Archive for March, 2011

Senate Approves MLK Advisory Council

ATLANTA (March 16, 2011) – The Georgia State Senate today voted in favor of Sen. Emanuel Jones’ (D-Decatur) bill to create a Martin Luther King, Jr. Advisory Council to coordinate activities in observance of the MLK holiday. Senate Bill 141 aims to promote awareness and appreciation of the Civil Rights movement and Dr. King’s legacy.

“Dr. Martin Luther King overcame seemingly insurmountable odds to bring peace and justice to his fellow man. Every year, we celebrate Dr. King’s noble work. The council will allow for better coordination at the state and local level to educate Georgians on his teachings,” said Jones. “The MLK holiday should represent more than just a break from our daily routine. His life and work is too important for only a moment’s pause of remembrance.”

The advisory council will be housed within the Department of Community Affairs and will be composed of nine members, including the commissioner of DCA, members of the Senate and House and six governor appointees, two of whom must be between the ages of 18 and 22 years old.

The bill now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Sen. Emanuel Jones represents the 10th Senate District, which includes portions of DeKalb and Henry counties.  He may be reached at 404.656.0502 or via e-mail at emanuel.jones@senate.ga.gov.

PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release:
March 16, 2011
For Information Contact:
Natalie Strong, Director
Kallarin Richards, Deputy Director
Kallarin.Richards@senate.ga.gov
404.656.0028

Senate Streamlines Compensation to Families of Emergency Workers Killed While on Duty

ATLANTA (March 16, 2011) – The Georgia State Senate today passed Sen. John Albers’ (R-Roswell) legislation to streamline compensation to families of public emergency workers who are killed in the line of duty.

“Georgia’s emergency personnel put their lives on the line every day for the safety and security of the people of this state,” said Albers. “The least we can do is to ensure that their families receive compensation in the tragic event that their loved one is killed while serving in the line of duty. This bill will bring consistency to the way payments are made to family members, ensuring that the process is structured and fair.”

Currently, if a law enforcement officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician, emergency management specialist, or prison guard is killed or suffers organic brain damage in the line of duty, payment from the Georgia Indemnification Fund will be made to the surviving family members. Senate Bill 155 outlines who the payments go to first, beginning with the deceased’s spouse, to the deceased’s dependent children in the event there is no surviving spouse, or in the event that there is no surviving spouse or dependent children, equally to the deceased’s surviving dependents, including dependent parents and siblings. In the case of organic brain damage, payment will be made to the legal guardian.

SB 155, also known as the “Jarrett Little Act”, is named in honor of a Walker County and Fort Oglethorpe firefighter who died in January 2009. Little was a single, 23-year-old volunteer firefighter who was killed when the fire truck he was driving overturned on the way to a fire.

Albers is a fourth-generation firefighter serving as a volunteer in Alpharetta. “I have a keen interest in public safety and protecting those who sacrifice their lives to protect their fellow citizens. Serving alongside these brave men and women has given me a unique perspective on how their families are impacted when they lose their loved one, and I believe it’s our responsibility as elected officials to ensure that the law works in their favor,” added Albers.

The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Sen. John Albers represents the 56th Senate District, which includes portions of North Fulton County. He may be reached at his office at 404.463.8055 or by email at john.albers@senate.ga.gov.

PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release:
March 16, 2011
For Information Contact:
Natalie Strong, Director
Kallarin Richards, Deputy Director
Kallarin.Richards@senate.ga.gov
404.656.0028

State legislators and Ms. CEO Inc. to announce initiative to make Georgia a model state for creating new jobs and economic progress among women entrepreneurs

More than 100 women business owners to convene at State Capitol for second annual ‘Women Entrepreneurs Day in Georgia’

ATLANTA (March 15, 2011) – Sen. Nan Orrock (D-Atlanta) will join fellow legislators and Ms. CEO Inc. to officially announce House Resolution 409 and a Senate resolution recognizing Women Entrepreneurs Day in Georgia at the State Capitol, and to announce a new initiative to make Georgia a model state for creating new jobs and economic progress among women entrepreneurs.  The announcement will detail a plan to boost the success of Georgia’s 278,250 woman-owned small businesses – turning more of them into job-creating companies and contributing an additional $500 million, or more, to Georgia’s economy annually.

