Local lawmakers get ready for legislative session

When Georgia’s General Assembly session begins Jan. 14, Richmond and Columbia counties’ legislative delegations will see some new faces, and a stack of prefiled bills will be awaiting action.

As of Jan. 1, all legislative districts redrawn for the 2012 elections will take effect. Those changes add state Sen. Bill Jackson, R-Appling, to Richmond County’s legislative delegation, and add state Sen. Jesse Stone, R-Waynesboro, to Columbia County’s delegation. State Rep. Tom McCall, R-Elberton, also joins Columbia County’s delegation.

In addition, state Rep. Barry Fleming, R-Harlem, replaces Appling Republican Lee Anderson. Anderson didn’t seek re-election to the state House, instead running unsuccessfully for the 12th District congressional seat.

Fleming previously held Anderson’s seat until leaving the state House in 2008 – also making an unsuccessful run for Congress.

Once lawmakers set up shop, they will have to consider at least 51 bills.

Among the bills already filed include House Bill 4, from Roswell Republican Harry Geisinger, to allow gambling on horse racing, a pair of bills in the House and Senate by two Atlanta Democrats to change the school attendance age to 5 to 17 – currently, children must attend from ages 6 to 16 – and a resolution from two freshman Republicans calling for state lawmakers to be limited to four two-year terms.

State Sen. Buddy Carter, R-Pooler, has filed a series of bills that would change every nonlegislative local election to nonpartisan, including sheriff, county commissioner and all tax officials.

The seven bills, however, omitted the office of coroner.

“Oops! I guess we thought it was a dead issue,” Carter joked via e-mail when asked about the omission. “It will be added.”

Other legislation includes:

• Four House bills removing restrictions on places firearms could be carried, including churches and secondary education campuses.

• A Senate bill that, starting in 2016, would phase out Georgia’s income tax.

• A House bill that would change the eligibility date for school age to Dec. 1 instead of Sept. 1.

• A House bill to require installation of carbon monoxide detectors in all schools.

• A Senate bill that would make it a felony to drive under the influence with a child in the vehicle.

No local lawmakers as yet have prefiled legislation.

To see all prefiled bills and resolutions, go to www.legis.ga.gov/Legislation/en-US/Search.aspx, and click on “2013-2014 Regular Session.”

 

COUNTY DELEGATIONS

Richmond

House of Representatives

Quincy Murphy, D-Augusta

Wayne Howard, D-Augusta

Earnest Smith, D-Augusta

Gloria Frazier, D-Hephzibah

Barbara Sims, R-Augusta

State Senate

Hardie Davis, D-Augusta

Bill Jackson, R-Appling

Jesse Stone, R-Waynesboro

Columbia

House of Representatives

Barry Fleming, R-Harlem

Barbara Sims, R-Augusta

Ben Harbin, R-Evans

Tom McCall, R-Elberton

State Senate

Bill Jackson, R-Appling

Jesse Stone, R-Waynesboro

Columbia County’s delegation will meet Monday, Jan. 7, with local officials at the Evans Government Center auditorium starting at 8 a.m.

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