Happy Holidays: How to spend the season

The holiday season is upon us and there are plenty of ways to celebrate in District 109. Here are a few festive events for you and your family to enjoy!

Conyers – The Last Living Christmas Tree
photo: property of Rockdale Newton Citizen

This year is the last change you’ll get to see The Living Christmas Tree at First Baptist Church of Conyers. After 17 years of performing, they’ve decided to put on one last grand show. There will be over 100 singers, an orchestra, and the church will be beautifully decorated. Bring your family and friends on Dec. 8th, 9th, and 10th for the show. More info here: The Last Living Christmas Tree

McDonough- Fill the Bus Campaign
photo: property of Henry Herald

The Fill the Bus campaign is an annual effort to make Christmas special for hundreds of children in Henry County. Every year, people fill the bus with toys which eventually go to the Community Cares Toy Shop where families in need will be able to select gifts. The bus will make several stops throughout Henry County until Dec. 5. Find out how you can help here:
Henry collects donations for Christmas toy shop with ‘Fill the Bus’ campaign

Henry County – Holiday Events
Henry Herald Staff Photo: Brian Hadden

December’s Calendar is full of family-friendly events including Christmas parades, festivals, and opportunities for children to meet Santa. You can read more details on these upcoming events here: Henry Celebrates the Holidays with December Events

I Want To Hear Your Feedback.

With the new legislative session being right around the corner, I want to know what’s on the minds of the voter.

What do you want to see accomplished in District 109? What are your questions and concerns? Your feedback would be greatly appreciated and will help me serve you best. I look forward to hearing from you!

I participated in Take Your Legislator To Work Day.

Here I am photographed with Hannah ( to my left) and her co-workers.
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month! I was honored to be asked to participate in Take Your Legislator To Work Day. The program is led by APSE: The Association of People Supporting Employment First. This organization created the program to raise awareness of the benefits of hiring individuals with disabilities, and to show that employment should be the preferred outcome of publicly funded services for people with disabilities. I got the pleasure of going to work with Hannah Hibben at the Great American Cookie Co, located within the Locust Grove Tanger Outlets. She gave me a tour, I talked with her co-workers, and I learned about Hannah’s experience in the workplace. Click the following link to learn more about this terrific program: Take Your Legislator to Work Day
I Want To Hear Your Feedback.
With the new legislative session being right around the corner, I want to know what’s on the minds of the voters.

What do you want to see accomplished in District 109? What are your questions and concerns? Your feedback would be greatly appreciated and will help me serve you best. I look forward to hearing from you!

House Resolution 798 and The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On March 30, 2017, the House passed House Resolution 798. The purpose of this resolution is to create a committee tasked with studying the conditions, needs, and issues surrounding Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program in order to determine its effectiveness. I serve as chairperson of this committee.

“What is the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program?”

The LIHTC program was established to incentivize and encourage developers and investors to create affordable housing. Developers receive federal income tax credits under this program and sell the rights to the credits to investors.

The committee and I want to ensure that this program is running efficiently. We will look into how many housing units are actually being created, how cost effective the housing projects are, how the program is making use of tax payers resources, etc. The LIHTC program has a large budget, so the committee wants to make sure funds are being used in the best possible way.

I Want To Hear Your Feedback! 

With the new legislative session being right around the corner, I want to know what’s on the minds of the voter.

What do you want to see accomplished in District 109? What are your questions and concerns? Your feedback would be greatly appreciated and will help me serve you best. I look forward to hearing from you!

District 109 Updates That Concern You

 

Photo Credit: Henry Herald Staff Member- Asia Ashley

McDonough Opens Former Courthouse For Community Input-

McDonough city officials are asking for your input on how to use the former Municipal Court building located on Macon Street. Some have suggested that it be turned into a museum or even some kind of community facility. This is an opportunity for you to get involved in improving the community and learn about fellow citizens’ concerns.

What do you think this building should be used for? If you have any ideas on how to turn this property into something constructive for the community, email your suggestions to elyles@mcdonoughga.org.

Read more about this story here.

New Performing Arts Center Coming To Stockbridge-

A new performing arts center is in the works for Henry County. It will be located adjacent to Fairview Elementary School in Stockbridge. This new facility will ease parking issues at Fairview Elementary and will be a wonderful resource for teachers and students.

Read more about this new facility here.

The Race For The Fallen Charity Event-

The Race For The Fallen 5k & 1 mile returns to McDonough on September 9th. Proceeds from this race will go to families of fallen law enforcement officers. Sadly, life does not slow down after losing a loved one. These family members need our help and encouragement.

