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January 31--  A report from the state Capitol by State Representative Greg Morris of Vidalia.

The 2019-2020 Session of the General Assembly is now underway. The beginning of a new Legislature and the swearing in of a new Governor includes a lot of ceremony but now we have to get down to work on some very pressing issues. I will go into detail on those in subsequent articles. These are the highlights of the first week.

Inaugural/Swearing In. For the first time since 1999, I missed the opening day of the Legislature. The week before, I came down with a case of acute diverticulitis and was hospitalized in an Atlanta hospital. (I won’t go into detail, but trust me, don’t get it). I was sworn in on Tuesday in the House Chamber by Supreme Court Justice John Ellington. I also need to thank Caleb Williams of Montgomery Co. for standing in and holding the Bible while I took the oath. Caleb was one of a group of students who was visiting the Chamber at the time of my swearing in. Another Legislator who missed the swearing in was Agriculture Chairman Tom McCall of Elberton. He was sworn in by a local judge in a hospital bed just before being sent into surgery for triple bypass surgery on his heart.

Committee Assignments. House Speaker David Ralston reappointed me as Chairman of the House Banks and Banking Committee. My committee will hear all bills affecting banks both big and small, as well as independent loan companies and credit unions. I will also remain on the Appropriations, Rules, and Natural Recourses and Environment Committees. I will go into detail what these committees do in later reports.

Issues/What to Expect. I can only talk in broad detail about issues. Of course, there are the continuing challenges of healthcare, rural economic development and education. Bills affecting these issues are being introduced and assigned to committees, the most important being the mid-year budget and the 2020 Budget. Governor Kemp has called for specific spending, including a $3,000 dollar pay raise for teachers, a 2% raise for state employees and 30,000 dollars for each school in Georgia to invest in school security. Passing good conservative legislation in the House was not made easier by the November elections. Just like our pollsters predicted this summer, we had our rear ends handed to us, losing eleven Republican seats mostly in Gwinnett, Henry, and Cobb counties. It will be practically impossible to get 120 votes needed to pass constitutional amendments. We still have a clear majority though, and should be able to prevent bad legislation from passing.

Contact Information. My office is in the Capitol, Rm. 226 on the second floor. My administrative assistant is Donna Harley, and my office number is 404-656-5115. My cell number is 912-293-0725 and my e-mail is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For staff use only.