First lady Marty Kemp announced a new initiative Tuesday aimed at combating human trafficking in the state. Speaking in the governor’s office, Kemp announced the creation of the Georgians for Refuge, Action, Compassion and Education, or GRACE Commission. The commission will be chaired by the first lady along with GBI Director Vic Reynolds and Speaker Pro-Tempore Jan Jones. Kemp spoke about her time traveling the state on the campaign trail and hearing about Georgians’ concerns. “One of the issues that struck closest to home for us was the rate of human trafficking in Georgia,” said Kemp. “At stops across the state, moms would tell me about their concerns about their children’s safety. They were truly worried that they could be in harm’s way. And I heard this from people of all walks of life.” In 2017, there were 276 human trafficking cases reported in Georgia, according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. Nineteen percent of these cases involved minors. Last week,...READ MORE
Education: HB 31 includes a $2,775 pay raise for certified teachers and certified personnel, including counselors, social workers, psychologists, special education specialists, speech and language pathologists, media specialists and technology specialists. The pay raise maintains one state salary schedule for certified teachers and certified employees, as stated in Georgia Code. The $2,775 pay raise is reflected in all Department of Education programs where funds for certified teachers and certified employees are earned on the state salary schedule, including $483 million for the Quality Basic Education (QBE) Program and $6 million for programs outside of QBE, including Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Supports (GNETS), Preschool Disabilities Services, Residential Treatment Facilities, and State Schools. HB 31 also includes $2.8 million to provide bus drivers, lunch room workers, and school nurses a 2% pay raise. The House version of HB 31 restores funding for school nurses. Also, $500,000 is appropriated as grants to schools for feminine hygiene products for low-income students under...READ MORE

Week 3 Update

January 30, 2019

The Georgia House met officially through Wednesday this week, although legislators will continue researching and writing legislation on local and statewide issues through the weekend.  Over 90 bills have been introduced and read on the House floor for the first time. Committees have begun meeting and hearing legislation.
The Georgia House and Senate held joint budget hearings this week to review Governor Kemp’s proposed budget and hear from agency heads.  A few highlights:  the state continues to experience strong job growth, rising wages and low unemployment. The graduation rate is highest in history at 81.6%.  About 33,000 students are participating in dual college enrollment while in high school. Major budget priorities of the Governor:  $69 million in school security grants, $3000 permanent yearly raise for every teacher, 2% raise for all other state employees, additional $8.4 million in mental health funding for professionals to work in high schools.  

Week 1 Update

January 22, 2019

Last week marked the introduction of the 2019 Legislative session of the Georgia General Assembly. On the opening day of session, Governor Brian Kemp was sworn in as the 83rd Governor of the State of Georgia. I would like to express my gratitude to my colleagues in the Georgia House of Representatives for re-electing me as the Speaker Pro Tempore of the House. I’m honored to be able to use this position to serve all of the people of the great state of Georgia.  Speaker David Ralston was also re-elected to serve in the same capacity and will continue to do a phenomenal job as the leader of the Georgia House.
Republicans have made a real difference for families.  We’ve made progress, and we’re going to do much more.  1. Put more money in people’s pockets by encouraging job creation and higher wages   Georgia earned national distinction as best place to do business for five years running (Site Selection Magazine). New business and small business creation, expansion by existing businesses, and strong relocation growth to create and provide jobs. More Georgians working today and wages growing faster than national average. Passed legislation cutting state personal and corporate income tax rates from 6% to 5.75% in 2019 and 5.5% in 2020.  Provided first state income tax reduction since implemented in 1934. Invested in infrastructure to fuel a more prosperous future: ◦       Atlanta airport ranked first worldwide in passenger volume since 2000 and continues expanding. ◦       Committed funding to deepen Savannah port, ranked fourth nationally by container volume.  Began deepening 39 miles of Savannah River from 42 to 47 feet with completion...READ MORE
Jones highlights tax breaks in homestead exemption referendums Joe Parker Oct 15, 2018 MILTON, Ga. — Milton state Rep. Jan Jones outlined three homestead exemption referendums on the Nov. 6 general election ballot at the City Council’s Oct. 8 meeting. Following outcry over a sharp increase in assessed home values over the past three years, legislation passed in March will allow Milton residents to vote on a law that will cap future increases on homesteaded property values at 3 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower. The legislation also rolls back the values on homes to the lowest level over the past three years. If passed, homeowners would need to apply for the exemption by April 1, 2019. Residents who already receive the exemption would not need to reapply, Jones said. Homeowners who purchase a Milton home prior to Jan. 1 can still apply for the exemption. Homes sold after Dec. 31 will be subjected to the prior...READ MORE
OpEd: Amico Should Apologize After #MeToo Misstep Marietta Daily Journal October 14, 2018 Recently, Democrat Lt. Governor nominee Sarah Riggs Amico made a disturbing comment during a campaign event that has sexual assault victims and advocates up in arms. During a speech in Ellijay, Amico suggested that Republican businessman, husband, and father of three, Brian Kemp, “might not make it four years” in the #MeToo era. She insinuated that Kemp – who is a longtime supporter of victims’ rights organizations – will eventually leave office in disgrace. Sadly, what some call a gaffe is clearly a campaign strategy. Abrams and Amico cannot win on the issues. Their agenda is simply too extreme. So instead, they have decided to plant seeds of doubt and destroy the character of a man with unquestioned integrity. This suggestion is clearly out of left field but so is their ideology. As a woman and mother of two daughters and two sons, I am ashamed of...READ MORE
BY JAN JONES Special to the Ledger-Enquirer  October 01, 2018 04:57 PM After 17 students were gunned down at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., hardworking Georgians demanded further action. During the previous legislative session, state lawmakers allocated $16 million for local schools to secure their facilities. We pledged our strong, steadfast commitment to protecting students. We promised to do our part moving forward. Recently, I was proud to stand with businessman Brian Kemp as he announced a comprehensive plan for school security in Georgia. As a mother of four children, this issue strikes close to home. Every parent’s top priority is the safety of their children when they are in another’s care. As a husband and father of three teenage daughters, Brian understands this concern firsthand. During his time in the State Senate, Kemp chaired the Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee and led the bipartisan effort on courthouse security reform. As Secretary of State, Kemp oversees the...READ MORE
Over the next few weeks, I’d like to highlight a few new local leaders from around the state. Georgia’s District 15 lost a great state representative when Paul Battles retired, but Bartow County has already chosen their replacement in Republican Matthew Gambill, who won the primary in May. While the rest of the state may not yet know his name, he comes from a family that has served our state for decades and I have no doubt that that Matthew will make his mark at the Capitol. Matthew is a community leader who has directed the Georgia Association for Career & Technical Education for over a decade. He will bring that experience in education to Atlanta, as our state continues to find new ways to prepare students for the workforce. He is a member of Cartersville-Bartow County Chamber of Commerce and works with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Bartow County (among many other community organizations). He is married and...READ MORE