Every year, state lawmakers in Georgia are tasked with one obligation — pass a budget.
And while this year is also an election year, the members of Forsyth County’s all-Republican delegation say they are committed to passing the budget and crafting legislation that will benefit the state. Among the goals are education improvements, boosting economic development and responsible spending.
District 25 state Rep. Mike Dudgeon of south Forsyth said he plans to prevent state cooperation with the Affordable Care Act, repeal regulations and encourage economic development. Still, he expects “this session to be fairly quiet.”
“Georgia is in good shape compared to most states and we don't need to pass laws just for the sake of passing laws. There hopefully will be a bit more budget money for education,” he said. “… As the new vice chair of Education [Committee], I will focus much of my energy on our schools.”
For District 9 state Rep. Kevin Tanner, his 2013 freshman session was busy. The Dawsonville lawmaker had seven bills, three of which he authored, pass.
In addition to supporting increased HOPE scholarship funding for technical college students with high grade-point averages, Tanner has “several bills” he plans to introduce in 2014.
District 26 state Rep. Geoff Duncan of Forsyth County, who is also entering his sophomore year, said he will “continue to look for opportunities to lower taxes, repeal burdensome regulations, toughen laws against criminals and look for ways to get government out of the way of small businesses.”
District 24 state Rep. Mark Hamilton of Cumming said this session likely will be the quickest in his eight years, with legislators running about five days ahead of normal.
Though things will move quickly, Hamilton said that’s good for Georgians, adding “there will be not extra time being spent on bills other than ones that have great need and support.
“I currently plan on working directly on three areas this session: a Jekyll Island change … fixing a problem within our probation system and working on an administrative change in our workers’ compensation and unemployment systems,” he said.
After chairing a study committee on brew pubs and alcohol tasting, District 27 state Sen. Jack Murphy of Cumming said he’s poised to introduce bills related to its recommendations.
Besides the budget, other issues to watch for, according to Murphy, include a “bill not giving people in the state illegally a driver’s license.”
“There will also be some more debate on Common Core [standards] in Georgia and the education system,” he said. “But I wouldn’t really look for a session that’s going to have a lot of controversial things.”
Note: Sen. Steve Gooch of Dahlonega could not be reached for comment and the state House District 22 post is open pending a Feb. 4 special election runoff.