By State Rep. Ron Stephens, R-Savannah
The Georgia General Assembly convened for the 2023 Session on Jan. 9. Both the Senate and the House of Representatives met in their respective chambers to begin their work of the people’s business. Being a new legislative session, and the seating of the governor and other constitutional officers following the results of the 2022 elections, several important rites had to take place this past week. The first part of our business was the swearing in of the 180 state representatives. Then the House proceeded with the election of the Speaker of the House and the Speaker Pro Tem of the House and the rules governing the changes the House would operate. I am so proud that our friend and neighbor, the Honorable Jon Burns of Effingham County, was sworn in as our new Speaker of the House.
HR 2 was adopted for a joint legislative session of the General Assembly on Thursday, January 12th. This House resolution was to call a joint session of the House of Representatives and the Senate. To that end, we convened at the Georgia State Convocation Center for the inauguration and swearing-in of Governor Brian P. Kemp and other constitutional officers. Constitutional officers sworn in included Lieutenant Governor Burt Jones who sits over the Senate. Others sworn in included Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, Attorney General Chris Carr, Agriculture Commissioner Tyler Harper, Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John King, State School Superintendent Richard Woods, and Labor Commissioner Bruce Thompson.
This week, the Georgia General Assembly begins their work on our most important tasks, the work on our two budgets. These two pieces of legislation that we must pass each session are the FY 2023 amended budget that allows us to incorporate any funding shortfalls that we hadn’t anticipated in the last session, and the “big budget,” which incorporates our spending to fund education, health care and other government agencies for FY 2024. That being said, we will be reviewing many more legislative priorities of the governor and the legislators. We are limited by our state Constitution to complete your business in 40 legislative days.
With the House and Senate out of session for this week to allow the Appropriations Committee to have hearings on budgetary matters, we also expect that the House leadership will begin the process of assigning the 180 members of the House their committees on which they will serve. I fully anticipate being returned to the committees I served on last year including chairing the Economic Development and Tourism Committee. I also expect to return to the Ways and Means Committee, Rules Committee, and the Appropriations Committee. As we progress through the session, I will keep you abreast of the important legislation that we introduce, review and, if warranted, will pass.
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 email@example.com. I look forward to continuing this session and serving all of you.