WHO:

  • Senator Nan Orrock and others
  • Members of the House Special Committee on Small Business Development and Job Creation: Reps. Karla Drenner (D-Avondale Estates), Paulette Braddock (R–Hiram), Barbara Sims (R–Augusta), Gloria Tinubu (D–Atlanta), and Amy Carter (R-Valdosta), with Rep. Michele Henson (D-Stone Mountain) of the Committee on Economic Development and Tourism
  • Felicia Joy, creator of ‘Women Entrepreneurs Day in Georgia’ and founder of Ms. CEO Inc.

WHEN: Monday, March 21, 2011
11:15 a.m. – Press Conference

WHERE: State Capitol – outside on the Washington Street side of the building

*If there is inclement weather, the press conference will be held in the Senate press conference room on the main floor of the Coverdell Legislative Office Building (room 203) located at 18 Capitol Square, Atlanta, Georgia 30334.

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

ADVISORY
For Immediate Release:
March 15, 2011
For Information Contact:
Natalie Strong, Director
Kallarin Richards, Deputy Director
Kallarin.Richards@senate.ga.gov
404.656.0028

Dawson County’s Legislative Delegation Comments on Legislation Creating the Dawsonville Airport Authority

ATLANTA (March 14, 2011) – The Dawson County Legislative Delegation made up of three members of the Georgia General Assembly – Rep. David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge), State Senator Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega) and Rep. Amos Amerson (R-Dahlonega) – released the following statement regarding the future of House Bill 453, legislation creating the Dawsonville Airport Authority:

“Legislation to create the Dawsonville Airport Authority as requested by the City of Dawsonville raises too many questions for the legislation to advance further.  As public officials elected to represent Dawson County, we believe that the City of Dawsonville has an obligation to fully inform the community of both the near term and long range plans for such an authority.

“We also strongly encourage the City of Dawsonville to hold public hearings between now and the 2012 session of the Georgia General Assembly.   This will allow an open dialogue for determining the need for such an authority and give Dawsonville residents an opportunity to offer input. Until that happens and a stronger case for such an authority can be made, House Bill 453 will not have our support and has no chance of becoming law.”

PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release:
March 14, 2011
For Information Contact:
Natalie Strong, Director
Kallarin Richards, Deputy Director
Kallarin.Richards@senate.ga.gov
404.656.0028

Hamrick Reports from the Capitol

By Bill Hamrick

State lawmakers are working hard under the Gold Dome to author and pass legislation that makes Georgia a better place to live and work. Our goal throughout countless committee meetings, floor debates and meetings with interested stakeholders is to craft common sense, fiscally conservative policies.  This is exactly what we have done.

The amended FY 2011 budget cleared its last hurdle before going to the governor’s desk to be signed and enacted. The $18.1 billion budget included an average 4 percent cut to all agencies. The shortfall was due mostly to K-12 enrollment growth and less-than-anticipated federal matching for Medicaid expenses. We had to make tough choices to ensure that our budget is balanced as the state Constitution mandates.

We will soon begin grappling with the FY 20 12 budget, which will not be any easier to balance. The FY 2012 revenue estimate, including tax revenue, agency collections and other state general funds, is 12.75 percent above actual FY 2010 revenues. Tax revenues are expected to grow $908 million or 6 percent during FY 2012. This proves that we are slowly growing but we are still dealing with the preceding months of low revenues. I’m confident that we will balance the budget with the same fiscally conservative principles that have guided us thus far.

Another agenda item we have approached with common sense is the impending health care mandates handed down from the federal government. I supported a Senate Resolution providing a Constitutional Amendment that, if approved, would state that government can not compel individuals to purchase a particular health care plan and they can not be penalized for choosing not to have health care. Every Georgian has the right to determine whether or not he or she needs to purchase a health care program.

Other updates from the Capitol include the movement of the HOPE reform bill through the legislative process. The Senate Higher Education Committee vetted the bill and made few alterations. During debate in the full Senate, the bill was amended to allow all valedictorians and salutatorians from all Georgia schools to be eligible for the Zell Miller Scholarship and establishes a low interest loan program that will help students presently covered under HOPE to bridge the gap between actual tuition cost and costs covered by HOPE once the bill is enacted. This generous program was facing imminent bankruptcy so we had to take action. This legislation presents a sustainable solution, ensuring our children and grandchildren will be able to benefit from the HOPE scholarship program.  The bill now awaits the governor’s signature.

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 11, 2011
For Information Contact:
Kallarin Richards, Deputy Director
Katie Wright, Communications Manager
Katie.Wright@senate.ga.gov
404.656.0028