Last week – week four – marked the first full week of consecutive work days for the Georgia General Assembly. It started and ended with voting issues.

On Monday Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, addressed a group of bipartisan legislators from the House and Senate and answered our questions about a myriad of topics related to voting. He told us his goal is “clean, fair, accurate elections”. His goal is my goal as well.

Topics ranged from the type of voting machines that will be purchased, the use of “exact match” and its effect on particular groups of voters, and the purging of voter rolls, to how absentee and provisional ballots are certified and counted.

I asked a question specifically about the issue that caused my father to be dropped from voter rolls last year due to an “address change” after he renewed his driver’s license and the DMV added four digits to his zip code. He’s lived in the same house since 1984, by the way. Watch our exchange below.

On Friday, Representative Barry Fleming introduced the Republican leadership’s omnibus voting bill, HB 316. A hearing will take place on the bill Tuesday, February 19th from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. in Room 406 of the Coverdell Legislative Office Building. Come to the Capitol if you would like to comment on the issues being addressed in the bill.

GEORGIA’S FUTURE VOTING MACHINES

Despite cyber-security experts recommending against the use of electronic ballot marking machines (EMBs) and advocating for hand-marked paper ballots, Governor Kemp, the Secretary of State, and Georgia Republicans have introduced HB316 which paves the way for the $150 Million purchase of EMBs.

I support a system which uses hand-marked paper ballots because they are secure, not hackable, and are the fiscally responsible choice since they cost about 1/3 the price of the EMBs.

Below is my statement on EMBs vs. Hand Marked Paper Ballots.

MEDICAID WAIVER VS. MEDICAID EXPANSION

Voting wasn’t the only big issue discussed last week. On Thursday, Governor Kemp’s floor leaders dropped his proposed Medicaid Waiver bill, SB 106 – aka the “Patients First Act”, into the Senate. I put together a short overview of my thoughts on a Medicaid Waiver versus Medicaid Expansion in the video clip below. I support Medicaid Expansion. Here’s why…

In addition, last week I met with the other members of the Fulton County delegation to discuss issues of concern in Fulton County. I also attended the Atlanta delegation’s highly informative meeting on Tax Allocation Districts (TADs) within the city and learned about the history of Atlanta’s current TADs, how they function, and how they have played significant roles in revitalizing areas of the city, sometimes with a side of controversy.

On Thursday, I had the pleasure of meeting with a group of huge-hearted folks who serve as Georgia’s Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for children. CASA volunteers, board members, and staff came from around the state to talk about their work advocating on behalf of foster children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect. It was truly inspiring to have lunch with them and hear the touching stories and how they are serving and changing the lives of some of Georgia’s children who need it most.

Fulton County CASA members at the Freight Depot.

I hope you will stay tuned as important issues continue to wind through the legislative process. As always, I invite you to contact me and share your thoughts on these and other issues that are important to you. I remain deeply honored to represent you.

  • betsy.holland@house.ga.gov
  • 18 Capitol Square, SW
  • 490-B, Coverdell Legislative Office Building
  • Atlanta, Georgia 30334
  • 404-656-0116
  • @BetsyForGeorgia on Twitter & Facebook

Rep. Betsy Holland, GA House District 54

The Georgia General Assembly reconvenes Tuesday, February 19, 2019 for Day 17 of the Legislative Session.

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