2018-01-10 / Opinion

Under the Gold Dome

by: State Representative, Gerald Greene

The Georgia General Assembly will convene on January the 8th at 10 AM. The members will begin the 2nd half of the Two year session and, I am hopeful that this will be the year for rural Georgia. Speaker David Ralston has indicated that there will be initiatives that will impact rural Georgia that will hopefully make a difference in the lives of people living in the impoverished areas of the state. These initiatives are big ticket budget items that have caught the imagination of Southwest Georgia political leaders. Will they make a difference or is it too late for the intended help? We can only try and hope that it works.

Those initiatives include paying professionals to settle in rural areas which in turn would turn the tide of population lost in many counties. This would be done over a 10 year period with tax breaks. Also under consideration is help for rural hospitals, schools, Internet and other essential services to attract industry and produce jobs.

You will see a movement to see how the legislature can help raise salaries of local police and deputies. A change will have to be sought in state law since salaries of these officers is a local government obligation.

Teachers and state workers are also seeking raises and protection of their state retirement benefits. A rewrite of the state's adoption plan for children, a broaden concept of hate crimes, a reintroduction for the banning of certain weapons, and looking at the expansion of marihuana laws. These are just some of the bills that are already out there or pre-filed for the first day of the General Assembly.

This year will be a very intense year with many important issues facing the members of the Legislature. It is also a big political year for individuals running for higher office. A lot of Issues that will have a profound impact on you, and will be voted on during this session. It will be most important for you to stay in touch either by email (Gerald. greene@house.ga.gov) or by calling the State Capitol office at 404-656-5101. And that is the way it is Under the Gold Dome for this week. Stay Safe and Warm.

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