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Legislators consider requests from county, cities

 

By Monroe Roark
Times Correspondent 

  With the 2014 session of the Georgia General Assembly now in its second week, very little has been discussed so far with regard to local legislation that would directly affect Henry County or its cities.

  The Board of Commissioners was scheduled to discuss an item at its regular Tuesday night meeting that would eventually require legislative action. The current ordinance regarding the county’s election superintendent has not had any provision for the removal or replacement of the person who holds that office.

  Janet Shellnutt, who has overseen elections in Henry County for more than a decade, is eligible to retire when her current term ends June 30 but has not given any indication as to what she might do.

  That is the only issue being considered right now by county officials that would require local legislation, interim county manager Michael Harris said last week.

  When contacted to ask what might be coming from the cities, officials in Hampton and Locust Grove said nothing was forthcoming, while no one from McDonough or Stockbridge responded to the Times’ e-mail request.

  There is still time for that to change, however.

  “If a local group wishes to petition the delegation, we ask them to have their request to us in writing by Day 20 of the session, which is the halfway point,” said state Rep. Andy Welch (R-110), who is the chairman of the delegation for the current two-year term. “Then we can consider it and work on the language if it needs any work, and hold any hearings we might need to have before we render a decision.”

  The Henry County legislative delegation typically meets at the beginning of the session and at other times when deemed necessary. The group met Jan. 13, which was the first day of this year’s session, to discuss a request from Clayton State University for funding assistance, Welch said.

  Seven members of the Georgia House of Representatives serve at least a portion of Henry County: Demetrius Douglas, David Knight, Dale Rutledge, Sandra Scott, Brian Strickland, Andy Welch and John Yates. Douglas and Scott are Democrats; the rest are Republicans.

  Henry County is represented in the Georgia State Senate by Republican Rick Jeffares and Democrat Emanuel Jones. Each district includes about half the county.

  Go to www.georgia.gov to see more detailed information on each member of the county’s legislative delegation.

  Legislators in Georgia took one day off for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday but went right back to work yesterday. In past years, the session would usually convene for its first week and take off the entire week that followed to get organized for the work that was coming up. This schedule indicates that the session will move quickly this year, Welch acknowledged.

  As far as the members of the Henry County delegation are concerned, this year’s overall priorities include the budget and such issues as education funding (specifically the E-SPLOST), property rights, environmental matters and foster care reform, among other things.

  Most legislators send weekly e-mails to constituents with updates on specific legislation they are working on. Some of them – such as Jeffares, Rutledge, Strickland and Welch – also post links to these weekly reports on Facebook.

 

 

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