This week under the Gold Dome, the Georgia General Assembly (GGA) completed the first four days of our annual 40 day session. With thirty-six legislative session days remaining, we are just beginning our job of representing our districts, our citizens, and our state. Officially, all members of the legislature were sworn in this week, our leaders for each chamber were elected, and committees were assigned to each legislator. This week in the House chamber, we welcomed Gov. Nathan Deal as he delivered the State of the State address, laying out his priorities for our State and the upcoming Fiscal Year 2014 budget recommendations.
Monday, the first day of this legislative session, began with a prayer and all members, new and old, were sworn in to uphold the Constitution of Georgia and the United States. Speaker David Ralston and Speaker Pro-Tempore Jan Jones were re-elected to their respective leadership positions as well. Also this week, all members of the legislature received their new committee assignments. This is an integral part of the law-making process given that the majority of debate on bills occurs in committees and sub-committees, before ever reaching the floor of the House or Senate. Then, once the bill passes one chamber, it crosses over and goes through the same process again. This detailed process helps to ensure the bills which become our laws in Georgia, are adequately vetted before final passage and signature by the Governor.
I was greatly honored to be named Chairman of the Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Committee. This committee is responsible for drawing the boundaries of Georgia’s State House, State Senate, and U.S. House districts, based on population data from the latest decennial U.S. Census. I thank Speaker Ralston and the Committee on Assignments for their confidence in me and look forward to this new challenge. I will also serve as Secretary of the Banks and Banking Committee and member of Higher Education Sub-Committee of Appropriations, Economic Development and Tourism, and Natural Resources and Environment.
On Wednesday, Gov. Deal addressed a Joint Session (House and Senate) and discussed his priorities and recommendations for both the Amended Fiscal Year 2013 and the Fiscal Year 2014 budgets. The governor’s proposed budget for FY 2014 is $19.8 billion. Governor Deal stated, “we will move forward with confidence, focusing on the proven foundations of a growing Georgia, those that keep us steady during times of uncertainty but also during times of prosperity; foremost among these are public safety, education, healthcare and economic development.”
The General Assembly will not officially be in session from January 21st through the 25th; however, many members, myself included, will be actively participating in Joint Budget Hearings at the Capitol. The purpose of these hearings is to review the Governor’s budget proposals with State Agencies and discussing the impact the Governor’s recommendations will have on their Departments. The official Budget Appropriations Act for FY 2014 will begin in the House of Representatives and will be reviewed, amended, and sent to the Senate to follow the similar process.
On Monday, Jan. 28th, the Georgia General Assembly will continue day five of the 2013 Legislative Session. Please contact me with your ideas and opinions or if I can be of service to you in anyway. It is your input and common sense ideas that develop into the best legislation and potentially becomes the laws of our State. If you would like to reach me, please call me at (404) 656-5087 or write to me at: State Rep. Randy Nix, 18 Capitol Square, Suite 402 CLOB State Capitol, Atlanta, GA 30334 or e-mail me at email@example.com.