Henry County Sheriff’s Office Trunk or Treat

14595806_355728764759921_3102130522500872269_nDid you go to last year’s Henry County Sheriff’s Office Trunk or Treat? If you didn’t, your chance to attend is just around the corner! This year’s Trunk or Treat is happening Saturday, October 29th. It will take place at Heritage Park and at Fairview Recreation Center at 5pm and will end at 6:30pm.

This event provides citizens with a fun Halloween activity. The kids really enjoy it and parents’ minds are set at ease knowing that their children will have a safe night. This is a fun, family-friendly, and FREE event that the kids and citizens of Henry County can enjoy. The event was so popular last year that MULTIPLE candy runs to the store had to be made!

What are your plans for Halloween? If you plan on trick-or-treating elsewhere, remember to keep your eyes open for safety violations. There are sure to be Halloween parties, which unfortunately increases the likelihood of drunk driving and reckless behavior. If you see any red flags, report it.

And of course—check all items and candy that your children receive. When in doubt, throw it out!

I am looking forward to another fun Trunk or Treat, and I expect to see you all there in costume! If you have anymore questions leading up to the event, feel free to ask Sheriff Keith McBrayer on his Facebook page.

Butts County Fair

amusement-park-1045212_960_720It’s fall once more, and that means it’s time for the Butts County Fair! The Butts County Fair will return again to Jackson, Georgia. The fair will take place at the Butts County Fairgrounds beginning Tuesday, September 27, and end Saturday, October 1. This will be yet another great way for you to spend time with your family and have fun during the fall!

According to their website, the fair will open nightly at 6 PM and gate entry will cost only $4. In addition to a low gate entry fee, there will be a special wristband for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. This wristband will allow students to ride all of the rides at the Butts County Fair!

According to the Jackson Progress-Argus, the fair will host not only carnival rides, but will have games, as well as fair foods, such as “candied apples, boiled peanuts, and corn dogs.” A local Methodist group, River of Life, will operate the food concessions in the fairgrounds clubhouse, and the proceeds will help the community with local housing needs.

The fair is sponsored by the Exchange Club of Jackson. For more information about this local nonprofit, you can attend their meetings, which take place on the first and third Tuesday of each month at the clubhouse on the fairgrounds. Or, you can call Stan Hogan at 770-777-7880.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

DISTRICT ATTORNEYS’ ASSOCIATION OF GEORGIA RECOGNIZES REPRESENTATIVE ANDREW J. WELCH

daag_welch_sept_2016

The following press release comes from the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia.

For Immediate Release
September 9, 2016

Contact: Carla Rieffel, Executive Assistant
(770) 282-6349

McDonough, GA – On September 6, 2016, the District Attorneys’ Association of Georgia (DAAG) recognized Representative Andrew J. Welch for his leadership and hard work during the 2015-2016 Session of the Georgia General Assembly.  Welch has served on several committees, including the Judiciary Committee and the Juvenile Justice Committee where he sponsored House Bill 361, which contained the recommendations of the Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform and provided for Juvenile Code Reform.  House Bill 361 amended Georgia law to clarify that traffic offenses committed by children under 17 years of age are to be processed in juvenile court, while traffic offenses committed by children 17 years of age are to be handled in criminal court.  Additionally, the Bill clarified what factors the court should consider before transferring a juvenile offender charged with certain violent crimes to Superior Court. This legislation required that the court hear and consider the impact of the offense on the victim.

“Rep. Welch has performed an invaluable service to crime victims in juvenile court cases. Reforming the Juvenile Code to provide such protections ensures that violent youth offenders in Georgia are held accountable.” says Chuck Spahos, Executive Director of the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia.  “Inclusion of such criteria provides victims of crime in juvenile cases a voice.”

In 2016, Rep. Welch was also appointed Chairman of the Appropriations Public Safety Subcommittee.  His instrumental leadership helped to prioritize pay increases for assistant district attorneys and assistant public defenders, most of which had not seen such an increase since 2008.  He has also been the chief advocate for adding state-paid assistant district attorneys and assistant public defenders to the juvenile courts of this state.

