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Rep. Darlene Taylor gives update on 2020 legislative session

Legislative Day 10 was on Monday, February 3, it marked the start of the fourth week of this legislative session. My colleagues and I were busy meeting in our various committees.  The full House convened for three days, where we passed several important measures, including an adjournment resolution that set our House Schedule for the next several weeks of this session.

Tuesday was Community Health Centers Day.  I was proud to bring a resolution honoring these vital health centers and introducing their leadership to the House.  The mission of the Community Health Center System is it is to improve access to comprehensive primary health care services for medically underserved Georgians. Currently, there are 34 Health Center organizations – all non-profit 501(c)(3), each governed by a local Board of Directors comprised of community leaders and patients. Collectively, these 34 organizations have 229 clinic sites in 120 Georgia Counties.  Many of these clinics are in our own rural communities.  Many thanks to them for their service to Georgians.

On Wednesday, the House unanimously adopted House Resolution 935, a bipartisan measure that would reauthorize the Georgia Commission on Freight and Logistics for the 2020 calendar year. The commission, will continue its work to develop unique and specific solutions for trucking, rail and air cargo, including reducing the driving risks for truck drivers and other motorists, expanding dedicated lanes for moving freight and reducing traffic impacts in and out of the ports. By the end of the year, the commission will submit a comprehensive report detailing a legislative framework for funding and policy development ahead of the 2021 legislative session. HR 935 will now be considered by the Senate, and if it is adopted, the commission will continue its necessary work to identify ways to support the state’s freight and logistics industries and allow Georgia to maintain its competitive advantage in these industries. 

Over the last few years, the House has spearheaded legislation to develop the new Georgia State-wide Business Court, which launched in January 2020 and will begin taking cases in August 2020. These specialized courts were approved by Georgia voters and are dedicated to providing expedited resolution of cases for complex commercial lawsuits. This week, the House passed enabling legislation, House Bill 663, to allow judges of the recently created statewide court to become members of the Judicial Retirement System of Georgia (JRS) if they are employed full-time and are in good standing with the State Bar of Georgia. The Georgia State-wide Business Court system is designed to enhance Georgia’s position as the number one state to do business, and these judges who serve in the specialized court will help ensure that we remain a business-friendly state. 

Also, on Wednesday Georgia State Retirees came to the Capitol to meet with their legislators.  It was great to see Laura Pike and other State Retirees.  As we continue our work it is always great to see people from home.  This week we saw Jacob Cone several times.  He has become a familiar face under the Gold Dome.  Thank you for taking your time and sharing your skills and gifts at the Capitol. As we continued to work in our committees, we had a visit from several other folks from South Georgia.  They were at the Capitol to share their insights and thoughts on healthcare, roads and other local issues.  Thank to Jim Matney, CEO of Colquitt Regional Medical Center for heading up the Group. Leadership from PCOM were also on hand throughout the week, speaking at budget hearings.

This week, our newest member of the House was sworn in.  Representative Joe Campbell of Camilla took his oath of office on Thursday. The South Georgia Delegation was on hand to see the swearing in and to welcome him to the House.  Representative Campbell will take the place of Representative Jay Powell who passed away last year.  His district will include all of Mitchell and portions of Colquitt and Decatur Counties. 

Finally, before we adjourned for the week, the House adopted Senate Resolution 712, which is a second adjournment resolution that determined our legislative calendar for the coming weeks. This adjournment resolution is unusual in that it allows the General Assembly to remain in recess until February 18 so that we can better focus our time and energy on the Amended FY 2020 and Fiscal Year 2021 budgets. My colleagues and I will use this time to craft balanced budgets that invest wisely and move our state forward.

The entire General Assembly will reconvene again on Tuesday, February 18 for Legislative Day 13. Until then, we will hold important budget hearings and devote our time at the Capitol to finalizing the state budgets. As always, I greatly appreciate any feedback I receive from my constituents, and I welcome you to contact my office with any questions or concerns about the legislative session before we adjourn Sine Die. My Capitol office number is 404-656-7857, and my email address is darlene.taylor@house.ga.gov.   Please contact me anytime.

As always, thank you for allowing me to serve as your state representative.