The 2023 General Assembly convened January 9th. For the first time in my long political career, the House and Senate voted on the first day to adopt a complete 40-day legislative calendar that sets March 29th as Sine Die. This early cooperation on the calendar, along with non-contested elections in both the House and the Senate for all leadership positions, stand in strong contrast to the chaos of the federal Congress and the 15 ballots that were required to elect Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Jon Burns was elected Speaker of the Georgia House by acclimation to replace David Ralston, who died in November!
Committee Chairs and assignments, office assignments, and floor seat assignments have not yet been made, and we anticipate a slow start of the Session to allow a new Speaker and Lieutenant Governor to make important decisions for staff and committee leadership. Below, representatives, guests, and family come to House floor to take an oath administered by Chief Justice Michael Boggs.
As you know, much of my legislative work during the summer and fall related to my service both as Chair of the Workforce and Systems Development Subcommittee of the Behavioral Health Reform and Innovations Commission and as an appointed member of the Senate Study Committee on Development Authorities chaired by Senator Max Burns. The final reports for both these legislative activities can be read here:
I will be reporting more about the follow-up to these two reports as we move forward. Many news articles are anticipating new actions for the Behavioral Health Commission report, including this one from the Georgia Recorder on January 9th where I am interviewed: https://georgiarecorder.com/2023/01/09/georgia-lawmakers-hope-to-build-on-2022s-mental-health-reforms-add-more-insurer-accountability/
During the Session, I like to ask your opinion about pending bills. How would you vote? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to vote. I look forward to your "votes" and comments. Thank you!
ATLANTA JOURNAL CONSTITUTION - JAN. 10, 2023
Senate committee endorses narrow reforms for development authorities - Rep. Margaret Mary Oliver, D-Decatur, wanted a joint committee to continue to explore potential reforms, but that proposal was nixed. “I would have liked the report to go further,” she said. “I think there’s work to do, and I think an intelligent, public discussion with the developers and with policymakers is necessary.”
GPB POLITICAL REWIND - JANUARY 10, 2023
Dawgs win again; Special grand jury dissolves; Ossoff says Democrats must regroup.
The panel: Eric Tanenblatt, Republican insider; Kendra King Momon, professor of political science, Oglethorpe University; State Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (D) Decatur; Tamar Hallerman, senior reporter, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
THE MOULTRIE OBSERVER - JANUARY 13, 2023
Georgia senators suggest minor changes, not major reforms, for development authorities.
Jan. 5 - DeKalb Delegation zoom
Pre-Session Town Hall #1
Jan. 6 - Georgia Legislators Shabbat Dinner
Jan. 7 - DeKalb Delegation Pre-Session Town Hall #2 at
Porter Sanford Performing Arts Center
Jan. 8 - Cub Scout Pack 175 Meeting
Jan. 9 - Took oath of office on the House floor
Jan. 9 - Event Honoring Jan Jones as first female
House Speaker in Georgia's history
Jan. 11 - Voices for Georgia's Children panel
Jan. 11 - Mercy Care hospital tour
Jan. 11 - Atlanta History Center documentary event
I enjoyed the Georgia Legislature Sabbath Welcome Dinner on January 6th at Congregation B'nai Torah in Sandy Springs. Thanks to Rep.-elect Esther Panitch (D-51) and Rep. Todd Jones (R-25) for hosting us!
Thanks to all those who attended one of our DeKalb delegation pre-session Town Hall meetings. Read the Decaturish article about the Saturday session at Porter Sanford Performing Arts Center.
Thanks to Arrow of Light Den Leader Mark Niesse and Cub Scout Pack 175 in Decatur for inviting me to speak at their weekly meeting! I so enjoyed being with you.
Below is my official signed oath of office. Thank you again for giving me this opportunity to serve you!
Congratulations to Polly McKinney for hosting an excellent Voices for Georgia's Children lunch and panel at the Georgia Freight Depot. I enjoyed participating on the legislative panel.
Thanks to Dr. Michelle Au, Representative-elect for House District 50, for organizing a tour of Mercy Care. Steve Siler, Director of the Mercy Care Foundation, guided us through the hospital on Decatur Street. Mercy Care is Atlanta's only healthcare for the homeless program (330h) and offers a sliding fee scale based on household income for the uninsured.
Bravo to the Atlanta History Center for their documentary Monument: The Untold Story of Stone Mountain. I enjoyed attending the official screening! You can watch the 30-minute film and learn more about the history of Stone Mountain by going here: https://www.atlantahistorycenter.com/monument/
A beautiful picture of the Tybee lighthouse. I love Tybee! I am here for a short rest before Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebrations on Monday and Appropriations committee meetings that start Tuesday.
Caroline Herring will be serving as my new Chief of Staff for the 2023 legislative session. Caroline is a professional singer/ songwriter with eight albums, an ESOL teacher and a graduate student at Georgia State. Welcome, Caroline!
You can search for and track bills, watch the House (or Senate) in Session, watch committee hearings, monitor legislation by committee, and find contact information —- all on the revamped General Assembly website. Here are quick links:
Make your views known and tell me what issues interest you the most.