“Rep. Welch serves the citizens of District 110 and the State of Georgia with honor and integrity.” Spahos said. “His leadership both at the State level as well as within his district is surpassed by few.  His concerns for the victims of crime and his commitment to make sure the state fully supports the criminal justice system has made Georgia a safer place.”

                                                                               

Citizen’s Handgun Defense Course

holster-gun-pistol-iwb-38601Citizens of Butts County, Georgia can learn about proper handgun defense from the Butts County Sheriff Office on Saturday, September 24. The sheriff’s office will be hosting another Citizens Handgun Defense Course for the citizens of Butts County.

The course will instruct citizens in the Georgia laws regarding carrying, concealing, and use of force when it comes to handguns. Beginning at 9 AM on Saturday, September 24, and ending at 3 PM that day, those who attend will not only learn the gun laws in the state of Georgia, but will be instructed in markmanship as well.

There is NO fee for this course, and those who wish to participate must provide their own handgun as well as 50 rounds of ammunition. Please note that those who wish to participate MUST be 21 years or older, and must be a citizen of Butts County.

If you wish to participate, you need to contact Lt. Matt Garrison of the Butts County Sheriff’s Office at 770-775-8216 so he can add you to the list of students (the course is limited to 30 students).

Click here to learn more about the Butts County Sheriff’s Office.

Photo Credit: Pexels

Back to School!

andy blog1It’s time once again for the children of District 110 in Georgia to return to school! As our kids get ready to head back to school, remember to enjoy the last few moments of summer vacation that you have with them.

  • Newton County Schools begins THIS Friday, July 29th
  • Henry County schools begin this Monday, August 1st
  • Butts County schools begin Wednesday, August 10th

Parents, remember to take advantage of the sales-tax free for school-related items weekend! The sale occurs Saturday, July 30 and Sunday, July 31. For any questions about what is exempt and what is not, click this link from Georgia’s Department of Revenue.

Children really are our future, and it is important for their success to be nurtured and encouraged to learn continually. A well-educated youth makes for a well-rounded adult, who can make informed decisions. Parents, please remember to not only encourage your children to do well, but make sure to involved in their educational success. I hope everyone has a fantastic school year!

Celebrating Independence Day

photo-1432837600650-e430234b632a-1Independence Day, or the Fourth of July, is a busy time for me and my family, and a joyous time for us as a country. It was on this day in 1776 that the Declaration of Independence was signed by 56 members of the second Continental Congress, and the United States declared its independence from Great Britain. Many Americans celebrate this day by shooting fireworks, attending patriotic-themed parades, going to fairs, sporting events, or family reunions. Georgia is no different, and uses its many attractions to honor this special day.

McDonough is having their 3rd of July Celebration at Richard Craig Park this year. There will be professional fireworks, music, activities for the kids, and food. This event begins at 4 p.m. Follow the link above for more information!

Hampton is having a 4th of July Parade on East Main Street. There you’ll find the whole community enjoying the street vendors, food, and music.

As you enjoy all of the festivities, remember to reflect upon our nation’s independence, and how truly blessed we are to have freedom. I wish you and your family a very happy 4th of July!

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Rep. Andy Welch Attends Meeting of Assembly of State Legislatures

Georgia House of Representatives Press ReleasePRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Contact: Betsy Lynch
(404) 656-3996
betsy.lynch@house.ga.gov

ATLANTA – State Representative Andy Welch (R-Locust Grove) recently attended a meeting of the Assembly of State Legislatures (ASL) where legislators established the rules needed to hold a state-led convention for proposing amendments to the U.S. Constitution and concluded with the signing of a resolution in support of the proposed rules package. More than 60 state legislators representing 30 states attended the meeting in Philadelphia, including Georgia State Representatives Timothy Barr (R-Lawrenceville), Wendell Willard (R-Sandy Springs), and Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe).

