Update from the State Capitol
By: Sen. Jeff Mullis (R – Chickamauga)
It is important that our three branches of state government—executive, legislative and judicial—work seamlessly together in order to find effective solutions for Georgia. This week, the Georgia General Assembly came together in a joint session to hear the annual State of the Judiciary address from Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Carol Hunstein.
Chief Justice Hunstein noted the extraordinary efforts of the Georgia General Assembly to pass a comprehensive criminal justice reform package last year in order to lower recidivism rates and save millions in taxpayer dollars. Because of this legislation, it is anticipated that Georgia will save approximately $264 million over the next five years and the number of individuals incarcerated in Georgia is steadily declining. Chief Justice Hunstein also noted that Georgia is at a similar crossroad with the state’s juvenile justice system.
Georgia currently spends $91,000 a year to house just one juvenile criminal—a much steeper cost compared to the $19,000 the state spends to incarcerate an adult criminal. It is clear that Georgia needs to focus on moving children out of the juvenile court system permanently and work towards modernizing an outdated juvenile code.
Senate Bill 14 passed the Senate last week by a vote of 51 – 0 and would establish a statewide Alzheimer’s and Dementia Task Force to assess the current and future impact of these diseases in Georgia. If signed into law, this legislation will provide the framework for building the necessary infrastructure for patient programs, examine existing programs and determine the need for additional legislation.
House Resolution 203 also passed the Senate last week and set the parameters for the nomination and election of the Georgia State Auditor. This role oversees the Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts, which is tasked with continually improving government accountability and ensure good stewardship of taxpayer dollars at the state and local levels. Greg S. Griffin was reappointed by Governor Nathan Deal and confirmed by the Georgia General Assembly on Friday, February 8.
It was an honor to host and visit with several groups from around the state at the Capitol last week. I was a co-sponsor of Senate Resolution 163, which recognized Turkish American Day at the State Capitol and the estimated 8,000 Turkish Americans and 500 Turkish American businesses in Georgia. This community contributes significantly to the cultural diversity, vitality, and economic health of our state. The Georgia State Firefighters Association, Georgia’s Court Appointed Special Advocates, members of Georgia’s 4-H program and Georgia State University’s Centennial Anniversary were among the groups honored last week.
My colleagues and I ended the week wearing blue jeans in honor of former senator John Bulloch, who retired from the Georgia State Senate last year. It was well-known that Lt. Governor Casey Cagle made only one exception to the Senate Chamber’s dress code and that was for John’s perfectly pressed blue jeans on Fridays. I’ve known John for many years, and it was an honor to serve alongside him. Although he is very happy to be spending time with his family in South Georgia, he is greatly missed at the Gold Dome.
If you have any questions about the legislative process, please feel free to contact my office at any time. It is an honor to serve the 53rd District at the State Capitol!
For Immediate Release:
February 12, 2013
For Information Contact:
Jennifer Yarber, Interim Director