2020 GA Capitol Update: Week 1

On Monday, January 13th, 2020, the Georgia Senate reconvened for the second half of the 155th Georgia General Assembly. While a new session typically means new changes, either in Senate leadership or committee assignments, we experienced a change that none of us were quite prepared for. The Senate convened on the first legislative day and took part in a moment of silence for the passing of one our colleagues, Sen. Greg Kirk. Sen. Kirk was a close friend to every member of the Senate and he will be dearly missed by all.
During the 2020 session, I will continue to serve as Chairman of the Senate Public Safety Committee. This is a role that I take very seriously, as the issues and legislation we discuss impact some of the bravest and most selfless citizens in our state, including police officers, fire fighters and other first responders. Public safety issues are near and dear to my heart and I will plan to keep you updated on any significant legislation that this committee will consider.

Over the interim, I chaired the Senate Study Committee on Passenger Vehicle Seat Safety Belts which took a deep look into how seatbelts can best be used to protect all passengers in a vehicle. I think we can all agree that seatbelts save lives, but what we learned over the course of these committee hearings was how one person wearing a seatbelt can make the lives of all passengers safer in the event of an accident. As a result of this committee’s findings, we recommended that the legislature consider ways to increase seat belt safety, including increasing the amount of public service campaigns and marketing materials that can educate drivers on the dangers of not wearing a seatbelt. These recommendations have the potential to turn into legislation at some point during the session.

Issues of public safety were also a theme of Gov. Kemp’s State of the State Address on Thursday. Among the many key initiatives the Governor has recommended were an expansion of Georgia’s gang database so our public safety officers can more easily track and catalogue individuals with gang associations, as well as increased efforts to fight human trafficking across our state, While Georgia is consistently ranked as the best state for business, we acknowledge that we still have some work to do to combat human trafficking. I look forward to working with the Governor on these issues and other priorities throughout the legislative session,

As always, if you ever have any questions or concerns about any piece of legislation, please do not hesitate to contact my office. I am here to serve you and your voice influences each and every decision I make. I am honored to represent you under the Gold Dome and I look forward to keeping you updated as we start the 2020 Legislative Session.