Gold Dome Update - Highlights from the House  
January 9th - January 13th
  Monday, January 9th, marked the first day of the 154th meeting of the Georgia General Assembly and the beginning of the 2017 Legislative Session. The first order of business was for  all elected members to be sworn into office. Soon after we began preparation for the legislative days ahead. Issues such as healthcare access, education, medical cannabis, casino gaming and public safety initiatives will be up for debate. Over the remaining days, my colleagues and I will be introducing and discussing new bills that may become law, which is why it's important we come together to communicate, listen and strive to better our great state. 
State of the State

Governor Deal’s annual State of the State address was given on Wednesday, January 11th, where he underlined Georgia's progress, such as a reduced unemployment rate, a banner year in trade, film production and tourism, and the ability to allocate funds for raises for many of the state’s employees including law enforcement officers and teachers. Gov. Deal also plans to tackle healthcare reform for our retired and active duty military, expand Medicaid and PeachCare coverage for our youth, fund more in depth law enforcement training initiatives, and last but certainly not least, the Governor unveiled his plan for a new facility aimed to combat cyber attacks through research and training. This will make Georgia a world leader in combatting cybercrime. 

As a resident of Houston County which is home to Robins AFB, it is particularly important we remain focused on our military and our veterans and the governor reinforced as much in his state of the state address. Click here to see the full budget proposal and project plans.
Budget Hearings 

 The only thing the General Assembly is required to do by law is pass a balanced budget. Budget hearings begin Tuesday, January 17th.  In the coming days, we will anxiously await as the Appropriations Committee deliberates and makes suggestions as to where state funds should be allocated.  The budget is a living document that will change many times before final passage in the last days of session. Look out for future budget news and as always, our local delegation will work hard to ensure that our region receives necessary funding and assistance from the state level for future capital investments. 
Committee Assignments 

At the end of a very busy first week, we received our committee assignments for the 2017-2018 legislative terms.  I am honored to have been asked to join the whip team as Deputy Whip and I will also serve on the following Committees: Ways & Means, Governmental Affairs, Insurance, Special Rules and Economic Development and Tourism. I was also assigned to serve on the Military Affairs Working Group which is a continuation of our study committee formed last year. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve our district and state citizens through my committee work. 
Sponsored Legislation

During any given session, it is an honor to work closely with house colleagues as we introduce a number of bills for the benefit of Georgia citizens. One such bill which was pre-filed this year,  House Bill 9 , more commonly referred to as the "Upskirting" bill. Upskirting is where someone records or films through or under an individual's clothing. A recent court declared that current privacy laws did not extend to “upskirting.” Clearly, we need to address this loophole and we will do so by making it illegal to film any place where there is an expectation of privacy. This has been a true team effort and I thank my co-sponsors for their assistance in drafting this important measure. In case you missed it, there was recently an article  in the Macon Telegraph further explaining the legislation.  Also, we will have other sponsored pieces of legislation to share in the coming weeks.
Share with Shaw...

Last week, you may have seen a new segment on my social media called, "Share with Shaw." To ensure that your voice is heard and we are fully representing your views, there have been important questions dealing with issues that will be hotly debated topics this session. After the impressive feedback, "Share with Shaw" will continue to ask YOUR opinions on issues through social media for the duration of the legislative session. The first question dealt with expansion of medical cannabis. We had many responses, the majority favoring expansion. The second dealt with Casino Gaming, with the majority showing favoritism for the measure. Please like and visit my Facebook page every Wednesday for a new "Share with Shaw" Segment! Your input is important and helps me decide how to vote on important measures.
  As we make our way through the legislative session, be on the lookout for updates on the latest issues, as well as, the budget. With an aggressive agenda ahead, I look forward to working with my colleagues in passing legislation for the betterment of our great state and district! Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to serve you and as always, if you need anything at all, please feel free to contact me anytime.

Shaw Blackmon
Representative of Georgia's 146th House District
Representative Shaw Blackmon
District 146
Phone: 404-656-0177
Address: 501-E Coverdell Legislative Office Building
Atlanta, Georgia 30334

Rep. Shaw Blackmon represents District 146.  He currently serves as a Deputy Whip and as a member of  Ways & Means, Economic Development and Tourism, Special Rules, Insurance and
Governmental Affairs Committees. Shaw is also a member of the Military Affairs Working Group.