“With grave concern about misuse of power in Washington, D.C., amending the U.S. Constitution is gaining more and more momentum,” said Rep. Welch.  “ASL has taken the lead in bringing state delegates together to work through issues prior to the call of a national amending convention.”

The Assembly met for two days at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, where participating state lawmakers debated, amended and voted to approve a draft to address all aspects of the rules needed to hold a state-led convention for proposing amendments to the U.S. Constitution, should one be called by the states in the future. Georgia’s delegation joined the majority of states in approving the proposed rules.

Article V of the U.S. Constitution authorizes 34 states to call a convention for proposing amendments to the Constitution. However, no such convention has ever been held in the history of the country, and there are no specifications for how the convention is to be conducted in the Constitution.

The Assembly of State Legislatures is a bipartisan organization of currently serving state legislators which gathers annually to discuss the process and define the rules for conducting a state-lead convention to amend the Constitution of the United States.

For more information on ASL, please click here.

Representative Andrew Welch represents the citizens of District 110, which includes portions of Butts, Henry, and Newton Counties. He was elected into the House of Representatives in 2010, and currently serves as the Chairman to the Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Safety. He also serves on the Code Revision, Judiciary, Juvenile Justice, and Regulated Industries committees.

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Congratulations to the Locust Grove High Baseball Team

Shutterstock_Baseball Close-upI want to congratulate the Locust Grove High School’s baseball team for their win in this years Class AAAA baseball championship! The team won their first state championship, defeating Buford 3-1 in the championship game.

These young men have worked tirelessly all year and have been rewarded for their hard work and dedication. Also, their senior pitcher, Christian Young, did tremendous work against the opposing team. He pitched for five innings, and according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution,  he was able to help his team with two big jams.

The team has worked hard since the tournament began. According to the Henry Herald, they advanced to the Elite Eight after a comeback victory, and then clinched their Final Four spot after their series win against Heritage.

Congratulations to the young men on the team, as well as the coaching staff, the parents, and the athletic association at Locust Grove High School! Also, congratulations to all of the graduating seniors from Locust Grove High School! You have made your school, your parents, and your community, so proud. As the representative of Georgia’s 110th District, I am proud of these young men and women, and look forward to seeing what the future holds for all of them.

A Letter from the President of Clayton State University

andy at cap in hallI received the following letter from Dr. Thomas Hynes, President of Clayton State University!

“Dear Representative Andy Welch:

Thank you for your efforts in support of a budget that will advance education in our area and for Georgians everywhere. Your support of much needed pay raises, a fully funded formula, and funding of needed maintenance, repair, and renovation projects will assist Georgians as they compete for positions and rewarding careers.

Your efforts on behalf of Clayton State were essential to the inclusion of $1.35 million in capital funds to repair the roofs of several buildings that constitute the academic core of our teaching mission. Repair of the roofs represents Phase I of the project. The two remaining phases will require an additional investment of almost $12 million to cover renovation of classroom space and the construction of a new chiller plant. I look forward to working with you to include funds in FY 18 to fund both phases.

Again, thank you for your service to the citizens of this state. The time you spent away from your family and your job represents a significant investment on your part, and we thank you for your willingness to serve.

Please let us know whenever we may be of service to you.

Best,

Dr. Thomas Hynes
President

Week Eleven 2016 Update

Andy Welch House of RepresentativesLast Thursday, March 24, 2016, was “Sine Die.” This means that the legislative session came to an end, but not before we passed a number of important bills.

One of the most important pieces of legislation passed this session was House Bill 751, which establishes the state budget for Fiscal Year 2017. The final version of HB 751 was passed after a House and Senate conference committee worked out the differences between each body’s version of the budget. The budget will guide state spending from July 1, 2016 until June 30, 2017. The FY 2017 budget set the state’s largest budget in history at $23.7 billion dollars.

