Archive for March, 2011

Sen. Orrock Honors U.S. Rep. John Lewis in the Senate

Sen. Nan Orrock and U.S. Rep. John Lewis

U.S. Rep. John Lewis and State Sen. Nan Orrock pictured in the Senate Chamber

ATLANTA (March 29, 2011) – State Sen. Nan Orrock (D-Atlanta) welcomed U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) to the Senate Chamber this week to recognize him for his lifetime of achievement and as the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

“I was proud to welcome such a distinguished figure in Georgia politics to our State Capitol. Every day that we enjoy the rights of justice and equality, we owe thanks to the work of Congressman Lewis who put his life on the line to fight for our freedoms,” said Orrock. “The long shadow cast by his accomplishments should serve as an inspiration to America’s future leaders to continue working to preserve human rights.”

In February, Lewis earned the nation’s highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The award was established by President Harry Truman in 1945 to recognize civilians for their efforts during World War II, and was later resumed by President John F. Kennedy as a way to bestow honor for distinguished non-military service to this country.

A renowned civil rights leader, Lewis organized marches and protests across the South in order to end racial segregation. He nearly lost his life for the cause of “Bloody Sunday” when he and other marchers were beaten unconscious by law enforcement officers during a march for voting rights. Lewis is the last surviving speaker of the 1963 March on Washington, which culminated at the Lincoln Memorial with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

Sen. Nan Orrock represents the 36th Senate District, which includes portions of Fulton County. She may be reached by phone at 404.463.8054 or via e-mail at nan.orrock@senate.ga.gov.

PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release:
March 29, 2011
For Information Contact:
Natalie Strong, Director
Kallarin Richards, Deputy Director
Kallarin.Richards@senate.ga.gov
404.656.0028

South Georgia at the State Capitol

 By State Sen. Greg Goggans

 JOINT REVENUE COMMITTEE MAKING PROGRESS… SLOWLY

 Yesterday, the Special Joint Committee on Revenue Structure met to discuss possible changes to Georgia’s tax laws in response to the report published earlier this year by the Special Council on Tax Reform. Currently, there are four House Bills, HB 385 through 388, that contain the recommendations of the council, and these have caused some confusion and consternation as of late. The fact of the matter is that these bills and the recommendations in them were required to be introduced by the resolution establishing the council, and may not necessarily reflect the preferences and priorities of the legislature. (more…)

“Working Together is Success”

By Sen. Jim Butterworth

Not one of Georgia’s 56 state senators or 180 representatives was elected for his or her ability to make deals or play politics. We were blessed with this opportunity because of our values and determination to do what is right. You elected me because I am committed to working with my colleagues in the Senate and the House of Representatives to create sustainable solutions to the critical issues facing our state.

We have less than ten legislative days left in this year’s legislative session, which means it’s crunch time. These last few weeks are packed with hurried changes to finalize legislation. It’s often during this crunch time under the Gold Dome that public servants start to play politics. They get caught up in the deal making and promises that are often an unfortunate part of the last few days of session. Sadly, these public servants lose sight of their true objective – to make Georgia a better place for the people they represent.

This is the perfect opportunity to remember that we must work together in a collaborative spirit to accomplish our top priorities. We must ensure that personal agendas don’t hamper the business of Georgia.

Our friends in the House are a vital resource that we can tap during these times. A good working relationship is the only way to accomplish what needs to get done. We must be able to compromise and make sure legislation we pass will improve on the status quo and is an efficient use of taxpayer dollars.

Henry Ford once said, “coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” We are in pursuit of success and nothing short of it. Henry Ford was one of the most remarkable American industrialists in our country’s history. His words still hold a message for all to adhere to and take to heart. As your Senator, I promise to work in concert with the House while maintaining the same moral fiber I ran for office with.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns regarding current legislation moving through the process or any other issues. As always, I’m honored to serve you, the 50th Senate District, this session and all year round.

Sen. Jim Butterworth serves as chairman of the Higher Education Committee. He represents the 50th Senate District which includes Towns, Rabun, Habersham, Stephens, Banks, Franklin, and Hart counties along with a portion of White County. He can be reached by phone at 404.651.7738 or by email at jim.butterworth@senate.ga.gov.

COLUMN
For Immediate Release:
March 25, 2011
For Information Contact:
Kallarin Richards, Deputy Director
Katie Wright, Communications Manager
Katie.Wright@senate.ga.gov
404.656.0028

Hamrick Reports from the Capitol

By Bill Hamrick

We have less than ten legislative days left in this year’s session, which means it’s crunch time. All of the bills that will get a slot on the General Calendar must be passed out of committee by the end of next week. This means we are quickly but carefully vetting all the House bills to make sure they are perfect and ready for a vote by the full Senate.

We are especially busy in the Judiciary Committee, which I chair. One of the biggest bills that we hope to see passed this year is the re-write of Georgia’s laws regarding evidence used in court. We’ve been working since 2008 to modernize the code and bring it in line with 42 other states. Our current evidence code was created in 1863. We’ve made a few select changes in the past 146 years, but a true overhaul of the code is necessary. When the original code was written, the telephone hadn’t been invented yet. Needless to say, we had to take circumstances like advanced technology into account with this significant undertaking. These new laws will offer consistency, cost-savings and fairness.

Another major initiative in the General Assembly took a significant step this week when the Joint Special Committee on Tax Reform announced its long-awaited plans to reform Georgia’s tax code as a way to attract jobs and encourage investment in Georgia. The revenue-neutral proposal flattens the personal income tax rate from 6 percent to at least 4.5 percent while broadening consumption taxes. The bill does not levy taxes on groceries or common consumer services, but rather establishes an across the board 7 percent tax on telecommunications. It also eliminates the sales tax on energy while imposing a tax on auto repairs services and person-to-person sales of motor vehicles, boats, and planes. The Council developed the legislation based on recommendations prepared by the Special Council on Tax Reform and Fairness, a panel of business and economic leaders that studied Georgia’s tax system last year before recommending changes to the legislature. This legislation will go before the House for a vote before facing a floor debate in the Senate.

One of the top agenda items every legislative session is the budget, and this year is no exception. The amended FY 2011 budget was passed and signed by the governor. We have since turned our attention to the FY 2012 budget. The appropriations subcommittees have been meeting the last couple of weeks to detail funding for government agencies and special projects.  We expect the budget to be voted out of the full committee very soon and then it will head to the full Senate for a vote.

As always, it’s an honor to serve you, the 30th Senate District. If you have any questions on current legislation in the General Assembly, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Sen. Bill Hamrick serves as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee. He represents the 30th Senate District which includes portions of Carroll, Douglas, and Paulding counties.  He may be reached at 404.656.0036 or via e-mail at bill.hamrick@senate.ga.gov.

COLUMN
For Immediate Release:
March 25, 2011
For Information Contact:
Kallarin Richards, Deputy Director
Katie Wright, Communications Manager
Katie.Wright@senate.ga.gov
404.656.0028

Hamrick Reports from the Capitol

By Bill Hamrick

(more…)