Monday, March 19th, the Georgia General Assembly joined together again under the Gold Dome for Legislative Day 36 for the beginning of the 11th week of the 2018 legislative session! By the end of the week my colleagues and I had completed Legislative Day 38. With only two Legislative Days left, my colleagues and I worked diligently to begin wrapping up the 2018 session. Here are some highlights of what the House accomplished during our 11th week!

House Resolution 1414 – We began the week by unanimously adopting a resolution that would allow us to examine how to best protect our state’s schools. As many of you know, the issue of violence in schools has been a topic widely discussed recently. We take the safety of our student’s extremely seriously and HR 1414 seeks to address these concerns and was adopted by the House in the wake of one of the deadliest mass shootings in recent U.S. history. This resolution would create a House Study Committee on School Security to study ways to curb incidences of violence, facilitate life-saving responses and provide safer learning environments for Georgia’s students, teachers and other school personnel. The study committee would explore the conditions, needs and issues associated with school security and would recommend any action or legislation it deems necessary based on its findings.

Senate Bill 139 – On Wednesday the House passed another piece of legislation that is designed to benefit the students of our state. This bill would allow local school systems, charter schools and college and career academics to develop and submit new pathways, or focused programs of study. This bill would also require the State Workforce Development Board, with input from the Department of Education and the Technical College System of Georgia, to develop and promote an annual list of industry credentials and state licenses, such as welding or computer certifications, that students can earn in middle or high school. This measure would equip our state’s middle and high school students with the resources needed to attain jobs in high-demand fields after graduation.

House Resolution 1137 – This resolution was adopted by the House and seeks to help veterans transition from military service to civilian life more smoothly. It would urge the President and Congress to enact federal legislation that would provide members of the armed forces with mental and physical health assistance prior to being discharged from the armed forces. Many service men and women suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental and emotional health conditions upon completion of service. Many of these individuals are not properly prepared to return to civilian life and this resolution could help them avoid some of the challenges many veterans face, such as homelessness. I am pleased with the work Georgia is doing in this area.

Senate Bill 331 – On Monday the House passed this bill from the Senate that would help to better protect the identity of Georgia lottery winners. Under this bill, the Georgia Lottery Corporation would be required to keep all information on lottery winners of $250,000 or more confidential upon the winner’s written request. Lottery winners are often the target of scams and several people have tragically died after winning the lottery. This bill seeks to keep their identity safe so that they may be safe, as well as their loved ones.

Senate Bill 444 – The House passed this measure that would ensure our state’s citizens with dementia related diseases are best cared for. SB 444, also known as the “Senator Thorborn ‘Ross’ Tolleson, Jr., Act,” would establish the Georgia Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias State Plan Advisory Council to advise the governor, the General Assembly, the Department of Human Services and all other state agencies on the state’s Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias State Plan. The goal of this council would be to ensure that the state’s focus remains on implementing and amending the goals of the state plan.

Senate Bill 402 – Finally, on Friday the House passed Senate Bill 402, the “Achieving Connectivity Everywhere (ACE) Act,” which would lay the groundwork for expanding broadband services throughout the state by promoting public-private partnerships. Under the ACE Act, the Georgia Technology Authority would be authorized to create any programs or policies needed to coordinate statewide broadband implementation efforts. SB 402 would ensure that all Georgians, and particularly our state’s rural citizens, have access to a reliable, high-speed internet connection.

Next week is the 12th and the final week of the 2018 legislative session, and the Georgia General Assembly will adjourn sine die on Thursday, March 29. With only two legislative days remaining, my House colleagues and I will be working hard next week to pass meaningful, good legislation for our state and its citizens. This final legislative week will surely be the busiest week of the entire session, and I urge you to contact me if you have any questions, concerns or input on any measures being considered in either the House or the Senate. I can be reached at my Capitol office at 404-656- 0287, or by email at karen.mathiak@house.ga.gov. Or you can stay up to date on my Facebook Page.

As always, thank you for allowing me to serve as your state representative!

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