National Day of Prayer Service - First UMC Brunswick Sanctuary - Brunswick, GA
Thursday, May 07, 2015 at 12:00 PM
Dear Heavenly Father,
We come before you today, humbly, on bended knee and in your honor, on this National Day of Prayer. It is a privilege to come before your throne of grace.
We are here to give thanks to You for this Nation’s very founding and for those courageous men who, so many years ago, believed in You so completely as they worked to structure our country on Godly, Christian principals – Your principals Father.
In 1789, George Washington spoke these words:
“It is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God."
It is truly amazing and humbling, Father God in Heaven, the wisdom and courage of these men who staked their very lives on founding this country in Your name, that they deliberately and purposefully included the words “in God we trust” on our currency, and used the words “one nation, under God” in our Pledge of Allegiance to our flag and our country.
Today, we must ask ourselves Father the question posed in Psalms 11:3 – “When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?" One important way, Father, is what we are doing here today – praying to You, our Almighty God.
We beseech you Father in Heaven to guide our leaders, both elected and appointed, to hear Your Word and to act upon them in their roles as leaders.
We thank you and praise you, Lord, for the many blessings You have bestowed on this, our Country, the United States of America, a nation established in Your mighty name.
However, as the years have marched by, Father, we – your people - have forgotten the God our founders knew to be the Creator who endowed us with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We took prayer out of our schools, Father. People in our country have allowed the aborting of babies, babies who are gifts from You. Dear Father, we have divided our country by rich and poor; the have and have not’s, by the color of our skin, by those who are power-hungry and those who are power-less. Our dearest Father, we have not treated each other with respect or been civil with each other as You command us. We have forgotten the Golden Rule, to treat others the way we want to be treated and to do so in your Holy, mighty name. We have blurred the lines between right and wrong, and we live our lives today in a “grey area” calling it the truth. However, Dear Father, these things are not the truth, not Your truth. Your truth, Father, is the only truth.
Forgive us, God, for our many sins and yet, as sinners all, we humbly pray for you to bring unity to our nation Father, and we ask for your peace to be among us, that You will to talk to us, to whisper into our ears reminding us that Your voice is the only one that matters and to follow Your direction. We have been greedy and selfish, afraid to speak the truth in our love for You. Forgive us, oh God. We ask you to set our country back on a Godly path.
You promised in your Word, 2 Chronicles, 7:14:
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” We claim that promise today, Lord, and believe in You for the results.
We pray for our President and those he brings close for advice, that there be Godly wisdom in their decision-making as they lead the country.
Father, we beseech you to bestow upon our President, and all of our leaders, Your wisdom, guidance and direction. Proverbs 1:7 says “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge …… but fools despise wisdom and discipline.”
Embolden our Congress, Father, to do what is right for the country and to truly be servants to the people, looking to You, our God in Heaven, for vision and wisdom. Help them to seek Your face, your blessing, your guidance --- not the approval of men.
Our Supreme Court even now is debating an institution established by You, Father, so important to the very fabric of our society. Give these men and women Your blessed wisdom, Dear Father, to act with integrity, following your direction, Father. We pray that the right decision will be made, a decision based in Godly principals.
We pray for our Governor, and for our State and Federal Senators and Representatives, and other State and Federal leaders, that they will honor You, Father in heaven, by the decisions they make for the citizens of Georgia and for our great country.
We pray that our Local officials will act in a righteous manner honoring You, Father in Heaven, in every decision and action they take.
We pray for our pastors in these trying days to preach your Word boldly and with conviction in the face of pressure to stray from a Godly path. We know this is hard, Father, but we know You are there with them in their service to You and the people of this great nation.
God, we pray for our military men and women. Give them, and their families’ courage and strength as they protect and defend us. We are grateful for their sacrifice and willingness to give their very lives for our freedom. Keep them in the palm of Your hand, Lord.
Thank you, Father, most of all for your Son, Jesus Christ, that you sent Him to us to save us, all we have to do is accept Him. What an incredible gift.
Father, all of these things we humbly ask and pray in your mighty name.
