Budget a top legislative priority in Atlanta; local concerns include mental health and marijuana

At the Toccoa/Stephens County Chamber of Commerce Pre-Legislative Coffee, held Jan. 9 at the Currahee Club, Senator John Wilkinson and Representative Chris Erwin spoke with more than 50 residents, county and city officials, and business leaders about the 2020 Georgia legislative session, which convened this past Monday, Jan. 13.

A top concern will be the Fiscal Year 2021 budget, given the spending cuts called for by Gov. Brian Kemp last fall, both Wilkinson and Erwin said. Kemp asked legislators to trim 4 percent from the fiscal year 2020 budget, which closes this June, and an additional 6 percent from the fiscal year 2021 budget - totaling close to $530 million in spending cuts.

Wilkinson and Erwin also fielded questions from the audience, and popular topics included mental health issues as well as uncertainty and apprehension about hemp and marijuana laws.

Wilkinson and Erwin both took time from their schedule following the event to chat with ConnectLocal.News, and we will kick off a series of state legislative articles with highlights from those interviews in Sunday's Take 10 newsletter.

ConnectLocal.News will follow up over the next week with a more -in-depth look at the mental health and hemp/marijuana issues, as well as several additional areas of potential legislation that local citizens brought up at the meeting.

We will also feature, on the website, a running overview of active bills of interest in the House and Senate during the next 40 legislative days, with highlights in morning newsletters.

ConnectLocal.News will also be planning a trip to Atlanta once during the legislative session to bring you action directly from under the Gold Dome.


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