Sen.Jesse Stone: Newsletter

3
Feb

Sen.Jesse Stone: Newsletter

Your Georgia Desk:

From Senator Jesse Stone

The Georgia General Assembly 2014 re-convened Monday January 27, 2014 for the third week of the 2014 Session.

Monday was a special day, beginning with an early morning meeting with the Georgia Municipal Association.  I was happy to visit with city officials from Thomson, Millen, Grovetown, and Waynesboro.  Later, I met with librarians from around the State, including the Richmond County library.

Georgia National Guard Honored

During Monday’s Session, we honored the Georgia National Guard, and were treated to a live video conference with Guard members currently serving in Afganistan.  Major General (and former Senator) Jim Butterworth introduced his staff, including Generals Gerard (Army) and Moore (Air), and also young persons in the gallery who are enrolled in the Youth Challenge Program.  During the video link, Sen. Balfour was pleasantly surprised when his son (Sgt. Balfour) serving on active duty appeared electronically and greeted everyone.  Over the past 12 years, 15,000 Georgia Guard men have served in Iraq and Afganistan, and 38 have lost their lives in these conflicts.  The National Guard dates back to the founding of Georgia – the State funds about $10 million of a total budget for the Georgia Guard of over $700,000,000.00.  I enjoyed talking with some of our Guardsmen from back home, including Bobby Christine, from Columbia County.

Senate Bill 125

Tuesday, the Capitol shut down early because of the winter storm.  Before everyone left, I was able to get one of my bills, SB 125, favorably recommended out of the House Judiciary Committee.  SB 125 protects Georgia landowners from increased risk of being sued by trespassers.  It is supported by a broad coalition, including the National Federation of Small Businesses, Georgia Realtors, Farm Bureau, the Georgia Railroad Association, the Georgia Apartment Association, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, and various attorney organizations.

Winter Weather

Wednesday and Thursday were “snow days”.  Like many, I took the time to catch up on reading reports from the Criminal Justice Reform Committee, the Fair Tax Study Committee, and many other materials received in recent weeks.

The gridlock that occurred in the metro transportation networks on Tuesday and Wednesday reminded everyone how vulnerable Southern states are to snow and ice events.  It seemed that everyone tried to leave Atlanta at the same time on roads whose condition was rapidly deteriorating.  I hope that leaders of the many local governments in metropolitan Atlanta will work together to come up with better, more coordinated evacuation plans utilizing modern communication networks.  Our emergency agencies need to be on the alert to issue warnings as soon as the threat appears.  Finally, the cities and counties in the metro Region should learn from other areas in the State that have taken a more pro-active approach to improving roads and other modes of transportation that will handle the traffic brought on by growth.

Judge Jerry Mallard Daniel

Friday, I was saddened to learn of the death of a dear friend, Judge Jerry Mallard Daniel. I worked in his law office at the age of 16, and he taught me many life lessons. Judge Daniel pioneered accountability courts in our part of Georgia. His compassion for persons suffering from addiction was unsurpassed, and he touched the lives of many persons. He will be greatly missed.

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