The blog.


Rep. Rob Woodall: Reacts to President Obama’s Veto of Keystone XL Authorization

Your Washington – GA 7 – Desk

From Congressman Rob Woodall

Rob Woodall

Woodall Reacts to President Obama’s Veto of Keystone XL Authorization

U.S. Representative Rob Woodall issued the following statement in reaction to the presidential veto of S. 1, authorizing construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

“By vetoing the Keystone XL pipeline authorization today, President Obama said “no” to the American people; as well as to the jobs, energy security, and reduction in daily living costs that the bill would provide,” said Rep. Woodall.  “Republicans and Democrats alike came together and found a way to say “yes,” but sadly the President chose not to join us.  America’s new Congress is committed to getting things done on behalf of the American people, and while I do not know whether the Senate has enough votes to override the President’s misguided veto, I hope that it will try in the near future.”

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Rep. Rick Allen: Statement on President’s Veto of Keystone XL Legislation

Your Washington – GA 12 – Desk

From Congressman Rick Allen

Rick Allen

Rep. Rick Allen Statement on President’s Veto of Keystone XL Legislation

U.S. Congressman Rick Allen (R-Ga.-12) released the following statement after President Obama’s veto of bipartisan legislation approving the Keystone XL pipeline:

“It’s extremely disappointing that the President turned his back on the opportunity to approve a shovel-ready infrastructure project that will grow jobs, help lower energy prices for families and businesses and strengthen America’s energy security. Congress approved this legislation with bipartisan support. Reports by the President’s own State Department have found that building the Keystone XL pipeline will create tens of thousands of jobs.  Yet, the President chose to ignore these facts and instead look out for his own political interests by vetoing this commonsense jobs bill.

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Rep. Buddy Carter: Condemns Obama’s Veto of Keystone Bill

Your Washington – GA 1 – Desk

From Congressman Buddy Carter 

Congressman Budy carter

Carter Condemns Obama’s Veto of Keystone Bill

Congressman Earl L. “Buddy” Carter (GA-01) released the following statement after President Obama’s decision to veto legislation to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline. S.1, the Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Act, passed both chambers of Congress with bipartisan support.

“It is an outrage that President Obama has decided to let his political pettiness stand in the way of thousands of jobs and lower energy prices for the American people.

“The President even had the audacity to say that the legislation ‘cuts short thorough consideration of issues that could bear on our national interest – including our security, safety, and environment.’ The project has been under consideration for more than six years! There is no question that it is vital to our national security and it’s time for the President to admit it.

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Sen. David Perdue: President Obama’s Veto Of Bipartisan Keystone Jobs Bill Ridiculous

Your Washington Desk

From Senator David Perdue

David Perdue Flags

Senator David Perdue Calls President Obama’s Veto Of Bipartisan Keystone Jobs Bill Ridiculous

U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA) today responded to President Obama’s decision to veto the bipartisan Keystone jobs bill. The bill passed both chambers in bipartisan fashion, with a 62-36 vote in the Senate and 270-152 in the House.

“It’s ridiculous that President Obama vetoed the Keystone Pipeline jobs bill. Georgians are sick and tired of petty politics and gridlock in Washington, and President Obama’s veto is the epitome of both.

“This bipartisan, bicameral jobs bill will create tens of thousands of jobs, it will get us closer to energy independence, and will help lower energy costs for families and small businesses across the country. It’s a shame that the President has chosen special interests over helping the American people.

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Sen. Frank Ginn: Gathering Input

Your Georgia Desk

From Senator Frank Ginn

Sen. Frank Ginn

Gathering Input

Each year, the Georgia General Assembly is asked to consider a significant number of bills that will change the way the state operates. Some bills ask to expand industry regulations, while others seek to tighten or clarify regulations. Others ask the taxpayers of our state to consider funding vital infrastructure projects or approve constitutional amendments. These types of bills are the ones that cause the most heated of debates at the Capitol. This year is no different, and there is certainly no lack of controversial bills. However, there are three bills that I especially would like your input on ASAP.

Senate Bill 63 – The “Beer Jobs” Bill
Currently, Georgia follows a three-tier system when it comes to the sale of alcohol and malt beverages. Under this system, manufacturers can only sell to distributors, distributors can only sell to retailers, and retailers can only sell to individual consumers. This has helped keep tight regulations on the industry and create a more efficient tax collection method. However, with the recent popularity and growth of the craft beer industry, this system has brought to light an unintended consequence—craft-brewers that brew beer are not allowed to sell their product at the brewery to customers to consume at home. The beverage must be consumed on-site or sold thru a distributor and then a licensed retailer. They can only give their product as samples to of age tourists at the facility.

