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Greg Kirk: Transition time

Another week has flown by here under the Gold Dome, leaving us with only eight legislative days left to move legislation through both chambers and onto the Governor’s desk. This week was a transition phase for both the House and the Senate. After Crossover Day last week, the Senate began looking only at House bills, staying busy with two days dedicated solely to committee meetings to get bills moving through the Senate.
On Monday we passed one of the most important pieces of legislation we will see all session. The amended Fiscal Year 2018 budget, or House Bill 683, passed the Senate chamber and is now on its way to be signed into law. The budget is one of our only mandatory responsibilities as state legislators, where we ensure that we are appropriately allocating every penny in our budget. There are many aspects of this budget that I look forward to seeing through once the money is provided to certain agencies. Specifically, our health, education and court systems will be receiving funding that I anticipate will allow major improvements to lacking areas. Our budget outlines in great detail where your taxpayer dollars are going and I applaud the leadership of the General Assembly for distributing it to the areas that need it most.
Another piece of legislation that passed the Senate Floor this week was House Bill 135. This bill would allow certain law enforcement officers to receive credible service through the Employees’ Retirement System. The bill would also clarify the list of qualifying law enforcement officers, including the addition of the Department of Driver Services investigators and criminal
investigators or K9 handlers with the Department of Corrections. Any assistance to law enforcement across our state is a step in the right direction in ensuring that these agencies and officers are receiving the proper compensation and benefits that they deserve. In addition, the three bills I sponsored from the COPS Task Force were heard in committee this week. This means they are one step closer to being signed into law after they hopefully pass the House Chamber soon. I will continue to keep you updated as these bills move through the legislature.
This week we had several special guests visit the Capitol, one being U.S. Army Ranger Daniel Boatwright. Ranger Boatwright served during the Korean War as a member of the 2nd Airborne Infantry Ranger Company. He is one of the only members of this Company still living and we were so honored to have him speak in the Senate Chamber and recognize him for his service to our country.
In addition to his visit, members of our community also stopped by the Capitol. With only eight legislative days left in this session, I encourage anyone over the age of 12 who is interested in our legislative process to serve as a page, or if you find yourself near the Capitol and would like to visit, please feel free to stop by my office. If you can’t make it to the Capitol and ever have any questions or concerns, please call my office at (404)-463-5258. Our final days of the 2018 session are near and I will continue working my hardest to pass legislation that will serve you best.

Sen. Greg Kirk. R-Americus, serves as chairman of the State and Local Governmental Operations Committee. He represents the 13th Senate District which includes Crisp, Dooly, Lee, Tift, Turner, and Worth counties, and portions of Sumter and Wilcox counties. He may be reached at 229.854.9706 or by email at greg.kirk@senate.ga.gov.