This race is a fun way to help the people in your community! All ages are welcome to come out to the Salem Baptist Church Recreation Complex for this event.

For more info & registration visit the race website.

Do you have questions about what I’m doing to advance District 109? Feel free to reach out to me with any questions, concerns, or thoughts on happenings in Henry County! I am proud to serve as your representative and look forward to hearing from you.

Office Number: 404.656.0254

 

2017 McDonough Geranium Festival

The 40th Annual Geranium Festival is this Saturday, May 20th—9am to 5pm. This free street festival has been a McDonough citizen favorite for many years now, and you should plan to check it out.

Have you never been? You can expect local artisans, activities for kids, festival food, and a fun day with family and friends on the McDonough Square.

Parking is also free for this event! You can park at the Henry County High School and take a shuttle to the Square. You also have the option to park in  the Judicial Center Parking Deck and walk a short distance to the festival.

Don’t forget to visit local business in the square for lunch and additional shopping! This festival is a fun way to support McDonough business and learn about the community’s organizations, churches, non-profits, and more. For more details on the festival, visit the official Geranium Festival website  or their Facebook page. I hope you enjoy welcoming warm weather and outdoor fun this Saturday!

March 8, 2013 Weekly Update

 

Week Ending March 8, 2013

As your representatives, it is important for us to consider your views throughout the legislative process.  Please feel free to call our capitol office at 404-656-0109 or email us to tell us what you think about the issues facing our state. 

           Thursday, March 7th marked the 30th legislative day of the 2013 session.  Known as “Crossover Day,” this critical point in the session marks the last chance for most bills to pass the legislative chamber from where they originated.  This is because by the end of Crossover Day, all legislation passed by the House must “cross over” to the Senate, and vice versa.  As a result, any House bill that has not passed the House by the end of Crossover Day will have little chance of becoming law this year, because the remaining ten legislative days will be used to consider Senate bills.  Due to this deadline, the House worked long hours this week, debating and voting on lengthy lists of pending legislation.

 

One of the bills passed this week that may directly affect your family is House Bill 123, the Parent and Teacher Empowerment Act.  This legislation would allow parents to petition their local school board to convert their traditional public school into a public charter school. HB 123 also provides parents and teachers several options for transforming low-achieving schools.  These options would allow parents and teachers to decide whether their low-achieving school should: 1) remove administration; 2) restructure the school; 3) allow students an option to transfer to a better performing school in the district; 4) utilize a school management team; and/or 5) impose student improvement plans. To enact these options or convert to a charter school, more than 50 percent of parents or teachers would have to sign a petition. The petition would then go before the local school board for consideration, who could defeat the petition by a simple majority vote.  If, however, a petition is supported by more than sixty percent of parents or teachers, the board must have a two-thirds vote to reject the petition.  This measure is intended to engage students, inspire teachers, and involve parents in their children’s education.

 

Another bill passed this week would help veterans find jobs after returning home from serving their country and protecting our freedom.  House Bill 188 creates the potential for newly honorable discharged veterans who have received training in certain specialized skilled trades to receive an initial professional license for that trade from the Secretary of State.  The bill does this by creating a committee that would identify military jobs with requirements that meet or exceed Georgia requirements for certification in skilled trades applicable to HVAC, plumbing, electrical contracting, utility foreman or residential light commercial contracting.  If their research shows it is appropriate, the committee could allow an exemption from some Georgia requirements for veterans with these skills.  The committee could also certify military spouses living in Georgia who have a skilled trade certification from another state if the committee determines that the other state’s requirements meet or exceed Georgia’s requirements.  This will help our state fill the 60,000 vacancies in these skilled trades expected over the next seven years and reduce the number of unemployed veterans in Georgia.

 

One of the most debated bills on Crossover Day, House Bill 512, would allow licensed weapons holders who have gone through the process of finger printing, a background check, and a mental health inquiry to obtain a Georgia Weapons License (GWL) to carry their firearms in more places in Georgia than currently allowed by state law.  This bill, known as the Safe Carry Protection Act, would allow property owners – not the government – to decide whether a licensed weapon holder may carry a gun in their places of worship and establishments that primarily serve alcohol beverages. The bill would also allow GWL holders to carry their firearm in a government building that is not afforded the protection of security services at the entrances or exits of the premises.  Additionally, HB 512 would allow gun owners to carry their firearms on most areas of public college campuses, but would not allow weapons in residence halls or competitive sporting events. 

