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, 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