Americus Times-Recorder, Americus, Georgia

Local Columnists

February 9, 2013

Weekly Report To The People Representative Mike Cheokas, District 138

AMERICUS — Friday, February 8, 2013

Monday February 4, 2013 was Legislative Day 10 of the 2013 Regular Session of The Georgia  General Assembly.  Now that Committee Assignments have been made, each of the 38 House Committees are meeting and reviewing Legislation.  It is the responsibility of the Author of the Bill to request a hearing from the Committee Chair that the Bill has been assigned to by the Speaker.  At the hearing, if the hearing request is granted by the Committee Chair, the Representative must present his Bill for approval.  At the Hearings, which are streamed on the internet and open to the public, he presents his case.  The Representative can call on support from the audience in the form of expert testimony.  The Committee Members are then allowed to ask questions.  Each member takes their responsibility very seriously.  The questions can be grueling and the fate of your Bill lies in the hands of the Committee Members.  The Committee can table the Bill; vote down the Bill; amended by Committee substitute the Bill; or pass it out as “Do Pass”.  If it receives a “Do Pass” or ”Do Pass by Committee Substitute”, the Author then requests a hearing in the Rules Committee chaired by Representative John Meadows, District 5, and the process starts again.

The Bill must pass out of the Rules Committee before it can be placed on the Debate Calendar and voted on in the House of Representatives.  Here is where you need 91 friends.  There are 180 members of the Georgia House of Representatives and to pass a Bill, it must receive 91 votes – a simple majority, before it can move to the Senate where the process will start again.  If it reaches the Senate, the Author must then find a Senator to carry your Legislation in the Senate and present it on the Senate floor for a vote after successfully going through the Senate Committee Process.  If the Bill is then passed in the Senate with no changes, the Bill then goes to the Governor to be reviewed.  The Governor can then veto the Bill or sign it into Law.  This process becomes more complicated if changes are made or opposition develops.

Monday was 4-H Day at the Capitol.  I had as my guest Chesley Davis, the 4-H Agent with the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension for Muscogee and Chattahoochee Counties.  She brought along 3 outstanding students:

    •    Adam Lewis – Sophomore at Jordan Vocational High School

“I’ve been in 4-H for about 7 years.  I attend just about everything in 4-H.  I’m a band geek and I play soccer.

    •    Omar Webb – sophomore at Columbus Liberal Arts Academy.  Member of 4-H for the past 3 years.  Member of the Marching Band and FBLA.

    •    Garrett Taylor – Senior at Chattahoochee County High School

“I am a first year member of the 4-H and the President of the Chattahoochee County High School 4-H.  I am also a member of the JROTC program.

    Dave Wills, Government Relations Manager for the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG) stopped by my office to brief me on the success of their “Capitol Connection Conference”.  This year’s conference was titled “Connecting the Courthouse to the Statehouse”.  This program is part of the Continuing Education the ACCG provides to our County Commissioners.  In attendance from our area were:

    •    Randy Howard, Chair, Sumter County Board of Commissioners

    •    George Torbet, Sumter County Commissioner

    •    Andrea Brooks, Sumter County Commissioner

    •    Clay Jones, Sumter County Commissioner

    •    Stephen Young, Marion County Commissioner

    •    J. William Twomey, Sumter County Administrator

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