On Monday, February 6, the Senate convened to begin our fifth week of the session. The pace has started to speed up as the Senate heard and voted on a number of bills both on the Senate floor and in committees. As we rapidly approach Crossover Day, the Senate is operating full steam ahead to ensure all necessary legislation is passed and sent across the hall to the House before Legislative Day 28.
This week, the Senate had the pleasure of welcoming a number of distinguished guests into the Senate Chamber, including members of Rosa Parks’ family in honor of Black History Month and Louis Grazino, a World War II Veteran who was celebrating his 100th birthday. It was a great moment to hear from Mr. Graziano about his accomplishments and stories of working with General Dwight D. Eisenhower. Later that morning, we heard inspiring speeches from my Senate colleagues on the acts of Anti-Semitic individuals during the weekend. These cowardly individuals' goals are to try and divide us with hate, but as my friend, Sen. Russ Goodman (R – Cogdell) said, “what divides us is so much weaker than what brings us together.”
On Tuesday, Senate Bill 26, sponsored by my friend and colleague Sen. Greg Dolezal (R – Cumming) was heard for a vote. I had the pleasure of co-sponsoring this legislation. This bill would allow for hearings and permit meetings to be held virtually for development authorities and community involvement districts. SB 26 passed as amended with a vote of 52 to 0. It now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration and hopefully, a final vote.
Additionally, I was proud to hear that Senate Bill 60, sponsored by the Governor’s Administrative Floor Leader, Sen. Bo Hatchett (R – Cornelia), was favorably reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. It now moves to the Senate Committee on Rules to be added to the Rules Calendar for a final vote on the Senate floor. This bill helps prosecute catalytic converter theft and clean up some recycling industry regulation.
Perhaps the bulk of the Senate’s time this week was devoted to holding Appropriations Subcommittee hearings to closely evaluate each section of House Bill 18, the Amended FY 2023 Budget. This year, I have the distinct pleasure of chairing the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Government Oversight. This week, the subcommittee met to hear from a number of state agencies and departments as each addressed their budget proposals and requests for the remainder of the fiscal year. Those who gave testimony and presented in front of the subcommittee included Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, Department of Labor Commissioner Bruce Thompson, Dept. of Banking and Finance Commissioner Kevin Hagler and other state agency leaders. Once all the Appropriations Subcommittees finish meeting with their respective state agencies, the Senate Committee on Appropriations will meet to discuss and vote on House Bill 18.
On Wednesday, multiple bills were assigned to the Senate Committee on State and Local Governmental Operations, including SB 114. Sponsored by Sen. Randy Robertson (R – Cataula), this legislation would incorporate the city of Buckhead City into the state of Georgia. This bill is similar to last session’s bill, which received heavy media attention. As Chair of the Senate Committee on State and Local Governmental Operations, I am honored to oversee this legislation along with my fellow committee members as we work to properly vet this legislation and hear testimony from local governmental officials and citizens.
We are in full swing under the Gold Dome and I look forward to working with my colleagues on proposing, analyzing, and voting on legislation.
Please do not hesitate to contact my office if you have any questions or concerns about potential legislation that may arise throughout the legislative session. As always, I am here to serve you.
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