Representative Jan Tankersley was sworn in for her fourth term Monday morning in Atlanta as the Georgia General Assembly convened for the 2017-18 legislative session.
Tankersley, who represents portions of Bulloch and Bryan counties, was elected in 2010. She faced Democratic opposition from first-time candidate Major Woodall last November. Each legislative term is two years.
Tankersley is a retired resident of the city of Brooklet in Bulloch County and in past years has been the Chair of the House Intergovernmental Coordination Committee, which deals with Local Legislation, or bills that primarily affect only one political subdivision such as a city or a county, processed through the House and is also assigned general legislation affecting a variety of subjects including local governments. In the 2015-16 session, she served on the Agriculture, Appropriations, and Natural Resources committees.
Tankersley ran for Vice Chair of the House Republican Caucus in 2015, but was defeated by staunch conservative state representative Sam Teasley.
Members have not yet been notified of their committee assignments and it won’t be until members are into the first few legislative days before the assignments are confirmed. Committee assignments are especially important in the decision making of which bills go to the floor for a vote by the entire chamber. Among the powerful committees are Rules, Appropriations, and Ways & Means.
The Judiciary Committee, which formerly had a committee in both the Senate and House chambers, was recently combined into one joint committee as part of a decision in a closed-door meeting ahead of the convening of the session. The move was a slight to former Senate Judiciary Chairman Josh McKoon for his vocal support and push for religious freedom legislation, which previously passed and was vetoed by Governor Deal in 2016.
The legislature meets for 40 non-consecutive days beginning in January and adjourning by the first week in April. Because there are no elections in 2017 for anyone in the legislative branch, there is no rush to adjourn early and have legislators return to their districts to campaign.
Medicaid expansion, education reform to replace Governor Deal’s failed Opportunity School District amendment, and casinos are all expected to be contentious topics this session.
Make sure to check AllOnGeorgia frequently for the latest information and vote tallies as session continues.