Therefore, I want to let all my constituents know, if you feel strongly about a bill that went though the General Assembly this session, this might be your last chance to have your opinion heard.
Voting has always been considered the most important right afforded to U.S. citizens. Perhaps the second most important effort you can take to help make Georgia a better place is to stay in contact with your representatives, senators and governor to tell them how you feel about an issue.
Between January and April every year, the General Assembly holds hearings, drafts bills, sends bills through various committees and eventually votes on those bills. Those bills that are approved by the General Assembly then head to the governor for final approval.
He can sign them into law or veto them. This is the long process that has made our government work for more than 200 years.
So far this year, the governor has signed only a handful of the 250+ bills we sent to him from the legislature.
Most of the bills that have received the blessing of the governor at this point are housekeeping items that were fairly easy to pass or bills that required a quick signature.
For example, the governor has signed the following bills:
House Bill 41 - Adjusts fees related to filing court documents
House Bill 77 - Adjusts the 2011 budget to reflect actual revenues and expenditures (a regular procedure due to the changes between estimates and true revenue, students registered in schools, costs of programs, etc.)
House Bill 232 - Redefines who must register as a lobbyist and when they must do so
House Bill 322 - Extends the existing fuel tax exemption for Delta Airlines (a company that has increased its payroll in Georgia by $150 million over the past 10 years)
House Bill 326 - The bill that implemented the governor's own plan to save the HOPE Scholarship from bankruptcy
Just as legislators research and study bills over several weeks (or even months) the governor is in that process now. I've heard some criticisms from people concerned that the governor hasn't yet signed this bill or that bill. I want you all to know, that Gov.
Nathan Deal is currently researching the bills, soliciting the advice of his staff and his policy experts to ensure he signs good law. Most importantly, the governor is currently listening to Georgia residents who send him letters and emails discussing their views on the bills that sit before him.
The Georgia General Assembly Website has a link to all the bills that were passed by the Senate and House of Representative and sent to the governor.
,b>You can access that list by clicking here
If you want to perform more research on what those bills do and who voted for them, you can type the bill numbers into this site and receive a summary and the text of the bill itself: http://www.legis.ga.gov/en-US/default.aspx.
If you feel passionate about a bill, please contact Governor Deal by visiting his Web page and filling out the comment form. It can be found here: http://www.georgia.gov/00/gov/contact_us/0,2657,165937316_166563415,00.html.
As a part-time, citizen legislator, I dedicate a significant portion of my time every year, working hard to ensure the state of Georgia improves its services and moves toward its great potential. As residents who chose not to run for office, I urge you to stay connected and let your elected official know where you stand on issues. I assure you, we will listen.