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Update from Under the Gold Dome: Week Five

Five weeks have flown by here under the Gold Dome, and the Senate is hard at work passing effective and meaningful legislation. I am proud to announce that Senate Bill 25, which I discussed last week, was the first bill to be signed by Governor Brian P. Kemp.

I think it is important to note that the first successful piece of legislation this session was related to public safety. This solidifies our stance that the wellbeing of Georgians across the state truly is at the forefront of our minds and guides our decision making here at the Capitol. In January, I introduced Senate Bill 15, the “Keeping Georgia Schools Safe Act,” which will require both public and private schools to conduct threat assessments, formulate a safety plan, require emergency drills and train teachers in preventing, discovering and responding to threats. This bill is the first step towards safer schools for our students and will be heard in the Senate Public Safety Committee next week. I look forward to updating you on the progress of this legislation as it is vetted in committee to best provide our schools with policies that protect our students, teachers and staff.

I commend Governor Kemp for taking the lead on issues of school and public safety with his announcement of the Georgia Crisis and Access Line (GCAL) mobile application. This app will provide a free and confidential 24-hour hotline with access to services for mental illness, substance abuse, and intellectual and developmental disabilities. GCAL was designed with the safety and wellbeing of our students in mind, but is available to Georgians of any age, anywhere. I am confident that this app is a step in the right direction for school safety and I want to thank Governor Kemp for his hard work on this project and leadership in mental health policy.

This week, we unanimously approved legislation on the Senate floor that is now in the House of Representatives for consideration. Senate Bill 16 would enter Georgia into the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, which would expedite the process for doctors to receive licenses to practice medicine in the state. Senate Bill 38 would adjust electronic filing procedures for court documents to remove fees for state agencies and officials and to allow civilians to file court documents in person. Senate Bill 6 would prohibit the use of drones in the airspace above places of incarceration, like jails, to prevent contraband from being dropped down to inmates. Lastly, Senate Bill 52 would allow for the punctuation and grammar in the Official Code of Georgia to be revised and updated. All of these bills were passed unanimously and will play a role in helping Georgia function and thrive.

In addition to our legislative duties, Senators often invite outstanding citizens or organizations to the Capitol. This Monday, I was lucky enough to be joined by the Blessed Trinity Catholic High School Football Team from back home in Roswell. It was incredible to see so much young talent under the Gold Dome, and I was glad we were able to congratulate them on their hard work and championship victory.

If you ever find yourself planning a visit to the Capitol, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office. Additionally, if you have any questions, comments or concerns about legislation, please give us a call! Thank you for your continued trust in me, it is an honor to serve the 56th Senate District.