By: Sen. Burt Jones (R – Jackson)
We are now seven weeks into this year’s legislative session with Crossover Day approaching next week. At this point, your state Senators are gearing up to debate our final general Senate bills and resolutions, which will all need to be vetted and voted on the Senate floor by Wednesday. From that point on, the Senate will be mainly addressing House bills and resolutions. As you can imagine, with a crucial deadline approaching, committee meetings have been picking up as legislators are working hard to move legislation forward.
On Wednesday we had very special guests visit us under the Gold Dome. I was honored to recognize February 21, 2018, as Jackson-Butts County Day at the state Capitol with Senate Resolution 726. Several members of our community stopped by to visit and were recognized for the economic prosperity, cultural values and overall attributes of their county.
One piece of legislation that passed the Senate floor this week and will have a positive impact on our local community is Senate Bill 402. This bill would expand high-speed broadband access to rural areas of our state that are not receiving the same access as other metro areas in Georgia. Access to high-speed broadband is crucial for economic development as well as new technologies and I am encouraged that SB 402 will start this process for residents in Senate District 25. Aside from its recreational use, high-speed broadband allows growth in business, education and our growing use of telehealth which would positively affect the lives of all of our citizens. I was pleased to see this bill pass the Senate with unanimous and bipartisan support and look forward to seeing it progress from the House and to the Governor’s desk. This legislation becoming law will allow rural Georgia access to this much needed resource.
Another piece of legislation that was introduced in the Senate this week was Senate Resolution 882. I sponsored this resolution which would create the Senate Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport Operations and Authority Creation Study Committee. Our airport is a key piece of Georgia’s economic development and serves as a national and international means of transportation. With the use of this facility only increasing, it is in our best interest to create an authoritative body, and I believe that the studies conducted through this study committee can pinpoint our needs and create an efficient operating commission to oversee such a vital piece of Georgia’s economic prosperity. I look forward to the work that will be done during the interim to address this very important issue.
Last week the Governor, Lt. Governor, Speaker of the House and other members of the Georgia General Assembly worked together on an income tax reform plan and presented their collaborative findings. The main piece of legislation they discussed was House Bill 918 which would reduce the current 6 percent top income tax rate in Georgia to 5.75 percent in 2019 and to 5.5 percent in 2020. This is in correlation with the federal government’s tax cut and will be putting taxpayers’ dollars straight back into your pockets.
Your state legislators are going to continue working hard here under the Gold Dome to pass legislation that benefits you and your way of life. If you ever have any questions or concerns please reach out to my office and I will be happy to help.
Sen. Burt Jones is the Chairman of the Insurance and Labor Committee. He represents the 25th Senate District which includes Baldwin, Butts, Greene, Jasper, Morgan and Putnam counties and portions of Bibb, Jones and Walton counties. He may be reached at 404.656.0082 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.