By: Sen. Larry Walker (R – Perry)
With two more legislative days under our belts, we have now officially hit the halfway point of the 2022 Legislative Session. To this point, the Senate has been exceedingly productive, having passed a total 45 Senate Bills and Resolutions throughout our first 20 days of business. This week, in particular, the Senate advanced measures that provide additional tools to be utilized by our 911 communications officers and a bill to grant parents more oversight in the education of their children.
On Tuesday, we recognized FFA Day at the Capitol, a wonderful tradition that allows our future leaders to see the legislative process in action. FFA Advisors use a three-circle model of instruction where students apply science, math and technology to practical hands-on agriculture projects and then showcase these projects in local, state and national competition as a means of developing mastery of the subject matter, teamwork and leadership skills. As our state’s largest industry, agricultural policy is one of our top concerns in the General Assembly and this exposure to the political process will only assist these students as they advance through their studies and their careers. I had the opportunity to speak with many of these students throughout the day and am proud to know the future of Georgia is in good hands as these impressive young people advance into positions of leadership in their chosen career fields and communities.
Later in the day, Gov. Brian Kemp made an announcement of over $400 million to fund water and sewer infrastructure projects statewide. Of that figure, Senate District 20 has been granted nearly $16 million for projects in Houston County, and for the Cities of Warner Robins, East Dublin and Dudley. These funds will go towards much need upgrades to ensure safe and clean drinking water and efficient wastewater systems are available. As a member of the committee tasked with distributing these funds, I want to thank Gov. Brian Kemp for his leadership and my fellow committee members for identifying these areas of most need in our state.
Over the last year, we have heard extensive testimony from parents of our schoolchildren who have raised concerns regarding the kinds of content their children are exposed to in the classroom. While we need to ensure our students are provided with a robust and thorough education, we also must respect the wishes of their parents and ensure that any curriculum contains only the material that the parents approve. Senate Bill 449, which passed the Senate on Tuesday, would grant parents explicit rights regarding oversight of their child’s education including: the right to direct the upbringing and the moral or religious training of their minor child and the right to review all instructional materials intended for use in the classroom of their child.
Georgia’s 911 operators and communications officers do an incredible job in calmly and efficiently assisting Georgians experiencing some of the most traumatic experiences they will ever encounter. Senate Bill 505, which passed the Senate on Thursday, would add another tool to their tool belt by requiring Telephone Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Training for these officers to talk an individual through how to perform CPR. This measure has the potential to save lives and prevent unnecessary tragedies.
Now that we have officially hit the halfway point of the session, our work will only become more urgent. Next week, the Senate Appropriations committee will meet to pass out the Senate version of House Bill 910, the amended budget for 2022. While the budget will be one of the most consequential bills we take up next week, we are also planning on taking up several bills related to expanding our rights guaranteed under the Second Amendment. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office.
Sen. Larry Walker serves as the Majority Caucus Vice Chairman and Chairman of the Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee. He represents the 20th Senate District, which includes Bleckley, Houston, Laurens and Pulaski counties. He may be reached by phone at 404.656.0095 or by email at email@example.com.