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By State Representative Greg Morris (R- Vidalia)

Food Stamps/Welfare Reform. President Trump signed an executive order last week directing federal agencies to increase work requirements for people on welfare programs ,including food stamps. Apparently the President is considering Georgia’s work requirements for able bodied food stamp recipients in place since 2016. Georgia now requires able bodied adults without children that get food stamps to work at least 80 hours a month. We have been phasing in the program, first with 3 counties. At this time 66 0f Georgia’s 159 counties are included. Next year all 159 counties will have implemented the program. If the federal government adopted the program much of the credit will go to former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue who is now in President Trump’s cabinet as Secretary of Agriculture. . Reputable sources in Washington say that Perdue has emerged as the President’s favorite cabinet member and is trusted completely on ag and trade matters. They do have similarities in personality that might account for that synergy. I had lunch with Secretary Perdue at the Capitol the last week of the session with fellow rural caucus members. During the discussion on broadband the mention of a large telecommunication company turned the top of his head that slightly purple color that meant he was not pleased. (I had seen that sudden coloration more than once when he was Governor). He proceeded to recount how he had kicked them out of his transition office, and again at the Capitol later in his term. In other words, when Gov/Sec. Perdue hates you, you stay hated. His mantra as Governor was that the government was created to serve the people not the other way around. That is why “Sonny” is going to be a friend to taxpayers all over the country by leading the fight for food stamp reform.

Savannah Port. Our port set a new record for the fiscal year to date growing 9%, which translates to 255,786 more containers from July to March. The total amount of containers was an amazing 3.08 million. Even more startling was a 15.4% increase in intermodal rail volumes. 318,454 containers were transported over rail. The primary growth strategy for the future of the port is rail, however. The new Mason Mega Rail Terminal when completed will increase container carried by rail instead of trucks from 500,000 to 1 million. Apparently, each round trip container moved by rail to the inland ports, offsets 710 truck miles on Georgia’s highways. The Brunswick Port also had impressive growth. Brunswick handled 66,144 cars, trucks and tractors. Forest products moved through Brunswick totaled 112,728 tons.

Opioid Crisis. Georgia is one of thirteen states receiving the highest mark from the National Safety Council for taking action to reduce opioid overdoses. Georgia had 918 overdose deaths from opioids in 2016. Georgia now has a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program that helps eliminate duplicative prescribing and overprescribing of controlled substances. The Legislature last year codified a rule by Gov. Deal that allowed naloxone to be dispensed over –the –counter by pharmacist across the state. Naloxone is a drug that many EMTs and police officers carry that can reverse overdoses. Most of us know someone who has struggled with this addiction. Georgia is making positive steps to help save lives.

For staff use only.