We kicked off the 2019 Legislative Session with the inauguration of Georgia’s new Governor, Brian Kemp. In Kemp’s State of the State, he correctly said the state of our great state is “rock solid.” Speaking to a joint session of the State House and Senate, he highlighted a few of the following budget initiatives:
1. A $3,000 pay increase for teachers.
2. A $69 million increase in school security grants that are to be equally apportioned among all of Georgia’s 2,000 plus public schools.
3. An additional $1 million for the state health department’s budget in order to expand access to Federal Medicaid waivers.
4. A recommendation to eliminate state support of the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District which totals to approximately $200,000.
We can expect to see a continued focus on transit and transportation solutions at the State Capitol which will be led by House Transportation Chairman Kevin Tanner and Council Board Member and State Senator Brandon Beach. As part of our Legislative Agenda, the Council will continue to advocate for legislation that funds multi-year transportation and infrastructure needs and measures to expand and streamline the operation of metro Atlanta’s transit system.
In his State of the State address, Governor Brian Kemp also recognized Officer Matt Cooper, who was wounded in a line-of-duty shooting on Labor Day last year, as well as six other law enforcement officers who were killed in the line of duty last year. These fallen officers included Locust Grove Police Officer Chase Maddox and Henry County Police Officer Michael Smith and told their families they remain in the state’s thoughts and prayers.
This week, as chairman of Appropriations-Public Safety, I will be busy reviewing the 2019 amended budget and the proposed 2020 budget. Our committee will hold hearings open to the public on portions of these budgets. A lot of work and attention goes into these hearings because passing a budget is the single most important legislative decision we must make annually.
I am honored to serve with so many thoughtful and hard-working men and women. Below is a list of the House Leadership for the 2019 Legislative Session:
Speaker of the House – David Ralston
Speaker Pro Tempore – Jan Jones
Majority Leader – Jon Burns
Majority Whip – Trey Kelley
Majority Caucus Chair – Matt Hatchett
Majority Caucus Vice Chair – Micah Gravley
Minority Leader – Robert Trammell
Minority Whip – William Boddie
Minority Caucus Chair – James Beverly
Minority Caucus Vice Chair – Erica Thomas
I will work diligently to pass meaningful and helpful legislation for the citizens of Georgia. If you ever find yourself in Atlanta during session, I encourage you to visit me at my Capitol office, and please do not hesitate to call or email me if you have any questions or concerns regarding any current or upcoming legislation. My Capitol office is located at 220 State Capitol Atlanta, GA 30334, my office phone number is 404-656-5912. I can also be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.Read More
INDIANAPOLIS (June 12-13, 2014) –
Georgia State Representative Andy Welch along with Representatives Bruce Williamson, Buzz Brockway, Tim Barr, and Paulette Braddock as well as Senator Bill Cowsert from Georgia joined a bi-partisan group of over 100 state legislators representing 33 states at the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis this past June 12 and 13. The Assembly of State Legislatures (a.k.a the “Mount Vernon Assembly”) gathered to continue work toward a recommendatory set rules and procedures for a future state-led convention for proposing amendments to the U.S. Constitution as authorized by Article V of the Constitution. This Indianapolis meeting is a continuation of our efforts that began in on December 7, 2013 at George Washington’s historic Mount Vernon estate in Virginia.
The Assembly did not consider any specific constitutional amendments. Rather, its focus is on building the framework needed to hold a potential amendment convention in the future, should one be called by the states under Article V of the U.S. Constitution. The meeting was open to the public and was streamed live.
The Executive Committee assigned Representatives Welch and Braddock to serve on the Judiciary Committee. After a long afternoon of discussion and debate regarding the process for a state-initiated application for a convention and the manner of the Congressional call for such a convention, the committee recommended the formation of two subcommittees. The Applications Subcommittee will review and determine the validity and effect of all existing applications filed by the States with Congress calling for an Article V convention. The Call Subcommittee will analysis the process, form and manner of Congress’s duty to call a convention of the states for the purpose proposing amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
The Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to recommend Rep. Andy Welch for chair of the Applications Subcommittee. Welch accepted the nomination but only after requesting and receiving the blessing of the Committee to add Senator Marv Hagedorn from Idaho as a co-Chair. Welch mused that “Peaches and Potatoes can make a good combination.” The Application Subcommittee anticipates completing its work in about 3 months, which will help inform the Assembly at its next meeting in December of this year.
