The following column is an opinion piece and reflects the views of only the author and not those of AllOnGeorgia.
By: State Senator William Ligon
Sen. William Ligon serves as Chairman of the Banking and Financial Institutions Committee. He represents the 3rd Senate District which includes Brantley, Camden, Glynn, and McIntosh counties and portions of Charlton County. He can be reached by phone at 404.463.1383 or by email at email@example.com.
This Monday, legislators met back at the State Capitol to begin the start of the second session of the 155th Georgia General Assembly. We were able to accomplish a lot of substantial work during the last session, and I believe this momentum has translated into our first four legislative days. In fact, during the first day of session, House Bill 276 was transmitted to the House where a conference committee was appointed. HB 276 will be pivotal in generating a greater revenue source for the state by addressing the collection of taxes from marketplace facilitators. Rather than creating an additional tax, this bill will ensure that Georgia brick-and-mortar businesses do not have an unfair disadvantage compared to e-retailers and other larger providers. As Chairman of the Banking and Financial Institutions Committee, one of my top priorities is to ensure that Georgia maintains a fair business climate.
This session, I also continue to serve as Vice-Chairman of the Ethics Committee and of the Reapportionment and Redistricting Committee. I am also a member of the Appropriations, Health and Human Services, and Judiciary committees, and Ex-Officio of the Science and Technology Committee.
In addition to HB 276 and its emphasis on marketplace fairness, the Majority Caucus will work to advance rural broadband infrastructure, to reform price transparency in our healthcare industry, and to increase public safety through additional opportunities for our retired law enforcement officers.
Governor Kemp outlined his own initiatives during his State of the State Address on Thursday. In his address, the Governor brought up his plans to advance legislation that will combat human trafficking, provide more resources to our law enforcement to reduce gang activity, fund our education systems, and create better adoption laws. The Governor also recognized our state’s incredible success in job creation, thus reducing unemployment. Georgia is a strong and prosperous state run by a Governor who has vocally supported pro-life legislation. I appreciate the fact that Gov. Kemp highlighted last year’s huge legislative win for our state, the Heartbeat Bill. The Governor demonstrated his conservative beliefs last session, and I am interested to see how these values continue to be showcased in this year’s legislation.
We must not forget that the budget will be one of the key topics we look at as the Senate approaches a week of committee hearings. Georgia has a constitutional obligation to keep our budget balanced, and it is important that we remain fiscally responsible, while securing a substantial percentage of growth and allocation of resources for this Fiscal Year.
This week served as a reminder that while there are a number of new legislative initiatives to take place during the next 36 days, there are still important discussions that have not yet been finished from last session. We must continue to fight for the conservative ideals that best serve our citizens. Furthermore, we must be vigilant to protect our constitutional freedoms. The First Amendment, particularly the free exercise of religion and the freedom of speech, and the preservation of our Second Amendment right to bear arms are under increasing pressure from left-wing socialists. We cannot allow American freedoms to wither and die by a thousand cuts. We must be pro-active in order to pass a heritage of liberty to the next generation.
I would like to end by asking for your prayers for Sen. Greg Kirk and his family. Sen. Kirk’s death has been difficult on many of us, but far more so for his family. He will be greatly missed. He was a man of enormous faith who put his commitment to God, his family, and his constituents.
Thank you for the privilege I have of serving you in public office. I want to make sure that the issues important to our Third District are well represented in the legislative process. If you have any questions or would like to talk about issues under the Gold Dome, please don’t hesitate to contact my office.