News from under the Gold Dome

Published 3:28 pm Friday, March 22, 2019


Last week, the Senate convened for three legislative days and one committee work day, putting us more than three-fourths of the way through the legislative session. Committee work days will become more frequent, as will long days in chamber and long nights reading leg-islation.

As we inch closer to Sine Die, the budget is in the final stages of being perfected. Last week, the remaining budget hearings were held, eliciting testimony from various departments and agencies. Soon, we’ll have the Senate Appropriations Committee’s final recommendations in our hands. There will be many bills flowing through our chamber in the next few weeks and I encourage you to reach out to me with any questions.

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Last week, we heard a number of measures in the Senate, but the measure we heard on Wednesday is among the more important bills that we’ve debated in some time. This is because a secure and fair election is a pillar on which our country prides itself and the foundation of any government that works for the people. Enter House Bill 316, which updates our 16-year-old voting system.

Right now, the State of Georgia uses machines that utilize touch screen technology which allow you to vote electronically. The new machines, which HB 316 would deliver, would be similar-with one major difference. The new machines will allow you to choose your candidates on the touch screen and would then print your selections on a paper receipt. This will allow you to have a record of your vote and to verify that all the selections you made on the screen are the candidates and answers to constitutional amendments you meant to choose. You would then scan the barcode on that piece of paper, officially submitting your vote. This comes at the recommendation of the SAFE Commission, which was tasked with auditing the elections voting system this past year. It also comes with the support of many county elections officials who are ready for new, updated equipment. This bill has received final passage in the Senate and House and is now on the way to the Governor where he is expected to sign it.

Licensing Genetic Counselors

House Bill 166 would create a licensing protocol for genetic counselors through the Georgia Composite Medical Board and defines the requirements to practice genetic coun-seling. This legislation specifies that licensed genetic counselors must be at least 21 years old, have participated in a master’s or doctoral genetic counseling program and that their licenses are valid for two years.

Celebrating Smokey Bear’s 75th Birthday

Senate Resolution 235 recognized Smokey Bear for 75 years of wildfire pre-vention education, which is the longest running public service campaign in United States history. By working with the Geor-gia Forestry Commission, the U.S. Forest Service is involved in an ongoing effort to lower Georgia’s average of 2,868 wildfires per year.

Type 1 Diabetes Day

Senate Resolution 361 recognized Georgians with type 1 diabe-tes and their families and declared March 14 as Type 1 Diabetes Day at the Capitol. Over 14 percent of Georgia’s population lives with type 1 diabetes and an estimated 40,000 Americans are diagnosed with the disease annually.

Recognizing Georgia Tech Football Coach Geoff Collins

Senate Resolution 332 commended Geoff Collins on his se-lection as the Georgia Institute of Technology’s new head football coach. Coach Collins is from Conyers, Georgia, and the Senate welcomed him back to his home state from his last position at Temple University.

I remain dedicated to serving your interests as your State Senator.

Please feel free to contact me with your thoughts or concerns on pending issues, or whenever I can be of service. My legislative offices are:

301-A Coverdell Legislative Office Bldg

Atlanta, GA 30334

Phone: (404) 656-0040

1906 Legette Drive

Bainbridge, GA 39819

Phone: (229) 243-6267