Rick Jasperse Report From The Capitol
We enjoyed the snow on Saturday. I met with a constituent early Saturday morning, and as we were drinking our 2nd cup of coffee it was beginning to snow. By the time we drank our 4th, it was really coming down. By the time I got the milk and bread and went by the dry cleaners, the road to my house already had folks stuck on the hill, and my weather lady, Marcia, was calling a lot. Dadís red 4-wheel drive came in very handy going home. Whew. A little too exciting. Havenít made a snowman in a while, and with Mary Alice and Rossís help we made a six-foot tall one!
At the Capitol we have been busy meeting in our committees, and the House convened on the House floor for three days, where we passed several important measures..
On Wednesday, the House unanimously adopted House Resolution 935, a bipartisan measure that would reauthorize the Georgia Commission on Freight and Logistics for the 2020 calendar year. The commission, which was first created in 2019, would continue its work to develop unique and specific solutions for trucking, rail, and air cargo, including reducing the driving risks for truck drivers and other motorists, expanding dedicated lanes for moving freight, and reducing traffic impacts for all of us.
Over the last few years, the House has spearheaded legislation to develop the new Georgia State-wide Business Court, which launched in January 2020 and will begin taking cases in August 2020. These specialized courts were approved by Georgia voters and are dedicated to providing expedited resolution of cases for complex commercial lawsuits. The House passed House Bill 663, to allow judges of the recently created statewide court to become members of the Judicial Retirement System of Georgia.
The House adopted Senate Resolution 712, which is an adjournment resolution that determined our legislative calendar for the coming weeks to help us plan our session days. This will also help those who are coming to the Capitol to plan to see us.
This resolution will allow for a work week instead of legislative days this week. It is important we do so, as we needed more time to work on both the 2020 amended budget and the Ď21 budget. We will have a balanced budget, and due to slowing income, we have committed, along with Governor Kemp, to reduce our spending to make sure we balance it. Doing this will require cutting programs and people throughout the budget. Itís a difficult process and takes some thought and time to do it right. Our subcommittees have been working for the past two weeks with department heads after the Governor sent us his budget. Gov. Kemp has proposed more than $200 million in reductions in the 2020 budget and $300 million in 2021 budget. That's not a large percentage of overall state spending, but Gov. Kemp is shielding most K-12, college, university, and Medicaid spending from cuts, meaning some agencies are in line for as much as 13% reductions.
Proposed cuts are to mental health, county health departments, accountability courts that provide alternatives to criminal convictions, agriculture programs, and foster care programs to name a few.
It was a great honor to host 4-H day at the Capitol and to honor one of our special Pickens County 4-H volunteer leaders, Melvina Carlan. Firefighters, including those from our area, were at the Capitol as well as teachers who teach Advanced Placement classes at our high schools.
As always, I greatly appreciate any feedback I receive from my constituents, and I welcome you to contact my office with any questions or concerns about the legislative session before we adjourn Sine Die. My Capitol office number is 404-656-7153, and my email address is email@example.com. Please contact me anytime.
As always, thank you for allowing me to serve as your State Representative.