By Representative Jeff Jones
One year-ago – Earth Day, April 22, 2014 – the Director of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) of the Department of Natural Resources, announced that the State of Georgia would no longer enforce a long-standing provision requiring a 25-foot marsh protection buffer. (View EPD Director Jud Turner’s letter) The marsh buffer stipulation, which appears in the Erosion and Sedimentation Act, requires marsh front developments - whether large or small, commercial or residential - to observe a 25-foot buffer. The buffer’s purpose is to protect salt marshes from upland soil erosion, and runoff from construction and from commercial or residential marsh-side developments.
As a resident of coastal Georgia serving my first term in the Georgia House of Representatives, I was extremely concerned about the prospect that our coastal marshes were unprotected by a buffer and the possibility that our environmentally and economically important marsh buffers would continue unprotected.
Throughout the end of 2014, I continued to read, listen and learn more about coastal marsh protection issues. In the process, coastal residents and legislators voiced strong concerns and objections to EPD's decision to cease enforcement of the buffer provision. The EPD Director justified the decision to stop buffer enforcement because he said that language in the Erosion and Sedimentation Act was confusing, EPD's enforcement was inconsistent across the state and that the 2004 letter from ex-EPD Director Carol Couch, which had been acceptable for over 10 years was not enforceable as law (View Carol Couch’s 2004 memorandum). For example, for more than a decade, the agency had been enforcing the buffer on coastal salt marsh, but not on freshwater wetlands, which have their own, separate complexities, issues and challenges. Upon reading the language in the Erosion and Sedimentation Act, I began to better understand the confusion about the Act's applicability to coastal salt marsh and became convinced that we needed a legislative remedy.Read more
This siting of this jellyfish processing factory on the Sapelo River in 2014 shows the changes that could come if loopholes aren't closed in the current marsh buffer bill, environmentalists say. Photocourtesy Megan Desrosiers/ One Hundred Miles.
By Mary Landers
Worried that the current marsh buffer bill is too weak, Rep. Jeff Jones of Brunswick is gathering support for a substitute that would close its major loopholes.
On Friday, Jones emailed his fellow state representatives with his substitute for S.B. 101, the buffer bill introduced by Savannah Republican state Sen. Ben Watson.
“Many of us believe that S.B. 101, as presented, has too many broad exceptions and significantly hampers the Environmental Protection Division of the DNR’s ability to effectively and properly manage and protect Georgia’s coastal marshes,” Jones wrote to house members. “I’ve been working with (Rules Committee) Chairman (John) Meadows, other representatives and members of the environmental community, to craft a substitute bill that tightens up the broad exception language in the original S.B. 101 and effectively returns control and oversight of handling marsh buffer exceptions to the EPD.”
Coastal lawmaker tries to salvage marsh protections
Posted: March 21, 2015 - 11:22pm | Updated: March 23, 2015 - 8:39am
(Pictured: Teen Author Maya Van Wagenen, and Representative Jeff Jones)
Learn more about Maya Van Wagenen (Visit Website)
From the Desk of Representative Jeff Jones
Legislative Update Week 11, March 27, 2015 - Crunch Time!
We returned to Atlanta and reconvened the House of Representatives on Monday, March 23, 2015. This is quite literally crunch time as legislators in both the House and Senate work to get legislation they have sponsored pushed through the process and on to the floor of the House and/or Senate for a vote.
It’s interesting to see the types of bills that come before the General Assembly anywhere from mundane, but necessary, laws to bring Georgia tax code in line with Federal tax code, to a bill allowing the non-traditional zero-emission Tesla automobile to be sold in Georgia not following the traditional auto manufacturer-franchised dealer network (current Georgia law prevents vehicles from being sold “direct to the public” from the manufacturer.) I sit on the Motor Vehicles Committee that heard that bill, and I voted to pass it out of committee. The “Tesla” bill, like many others, may or may not make it through the Senate, and may or may not be signed into law. Again, just another example of the type of bills that are considered.Read more
There are many, many people in Georgia, who will benefit greatly from the passage of this legislation. Can you imagine having as many as 1,000 seizures a day? And for having no hope for medical relief! It is just hard to comprehend the agony that these individuals, and their families have had to endure. I am so thankful to Representative Allen Peake, the other house members, the Georgia Senate, to Governor Deal, and to everyone else who worked so hard to get this bill passed. The final hurdles are another vote in the House, which already voted overwhelmingly to pass the bill, and then to Governor Deal for his signature. This is a historic day in Georgia.