SB 63, sponsored by Sen. Hunter Hill (R – Atlanta), would allow licensed breweries to sell limited amounts of their malt beverages for off-site consumption. The bill would also allow licensed brewers like the locally-based Terrapin Brewing Co. to sell limited amounts of beverages in their tasting rooms to the public. This bill limits the sale to 144 oz. per person, per day, for off-site consumption. SB 63 only concerns the sale of malt beverages to individual consumers and does not change or authorize the sale of malt beverages from a brewer to a licensed retailer. This is a growth industry in Georgia, and we are one of five states that do not allow this type of sale. I am a co-sponsor of the bill because I believe it helps tourism and economic development in our state. I ask for your thoughts on the three tier system.

Senate Resolution 135 – The Constitutional Amendment for Horse Racing and Wagering
The HOPE scholarship program is, without a doubt, one of the most successful education initiatives in Georgia history. Since the program started, over 1.6 million scholarship recipients have been able to attend one of Georgia’s excellent universities and technical colleges, and it has helped fund pre-k for thousands of children in our state thanks to funding through proceeds from the Georgia Lottery. Georgia has had horse racing in its past. Pari-mutuel wagering (which creates a betting pool based on odds) on the sport is currently not allowed but could be put to a vote if Senate Resolution obtains a 2/3 vote in the House and Senate to allow the public to vote.

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Sen. Steve Gooch: Winter Weather Won’t Slow the Senate Down

Your Georgia Desk

From Senator Steve Gooch


Steve Gooch

Winter Weather Won’t Slow the Senate Down

Georgia was greeted on President’s Day with frigid temperatures that lasted throughout the week.  With snow and ice threatening the state, the Capitol was closed on Monday last week to ensure the safety of all employees. Some areas of the state – including District 51 – were hit harder than others. This major ice storm caused thousands of North Georgia residents to lose power for several days, and the task of restoring power was not an easy one. Employees from Georgia Power, Georgia EMC, Blue Ridge EMC, Habersham EMC, Jackson EMC, Sawnee EMC, Amicalola EMC and Jackson EMC worked around the clock to get this crucial utility back up and running throughout the week.

I’d like to offer a sincere “thank you” to these hardworking linemen, as well as the law enforcement officials, fire and rescue personnel, state and local public works departments for their tireless efforts in the bitter cold. I’d also like to thank the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency for their quick response to this storm and their assistance in what could only be considered an enormous clean-up and power restoration effort.

The Senate passed numerous pieces of legislation last week, including Senate Bill 4, an economic development bill which I sponsored. SB 4 seeks to streamline the contracting process in order to maximize the private sector’s role in urban redevelopment projects, like the Atlanta BeltLine. The Atlanta BeltLine, once an abandoned 22-mile railroad corridor, is transforming the city of Atlanta with its network of public parks, trails, and greenspace located along a historic 22-mile railroad corridor that once circled the downtown area.

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Rep. Lynn Westmoreland: The Time to Eliminate ISIL Is Now

Your Washington – GA 3 – Desk 

From Congressman Lynn Westmoreland 

Cap Lyn

The Time to Eliminate ISIL Is Now

Last week while I was back in Georgia, I received a lot of questions about the President’s weak response to the extremist group, ISIL. I hear you and I agree with you whole heartedly. The President has done nothing to assure the American people that he will do whatever it takes to eliminate and destroy these murderers. While President Obama is focusing on political correctness, ISIS is growing stronger.

Early in February, ISIL showed the extent of its barbarism when 27 year old Lt. Moath al-Kasasbeh, a Jordanian army pilot and ISIL hostage, was burned alive. It is one of the most savage murders in the name of religion the world has ever seen. The very next day, King Abdullah II of Jordan unleashed airstrikes on ISIL– pledging that they will annihilate and punish those who murdered one of their soldiers. Meanwhile, President Obama was at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. preaching political correctness and excuses when referring to the barbaric actions of radical Islam. His criticism of Christian and American history at the National Prayer Breakfast was highly offensive to many, including myself.

Just last week, 21 Coptic Christians were beheaded in Libya by ISIL. It is a cold, hard fact that they were murdered for no other reason than their religion. The very same week, the White House hosted a Countering Violent Extremism Summit, where President Obama quibbled with labels and understanding the different types of extremist. We have been dealing with extremism for decades and the President’s summit was, as usual, too little, too late. But to the families of the 21 Christian men, Jordanian pilot, and British, Japanese, and American hostages – these murders all fight under the name and mission of ISIL.

Instead of focusing on labels, the President needs to turn his attention to eliminating radical Islamic terrorists. President Obama’s military authorization should have been presented to Congress last year. The United States should have had been world leaders and been the first to stand up against ISIL. They have had too much time to recruit, grow, and continue with death and destruction. It must end. I’ve said from the start, we don’t want to put our soldiers in danger, but we can’t rule out any of our options that could be effective in defeating these terrorists.

