30 January 2017

Week Three Update from the Gold Dome

Rick Jeffares

Week 3 Update from the Gold Dome
By: Sen. Rick Jeffares (R-McDonough)

Another week has come and gone in the 2017 legislative session. Committees are beginning to meet to adopt their rules and hear the first pieces of legislation. We have now completed legislative day 8 and are only 20 days away from Crossover Day, which is the final day for a Senate Bill to be passed in the Senate before we begin hearing House Bills. The pace is picking up and I’m looking forward to what’s next.

We convened for a Joint Session of the Senate and House for the annual State of the Judiciary delivered by Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice P. Harris Hines. This informative address provides insight into what the judicial branch has accomplished in the past year, the problems it still faces and the steps needed to solve them.

Overall Chief Justice Hines’ message was that of hope. He reflected on the success our judiciary has had since the beginning of Georgia’s criminal justice reform measures put in place by Gov. Deal six years ago, and now other states are looking to emulate us as a result of our smart criminal justice policy. However, he noted that there are still areas for improvement. Primarily he focused on the opportunities technology can bring to our judicial systems and how upgrades in this field can help simplify the processes currently in place. The key to the future success of our courts is to make them more efficient and accessible by advancing the techonology available.

I filed my first piece of legislation for the 2017 session on Thursday. The bill will allow breweries to sell beer to drink at the brewery and to drink at home. The sales would be limited to 288 ounces per customer per day. By allowing brewers to sell directly to the consumer, it will allow them to foster relationships with the people who enjoy their product while also supporting their small business endeavors.

We had several visitors this week to the chamber, most notably Miss Georgia DeAnna Johnson. She is very involved in her community where she has served as a volunteer at local shelters for battered women and abused children. DeAnna is also a talented vocalist who appeared on NBC’s, “The Voice”, where she placed in the top ten. DeAnna continues to inspire others by supporting charities and promoting tourism in Georgia.

I was happy to see such a dedicated Georgian recognized in this capacity.
Representing Senate District 17 under the Gold Dome is a responsibility I do not take lightly. If you have any questions or concerns about pending legislation, please feel free to reach out to my office – my door is always open!

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