Gold Dome Update: Week Seven

We passed legislative day 29 this week and the pressure was certainly felt as the Senate spent several hours debating bills that will have a significant impact on the lives of Georgians. The Senate will be back in the Chamber early Monday, February 29 to complete a significant deadline–Crossover Day. This is the 30th day of the legislative session, and the last day for legislation to “crossover” to the other chamber for approval.

Although the Senate and House spend a great deal of time each year working ahead and preparing for this day, the days leading up to this deadline are still very demanding. Committees work at a grueling pace to carefully vet legislation, and the days spent in the Senate Chamber are very long. A comprehensive update will be provided next week on key legislation passed on legislative day 29 and 30.

On Tuesday, Senate Bill 77 passed out of the Senate Judiciary Non-Civil Committee. I sponsored SB 77 to require the collection and analysis of DNA samples from individuals convicted of felonies or those who are indicted for serious offenses. SB 77 also establishes a timeline and procedure guideline for the collection process. Individuals indicted for a “serious offense,” defined within SB 77, must provide their DNA as a condition of bail or pretrial release. An individual whose DNA has been collected can request an expungement under certain qualifications. DNA collection and analysis will help law enforcement connect perpetrators to crimes quicker and will help ensure that repeat offenders are not released if they are contacted to an open case. This process will make local communities safer and will keep serious criminals off our streets. SB 77 is on the Senate Rules Calendar for Monday, February 29 and it will be up for a vote by the Senate.

On Friday, the Senate passed Senate Bill 274 by a unanimous vote of 48-0. SB 274 repeals the Georgia Population Act of 1953 which requires all counties with a population of 200,000 or more citizens to being their fiscal year on January 1st. Along with this deadline; it requires those same counties to follow a specific budget process. I sponsored SB 274 to bring local control back to counties. It is always good to repeal code which is no longer used and is arbitrary due to the fact that most counties do not realize it impacts them. The passage of SB 274 will allow counties with this population tier to change their fiscal year and budget process to what works best for them and their accounting department.

Thank you for your continued support. You make me proud and I am honored to represent the constituents of District 56 who care about legislation and actively participate in our community. Please feel free to contact my office at any time to talk about pending legislation or address other concerns in our district — my door and phone lines are always open.