Friday, March 3, 2017

This Week in Your Capitol | 27 Feb – 03 March 2017

As you read this, we are in the midst of Crossover day here at the capitol. Crossover Day (today, March 3rd) is the last day that a bill starting in the House can pass out of the House or a bill starting in the Senate can pass out of the Senate. That makes this arguably the busiest day in the House of Representatives for the entire legislative session: we’ll likely consider in the range of 75 pieces of legislation today alone before we gavel out for the weekend.

At the beginning of the legislative session, I told you that one of my priorities was to expand our safe haven laws in Georgia. These laws govern where and when a mother is able to surrender her child to the state if she chooses not to keep them after their birth. Ensuring they have these options is a tremendous tool in the pro-life effort, and ensures that we don’t create felons out of mothers who chose life over the alternative. Rep. David Clark passed out of the house today HB 391 which contained all of the language I drafted early in the session. Among other provisions, it allows mothers to surrender their children in fire and police stations in addition to hospitals, protects their privacy and anonymity, and extends the window in which they can do so from 7 days to 30 days which is in line with sister states. This was a big win for Georgia.

We also passed Campus Carry again in HB 280 carried by my fellow Cherokee County delegation member Mandi Ballinger. This was passed last year as well, but Governor Deal vetoed the measure claiming it was in response to a lack of exemptions for pre-k centers on campuses. This legislation accounts for that exemption, and the House is now sending the measure back to the Governor’s desk.

In addition, the House put forth a ‘Flat Tax’ in Georgia. With HB 329 we eliminated the six brackets in Georgia’s income tax and flattened them to a single 5.4% bracket. I have long been an advocate for a Fair Tax/Consumption tax based system in Georgia; but until we can achieve that goal, I will very happily take a fairer, flatter, simpler tax structure. Simple tax systems are good for business and good for Georgians.

Once we’re finally finished with Crossover Day sometime late tonight, the House of Representatives will remain out of session until Monday (06MAR) morning at 10:00am. The House will be out of session Tuesday and Wednesday (though the members have been directed to plan to be here at the Capitol for committee days as we begin to consider Senate bills). Then we are back in session both Thursday and Friday.

Don’t forget that you can track my votes via my legislative tracker and on Twitter. You can also keep up with other legislative updates by following me on Facebook or my website.

Let me know if I can be of service to you- Please don’t ever hesitate to call. Thank you for allowing me to represent our families.

Go make it an Outstanding weekend!

Representative Michael Caldwell
20th District | House of Representatives
152nd, 153rd & 154th General Assemblies
State of Georgia