Columbia County’s legislative delegation will hold a daylong series of meetings Monday, Jan. 7, to hear from local officials in advance of the 2013 General Assembly session.
More faces are on that delegation this year, which expanded to six members Jan. 1 with the addition of state Rep. Tom McCall, R-Elberton, and state Sen. Jesse Stone, R-Waynesboro.
The lawmakers will gather at 8 a.m. at the Evans Government Center auditorium on Ronald Reagan Drive. Sessions throughout the day will allow county commissioners, school board members, constitutional officers and city officials to provide input on what they’d like to see from this year’s legislative session that starts Jan. 14.
Lawmakers will find more than 50 bills awaiting action.
The bills already filed include House Bill 4 from a Roswell Republican to allow gambling on horse racing; a pair of bills in the House and Senate by two Atlanta Democrats to change the school attendance age to 5 to 17 – currently, children must attend from ages 6 to 16; and a resolution from two freshman Republicans calling for state lawmakers to be limited to four terms.
State Sen. Buddy Carter, R-Pooler, has prefiled a series of bills that, if enacted, would change every non-legislative local election to non-partisan, including sheriff, county commissioner and all tax officials.
The seven bills, however, omitted the office of coroner.
“Oops! I guess we thought it was a dead issue,” Carter joked via email. “It will be added.”
The legislation, he said, arises from complaints around the state that too few candidates are willing to run under current party labels. Local communities would be able to decide whether to change to non-partisan races.
Other prefiled bills include:
• Four House bills removing restrictions on places firearms could be carried, including churches and secondary education campuses.
• A Senate bill that, starting in 2016, would phase out Georgia’s income tax.
• A House bill that would change the eligibility date for school age to Dec. 1 instead of Sept. 1.
• A House bill to require installation of carbon monoxide detectors in all schools.
• A Senate bill that would make it a felony to drive under the influence with a child in the vehicle.
No local lawmakers as yet have prefiled any legislation.
To see all prefiled bills and resolutions, go to http://www.legis.ga.gov/Legislation/en-US/Search.aspx, and click on “2013-2014 Regular Session.”