Rep. Rick Jasperse

It’s getting busy under the Gold Dome in Atlanta, and the pace of the session is picking up.

Our committees are working now hearing possible bills and improving them, if needed, before passing them on to the Rules Committee. It does take a while for everything to get organized, as it's a new session.

New chairmen, like me from higher ed to K-12 education, and moving offices and all that take time to get going. I always talk a lot how important the committee process is. Bills can be presented by any member and are assigned to a committee by Speaker Ralston. It’s then up to the committee chairmen to review the bills, seek advice from many to see what the effects may be to the current way we may be doing something.

I will have to say there are no shortages of opinions on just about any subject. A chairman may then assign a bill to a subcommittee to be reviewed by the members to vote it out, or to hold the bill. When I say hold the bill, it could mean held forever (meaning it is dead) or until more information is learned about the bill, which happens a lot.

After the subcommittee votes out a bill, the chairman can then place it on the agenda to be heard by the full committee. SO you see a lot of responsibility is placed in the hands of the committee and the chairman of the committee. This makes a tough road to get a bill passed, just to get ready for its consideration by the House Rules Committee, not to mention the Senate’s same process for that bill.

Appropriations subcommittees have been busy during the last couple of weeks, meeting and figuring out what is important for us to spend money on.  All that work ended on the amended budget on Friday morning when the full House voted on the amended budget for the rest of 2019.

The House version of the amended 2019 budget prioritizes areas like improving mental health services for high school students, supporting our growing foster program, and supporting safety and well-being through new school security grants of $30,000 for each of the 2,314 school facilities.

A critical item in the House 2019 budget includes an additional $10 million for emergency disaster relief to aid our farmers in Southwest Georgia who were devastated by Hurricane Michael last October.

Another key budgetary item, and a top priority for Gov. Kemp and the House, is education funding to benefit Georgia’s most precious assets, the children. After considering K-12 educational needs throughout Georgia, the 2019 budget allocates 55 percent of the total new funds to be dispersed throughout different agencies to accommodate our state’s educational needs.

Now the House will take up the 2020 budget with Appropriations Committees meetings. I will be very glad to send you the details of the entire amended budget if you would want them. 

We had a few Youth Pages this week and lots of visits from a number of folks from home. Please do let me know if you are coming, so we can find one another in the busy Capitol.

As always, I greatly appreciate any feedback I receive from my constituents, and I welcome you to contact my office for questions or concerns about the legislative session before we adjourn on April 2. My Capitol office number is 404-656-7153, and my email address is rick.jasperse@house.ga.gov. Please contact me anytime.

As always, thank you for allowing me to serve as your state representative.