Thomasville Times Enterprise

January 11, 2014

Legislative preview

By Reps. Darlene Taylor, Amy Carter and Sam Watson
CNHI

— As we have been preparing for the upcoming session of the Georgia General Assembly, the last several weeks have come and gone in a whirlwind. 

As you know, the legislature will return for the final year of this two-year session on Monday. As always there is a lot of reading, researching, preparation and bill filings going on, not to mention the packing for a three-month stay in Atlanta. We do get to come home on most weekends. 

All indications are that this will be a fast-paced session. There are a number of important issues that will be addresses at the very start.

As always, the adjusted budget will be addressed early on. There has been a slight increase in revenue, approximately 5 percent.  This is great news considering the state has been under extremely tight budget constraints.  We don’t anticipate the major cuts we have seen in the past several years.  Many agencies have been understaffed and in some cases service has been, shall we say, lacking. Hopefully, we can address these types of issues.

Also, receiving early attention will be the need to change our dates for elections. As the result of a federal court decision, the state needs to allow additional time for absentee ballots to be sent and returned. The most likely date for the Georgia primary will be moved from July to May 20.

We expect to see many new bills on a variety of issues — from gun rights to the Affordable Healthcare Act to the incorporation of new cities.

Other bills that were left from last year will be taken up in committee hearings and many will make it to the floor for a full House vote. If the bill passes in the House, it will carried by the author of the bill to the Senate, where it will need to be sponsored by a senator and worked through their committees and eventually voted on in the Senate.  

Finally, if a bill passes in both houses, the governor will decide if he approves of the bill and will either sign it and it becomes law, or he can veto it he feels it is not in the best interest of Georgians.

As your state representatives, we encourage you to continue contacting us with any questions or concerns that you might have regarding your state government. You can reach us at our capitol offices. Reps. Sam Watson and Darlene Taylor are located in the Coverdale Legislative Office Building in Suite 501. Their telephone number is 404-656-0178. Amy Carter is located in the Capitol Room 218. Her telephone number is 404-656-6801. 

Our email addresses are sam.watson@house.ga.gov, darlene.taylor@house.ga.gov, and amy.carter@house.ga.gov.  

We look forward to an exciting session and thank you for allowing us to serve as your state representatives.