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Update from Under the Gold Dome: Week Three

It has been an exciting week here at the Capitol with committee meetings starting Monday, marking the official start of the legislative process. Most committees took their meeting time to introduce members and adopt rules, but there is one that got straight to business. And that was the Senate Public Safety Committee.

On Wednesday, I chaired my first Public Safety Committee meeting of the 2019 session where we heard, and passed out of committee, the first bill of the session. Senate Bill 25 clarifies language for when the driver of a vehicle needs to stop, or not stop, when encountering a school bus. This legislation states that a turn lane divide would not be a legal barrier allowing for the passing of a stopped school bus by those traveling in the opposite direction. SB 25 would change existing law by clearly defining which barriers make it legal to pass a stopped school bus on the opposite side of the road – a grass median, unpaved area or physical barrier. Testimony was heard on devastating incidents where drivers failed to stop for a school bus and children, in turn, were hit by the vehicle. Transportation of the precious children of Georgia should not be overlooked when addressing school safety and I am proud to have moved this bill forward in the legislature. SB 25 passed the Senate Public Safety Committee with bipartisan and unanimous support, and it will now be sent to the Senate Rules Committee for the next step of the legislative process.

As Chairman of the Public Safety Committee, I want to welcome all new and returning members of the committee and express my enthusiasm to work together this session to address some of Georgia’s most pertinent and timely issues. Judging by assignments so far, as well as priorities amongst the caucus and leadership, I am positive that the Senate Public Safety Committee will be hearing several bills this session which will have a lasting impact on Georgia’s citizens. With our bipartisan committee membership working together, I am confident we will be having productive and beneficial discussions. I look forward to working with members of the committee, as well as public safety officers, members of the public and any other stakeholder who takes interest in our discussions.

Based on the tone that has been set so far this session, with productive meetings, budget hearings and the priorities of our new leadership, I believe that many great pieces of legislation are going to come from this session. We have been working hard to come together as a senate body to ensure that our most impactful and major legislation is benefitting the state of Georgia and all those who visit and reside in it. There are several pieces of legislation that I am looking forward to following this session and I will keep you updated on their progress as we move forward. If there is ever anything I can do for you, remember that it is what I am here for, please don’t hesitate to reach out.