One of the most common questions Legislators receive out of session is, “what do you do the rest of the year?” While we may not be on Capitol Hill year-round like our Federal counterparts, our work is far from over after the completion of our 40-day session. Constituent services, district events, legislative panels and study committee work keeps us busy. Much like we are appointed to standing committees every two-year election cycle, we are also appointed to serve on out of session Study Committees.
Study committees are put in place to further discuss, research and hear expert opinion on the subject area that may be affected by a proposed bill. These committees also help us eliminate unintended consequences of legislation we pass during session. Depending on the subject matter, committees are formed separately in the House and Senate. At times, joint study committees are put in place and member representatives from each chamber will participate in discussions. Current committees are discussing a number of pressing issues from tax reform and healthcare to cyber technology education. For a full listing of study committees, you can visit the Georgia General Assembly website. Committee meetings are open to the public and I encourage you to attend if there is a subject you are interested in learning more about!
Last year, 15 of us were selected to serve on the Military Affairs Study Committee. As a result of our findings and positive policy passed in protection of our military/veteran communities, Speaker Ralston has elected to continue our working group permanently. We continue our military affairs working group with four meetings/sessions this off season. As a result of our research in 2016, there were 9 bills which successfully passed last session which make a direct impact on our military and veteran communities.
At the beginning of June, 10 of us were also selected to serve on the Distracted Driving Study Committee. This committee will take a look at various ways we can work to keep Georgia drivers safe on our roadways and meetings will be held throughout the state. All Committee findings will be summarized in a report due by the end of the year.