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Sen. Bruce Thompson: Update from the Gold Dome

Your Georgia Desk

From Senator Bruce Thompson 

Senator Bruce Thompson

Update from the Gold Dome

In four legislative days last week, the Senate passed a number of important bills and finalized the amended fiscal year 2015 budget. I’m also proud to say that my bill, Senate Bill 130 titled the “Smokefree Cars for Children Act,” has already received bi-partisan support.

SB 130 was referred to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, where I will request a hearing and seek a “do-pass” recommendation for the bill.

As part of my work on the Senate Science and Technology Committee this week, we heard a Senate Bill 113 that would encourage the testing and development of autonomous vehicles, or self-driving cars, in Georgia. Currently, other states are moving past Georgia for these research and development dollars. Similarly, with several of the key players in this technology like Mercedes-Benz and Kia already headquartered in Georgia, our state is in a unique position for economic development around this exciting technology.

Here are some brief summaries of some of the bills that passed through the Senate this week:

  • Senate Bill 18 establishes policies for the Technical College System of Georgia to grant academic college-level credit for learning from military service, prior work experience or self-study. I voted “yes”.
  • Senate Bill 62 removes limitations on probate courts so that they now have jurisdiction over all fish and game violations. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division has historically filed these offenses with probate courts. I voted “yes”.
  • Senate Bill 58, called the “Georgia Leadership and Service Admission Act,” will allow every member of the Georgia General Assembly, the Governor and Lieutenant Governor to recommend a student who meets HOPE Scholarship requirements to a college in the Board of Regents system if that student agrees to participate in Reserve Officer’s Training Corps while enrolled in college. I voted “yes”.
  • Senate Bill 79 expands the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council’s powers and duties for victim’s compensation claims. It raises the capped payout amount for funeral costs to $6,000 and expands the list of family members that can file for compensation. The Georgia Crime Victims Compensation Program helps victims and their families through the emotional, physical and financial aftermath of a crime. I voted “yes”.

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Sen. Rick Jeffares: An Update from the Capitol

Your Georgia Desk

From Senator Rick Jeffaries

Rick Jeffaries

An Update from the Capitol

Snow flurries, ice and freezing rain threatened to stall business at the Capitol this week, but we were lucky enough to be able to travel safely to continue as scheduled. We passed quite a few bills this week designed to help support and protect the military service members in our state.

Military members past and present are the lifeblood to the workings of our nation. Without them, we would not have the freedoms and liberties we have today. This week we passed two pieces of legislation, SB 18 and SB 58, which will help us give back to the brave men and women who fight for our country.

On Tuesday, we unanimously passed Senate Bill 18, a bill that will allow the Technical College System of Georgia to accept previous military work experience for academic credit. The brave men and women who serve and protect our country deserve to be credited for the knowledge they acquired through their service.

In addition to helping those who have already served in the United States Military, we passed SB 58, a bill that will support the dreams of high school students who wish to obtain military training while earning a college degree. SB 58, which passed the Senate on Wednesday, will create the Georgia Leadership and Service Admissions Act. This act will enable each member of the General Assembly to provide a written recommendation to one student each year. This recommendation will be for high achieving students who exhibit leadership abilities to use for admission into a ROTC program at an institution in the University System of Georgia.

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Sen. P.K. Martin: 2015 Session Update

Your Georgia Desk

From Senator P.K. Martin

PK Martin state SEnate 9 Logo

2015 Session Update

After another busy two weeks under the Gold Dome, my colleagues and I have completed day 19 of the 2015 Legislative Session.  Next week will begin on Monday with legislative day 20, which means we will officially be at the halfway mark of the 2015 Legislative Session.

I am proud to announce I made a trip to Brookwood High School on Thursday to visit the Brookwood Entrepreneurship Academy and sit in on some of their classes. The Entrepreneurship Academy gives high school students the opportunity to learn valuable business skills and entrepreneurial knowledge so that when they graduate, they are fully prepared to enter their career pathway with confidence. Similar Entrepreneurial education programs have been implemented at Central Gwinnett and South Gwinnett High Schools. I would like to thank Brookwood High School and its staff, especially its principal, Bo Ford, for allowing me to visit with some of District 9’s brightest students and see the Brookwood Entrepreneurship Academy’s success.

Now that session is in full-swing, we’re hard at work examining legislation that will continue to make improvements in Georgia. Although skies were sunny last week, Georgia legislators were greeted on Monday of this week by a bout of ice and snow flurries, which resulted in all Georgia Legislative activities being canceled for the day.

The legislative Session resumed on Tuesday with the passing of Senate BIll 18. SB 18 allows the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) to accept prior work experience and skills learned through the Military for academic credit. SB 18 passed by a vote of 53-0. SB 18 also ensures that members of Georgia’s military have the opportunity to apply the knowledge gained through their service to their academic careers. Our military men and women have made vast sacrifices for our country, and deserve to be credited for the skills and knowledge they have gained through their service.

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