Legislative Update, Week 1 (01.20.17)
The 2017 Regular Session of the 154th Georgia General Assembly commenced on Monday, Jan. 9. Legislative day 1 saw the swearing-in ceremonies of each member of the General Assembly, including seven new lawyer-legislators: Rep. William Boddie (D-East Point), Rep. David Dreyer (D-Atlanta), Rep. Meagan Hanson (R-Brookhaven), Rep. Brenda Lopez (D-Norcross), Rep. Sam Park (D-Lawrenceville), Rep. Deborah Silcox (R-Sandy Springs) and Sen. Blake Tillery (R-Vidalia).
As expected, this first week was generally slow with respect to conducting legislative business and holding committee hearings, but members were busy drafting and introducing legislation in both chambers. Casino gambling, K-12 education reforms and immigration are shaping up to be top issues this year under the Gold Dome.
On Wednesday, Jan. 11, day 3 of the legislative session, the General Assembly met jointly to hear Gov. Deal's State of the State address. The governor laid out his budgetary and legislative priorities for the year, which include a 2 percent pay raise for teachers, raises for caseworkers at the Division of Family and Child Services and investment in a new cybersecurity training center, among other things. You can read the entire text of the speech here.
The General Assembly convened again on Thursday, Jan. 12, for legislative day 4, when it received Gov. Deal's FY 2018 budget recommendations. By the end of the week, House and Senate leadership had also finalized their committee and chairmanship assignments. Rep. Wendell Willard (R-Sandy Springs) has once again been named chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and Rep. Rich Golick (R-Smyrna) has been renamed chairman of the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee. The Senate voted to combine its Judiciary and Judiciary Non-Civil Committees into a single committee, which will be chaired by Sen. Jesse Stone (R-Waynesboro).
In State Bar news, the Board of Governors met on Friday, Jan. 13, to approve the final pieces of the Bar's 2017 legislative agenda. A preview of the State Bar's entire 2017 legislative package is available on the Legislative Program page. The Bar's legislative team has begun its work finding sponsors for new proposals and working with stakeholders interested in the legislation.
The General Assembly took Monday, Jan. 16, off in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Although technically out of session this week, a number of legislators spent Tuesday and Wednesday in joint budget hearings, where both the House and the Senate examined the proposed FY 2018 and amended FY 2017 state budgets. Legislators will convene for legislative day 5 of the session on Monday, Jan. 23.
If you have any questions about the Bar's Legislative Program and agenda, or if you would like to plan a lobby day under the Gold Dome for your local or voluntary bar association, please contact Christine Butcher, the State Bar of Georgia's Director of Governmental Affairs, at
For additional information about the State Bar of Georgia's Legislative Program and agenda, to track legislation or to contact the Bar's legislative team, please visit the
Legislative Program page.