First session as a state senator
Published 12:46 pm Thursday, February 14, 2019
By Randy Robertson
Robertson represents District 29 in the Georgia Senate
My first legislative session as a State Senator is flying by, and we are already making strides to pass legislation that will benefit the citizens of District 29 and our state as a whole. The first week was filled with ceremony, from my swearing in to Governor Brian P. Kemp’s inaugural State of the State Address. The following week we held budget hearings, outlining the Amended Fiscal Year 2019 and General Fiscal Year 2020 Budgets ensuring that taxpayer money is spent conservatively and efficiently. Here are some of the budget allocations that might interest you:
- $2.3 billion to be used over the next five years to improve non-interstate corridors. The vast majority of these are in rural areas like ours.
- Almost $67 million would be added to the fiscal year budget for school security grants ($30,000 per public school)
- $505.1 million to increase teacher pay by $3,000 dollars
- $21 million to fund the actuarial increase for the Teachers Retirement System
- $8.4 million for additional mental health counselors in high schools
- $500,000 to create a Gang Task Force to combat the over 1,500 gangs in Georgia
- $9 million to develop a 4 year Mercer Medical campus in Columbus, Georgia
Last week marked the beginning of committee meetings, and I am excited to announce that this week, the Public Safety Committee and Senate unanimously passed our first bill, Senate Bill 25. Last year, House Bill 978 passed with unintended consequences which allowed drivers to pass school buses when separated by only a turn lane. This language put our schoolchildren at risk and was confusing for both drivers and law enforcement.
SB 25 clarifies this confusing language by stating that those passing a school bus in the opposite direction may only do so if there is a grass median, unpaved area or barrier separating the two directions of traffic. I spent three decades in law enforcement and am proud to have played a role in the passage of meaningful legislation that I know will improve safety across Georgia. Additionally, Senate Resolution 19 was passed in the Senate this week. It creates the Georgia Commission on Freight, Innovation and Logistics, which would be charged with recommending where funding for projects should be allocated to enhance the logistics industry.
Lastly, if you know of a child at least 12 years old that is interested in state government, please encourage them to apply to be a Senate Page. Please contact Tarika Jackson in my office at (404) 463-3931 if you have a child or grandchild that is interested.