Representatives Williamson and Brockway, assigned to the Planning, Communications and Finance Committee, worked with the committee to outline the structure of the Assembly and initiated discussions regarding the next meeting location in December and funding. Rep. Williamson proposed holding the next meeting in Atlanta. Serving on the Rules and Procedures Committee, Rep. Barr and Sen. Cowsert participated in debate regarding the particular rules and procedures to be recommended to govern a future convention of the states.
In the closing session, Welch and Williamson engaged in amendments and debate regarding the language of a resolution approved unanimously by the body. In short, the resolution requests that each state send a bi-partisan delegation of at least 3 currently elected legislators to the next gathering of the Assembly in December.
When asked about the import of the Assembly, Welch stated: “The fact that such a large and diversified group of state delegates has now met twice, with more meetings to come, regarding a convention to amend the U.S. Constitution is indicative that Congress has failed to address the legitimate redresses of citizens and states across this nation. When Congress falls deaf to the people, the drafters of our Constitution authorized the States to act by proposing amendments at a convention of the states. The Assembly of State Legislatures is one of many groups calling on the States to listen to the American people and lead. I am honored and excited to be a part of this movement.”Read More
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:||
Contact: Betsy Lynch
|Wednesday, April 30, 2014|
Governor Signs HB 135, 494 Sponsored by Rep. Welch
ATLANTA—State Representative Andy Welch (R–McDonough) wrapped up a successful 2014 legislative session after Governor Deal signed into law two bills that Rep. Welch sponsored. House Bill 135 was signed into law on Tuesday, April 15 and 494 on Tuesday, April 29, 2014.
“I appreciate the Governor’s support and endorsement of these bills,” said Rep. Welch. “HB 135 works to eliminate ‘gotcha’ litigation tactics which waste municipal tax-dollars that could have been spent settling cases rather than litigating them.”
HB 135 requires that ante litem notices, or a notice of intent to sue, specify the amount of damages sought against a municipal corporation. According to the bill, the notice must be served to the mayor or to the chairperson of the city council or commission personally, by certified mail, or by overnight delivery. HB 135 states that the amount of damages specified constitutes a settlement offer, but is not binding in a court case if the municipal corporation does not settle.
House Bill 494 allows any owner of a private airstrip to make a written notice to an owner of a nearby utility line to request the installation of safety markers. This legislation gives the Department of Transportation the authority to create the fee schedule for installation, as well as the rules and regulations necessary to implement this new section.
“I would like to thank the bill co-sponsors for their support on this measure,” said Rep. Welch. “HB 494 strikes the appropriate balance between the property rights of private airstrip owners and reasonably protections for the flying public and utility ratepayers.”
In addition to House Bills 135 and 494, House Bill 794, also sponsored by Rep. Welch, was signed by Governor Deal on April 12, 2014.
For more information about these bills, 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 Vice Chairman on the Code Revisions Committee and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Economic Development. He also serves on the Judiciary, Juvenile Justice, and Regulated Industries committees.
April 12, 2014 Governor Deal signed HB 794, the Compact for a Balanced Budget Paulette Rakestraw Braddock and I sponsored in the State House and Hunter Hill carried for us in the State Senate. As the first State to enact the Compact, Georgia will serve as the Chair at the Constitutional Convention under the Compact. This a tightly drawn law. It limits all delegates appointed by each state to the Compact to adopting only the amendment language contained in the Compact. You can read exactly what is being proposed as the balanced budget amendment on page 3 of the Compact. The amendment is exceptionally well-drafted: forcing Congress to adopted balanced budgets, establishing a debt limit, forcing the President to prioritize spending if spending comes within 98% of the debt ceiling, requiring a 2/3 majority for Congress to raise any existing taxes so that cutting spending, eliminating tax exemptions, or shifting to a consumption-based tax like the Fair Tax are the preferred approaches over raising taxes in order to achieve a debt-free future for generations of Americans to come. This was a historic moment in Georgia’s and hopefully our Nation’s history. I would be remiss if I did not extend a special thank you to Julianne Thompson for her testimony during hearings and grassroots leadership, to Nick Dranias of Goldwater Institute for his legal advice and brilliance in constructing the Compact, and Chip Napolitano of the Compact for America for his passion and drive for fiscal liberty.Read More
11Alive conducted an interview on HB 138. Previously 11Alive had aired a story about the fraud and abuse dealing with the EBT cards. You can find the interview here by clicking.Read More
It was a busy week with lots of legislation reviewed and acted upon. We also had the Henry County Day at the Capitol with many visitors. If you are not getting the weekly report emailed to you, please sign up and it will arrive when published.