Robertson: Update from the Capitol

Published 5:33 pm Monday, February 10, 2020

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The Senate has now completed another three days, wrapping up days nine through twelve in the 2020 legislative session. This week was particularly busy, as we voted to pass more bills on the Senate floor and heard and took action on several bills during committee meetings. I am extremely proud of the members of the General Assembly and I look forward to seeing how things continue to progress.    

I started the week by guest speaking on the Atlanta radio show WAOK 1380 about the pertinent issue of seat belt safety in our state. Last legislative session, I introduced Senate bill 226 which would require all passengers in a vehicle, including those in both the front seat and back, to wear a seat safety belt. Vehicle seat belts have proven to significantly decrease the number and level of injuries that occur during a car accident and I believe by instilling these regulations, we will be able to protect Georgians from high-risk, potentially life-threatening situations. As a law enforcement officer, I have seen firsthand the devastating effects of not being restrained; things must change.

In recognizing the efforts of our first responders, each legislative day allows certain members of the Senate to present special resolutions highlighting and honoring the work of various community members in Georgia. This Tuesday was particularly touching as we celebrated Firefighters Recognition Day at the state Capitol. Theresa and I come from a family of firefighters and we know that they, along with law enforcement officials, are public servants who sacrifice their lives every day to help ensure the protection of both the life and property of Georgians. Their commitment to the safety and security of our state is extremely commendable and I thank them for their service. It was an honor to help sponsor Senate Resolution 648 which pays respect to some of Georgia’s bravest. The Senate will continue to fight for those who give their all, yet expect very little in return.

This week, I also presented Senate Bill 331 in the Senate Judiciary Committee meeting. SB 331 revises language in current law to make it illegal to knowingly possess, produce or control any kind of image that portrays both a naked minor or nearly naked minor in a suggestive manner. By adding these specific distinctions, SB 331 will get rid of a loophole many offenders use to avoid prosecution. Regardless of the type or extent of the act, no form of child sexual exploitation should ever be allowed in our state. I want to make sure my daughter and granddaughters grow up in an environment that makes them feel protected wherever they are, and in whatever circumstance they are under. Our state’s children have some of the strongest voices, but sometimes they need a little help finding the avenue to do so. I hope this piece of legislation will allow them to do so by placing a greater emphasis on our youth’s rights. While the bill has not been finalized yet, I am happy we’ve been able to start the discussion and I have full certainty we will be able to see such much needed progress on the idea soon.

The General Assembly will not convene next week in order to provide ample time to discuss the budget proposals for an Amended Fiscal Year 2020 and General Fiscal Year 2021. During that time, members will be diligently working on crafting a budget that best fits Georgia’s needs. I will keep you updated on the development of those discussions, but if you ever have any questions about the budget or the legislation from the week, please reach out to my office.