Greetings from Georgia’s Capitol Hill!
Week one under the Gold Dome is in the books and what an amazing, busy week it was! Let me start by introducing you to The Holland Report – the first edition of a weekly update about the goings-on at the Georgia House of Representatives. I plan to use this update to keep you informed of my work at the Capitol on behalf of District 54’s constituents. I hope you will give me your feedback. Which issues would you like to know more about? Do you have questions about the proceedings? What things do you want your elected officials to know? I would love to hear from you.
On January 14th, I took my oath of office as Representative for House District 54. I was honored to have my family with me for the swearing-in, including my husband Jason and son Alex on the floor of the House, and my parents and brother in the gallery.
A Snapshot Of Legislator Life
To say the last couple of weeks have been busy is an understatement. Here’s some of what that looked like:
- I attended various meetings regarding issues that are likely to come before the Legislature. These included broadband expansion into rural Georgia and areas which aren’t currently serviced; policy priorities for Georgia’s working families; and health care issues such as Medicaid expansion, protecting and improving access to quality healthcare in rural Georgia, and the coming debate over Georgia’s Certificate of Need (CON) requirement and its effect on health care infrastructure and delivery.
- I had the pleasure of meeting constituents, fellow legislators, dedicated Capitol staff, enthusiastic interns, legislative aides, and members of the lobbyist corps.
- I attended training sessions on ethics, and I got a crash course regarding the rules of engagement at the Capitol – both the formal procedures and the unwritten norms.
- I attended the Georgia Chamber’s annual Eggs & Issues breakfast, The 57th Annual Wild Hog Supper, the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods Meeting, and the monthly meeting of the Buckhead Hotel Council.
- I met with fellow members of the Fulton County Delegation, which flipped to Democratic control for the first time in ten years, and we elected new officers.
- I also met with fellow members of The Atlanta Delegation to elect officers and hear an update from Atlanta Public Schools’ Superintendent, Meria Carstarphen.
A Day of “Firsts”
On Thursday, I signed my name to legislation for the first time. I co-sponsored two bills: House Bill 36, which would extend HOPE scholarships to technical schools in Georgia, and House Bill 37 , which would expand Medicaid in Georgia. These are vital measures for improving the overall health and vitality of the state and I am proud to support both measures.
Also on Thursday, Governor Brian Kemp visited the House chamber to give his first State of the State address to a joint session of the General Assembly. Later that evening, I attended Governor Kemp’s inaugural ball at the State Farm arena.
On Friday, I received my committee assignments. I’m honored to be serving on three committees:
- the Higher Education Committee, which is responsible for legislation influencing the University System of Georgia, universities, colleges, postsecondary education, and student financial aid;
- the Intragovernmental Coordination Committee, which is assigned all Local Legislation — or bills that primarily affect only one political subdivision such as a city or a county — processed through the House, and also general legislation affecting a variety of subjects including local governments;
- and the Small Business Development Committee, which is charged with drafting legislation that will enable the state’s small businesses to flourish and create more jobs.
Next week, the legislature will adjourn so members of the Joint Appropriations Committee can take up budget hearings on Tuesday (1/22 at 10 a.m.), Wednesday (1/23 at 8 a.m.), and Thursday (1/24 at 1 p.m.) Agenda is here. Members can attend budget meetings and you should be able to livestream the hearings here.
We reconvene as a full body on Monday, January 28.
In the meantime, please keep in mind that the Georgia General Assembly’s website is a valuable resource for all things related to the legislature.
My Open Invitation to You
I can’t emphasize enough that the Capitol is a public building. This isn’t my house or the Speaker’s house or even the Governor’s house. This is the People’s House. Please come down to visit any time. You can observe the session from the gallery or set up time to meet with me in my office. We members of the House of Representatives work for you, our constituents. I hope to see you soon.
Rep. Betsy Holland, Georgia House District 54