State Rep. Ron Stephens, Guest writer.
The legislative process for the 2022 session of the Georgia General Assembly is starting to move as we deliberate bills through the committee process. Those that pass that process will come to the House of Representatives for a floor vote and if passing the House, it head to the Senate for consideration.
Education and the rights of parents deciding what their children are being taught is impacting the country as a whole and was evident in the recent elections in the Virginia Gubenatorial race as parents fought back on issues like critical race theory and human genders. To address that theme, this past week, Governor Brian Kemp, through his floor leaders, introduced legislation to establish a Parents’ Bill of Rights to increase transparency in education by ensuring school districts have procedures in place for parental participation in schools. The bill to codify parental rights when it comes to their child’s education into law, including the right to access instructional material. The bills affirm a parent’s ability to request information from a principal or superintendent and requires that they provide the requested information within 3 working days. If the principal or superintendent is unable to share the information within that timeframe, they must provide the parent with a description of the material and a timeline for its delivery, not to exceed 30 days.
One of the roles that the General Assembly plays is the approval of local legislation on the changes to district lines for municipalities, counties, and school boards. This week we passed the new lines for the Bryan County Board of Commissioners and the county Board of Education. We easily passed House Bill 1073 and 1074. H.B. 1073 covers the new lines for the county commission and H.B.
1074 deals with the school board. These two bills were approved by their submitting bodies and upon review, we found no problems with their request.
Another hot ticket legislative item that has many local communities and community leaders contemplating is the adoption of another local option sales tax dedicated to transportation issues or TSPLOST. The communities would be required to submit a list of projects the projected revenues would fund and like any local sales tax expansion, voters would be required to agree to tax themselves. To that end, House Bill 907 specifies the dates in which a special election may be called to present this question to voters. This legislation passed easily to allow communities to decide if they want to ask for a special election on TSPLOST.
It will be up to each county to choose their date should they choose to move forward on proposing a TSPLOST ballot initiative.
I want to keep fresh in your minds a piece of legislation I will be spearheading is the constitutional amendment to allow the Georgia Lottery to create a sports gaming bill. With the rising popularity of sports gaming, especially with the rising popularity of the National Football League, many states have legalized the practice.
Even some of the biggest sports wagering companies are listed on major stock exchanges. With this being the 30th anniversary of the lottery vote creating the HOPE Scholarship, more than 2 million Georgians have lifted themselves up thru a higher education and technical college careers. More than 1.6 million families received pre-K head starts. We will take up sports gaming in the days to come to close the gap with HOPE and pre-k programs. Bottom line, this will be another lottery game.
I will keep you informed on this issue as so many of our children rely on HOPE for college and our younger children on pre-k programs.
I will continue to be your voice in dealing with problems or questions about your state government. I encourage you to contact me with your input and thoughts on proposed legislation or current events that may impact our community. I am in 226-A of the State Capitol. My office phone number is (404) 656-5115 and my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
I look forward to continuing this session and serving all of you.