2020 GA Capitol Update: Week 3

This week was our busiest yet this session. While the budget remains a priority for the entire General Assembly, our efforts this week were concentrated on committee hearings to ensure bills were thoroughly debated and discussed, as well as passing legislation on the Senate floor.

On Tuesday, I chaired the Senate and the House joint Public Safety Committee meeting to hear how our state agencies and local law enforcement are teaming up to combat the threat of gang violence throughout our state. We heard from Vic Reynolds, Director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, who testified to the fact that local law enforcement agencies consistently cite gang violence as the number one threat facing their communities. On the legal side of the issue, we heard from Attorney General of Georgia Chris Carr and U.S. Attorney Bobby Christine who outlined the steps they are taking to bring gang members to justice. I am thankful for the work of each member of Georgia’s law enforcement community who came to speak and look forward to working with them during the session to reduce the prevalence of gang violence in Georgia. As a champion for public safety, this is a top priority for me.

Also on Tuesday, the Senate passed House Bill 444, which relates to the Dual Enrollment Act. Georgia’s Dual Enrollment program has been incredibly successful in preparing our students for their future careers and rewarding them with college credit. This bill will help ensure that this program is around for future generations of students by establishing a few reasonable guardrails, such as assuring students take core classes and places a a maximum number of dual-credit hours a student can attain to 30 hours – an entire years of college credit! This bill would not affect the vast majority of Georgia’s dual-enrollment population and ensured that this program is around for future generations of high school students.  As a strong supporter of education and dual enrollment, I am proud of our work to continue this beneficial program.

Throughout the week, I also had the privilege of presenting a number of bills to various Senate Committees that I feel will have a great impact on Georgia. Our public safety officers who choose these challenging careers often struggle to secure a safe and comfortable retirement. That is why I introduced Senate Bill 248 and Senate Bill 249, which will make adjustments to the Police Officer’s Annuity and Benefit Fund and the Georgia Firefighter’s Pension Fund, respectively, to make retirement a more easily attainable goal for those who choose careers in these fields. As a volunteer firefighter myself, I know how difficult it can be to balance the difficulties of the job, while saving for the future and I am hopeful to see these bills passed quickly.

Committee meetings have been busy and long this week and the Senate is showing no signs of slowing down. We can expect more bills to hit the Senate floor in the coming days and are still focused on ironing out the budget. If there is anything I can ever do to assist you, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office.