A Quick Start to the Legislative Session

An hour and a half. “Quick and painless.” That’s all it took to kick off the Georgia Legislative session today in Atlanta. By noon today, only empty seats filled the chamber. Instead, legislators continue their work in their offices, ready for tomorrow.

Even though today’s session was short, the legislators say there is a lot to do. “What used to be Gainesville State College, which is now North Georgia College, is in line for a new building, on it’s Watkinsville campus, if we can get funding for that. The University of Georgia has a budget request for a learning center,” says Athens Senator, Bill Cowsert. Representative Terry Rogers is also concerned about economic development. “[We will] try to do more in the way of economic development and try to bring jobs to north Georgia.” He emphasized that this issue is extremely important for his district.

The Senator also says that these sessions can be very unpredictable. “You just never know what’s going to come up this early in the session, it’s interesting, it’s a fascinating process. I’m excited always, it’s like the first day of school,” says Senator Cowsert.

A proposed gun bill, that could allow guns on college campuses, and in churches and bars, but was never passed, could get a second chance. “It’s a strong second amendment bill, it’ll be one of the strongest second amendment bill that we have ever had. The questions that seem to be coming up right now are campus carry, whether guns can be carried on campuses and also in churches…and hopefully we will be able to work through that and put out a gun bill that the people of Georgia are happy with,” says Rep. Rogers.

The representatives say that is a normal amount of time for the first day of legislation. Senators did look at a two page long list of bills that were not passed last session, and will send them back to the committees. They also say that the real work will start on Wednesday, when the Governor is set to give his State of the State address.

Savannah Levins and Alexa Knowles reporting.

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