Last week marked the beginning days of what is shaping up to be a busy 2013 legislative session.
Immediately following the swearing in ceremony on Monday the conversation and full attention turned to the expected $700 Million budget shortfall. Unlike Washington, the Georgia House of Representatives is constitutionally required to pass a balanced budget each year. Part of the budget process each year takes place with the Governor’s State of the State address on Thursday.
During his annual address Gov. Deal laid out his legislative priorities and proposed budget for 2013. At the top of this priority list was “smart on crime” community based juvenile justice reform. Currently our state spends $91,000 for each juvenile who is housed in a detention center.
Much too often these individuals fail to get the rehabilitation they need to make the transition back into life outside the detention facility at a cost our state can no longer afford. Another highlight from the Governor’s proposal was the allocation of funds to increase the HOPE Scholarship by 3 percent and to provide even more funds through HOPE for education in specific occupations in which our State is lacking an educated workforce.
This increased allotment will insure economic development in Georgia’s future and is a clear example of Georgia, “putting our money where the jobs are”.
Our busy week came to a close with each member receiving their committee and office assignments. I am honored that I was appointed to such key committees as Banks and Banking, Code Revision, and Judiciary. I look forward to working with members of these committees to tackle some of our state’s most important policy issues and to enact legislation that allows our state to prosper.
I always welcome you to visit me at the Capitol in my office located at 607E in the Coverdell Legislative Office Building and hope you will contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by contacting me on my cell phone at 770-324-2275.
Georgia House of Representatives
Coverdell Legislative Office Building, Room 607E