 

Further, the Safe Carry Protection Act would no longer require fingerprinting for GWL renewal, but would continue to require fingerprinting for first time applicants.  Another important section of this bill creates uniformity in Georgia gun laws by making the General Assembly solely responsible for regulating possession, ownership, transfer, licensing, and registration of firearms or other weapons, as well as gun shows. HB 512 would also give each local Board of Education the option to designate one or more administrators to possess a weapon in a school safety zone. The bill additionally addresses the issue of gun owners who unknowingly bring their weapons to commercial airports.

 

Moreover, the Safe Carry Protection Act improves Georgia’s gun laws by strengthening mental health inquiries for obtaining a Georgia Weapons License. HB 512 would make it mandatory for a probate judge to perform an inquiry with the Georgia Criminal Information Center (GCIC) to determine whether applicants for a Georgia Weapons License have received involuntary treatment ordered by a court or medical professional. Applicants who have received involuntary treatment within the last five years could only receive a license if the probate judge determines that the applicant is mentally fit. The bill also prevents any person falling into any of the following categories from receiving a Georgia Weapons License: (1) anyone who has been under the care of a guardian or a conservator appointed to represent that person as a result of a mental illness or substance dependency within the last five years; (2) anyone who has been found mentally incompetent to stand trial; (3) anyone who has been found not guilty by reason of insanity; (4) anyone who is a registered sex offender; or (5) anyone who has made a threat against another person that was reported to the GCIC within the last five years.

 

This week we also passed House Bill 287.  This bill was introduced in response to the numerous comments we received from Georgians who were upset by a reduction in the state Archives’ operating hours. Georgians contacted their state representatives to let us know they wanted the archives to stay open, and we listened. Your emails, letters, and phone calls led us to pass HB 287, which would reassign the Division of Archives and History from the Secretary of State’s office to the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.

 

In addition to House Bills 123, 188, 512, and 287, we also passed House Bills 34, 36, 45, 78, 94, 104, 124, 125, 127, 131, 132, 139, 146, 150, 184, 189, 192, 197, 199, 203, 207, 211, 215, 229, 238, 240, 256, 266, 268, 271, 276, 287, 289, 296, 297, 310, 317, 318, 323, 332, 337, 345, 350, 354, 361, 362, 365, 371, 372, 375, 381, 382, 389, 399, 400, 402, 407, 434, 443, 451, 454, 458, 463, 473, 475, 482, 486, 487, 497, 494, 499, 506, 513, 511, 517, 520, 536, 537, 538, 539, and 540, as well as House Resolutions 73, 107, 502, 549, and 603

 

Now that this legislation has been approved by the House, it has been sent to the Senate for consideration. If passed by the Senate and signed by the governor, these bills will become law.  You can learn more about these bills and track their progression through the legislative process by visiting our website at www.house.ga.gov.

Now that Crossover Day has passed, the remaining ten legislative days will be used to consider legislation already passed by the Senate. Please let us know if you have any comments or questions regarding this Senate legislation. We will be sure to consider your comments as the Senate bills begin to make their way through the House committee process.

We welcome you to visit us at the capitol during this legislative session. You can also reach out to us with your questions or concerns by contacting us at:

Dale Rutledge, District 109

404-B Coverdell Legislative Office Bldg.

Atlanta, GA 30334         404.656.0109 – Office

Andy Welch, District 110

404-F Coverdell Legislative Office Bldg.

Atlanta, GA 30334         404.656.0109 – Office

Brian Strickland, District 111

404-C Coverdell Legislative Office Bldg.

Atlanta, GA 30334         404.656.0109 – Office

Dale Rutledge
District 109

 Dale Rutledge at desk on floor

Andy Welch
District 110

 Andy Welch at desk on floor

Brian Strickland
District 111

 Brian Strickland at desk on floor

Copyright © 2013. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

March 1, 2013 Weekly Update

 

Week Ending March 1, 2013

As your representatives, it is important for us to consider your views throughout the legislative process.  Please feel free to call our capitol office at 404-656-0109 or email us to tell us what you think about the issues facing our state. 

            Friday, March 1, 2013, marked the 27th legislative day of the 2013 legislative session. Now that we’re almost three quarters through session, the House is considering more legislation than at any other time this session. We spend longer days at the capitol, and vote on more legislation. Some of the bills we passed this week would strengthen Georgia’s ethics laws, modernize Georgia’s juvenile justice code, and create uniformity in the way Georgia teachers are evaluated.