As a result, the House was able to fund a number of its priorities, including:

  • rate increases for health and human service providers
  • salary adjustments for K-12 teachers, Pre-K teachers, bus drivers, nutrition workers and school nurses
  • salary increases for public health nurses, sworn law enforcement officers and other critical positions to address retention issues

We prioritized education funding in the state budget, and we focused on key education policy initiatives last week, passing three education-related measures.

  1. Senate Bill 18 would establish policies within the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) that would allow active duty military or veteran students to obtain academic credit for previous college-level learning attained prior to their enrollment. SB 18 would require any institution within TCSG to grant academic credit for college-level learning accomplished before enrollment and would only apply to training and experience obtained through military service that was substantially related to the coursework credit given by the TCSG. This bill would give those who defend our country a head start in their post-secondary education!
  2. Senate Bill 329 would expand the Quality Basic Education Act to award high school diplomas to students who complete dual credit coursework. SB 329 would award a high school diploma to students who complete college dual-credit coursework and have earned certification to work in an “in-need” industry as determined by the State Board of the Technical College System of Georgia. Furthermore, students who meet these requirements to receive a high school diploma would also be eligible to receive the HOPE Scholarship or participate in the Move On When Ready dual-enrollment assistance program.
  3. My colleagues and I also gave final passage to Senate Bill 348 this week. SB 348 would simplify the process of creating a college and career academy. A college and career academy operates as a partnership and collaboration between businesses, high schools and postsecondary institutions to advance workforce development and work based learning programs. SB 348 would allow local school systems to create a college and career academy as part of a contract to act as a strategic waivers school system. Any established charter or strategic waiver district would have the power to create a college and career academy, as opposed to current law which only allows standalone charter schools to create college and career academies. Finally, SB 348 provides training requirements for the governing boards of college and career academies, including best practices, constitutional and statutory requirements, applicable statutes, and rules and regulations.

Senate Bill 230, the “Uniform Emergency Volunteer Health Practitioners Act,” also received final passage this week to provide Georgians with increased access to healthcare resources and medical personnel during states of emergency in Georgia and other cooperating states. SB 230 would waive licensing requirements for volunteer health practitioners from participating states to allow those volunteers to assist with medical needs in the event of a natural disaster or during a state of emergency even if those volunteers are not residents of Georgia. Volunteer health practitioners would be eligible to provide health and veterinary services provided that they are registered with a volunteer health practitioner registration system, have a license to practice medicine in their home state, and are in good standing in the state where they are licensed. During a state of emergency, the governor would define the length of time, locations, and types of medical practice which volunteer practitioners would perform, while representatives of GEMA or any host entity would have the authority to accept or deny volunteer applications.

Senate Bill 304, the “Pursuing Justice for Rape Victims Act,” unanimously passed the House to outline proper protocol and requirements for recording and reporting evidence collected during a forensic medical evaluation for investigations of rape. Forensic medical examiners would be required to notify law enforcement officials of this evidence, and law enforcement officers would then have 96 hours to collect the kit once the exam is completed. After collecting the kit, law enforcement officials would then have 30 days to submit the evidence to the proper division, where records of all evidence and kits collected would be kept. An annual report would be complied each December and given to the Governor, Speaker of the House, Lieutenant Governor, members of the House and Senate Judiciary and Non-Civil Committees, and posted online at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s website detailing the number of kits tested as well as those that were not tested.

Now that the General Assembly has adjourned sine die, these bills are in the hands of Governor Deal. The governor has 40 days to sign or veto the legislation.  This means that any bill or resolution that the governor has not vetoed by Tuesday, May 3, 2016, will become state law in the coming months.  

Although session is over, I hope that you will continue to contact me with any questions or concerns that you might have regarding your state government.  If you have any questions about these potential changes to state code or if you have any suggestions for future legislation, I hope that you will contact me. You can reach me at my capitol office at (404) 656-0213 or by email at Andy.Welch@house.ga.gov.  

Thank you for allowing me to serve as your representative.