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Senate passes 11 bills

POSTED: February 14, 2018 8:40 a.m.
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Sen. Ben Watson

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This week in the Senate, we completed legislative day 18, nearing the halfway mark for the session. It was a very productive week with the passage of 11 bills.

One of the most important initiatives that we have considered so far this session is the Adoption Bill as it updates an antiquated system that made adoptions in Georgia far too cumbersome. After much work and careful consideration, the House and Senate came to an agreement regarding the bill, known as HB 159. The final legislation that passed would ensure the age an adult may adopt remains at 25 years old but lowers the age to 21 in the case of a relative adopting a child.

Georgia’s current adoption code states a birth mother has 10 days to revoke the placement of the child with an adoptive family, but under the new legislation this revocation period decreases to four days. The Senate and House also suggest a joint study committee to analyze a birth mother’s living expenses when paid through private attorney adoptions. The bill is on the governor’s desk awaiting his signature.

One of the many benefits that we have living in our great community is being connected with members of our military, whether through relationships we have with the brave men and women serving at Hunter Army Airfield or with members of the world’s best airlift at the 165th Airlift Wing in Garden City.

Out of gratitude and respect for our military, I co-sponsored Senate Bill 354, which would require that the Technical College System of Georgia classify certain active duty service members as in-state residents for tuition purposes, including making them eligible for the HOPE grant.

Often our service men and women return to school while serving in the military and many rewarding careers are available through study and training at technical colleges. In fact, many of these career opportunities are in very high-demand jobs, such as computer technology, health science, industrial maintenance and aviation technology, just to name a few.

I believe this is fair-minded legislation that ultimately helps deserving people further their education while supporting our workforce that needs the best and brightest in these jobs.

Regarding real estate, I sponsored SB 397, which would allow municipalities to hire state licensed real estate brokers to assist in the sale of surplus real property. Due to historic buildings and property that real estate agents are better equipped to sell, the city of Savannah asked that I help with this issue.

The brokers must still go through the usual bid process, and it’s in the best interest of the cities throughout Georgia to only hire qualified, licensed and experienced real estate brokers. I will work toward the passage of this bill and keep you updated as SB 397 proceeds through the legislative process.

It was my privilege to co-sponsor a resolution honoring the life of Wiley Anderson Wasden Jr., a former Georgia senator and active member of the Georgia Republican Party. An excerpt of the resolution reads that Wiley “gave inspiration to many through his high ideals, morals and deep concern for his fellow citizens,” and I am grateful that I had the opportunity to know him.

Your input is important to me as we continue this legislative session, and I encourage you to contact me at ben.watson@senate.ga.gov or at 404-656-7880 with your questions and concerns. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to serve you!

This week in the Senate, we completed legislative day 18, nearing the halfway mark for the session. It was a very productive week with the passage of 11 bills.

One of the most important initiatives that we have considered so far this session is the Adoption Bill as it updates an antiquated system that made adoptions in Georgia far too cumbersome. After much work and careful consideration, the House and Senate came to an agreement regarding the bill, known as HB 159. The final legislation that passed would ensure the age an adult may adopt remains at 25 years old but lowers the age to 21 in the case of a relative adopting a child.

Georgia’s current adoption code states a birth mother has 10 days to revoke the placement of the child with an adoptive family, but under the new legislation this revocation period decreases to four days. The Senate and House also suggest a joint study committee to analyze a birth mother’s living expenses when paid through private attorney adoptions. The bill is on the governor’s desk awaiting his signature.

One of the many benefits that we have living in our great community is being connected with members of our military, whether through relationships we have with the brave men and women serving at Hunter Army Airfield or with members of the world’s best airlift at the 165th Airlift Wing in Garden City.

Out of gratitude and respect for our military, I co-sponsored Senate Bill 354, which would require that the Technical College System of Georgia classify certain active duty service members as in-state residents for tuition purposes, including making them eligible for the HOPE grant.

Often our service men and women return to school while serving in the military and many rewarding careers are available through study and training at technical colleges. In fact, many of these career opportunities are in very high-demand jobs, such as computer technology, health science, industrial maintenance and aviation technology, just to name a few.

I believe this is fair-minded legislation that ultimately helps deserving people further their education while supporting our workforce that needs the best and brightest in these jobs.

Regarding real estate, I sponsored SB 397, which would allow municipalities to hire state licensed real estate brokers to assist in the sale of surplus real property. Due to historic buildings and property that real estate agents are better equipped to sell, the city of Savannah asked that I help with this issue.

The brokers must still go through the usual bid process, and it’s in the best interest of the cities throughout Georgia to only hire qualified, licensed and experienced real estate brokers. I will work toward the passage of this bill and keep you updated as SB 397 proceeds through the legislative process.

It was my privilege to co-sponsor a resolution honoring the life of Wiley Anderson Wasden Jr., a former Georgia senator and active member of the Georgia Republican Party. An excerpt of the resolution reads that Wiley “gave inspiration to many through his high ideals, morals and deep concern for his fellow citizens,” and I am grateful that I had the opportunity to know him.

Your input is important to me as we continue this legislative session, and I encourage you to contact me at ben.watson@senate.ga.gov or at 404-656-7880 with your questions and concerns. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to serve you!

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