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Canton, GA 30114
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What Does a State Representative Do When the Legislature is Not in Session?

Written by Representative Wesley Cantrell

I get asked this question a lot. First, let me remind you that being a state representative is a part-time job. With a salary of just over $17,000, almost every representative must have a full-time job in addition to their public service. Consequently, when the legislature is not in session, I am focused on fulfilling my duties as the young adult pastor at Woodstock Baptist.

How Does a Bill Become Law in the Georgia Legislature?

Written by Representative Wesley Cantrell

The process of how a bill becomes a law is both simple and complex, and it can be very political. It begins with an idea. The idea can come from a variety of sources (the legislator, a constituent, an industry representative, a lobbyist or even a relative). In my three sessions, I’ve passed four bills, all with different sources. As long as the idea is one that I believe in, I’m not concerned about its source.

The Art of Reconsideration

Written by Representative Wesley Cantrell

I used to play a lot of golf. One of the traditions my friends and I shared on the first tee was the so-called “mulligan.” A “mulligan” is the opportunity to redo your tee shot if you’re displeased with your first effort. As children, we called it a “do over.” When I was elected Ga State Representative, I was unaware that the House of Representatives also has “mulligans,” called “reconsideration.”

The Positive Side of Compromise — Firefighter Edition

Written by Representative Wesley Cantrell

Compromise is a complicated word. When it comes to religious beliefs, honesty or core values, compromise has a negative connotation. It indicates that a person lacks courage, backbone or resolve. However, when it comes to building a consensus to move forward towards a solution, compromise can be very positive. Such is the case with House Bill 146 — this year’s version of the Firefighter Bill.

House Committees

Written by Representative Mandi L. Ballinger

Committee work is some of the most important work that gets done in the House, yet many are unfamiliar with the process and how it impacts the legislation that gets passed to become law in Georgia. Most work on legislation occurs in committee hearings, not during the debate on the House floor.

What Does a State Representative Do?

As a Georgia State Representative, one is presented with the opportunity to do many things. The bill I carried that added strangulation to the aggravated assault statute has saved many lives in Georgia. By carrying meaningful legislation, one can have a tremendous impact on the lives of fellow Georgians.

Would Casino & Horse Race Gambling Be Good for Georgia? Don’t Bet On It!

Written by Representative Wesley Cantrell

Last year, there was a bold move at the Capitol to bring casinos and pari-mutuel betting to Georgia. Here are 5 reasons you should be opposed to this:

Economic Impact: An Emory Law School study shows that every year, each slot machine costs the state economy one job. Additionally, according to a University of New Orleans study of their own city, non-gambling businesses shun areas with gambling facilities. The socio-economic costs of legalized gambling are well-established at well-over $3 in costs for every $1 in new revenue. Casinos cannibalize the local economy. Georgia has worked hard to become the best state in the country in which to do business; why throw that away?

Constitutional Amendments on November's Ballot

Written by Representative Mandi L. Ballinger

There’s a lot of talk right now about the ballot next month. This article is about neither Trump nor Hillary!  Rather, it’s about something that might not be getting the same attention in the media — one of the four Constitutional amendments on the ballot. That’s right; there are four. Some of you may have heard about one or the other, but you likely haven’t heard about all of them. Here is a very brief introduction to one of the amendments:

Help End the Cycle of Domestic Violence: Support the CFVC

Written by Representative Mandi L. Ballinger

There are many great community organizations that serve Cherokee County. The Cherokee County Family Violence Center (CFVC) is one such organization. Over the last twenty years, the organization has experienced much growth, allowing it to have a much bigger impact on the community.

Problems with the IRS?

Written by Representative Mandi L. Ballinger

Many constituents have contacted me about delays and problems they are experiencing with Georgia’s Department of Revenue.

Senate Bill 193: Closing the Loophole for Repeat Offenders of Domestic Violence

Written by Representative Mandi L. Ballinger

As a member of the Georgia House of Representatives, I vote on and consider hundreds of bills, many of which are arcane and obscure, but from time-to-time, I have the opportunity to work on something about which I feel passionate. One of my greatest passions is helping prevent and protect victims of domestic violence. I have worked with victim advocates and prosecutors on these matters throughout my tenure in the legislature. This was the reason that I agreed to carry Senate Bill 193 in the House. Senate Bill 193 closes the loophole for repeat offenders who commit acts of family violence. Under Senate Bill 193, any prior offense of family violence, or prior offense that is more serious that was committed against a family member, triggers the same repeat offender punishment and allows for these cases to be prosecuted as a felony.

Community Engagement: Your Input Matters

Written by Representative Mandi L. Ballinger

As it is for many of you, December is a hectic month around my house, because along with getting ready for the holidays and relatives, I’m also preparing to return to the legislature. Once I’m done putting away Christmas decorations, I’ll start looking at policy briefs and pre-filed legislation. Our state has a 40 day legislative session that starts in January, during which time those fortunate enough to serve take time away from their families and businesses to debate policy, set budgets, and address local concerns. Georgia has a citizen legislature; that means that everyone serving also has a private-sector job they return to after the session. This type of legislative body helps ensure that those governing understand what their actions do to the people they govern.

A History of Giving Thanks

Written by Representative Mandi L. Ballinger

Fall is upon us. That means that pumpkin spice has returned, college football is back and Thanksgiving is around the corner. I know that in my house, Thanksgiving can sometimes get overshadowed with visiting relatives, cooking a turkey and eating too much. However, the roots of our modern day holiday are much simpler. Since the founding of our nation, we have come together to share in various moments of thanksgiving. Whether it was the prosperity of the Pilgrims or Washington’s victory over the British, the tradition of sharing in our bounty was celebrated and remained a fixture throughout our early history and remains so today. Our nation’s founders, including George Washington, John Adams, John Hancock and John Jay, all took special care to ensure that the nation set aside a day to give thanks for all that we enjoyed.

Welfare Fraud Study Committee

Written by Representative Mandi L. Ballinger

Study committees are an integral part of the work of the legislature in the state of Georgia. As part of my continuing work as a legislator, I have been appointed to a study committee tasked with investigating welfare fraud.

Child Fatality Review Panel

Written by Representative Mandi L. Ballinger

This past spring, I was appointed by Speaker Ralston to the Child Fatality Review Panel. I would like to take this opportunity to acquaint readers to this crucial team, and the important work they do to make Georgia safe.

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