Tolleson: Update from the Capitol | Events
We are continuing to move quickly in Atlanta as the Georgia General Assembly moved through day 19 of the legislative session. This week, bills continued to move through the legislative process, the Senate took up the amended budget and multiple special guests made visits to the Capitol.
On Monday President of the Brunswick Golden Isles Chamber M.H. “Woody” Woodside and members of the Chamber visited the Capitol. As the Jekyll Island bill continues to move through the legislative process, this group remains a contributor to the ongoing discussions regarding conservation.
Speaking of the Jekyll Island bill, Senate Bill 296 passed the full Senate body this week by a vote of 49-0. SB 296 sets a maximum acreage limit of 1,675 acres of developable land; a 78 acre increase from the already 1,597 acres of developed land on Jekyll. The bill would change the previous existing law from a 35 percent limitation, which caused ambiguity due to tidal changes, erosion and other natural changes. I am thankful for the collaborative hard work on the passage of this bill and look forward to Jekyll Island remaining a pristine, timeless natural gem for future generations to come.
Tuesday was dedicated to Youth Equine Day at the Capitol as young riders were honored for their hard work and dedication to their sport. It is a privilege to say that some of the riders call middle Georgia home. The Association of County Commissioners also had numerous local leaders from District 20 here on Tuesday as well; it is always nice to see them to discuss local issues and concerns.
The appropriations subcommittees made up for lost time last week by working diligently to complete the Senate version of the proposed $20.2 billion Fiscal Year ’14 amended budget. The amended budget is a continuation from the previous year General Budget and addresses up to date changes in the current fiscal year. The Senate added an additional $130 million for school enrollment increases in K-12 and $58 million for the recent updates to the State Health Benefit Plan. Since the House version of the bill includes line items different than the bill passed in the Senate, members from both chambers will now determine a mutually agreed-upon bill before it ultimately heads to the Governor’s desk for final approval.
Wednesday, I attended a morning meeting put on by the Georgia Agribusiness Council where over 35 agriculture organizations from across the state were in attendance. With around 400 attendees, this was a great time to talk about Georgia’s number one industry which provides our state with 383,000 jobs and touches the lives of Georgians every day. The Economic Development Association hosted a day at the Capitol with District 20 being well represented by the fine folks from Houston County also on Wednesday.
With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, citizens of Dublin visited to receive a signed proclamation from Governor Deal about the holiday. It was nice to see some familiar faces as they received the proclamation for their hard work on the St. Patty’s Day holiday. On Friday we recognized Go Red Day at the State Capitol to acknowledge the struggle that women with heart disease face every day. The week couldn’t have wrapped up any better than with a visit from the awesome students of the Bonaire Middle School Choir who performed on the Capitol stairs.
For the next several months, I will be spending a lot of time at the Capitol working for you this Session. If there are any issues you wish to have addressed, I would love to hear from you. I look forward to continuing my service on behalf of my constituents in the 20th Senate District. Georgia is on the right track. I am confident that the steps we take this year will mean lasting prosperity for future generations of Georgians.