park and site of the world’s largest stone carving, which depicts three Confederate leaders.
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.Read more
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?Read more
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.Read more
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Friday, January 15, 2016
Contact: Betsy Lynch
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.Read more
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Contact: Betsy Lynch
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.”Read more
Lindsey Adkison/The Brunswick News
Glynn County’s delegation to the Georgia General Assembly is pushing for township over incorporation for St. Simons Island.
That was the collective message Sen. William Ligon and Reps. Alex Atwood and Jeff Jones, all St. Simons Island Republicans, delivered to the business community during the annual Grits and Issues event, hosted by the Brunswick-Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce.
“I personally support this concept. It avoids the full blown city issue but still gives authority to the residents,” Jones said. “It will help address the real issue — control over development on St. Simons Island..."
Creating a township would be a wiser route to take, they said, noting it would mitigate any negative effects incorporation may have on Brunswick, Sea Island or other unincorporated areas of the county. READ FULL STORY →
House of Representatives
Representative District 167
139-358 Altama Connector
Brunswick, GA 31525
Coverdell Legislative Office Building
Atlanta, GA 30334
FAX (404) 651-8086
Natural Resources & Environment
November 16, 2015
Subj: Preventing Syrian Refugees from being Relocated to Georgia
Dear Governor Deal,
I am writing to you today to urge you to tell President Obama and the Federal Government that the State of Georgia will not accept Syrian refugees being relocated into our state, just as the Governors of a number of states have already announced.
While I appreciate that this may be a difficult decision, I fully support your efforts to protect Georgia and our country by taking this very important stand. So that you know, I have been contacted by a number of constituents supporting the position of protecting our state by refusing to accept Syrian refugees. I have assured my constituents that your interests are to protect Georgia and that I am contacting you to let their, and my, views be known.
Other legislators feel the same, such as Rep. Jeff Jones, another freshman who’s a Republican from Brunswick. Jones is unhappy with a change Deal instituted by executive order in August when he decreed that the state would no longer observe Confederate Memorial Day and Robert E. Lee’s birthday while keeping them unnamed holidays for state employees.
“This power should rest with the people and their representatives, not the executive branch,” Jones said.
Pro-gambling legislators would be wise to forget about convincing Glynn County’s state delegation that Georgia is ready for legalized gambling.
It would be a losing bet.
“in the vast majority of cases, those who can least afford it and those who are most adversely affected by it are the citizens who fork over their money to gamble.” ~ Rep. Jeff Jones
State Sen. Sen. William Ligon and Reps. Alex Atwood and Jeff Jones, all St. Simons Island Republicans, are opposed to pari-mutuel betting and casinos.