The 2011 General Assembly completed its sixteenth legislative day this week.  I wanted to take a chance to update you on the news items going in the Senate.

Senate Approves Winter Storm Response Plan

Senate Resolution 30 and 31 were unanimously approved by the full Senate in a bipartisan vote.  They 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. 

Illegal Immigration Bill Introduced

In 2006 I helped the Georgia General Assembly pass what were, at that time, the strongest illegal immigration enforcement laws in the nation.  In the years following, our state has dealt with continued problems and it is clear law enforcement needs more resources to combat this growing and prevalent issue.  During my campaign last fall I made a promise to my constituents that I would fight to ensure Georgia can effectively enforce illegal immigration laws and protect our legal state residents.

The immigration reform bill I have authored (Senate Bill 104; introduced this week) is designed to make sure all options are on the table as we go forward with working on comprehensive reform legislation.  I believe every proposal from all sides of the issue need to be thoroughly discussed and vetted as the process moves along.  This is a process that requires careful consideration of a wide variety of strategies of enforcement, for the specific problems we are dealing with in Georgia may be different from other states.  The people of Georgia deserves a measure that most appropriately deals with our most pressing needs while not harming legal residents or negatively affecting businesses in the state.  I am looking forward to working with my legislative colleagues this session to provide the right solution for all Georgians.

 

Widespread Panic honored

As chairman of the Senate Music Industry Committee, it was a true honor to welcome Widespread Panic to the Senate chamber this week. Nationally renowned for their powerful live performances, Widespread Panic has sold out venues from coast to coast in record numbers.  The Senate honored the band that got its start 25 years ago in Athens, Georgia.  A member of the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, Widespread Panic has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to support high school music programs across the State of Georgia with the purchase of instruments and computer music labs through their charity, Tunes for Tots, A Benefit for the Arts.  They have also generously contributed time, effort, and art to charities benefitting local food banks through Panic Fans for Food, which has collected over 15 tons of food in 28 cities for the Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur, and the Make It Right Foundation of New Orleans for post-Katrina recovery efforts.

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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 jeff.mullis@senate.ga.gov.