Your Georgia Desk
From Senator John Albers
This Week Under the Gold Dome
Every January, the legislative session arrives just as certainly as each new day. Everyone at the Capitol works in collaboration to ensure we learn from the past in order to provide for the future. We work tirelessly for 40 days to pass legislation that ensures Georgia remains the superb state it has always been. I am proud to be a part of 153rd Legislative Session.
Day one was full of tradition. The day began with the ceremonial call to order by Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the traditional devotional by the Chaplain of the Day. Following the devotional, we elected and swore in President Pro Tempore David Shafer and Secretary of Senate David Cook. All 56 senators, including ten new senators, from across the state were sworn in for two year terms.
Lt. Governor Casey Cagle handed out committee assignments last week. I am honored to serve as Chairman of the State and Local Government Operations Committee, Vice-Chair of the Public Safety Committee, as the Secretary for the Finance Committee and as a member on the Appropriations Committee.
Last week, I began my duties as Chief Deputy Whip of the Majority Caucus. My role as Chief Deputy Whip includes ensuring attendance of majority members during important votes and counting votes. I will also assume the role of Majority Whip in the instance that the Majority Whip is absent.
Gov. Nathan Deal delivered his annual “State of the State” address on Wednesday, January 14. He spoke inspiring words about our states prosperous recovery after the economic collapse. He reported that our state is strong and getting even stronger as each day passes. He mentioned Georgia’s status as the number one place to do business in the country, a recognition given by one of the nation’s premier real estate and economic development publications, Site Selection Magazine. With the relocation of Mercedes-Benz and Porsche America to Georgia on the horizon, it is apparent that this recognition was earned.
During the “State of the State,” Gov. Deal also unveiled his proposed budget plans for the upcoming fiscal year, focusing on key state priorities such as education, transportation funding and healthcare. Last year, we budgeted for an increase in revenue of 3.4 percent and ended the 2014 fiscal year with an increase in revenue of 4.8 percent!
This week, the legislature is taking a break from convening for session as members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees will spend a considerable amount of time combing through every line item of the state budget during budget hearings. During these hearings, we will hear from all of the state departments regarding their budget needs. This is done to ensure that not a dime of taxpayer money is misappropriated.
The Georgia General Assembly remains committed to the growth and development of all aspects of our great state and its citizens. I am looking forward to working with my Senate colleagues to pass sound legislation that solidifies Georgia’s reputation as pro-business, pro-education and pro-family. Please feel free to contact my office at any time to talk about pending legislation or address other concerns in our district – my door and phone lines are always open!