On Thursday, Feb. 27, a group of Stephens County delegates attended Stephens County Day at the State Capitol. Included in this venture were Stephens County Commissioners Michelle Ivester, Dennis Bell and James Addison, along with Development Authority Director Tim Martin, Chamber President Julie Paysen and members from the current Leadership class.
During their day at the Capitol, the members attended both the Senate Gallery & House Gallery. A representation from the group visited Senator John Wilkinson & Representative Chris Erwin for pictures on the Senate & House floor. They were able to speak with both Wilkinson and Erwin about current issues and discuss some current bills. Since it was Stephens County Day, both the Senate & the House read a resolution recognizing the community.
Throughout their day, members from the Stephens County group were able to visit with and hear from many key individuals. They were able to meet with the Chief Operating Officer of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, Bert Brantley, about key issues and how their department plays a key role in all counties. He discussed the recent recruitment of Niftco KTW, which was named “Deal of the Year” under Governor Deal’s leadership. He also discussed the Film Industry part of the Economic Development and how it heavily impacts us when movies are filmed in our town. Brantley went on to tell the group that we are doing a great job in recruiting new films. Most communities don’t see near as many movies as Stephens County has seen in the last few years.
“It was an incredibly successful day” said Commissioner Michelle Ivester. “Anytime we can put our faces down in front of our legislators and promote our community it is a Win. It is important that we stay connected with them throughout the year as they can be a huge asset when issues arise that effect our citizens. Both are wonderful to work with and are always ready to help when needed. It is important they hear from us when local bills will effect us. They want and value our opinion. We really appreciate the hospitality of both Senator Wilkinson and Representative Erwin.”
The Georgia General Assembly has completed the 20th day of their 40-day legislative session. A 'legislative day' is a day that the legislature meets in session to vote on bills and resolutions - the legislature does not meet every day as a whole body, some days are set aside for committee hearings and business, and are not counted as "legislative days." Typically, the 28th legislative day is designated "Crossover Day." This day is typically one of the busiest days of the legislative session, as this is the last day that any bill can be passed via floor vote in one chamber and passed on to the next chamber. This year, Thursday, March 7, has been set as the pivotal "Crossover Day." Since 2020 is the second year of the two-year general assembly, any bill that has not passed a floor vote in one chamber, and been passed to the other chamber by March 7, will die and would have to be re-written and re-submitted in 2021.
ConnectLocal.News, on Monday, March 2, will publish a review of legislation introduced and acted on in the state House and Senate so far, and highlight bills that may receive last-minute attention on Crossover Day. Although the review will not cover all legislation (more than 1,500 bills and resolutions have been introduced in this year's legislative session) the report will focus on any legislation of local interest or topics of importance such as those dealing with firearms, education, healthcare and agriculture.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Thank you to Commissioner Michelle Ivester for contributing to this report with her recount of the Stephens County delegation's visit to the state capitol and the Georgia Legislature, and the accompanying photos.