The 2011 General Assembly just completed its thirteenth legislative day this week. I wanted to take a chance to update you on some of the bigger news items going on in the state Senate.
Winter Storm Response Plan Moving Forward
Two pieces of legislation I authored in the wake of the January ice storm are moving quickly through the committee process. Senate Resolution 30 and 31 urge the Georgia Department of Transportation to have a standby list of private contractors for state weather emergencies. They also call for GDOT to pre-authorize local governments to aid efforts for clearing state roads when necessary. The winter storm that paralyzed much of north Georgia several weeks ago signals a strong cry for a statewide coordinated effort going forward in dealing with icy road conditions.
These two resolutions passed unanimously out of our Transportation subcommittee and full committee and will hopefully soon be on the Senate floor for a vote.
Illegal Immigration Reform
Illegal immigration continues to be a major issue around the nation and right here in Georgia. In 2006 we passed which were at that time the toughest illegal immigration enforcement laws in the nation, giving law enforcement the proper tools to implement federal law in Georgia. This year we are working diligently on trying to indentify which areas in the current law need to be strengthened.
I have co-sponsored Senate Bill 40, which is an immigration reform bill aiming to enhance the use of the federal E-Verify system and to allow local and state law enforcement officers to help federal authorities identify illegal immigrants in Georgia. The main portions of the bill are intended to help businesses and state agencies determine that people working for them are not in the country illegally. Many businesses perform drug tests or other verification procedures on their employees. E-Verify requires a simple computer check and is much less time consuming and invasive than many procedures businesses already use.
This bill is to restrict illegal immigrants into Georgia. This is about stopping illegal workers from taking Georgia jobs and stopping their financial drain on our education, health and public-safety systems. It was written so we protect the legal residents of our state. It was written to not hinder businesses or hurt any company that relies on temporary foreign workers. H-1 and H-2 applications allow businesses to hire temporary foreign workers, including restaurant workers, hotel workers, nurses, agricultural workers and various specialty employees.
SB 40 is making its way through the Public Safety committee and I will update you on its progress going forward.
4-H Day at the State Capitol
4-H students and organization leaders, including State 4-H President LaVonte Lovette, were welcomed to the Senate on Monday as the Senate presented a resolution declaring 4-H Day at the State Capitol. The resolution lists the accomplishments of Georgia 4-H members including 2010 winners of the Leadership in Action, Dean’s Awards, National Egg Preparation Demonstration Contest, National Poultry Judging, and National Compound Archery. The resolution also recognizes the State Leader, district presidents and 2010 National 4-H Conference delegates.
Senate resolution honors Ronald Reagan
The Senate adopted a resolution on Monday to recognize Ronald Reagan on the 100th anniversary of his birth on Feb. 6. The resolution states that the 40th president restored morale to citizens and to a post-Vietnam military. In addition, the former president restored national pride and faith in the American dream with his 1984 campaign slogan, “Prouder, stronger, better,” according to the resolution. A copy of the resolution will go to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, California.
I am honored to serve and represent the citizens of Northwest Georgia and the entire state as the Senate Transportation Chairman. As I work for you, please continue to contact me with your thoughts.
Sen. Jeff Mullis serves as Chairman of the Transportation Committee. He represents the 53rd Senate district which includes Chattooga, Dade, and Walker counties and portions of Catoosa County. He can be reached at his office in Atlanta at 404.656.0057 or by email at email@example.com.