Last week was a busy one for Jack Murphy.
The District 27 state senator received a top honor and a seat on a new committee.
The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety presented Murphy with the Governor’s Challenge Award for his commitment to traffic safety.
The award was based largely on Murphy’s Senate bill to prevent anyone from writing, sending or reading a text message, e-mail or other written communication from a mobile phone while driving. The bill became law in June.
“It seemed like there were 500 law enforcement people there at the awards banquet from all over the state,” said Murphy, a Republican from Cumming. “It was a surprise they gave me an award and I was well pleased with it.”
Murphy was also tapped by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle to serve as the Senate chairman of the Special Joint Committee on Immigration Reform.
Murphy is one of seven senators and seven House representatives to serve on the committee.
“If the federal government continues to neglect its responsibility to enforce the law, we’re going to use every option at our disposal to lessen its impact in Georgia,” Cagle said.
“The members of this committee will take a broad, in-depth look at ways to confront this problem and offer concrete solutions to improve the regulations we have on the books already.”
The 14-member joint committee will work to draft legislation to stem illegal immigration activity in Georgia.
But Murphy said the goal is to also slow the flow of illegal immigration bills expected once the General Assembly convenes in January.
“We’ve got to make sure we don’t end up with 30 or 40 immigration bills out there trying to mirror the Arizona law,” Murphy said.
“What we want to do is get all these bills together and review them and come up with a consensus with something that’s going to be reasonable and enforceable.”
Murphy is co-chairing the committee with District 72 state Rep. Matt Ramsey, a Peachtree City Republican.
In addition to the national attention the issue has received, Murphy said illegal immigration is becoming a larger problem in Georgia. The timing is right to take action.
“We want to make sure the law we come up with is going to be firm, and is going to be something that both bodies can agree with, and something we can get passed,” he said.