That’s a wrap! After forty legislative days, the General Assembly is adjourned Sine Die. From passing a balanced budget, to protecting religious freedom, and restoring our 2nd Amendment Rights, the General Assembly worked diligently to advance legislation that ensures a better tomorrow for Georgia families and businesses. Here are some highlights:
Passing a Balanced Budget
This year, the General Assembly passed a balanced budget for Fiscal Year 2016-2017 that prioritizes K-12 and higher education, economic development, criminal justice reform, and infrastructure. Through conservative budgeting practices, Georgia weathered the Great Recession and remains on the path to fiscal prosperity.
Criminal Justice Reform
Through major reforms to our Criminal Justice system, we are saving money, reducing recidivism rates, and keeping our streets and communities safe.
This year, the General Assembly allocated funds for the expansion of our state’s accountability courts and community-based treatment centers for juveniles. We also gave a much needed pay raise to our corrections officers.
Protecting our 2nd Amendment Rights
This year, Georgia lawmakers pushed back against extreme legislation that would ban and seize certain types of weapons and ammunition. We also passed HB 859, which allows law-abiding, licensed students to carry a concealed firearm on a college campus. HB 792, which allows tasers and stun guns on university grounds, was also passed.
The House and Senate passed legislation to protect religious freedom in Georgia. House Bill 757 combines the Pastor Protection Act and language from the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 to ensure that people of faith are never forced to violate their religious beliefs. This legislation clearly bans discrimination of any kind.
Regulation of Drones
We passed legislation this year to prevent drones from violating the privacy rights of Georgia citizens and to prevent the use of drones as weapons. Exceptions are made for law enforcement agencies searching for lost children or escaped prisoners.
In November, you will see a Constitutional Amendment that allows the sales tax revenues from fireworks sales to be used solely for trauma care in Georgia. Please study this issue carefully so you can make an informed decision at the ballot box.
HB 555 was agreed to by both bodies of the legislature and will head to the Governor’s Desk for his signature. This legislation requires the Juvenile Court and Administrative Office of the Courts to compile and deliver statistics on girls 17 and younger who seek an abortion without notifying their parents. HB 555 will ensure accurate reporting and help as we fight to protect life in Georgia.
Honoring Archer Students
Archer High School’s seniors with the highest academic record along with the Star Student and Star Teacher were recently recognized in the Georgia House of Representatives for their accomplishments. Pictured left to right are Representative Chandler; Jasmine Moore, Valedictorian; John Golden, Star Student; Governor Deal; Morgan Lewis, Salutatorian; and Ms. Jennifer Callaway, Star Teacher
The session is over, but my service to our community continues. If there is anything I can do to help you, please do not hesitate to call (404.656.0254), e-mail (Joyce.Chandler@House.Ga.Gov) or engage on Facebook. It is an honor to represent you in the General Assembly, and I look forward to seeing you soon.
Georgia General Assembly