On Monday December 14 State Senator John Alber’s spoke to our club about the events of 2020 as a result of COVID-19 and also about upcoming legislative events to look for in 2021.
He started by telling us about the things that he believes in. Such as, limited government, fiscal responsibility, work fair not welfare, working harder and complaining less and several others.
January of 2020 started very normally as far as the Legislature is concerned. Then on March 13 the legislature was suspended except for coming back a few weeks for an emergency session to grant the Governor powers to make some decisions unilaterally to keep Georgia safe. It is easy to think of the the duties of our legislators as just passing laws, while overlooking their many other duties. One such duty is titled Constituent Services. This is when the general population calls their Senator for help with some need. Historically the number of these calls is about 25 calls per day. Last March these calls jumped to 1200 calls per day.
Last March these calls jumped to 1200 calls per day.
One can only try to imagine handling so many issues with a limited staff. The majority of these were about requirements of special needs people and senior citizens. The number of these calls has now reduced to about 125 calls per day.
The Legislature resumed session in mid June. The first thing they did was to cut pay the of legislators and find a way to shrink the state budget by 10% or $350 Million. Federal Care Act money helped offset this budget decrease. The state of Georgia has done better than most states and Senator Alber’s gives much credit to our Governor Brian Kemp for making this happen. At its worst point in time the Georgia unemployment rate was 12.6%. Now it is down to 4.5%.
For 2021 we can look for legislation for improvements to the state’s 911 system by updating technology. Also look for legislation for tax reform for senior citizens to get reduction in the school tax portion of their property taxes.
On January 11, 2021 legislative session will resume again.