2011-02-23 / Editorials

House News

Bills being carefully considered
Representative Gerald Greene

Under the Gold Dome Under the Gold Dome A week of change has slowed two much discussed bills to a halt. Sunday Sales and Tax reform on are hold for the time being. The Senate stopped dead in their tracks of a fast moving Sunday Sales for Alcohol after they realized they did not have the votes to pass the legislation. Speaker of the House Ralston on the other side of the Capitol thanked the Tax Reform Commission for their hard work, but did not move that piece of legislation forward either.

The week continued to move slow with the passage of bills. Many bills are pending but careful consideration of the bills is being done in committees. The hardest working committees at present are the subcommittees for appropriations. These committees are working to get the 2012 budget out of the House and over to the Senate in another week. The Public Safety Committee that I serve on continues to look for monies from already hurting agencies. Blakely’s RYDC is still up in the air as to their closing, as are others throughout the state.

Wednesday of this week saw the introduction of the Sentencing Reform Bill. I am the coauthor of this bill that will make major changes to our sentencing procedures in Georgia. Georgia has the fourth largest number of prisoners incarcerated in the nation. Many are locked up that should not be in our prison population. It is costing this state billions of dollars to keep these prisoners locked up and still not helping provide rehabilitation. It is the mission of this sentencing reform commission to bring the judiciary, the executive and the legislative branches of government together on this rewrite of sentencing in Georgia. This will probably be the most important piece of legislation to come out of this session other than the budget.

A deer baiting bill has been introduced as well as a controversial cutting of trees on the state right away for large advertising signs. Both issues will draw a great deal of debate just as the Immigration bill continues to be discussed. The Immigration bill could end up hurting our farmers if a compromise is not found. Farm Bureau and Ag Business Council have stepped out on the lead for this issue.

That is it for now Under the Gold Dome. May God bless this great country and state of ours.

Contact Rep. Greene at 507D Coverdell Office Building, Atlanta, GA 30334; by phone at 404- 656-0202; or by e-mail at gerald.greene@house.ga. gov

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