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The Watson Weekly: Week of Feb 1, 2024
Ben Watson
Sen. Ben Watson

Ben Watson

Ga. State Senator District 1

The Georgia General Assembly met for five days this past week, mainly working through committee priorities and legislative initiatives. As the Chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services committee, I was happy to have our own First District Congressman Buddy Carter, as well as a key member of a House Health subcommittee, testify on legislation to our committee. Furthermore, the Senate Judiciary Committee, of which I am a member, was very active this week, and will be reviewing tort reform legislation throughout the session.

Congressman Carter sat before my committee to discuss the topic of pharmacy benefit managers, the businesses that negotiate pharmacy costs between insurers and the insured. This is a complicated issue as we in the Senate try to navigate the many plans and setups of these managers to keep the lowest cost of pharmaceuticals coming to you.

In other matters, we have seen too many people throughout the world make excuses for the October 7th attacks and terrorism committed against the Israeli people by Hamas militants. Too many people have sought shift blame to Israel. In recognition of our support for Israel, the Senate overwhelmingly passed legislation in support of Israel and the Jewish people by adding antisemitism to Georgia’s list of hate crimes. This had much support from across many Georgians, including Christian organizations, the Georgia Faith and Freedom Coalition, as well as many of you.

The Senate passed Resolution 465 forming a Special Committee of Investigation of Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis. As you may have seen widely reported in the media, Willis has been accused of having a romantic relationship with an individual hired to serve as a special prosecutor, paying this individual approximately half a million dollars of taxpayer funds. Issues raised have included vacations together, his divorce, as well as conflicts of interest. The legislation does give subpoena power to the newly formed Special Committee, and this committee will disband after it submits its report. The report will also include potential legislation to change appropriations funding for that office.

The State Elections Board unanimously asked for clarification of the law allowing the Board to investigate the administration of the elections by the Secretary of State. This was essential as many Georgians have questioned the integrity and sanctity of their ballot. The Senate passed S.B. 358 to enable this.

Of course, these bills, like all bills, have to go through the same process in the House of Representatives and then be signed into law by the Governor.

As we progress through the session, I will keep you updated on the legislation affecting our community, including the budget. Thank you for your continued interest in the General Assembly session. As your public servant, feel free to visit me at the Capitol or to reach out to me by phone or email. I am in 325-A Coverdell Legislative Office Building. My office phone number is (404) 656-7880, and my email is I look forward to continuing to serve you.

Sen. Ben Watson is a member of the Georgia State Senate, representing District 1.

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