Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Now that the final gavel has sounded and legislators are heading back to their respective districts, jobs and families, the bills passed during the 2013 session are traveling to the governor’s office for final approval, says senator Bill Heath.
Tuesday, April 9
Dear Editor: The Georgia General Assembly adjourned the first session of the 152nd biennial term on Thursday, March 28. Since this was the first term of a new biennial, any bill that did not pass both chambers is eligible for consideration during the second term in 2014. However, that does not mean that those bills will remain untouched until January. Throughout the year, study committees will meet to further review some of the most important issues at hand, while other bills will be revised into a better and more comprehensive form. Now that the final gavel has sounded and legislators are heading back to their respective districts, jobs and families, the bills passed during the 2013 session are traveling to the governor’s office for final…
Monday, March 25, 2013
In addition to producing a balanced budget, another hotly-debated area of focus this week was ethics reform, says Sen. Bill Heath (R-Bremen).
Monday, March 25
Dear Editor: As you’re well aware, one of the most important things the General Assembly does each session is pass a balanced state budget. In fact, it’s the General Assembly’s only constitutionally-mandated requirement, and for good reason. Passing a balanced budget is crucial for our state to maintain our high triple-A bond rating. A bond credit rating assesses the credit worthiness of a government or corporation. Just as a person with a high credit score is seen as financially sound and has an easier time obtaining loans and lower interest rates, a government with a high bond rating enjoys similar privileges. With only three legislative days left until Sine Die (the final day of session), the Georgia Senate passed the FY2014 Budget by a…
Sunday, March 3, 2013
With only three days left before the day 30 deadline, known as Crossover Day, we’ve now arrived at the critical juncture of the 2013 Legislative Session, Bill Heath reports, in this weekly letter to the editor.
Sunday, March 3
Dear Editor The pace under the Gold Dome is quickly gaining momentum as we move closer to day 30 – the last day a bill may travel to the opposite chamber for consideration. With only three days left before the day 30 deadline, known as Crossover Day, we’ve now arrived at the critical juncture of the 2013 Legislative Session. In order for legislation to remain on the table for consideration, before moving to the House all Senate bills must report out of their respective committees and pass their final litmus test– the Senate floor. This week, SB 197 passed favorably out of committee. This bill would ensure the confidentiality of information related to citizens who are issued weapons carry licenses. SB 197 would also prohibit the creation or…
Monday, February 25, 2013
Although there are only 18 days left in this legislative session, Sen. Bill Heath says there is still much work to be done.
Monday, February 25
Dear Editor: This week, the Georgia General Assembly completed its 22nd day of the 40-day Legislative Session. Although we only have 18 days left, there is still much work to be done. The beginning of the year is always a busy time for Georgia families. Many will begin the arduous process of filing annual tax returns and finding deductions to maximize every dollar. Now imagine this same process, but on a much larger level. Each year, the State of Georgia must carefully examine hundreds of pieces of legislation to determine the most effective use of taxpayer dollars. The process of drafting and revising a piece of legislation into its most effective form is often highly complex and requires a keen attention to detail. In fact, bills are …
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
In the 5 weeks since session began, we’ve only passed a handful of bills. However, this will pick up significantly as more bills are processed through the committees and make their way to the floor of the Senate for a vote by the full Senate.
Tuesday, February 19
Dear Editor, Our Gold Dome activities ended this week on Legislative Day 18 of the 2013 Legislative Session. This means we are only 12 legislative days away from Crossover Day, which is the last day for legislation to transfer to the opposite chamber for consideration. As we approach the halfway mark, we’re working hard to pass a balanced budget and work through the hundreds of bills being discussed in committees. Earlier this session, the Senate worked with the House to set an aggressive schedule for the first 29 days of the 40 day session. This calendar saves taxpayers money and helps legislators to more effectively plan their work at the State Capitol. With only 40 days to perform the fact-finding groundwork necessary to analyze …
Sunday, February 3, 2013
In his latest column, State Sen. Bill Heath, R-Bremen, highlights some of the ins and outs of income tax season and how many taxpayers can file returns at no cost.
Sunday, February 3
The General Assembly has now completed its third week since convening on Jan. 14. The Georgia Constitution allows the General Assembly to meet for up to 40 days each year. It also allows the General Assembly to adjourn at a later date if it so desires, so long as it doesn’t exceed the 40-day limit. So far, we have completed 9 of our 40 days. Ninety-one Senate bills have been introduced and three votes have taken place. It normally takes several legislative days before bills have made their way through the committees and to the floor for a vote. Since very little is happening legislatively, I will use this week’s newsletter to address an issue that has been requested. Hopefully I can lead you to some help dealing with something we all dread…
Sunday, January 27, 2013
In his latest column, State Sen. Bill Heath, R-Bremen, discusses state officials' look at state budget issues and his view on gun legislation.
Sunday, January 27
Budget Week: This week, the Georgia General Assembly recessed in order to allow the Senate and House Appropriations committees to review our current and anticipated expenses in an effort to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars. A few weeks ago, I mentioned in my column that this is a complicated process because we have to make sure all necessary state operations are properly funded without overspending. In addition to setting the framework for the FY 2014 budget, the FY 2013 amended budget must be revised to account for unexpected expenses and changes in anticipated revenue. At the start of each year, Governor Nathan Deal offers his budget recommendations during his “State of the State” address. These recommendations serve as a guide for …
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
A proposed Senate bill would ban lobbyists’ giving of gifts to any public official in Georgia. Tell us what you think of this bill from State Sens. Bill Heath and Bill Cowsert.
Georgia lawmakers have wasted little time this year pushing for limits on lobbyist gifts. As the General Assembly got under way last week, the state Senate set a $100 cap on lobbyist gifts to its members. Legislators’ first day also saw the filing of Senate Bill 36, which if passed would enact an even wider ban on lobbyist gifts. A copy of the legislation is attached to this article. The bill, which is sponsored by State Sen. Bill Heath, R-Bremen, and State Sen. Bill Cowsert, R-Athens, would prohibit any gift from a lobbyist to a public officer in the state. According to Heath, current state law defines a gift as something with a value in excess of $100. The Senate rule passed before SB 36’s filing is not without its loopholes. The Atlanta…
Monday, January 21, 2013
State Sen. Bill Heath, R-Bremen, gives his take on the opening days of the Georgia General Assembly.
Monday, January 21
Our nation's founders, having experienced the oppression of a king, set out to create a new form of government that would protect the lives and liberties of the citizens of this new nation. The creation of three distinct and separate branches of government were meant to create the necessary checks and balances to ensure that no one branch would be able to oppress the people as had been the case in England. Georgia's Constitution follows that same concept with a separate Article for each of the three branches of Government that defines the offices of each branch and their responsibilities. It is no surprise that leaders want to amass powers, always promising to never abuse them. It is up to the members of each branch to defend the powers …
Thursday, January 10, 2013
State Sen. Bill Heath, R-Bremen, gives his insight into the upcoming session.
Thursday, January 10
The 2013 Georgia legislative session will not only dictate the story for this year, but for the next several years to come. With several issues needing immediate attention and federal spending threatening to impact state operations, it is safe to say the work is clearly cut out for state legislators. One of the first issues the Georgia General Assembly will need to tackle during the legislative session will be the state budget. This is a pretty complicated process that takes a lot of time because we have to make sure all state operations are properly funded without overspending. And it’s not just one year’s budget to review—there are two. First, we will need to revise the Fiscal Year 2013 Budget. Like your household budget, the state has …