Legislative Bills You Might Not Know About

The Georgia General Assembly meets for forty days, during which there are many bills that are passed. While the media usually focuses on one or two key pieces of legislation, I would like to bring a few bills to your attention that you might not have heard of before now.

The first is HB 233, the Georgia Uniform Forfeiture Procedure Act that was carried by Rep. Alex Atwood. This bill represents hundreds of hours of consensus building with law enforcement and prosecutors across the state. Rep. Atwood worked tirelessly to achieve a bill that increases transparency and oversight in the civil forfeiture process by strengthening the mandatory reporting requirements of all law enforcement agencies, standardizes civil forfeiture procedures statewide, and collects the disparate provisions into one uniform procedure to be followed for almost all civil forfeitures.

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1564 Hits

Steps Needed to Pass Legislation

Now that the 2015 Legislative Session is over, many ask me what I accomplished this year. I am proud to say that I successfully carried three pieces of general legislation and two pieces of local legislation.

In the Legislature, the first person that signs on to legislation “carries” the Legislation. What exactly does this mean? It means that the legislator begins the process by first meeting with Legislative Counsel. These are the attorneys that draft legislation. Often these meetings are quite lengthy as the policy that a legislator is trying to affect gets translated into a proposed statute.

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1497 Hits

Working with Your Legislator

When I began chatting with folks about running for the newly created House District 23, many urged me to stay in Cherokee County. They felt it very important that I remain connected to the district that I was to represent. To that end, I commute to Atlanta when the Legislature is in session. During the chaos that is Session for the General Assembly, I am often buried under a hail of emails, phone calls, and meeting request by voters from across the state hoping to influence our votes on one issue or another. During the next three months we’ll have an endless series of committee meetings and we will debate hundreds of bills. In all of this madness it is easy for legislators to lose track of an issue or to miss an email, as mailboxes are flooded by form letters and automated emails. And while there is nothing wrong with these forms of communication, they can be supplemented to be more effective.

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1544 Hits

Preparing for Budget Week

As I prepare for the upcoming session and things start to warm up under the Gold Dome, we inch ever closer toward "budget week." This is the period during the legislative session, after Governor Deal makes his budget address, when the heads of various state agencies present their budget requests to the House Budget Committee. To most people, this marks the start of the budgetary process, but that view is somewhat simplistic.

It's important to view our budget as a cycle, not a linear progression. While the majority of our legislative oversight and approval of the budget takes place within our 40-day session, it is actually a year-round process for state agencies.

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1652 Hits

Wisdom, Justice, and Moderation

I've been asked about the implications of the November elections — resounding victories for Republicans across the nation, especially for us here in Georgia. Voters in Georgia re-elected Governor Deal along with every other Republican constitutional officer. Additionally, the GOP retained its majority in both chambers of the General Assembly.

These results can be viewed as a mandate from the people of our state to continue with the same types of reforms that we've seen in the last four years.

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1720 Hits

Georgia Commission on Family Violence Aims to End Abuse

With all the recent attention that the NFL Abuse Scandal has brought to domestic abuse and family violence, I wanted to examine how our state handles the issue.

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1684 Hits

HB 911 Will Make Georgians Safer

There are many beginnings to legislation. Some don't begin under the Gold Dome, but rather in a courtroom. This past session, I carried House Bill 911.

HB 911 serves to strengthen and clarify strangulation prosecution under the aggravated assault statute. Some detractors might protest the over-criminalization of society, saying there are more than enough laws to govern our behavior, and that more are not needed to make us a more-just society. But, it was essential for our state to make this statement to abusers and bullies alike: This behavior will not be tolerated, and we recognize the seriousness of the offense.

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1658 Hits

Transportation Solutions to Move Georgia into the Future

One of the most pressing issues we face in Cherokee County is traffic. Widening projects and road improvements are certainly part of the solution, but how would we pay for such projects? To assist in answering this question, the State Legislature passed legislation creating the Joint Study Committee on Critical Transportation Infrastructure Funding.

The Committee is comprised of members of the State Legislature, the director of the Metro Atlanta Chamber, the Association County Commissioners of Georgia, and the Georgia Municipal Association. In the first meeting, Georgia Dept. of Transportation (GDOT) Commissioner Keith Golden outlined some of the challenges and opportunities before us as we work to improve Georgia's transportation system.

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1576 Hits

New Blog Posts

Starting in September, there will be new blog posts for State Representative Mandi L. Ballinger.

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1713 Hits