 

            House Bills 142 and 143 would strengthen Georgia’s ethics laws by banning expenditures by lobbyists on individual members of the General Assembly and by making common sense changes to the campaign contribution disclosure requirements. HB 142 specifically bans gifts of tickets to athletic, sporting, recreational, musical concerts and other entertainment events from lobbyists to state officials, which is currently allowed. The only exception would be for events where all members of the General Assembly are invited like the annual legislative day held at UGA, Georgia Tech or other collegiate sporting events held in Georgia.  Food and beverages may be provided to legislators only at group events where all members of the General Assembly, all members of the state House or Senate, all members of a standing committee or subcommittee of either body or a caucus of either body are invited.  HB 142 also restores power to the Georgia Government and Campaign Finance Commission by empowering it with rule making authority.  Further, it clarifies and broadens the definition of who must register as a lobbyist.  HB 143 will require greater transparency in campaign finance by requiring disclosure of all contributions of more than $100 received between January 1st of each year and the convening of the General Assembly’s regular session.  These campaign contributions would have to be disclosed with five days of the beginning of the legislative session.

 

            House Bill 242, or the Juvenile Justice Reform bill, would substantially revise and modernize provisions relating to Georgia’s juvenile proceedings and enact comprehensive juvenile justice reforms.  These changes have been discussed by advocacy organizations for years and many were recommended by the Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform, which Governor Nathan Deal asked to study the state’s juvenile justice system and formulate ways to improve public safety while decreasing costs. Among the changes enacted by HB 242 are general definitions of key terms used in juvenile courts and guiding principles that would apply in all juvenile court proceedings. HB 242 would also provide consistency with national standards for cases involving children who have been abused or neglected by the adults responsible for their well-being. Additionally, the bill would create a new approach for children who have committed acts that would not be against the law if they were adults, such as skipping school, running away from home, or violating curfew. This bill also revises current law regarding how Georgia courts determine a child’s competency in juvenile proceedings. In addition to the many changes made to Georgia law governing juvenile proceedings in state courts, HB 242 makes some changes to the Department of Juvenile Justice.

 

            House Bill 244 would create uniformity in the way Georgia teachers are evaluated by establishing a single statewide educator evaluation system. This evaluation system has been piloted in 50 districts across the state, and teachers, superintendents, principals, and advocates who participated in the pilot program all came together to publicly support this bill.  The evaluation system implemented by HB 244 would become effective no later than the 2014-2015 school year, and would apply to teachers, assistant principals, and principals. Creating this evaluation system would ensure all public school teachers and school leaders in Georgia receive the feedback they need to grow and improve in their profession. This evaluation would recognize the outstanding teachers in this state, and identify specific areas that teachers can improve to become outstanding teachers. Because the evaluations will be used to help educators receive the feedback they need to do the best job possible, the evaluation system would include measures to protect educators’ privacy. 

 

      In addition to House Bills 142, 143, 242, and 244, we also passed House Bills 70, 141, 155, 156, 175, 177, 187, 205, 210, 226, 252, 266, 274, 281, 283, 293, 302, 315, 320, 324, 327, 328, 329, 336, 384, and 388. Now that this legislation has been approved by the House, it has been sent to the Senate for consideration. 

We welcome you to visit us at the capitol during this legislative session. You can also reach out to us with your questions or concerns by contacting us at:

Dale Rutledge, District 109

404-B Coverdell Legislative Office Bldg.

Atlanta, GA 30334         404.656.0109 – Office

Andy Welch, District 110

404-F Coverdell Legislative Office Bldg.

Atlanta, GA 30334         404.656.0109 – Office

Brian Strickland, District 111

404-C Coverdell Legislative Office Bldg.

Atlanta, GA 30334         404.656.0109 – Office

Dale Rutledge
District 109

 Dale Rutledge at desk on floor

Andy Welch
District 110

 Andy Welch at desk on floor

Brian Strickland
District 111

 Brian Strickland at desk on floor

Copyright © 2013. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

Week Ending February 8, 2013 Update

combined 3 rep newsletter logogThe fourth week of the 2013 legislative session proved to be an important week under the Gold Dome.  Committees met to consider legislation, Chief Justice Carol Hunstein of the Georgia Supreme Court delivered the State of the Judiciary Address, and we ended the week by approving the Amended Fiscal Year 2013 state budget.

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