Representative Jeff Jones
Georgia State House
From the Desk of Representative Jeff Jones
Legislative Update Week 10, March 20, 2015 - House Considers Senate Bills after "Crossover"
In my last weekly legislative update, I explained that last Friday, March 13, 2015, was “Crossover Day”, the 30th day of the 2015 session of the Georgia General Assembly. “Crossover Day” is a significant point in each year’s 40 day session because it is the last day for “general bills” to “pass” in the House or Senate to “crossover” to the other body for their consideration. With Crossover Day behind us, we returned to Capitol Hill to focus on legislation that has already been passed by the Georgia Senate. To ensure that every bill is fully vetted before its final passage, we spent most of our time this week in committee meetings reviewing Senate legislation. This coming week will very busy as well with committee to review Senate bills.
Ed Note: Below are discussions of a number of bills that have passed the Senate. Only those bills where I indicated my vote as YES or NO have actually come to the House floor for a vote. All of the other bills and resolutions are in the discussion or negotiation stage, but are bills that I thought you may want to read about.
Marsh Buffer Bill (SB101)
One bill of particular importance to Coastal Georgia, that “crossed over” from the Senate to the House, is the Marsh Buffer Bill, Senate Bill 101 (SB101). This bill purports to re-establish the 25 foot Marsh Buffer that has been in existence for many years along Georgia’s coastal marshes. In April 2014, the Director of the Environmental Protection Division (EPD) of the DNR proclaimed that the EPD would no longer enforce the buffer because doing so was not founded in law. The Director further explained that the 25 foot buffer had been enforced for years by virtue of a letter written by then DNR Commissioner Carol Couch. The current EPD Director dismissed the letter, and its establishment of the 25 foot buffer, as being unenforceable.
After careful study of SB101, I reached the conclusion that it contains such large, gaping holes as to render it almost totally devoid of meaningful, enforceable buffer provisions.
In response, I have submitted a “substitute” to SB101, which is officially numbered as “SB101 Substitute LC 40 0902ERS”. (This numbering is important in identifying the correct bill.)
The substitute bill does two things:
1. Inserts a date of December 31, 2015 in the existing bill so that all “new” shoreline stabilization projects are subject to a 25 foot. buffer, unless a variance is granted. SB101, as presented, does not achieve this.
2. Moves language that deals with Army Corps of Engineers Section 404 exemptions to a location earlier in SB101. The current location of this section effectively exempts any project that has a Federal permit from the buffer provision, regardless of size, scope or impact.
Moving the language to an earlier section ensures that EPD must review requests for buffer variance projects, even if those projects have Federal permits.
The question we have to answer is “Do we want local control or Federal control of what happens to our marshes?” In my opinion, this control MUST BE local, not federal; hence we need the substitute bill I have proposed.
Tom Barton of the Savannah Morning News recently penned the following editorial regarding SB101, and this was distributed to house members earlier today. Dead Marsh Walking by Tom Barton (Click Here)Read more
From the Desk of Representative Jeff Jones
Legislative Update Week 9, March 13, 2015 - Crossover Day
On Friday, March 13, we reached day 30 of the 2015 legislative session. Each year the 30th legislative day marks a crucial deadline for the Georgia General Assembly. This date, which is also known as “Crossover Day,” is the final chance for bills to pass the legislative chamber from which they originated, either the House or Senate. After Crossover Day, all bills passed by the House must “cross over” to the Senate, and vice versa; we will then spend the remaining ten legislative days considering Senate bills. As a result, we were in session for long hours for several days to ensure a quality review of as much legislation as possible before the critical “crossover” deadline. I have been impressed that, of all of the bills that legislators draft, only those bills that are truly important make it through the tedious committee process to come to the House floor for a vote.
Below is a discussion of a selected number of bills that passed the House this past week, of which there were many. A complete list of the Bills that passed the House this past week can be viewed by clicking on this link: Sponsored LegislationRead more