Legislative Session Week 3
The busy schedule continued this week at the capitol. House Bill 697 was heard in the Agriculture and Consumer Affairs committee. HB 697 is the bill I introduced protecting Georgia Consumers from unscrupulous vendors. If passed and signed into law, a person would have to actual assent to a purchase before being responsible for the payment. Under the current law too many people have been subject to the free trial and then write cancel on the invoice if you decide you don’t want to buy it. Many times and especially with our seniors, they are being stuck with something they did not want and having to pay for it. This bill passed out of committee unanimously and is now in rules where we hope to get it on the floor in the next few weeks. After the committee meeting several other members of the house where asking about doing something about auto renewals as well. In this age of telemarketing and electronic media, we all need to watch what we are agreeing to do, but at the same time, we need to go after those who take advantage of our citizens.
The most active committee I serve on has been the retirement committee. We have already held hearings on 5 different bills. From The State employee retirement system (ERS) to the policemen’s retirement, judicial retirements have all been before the committee. These are also some of the most complex issues we often study. When you look at retirement issues state wide there are a lot of people involved and the dollar amounts compound very quickly. A 3% cola for the ERS quickly grows to over $300 million dollars annually. We spend long hours reading not only the legislation but also the fiscal note as well. The fiscal note is the detailed report we receive on every bill that affects revenue or expenditures in the state. So far we have not acted on any bills that would affect our long term budget needs.
The small business development committee continues to work on removing red tape from business in Georgia. We held hearings to learn directly from businessmen and businesswomen what issues they are facing and look for ways to improve them. The red tape watch as it is known has produced some of the best legislation to help business in Georgia. As part of this committee, I am the Chairman of The Unemployment Insurance Subcommittee. We will be addressing some of the issues employers have had with unemployment claims. Once we finishing hearing from employers, we will look at the current law and see if there is any changes that need to be made.
Next week’s schedule is already filled up with committee meetings and working bills through the legislative process. I hope you all have a great week and let me know if there is anything I can do for you.
Legislative Session Week 3