In the first term of of the 2021 General Assembly has started with 10 new Senators sworn in last week. Senators received their committee assignments and Sen. Mullis will serve on 3 committees as well as continue to serve as Chairman of the Senate Rules Committee. Sen. Mullis heard Gov. Kemps State of the State address regarding COVID-19 and how it has affected Georgia, among other things. You can read Senator Mullis’ complete update below.
By: Sen. Jeff Mullis (R – Chickamauga)
The first week of the first term of the 156th General Assembly has officially concluded, and we are off to a busy start. The events this week were largely ceremonial, as all 56 senators were sworn into office by Georgia Supreme Court Justice Charlie Bethel. We also welcomed in 10 new senators, who I am looking forward to getting to know and working alongside. While, for the most part, our first week felt like business as usual, there is a great deal of work going on behind the scenes to protect members, staff and visitors from exposure to COVID-19. Specifically, all legislators and General Assembly staff members undergo testing twice a week, committee rooms are socially distanced and mask wearing is mandatory on the Senate floor. These protections are put in place for everyone’s safety, but in no way inhibit legislators from carrying out their work here under the Gold Dome.
Additionally, members of the Senate received their committee assignments. I am honored to announce that I will continue to serve as Chairman of the Senate Rules Committee. Additionally, I will serve on the Appropriations, Economic Development and Tourism, and the Regulated Industries and Utilities Committees. I am looking forward to lending my skills toward making each bill that passes through these committees as effective as they can be.
Thursday, Gov. Brian Kemp delivered his annual State of the State address to a joint session of the Senate and the House. In his speech, he outlined his priorities for 2021 and highlighted a few specific proposals that we are likely to take up in the legislature. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to permeate throughout society, there is a lot of work to be done. Gov. Kemp addressed these concerns with several plans to help Georgia return as an even stronger state. This includes allocating funds to expand access to rural broadband service across Georgia, pushing towards a widely accessible COVID-19 vaccine, and providing our education system with enhanced financial support. He also proposed that teachers and educational staff will be receiving a one-time supplement of $1,000 for their hard work adapting to unusual and difficult circumstances throughout the pandemic. As we continue to learn more about these and other initiatives in the months ahead, I will keep you updated.
Next week, we will meet for what we call “budget week” under the Gold Dome. This is a crucial time in the legislative process, where we do not gavel in for the legislative days, but instead attend budget hearings that provide an overview of the governor’s priorities for the upcoming fiscal year, as well as hear from state agency and department heads about their current and projected budgetary needs. The only constitutional duty required of the Georgia legislature is to pass a balanced budget, and the time we spend during budget week helps to ensure that state funds are spent conservatively and responsibly. I do not take my role in the Senate Appropriations Committee lightly, and will do all that I can to ensure that the needs of our district, and the entire state, are accurately and entirely represented in our final budgets.
As our work under the Gold Dome continues, I encourage you to reach out to me with any questions or concerns you may have. Committee work will begin soon and your input will be crucial to ensuring that all bills are as beneficial as intended. Please reach out to my office if I can ever be of assistance.