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Update from the Capitol - 1/31/17

tyler harper By: Sen. Tyler Harper (R- Ocilla)

Last week, the Senate completed our eighth legislative day, marking only 32 legislative days remaining to complete our business. The Senate assembled in Chamber for four days this week, full of the introductions of bills and resolutions, as well as the beginning of committee meetings.

But first, I would like to acknowledge the recent fatal storms which have devastated much of the southwestern portions of our state. Our district, as well as our neighbors in rural Georgia, witnessed tornados which ripped apart homes and businesses and cost the lives of many. I wish to extend my deepest and most heartfelt condolences and prayers to the families of those who lost their lives, as well as the families who lost everything they owned. The estimated cost of the damages is at least $50 million dollars.


However, state agencies and concerned citizens throughout the state have convened on these small Georgia towns to render aid. Recovery efforts are already well underway, with the state government allocating $5 million to recovery efforts, and with more federal aid on the way. I am certain that we will rebuild and come back stronger than ever.

On Wednesday, we heard from Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court P. Harris Hines as he presented the annual State of the Judiciary Address. Chief Justice Hines laid out his vision for the future of Georgia’s judicial system, including the modernization and streamlining of several facets of Georgia’s judicial branch. Specifically, Chief Justice Hines pointed out how $7 million could be saved by properly allocating probation officers to better suit our state’s current needs. Currently, Georgia leads the nation in terms of adults on parole, with most parolees being considered non-violent and low-risk. By focusing our probation officers and their resources more heavily on those criminals which do pose a threat to our state, we can make Georgia a safer place and save money in the process.

The Public Safety Committee, of which I serve as Chairman, held its first meeting on Thursday. We heard from a number of speakers including the Georgia Sherriff’s Association, the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Georgia Department of Public Safety, the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety and the Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division. I look forward to working with these groups, as well as others, as we work throughout the session on legislation to make Georgia an even safer place.

Even though we are only eight days into the 2017 legislative session, we are beginning to pick up the pace and are starting to get some substantive work accomplished. It remains an honor to serve the District 7 in the state Senate. If I can ever be of any help, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office. Your voices are vital and influential to every decision I make under the Gold Dome.