Members of Fulton County’s state legislative delegation said they are going into this year’s session with a big-picture agenda.
Ethics, schools and transportation are among the broad range of topics they intend to tackle this year. The legislature convenes on Jan. 14.
Rep. Ed Lindsey, R-Atlanta, is promoting his “parent trigger” bill that will make it easier for moms and dads to form charter schools, publically-funded schools that are more independent from the school district than traditional schools.
While that’s the bill that’s generating the most discussion in light of controversies at the Atlanta and DeKalb public school districts, Lindsey said he also wants to focus on water management and transportation issues.
After Atlanta voters in July overwhelmingly rejected the Legislature’s last idea, a regional 1-cent sales tax to pay for transportation projects, Lindsey said its time for a different approach.
“We need to come up with solutions involving smaller steps, rather than giant leaps,” Lindsey said.
Newly-elected State Sen. Hunter Hill said he’s looking forward to learning more about being a public servant. He said he’s interested in committee assignments that will allow him to focus on transportation and education.
“I have asked for committees that I think have direct impact on this district and I’m hoping that I can sit on some of those,” Hill said.
State Sen. John Albers said via email that he wants to introduce a bill to eliminate state income taxes, reform the Georgia Department of Transportation, raise the legal drop-out age to 17, and require background checks for people who care for seniors.
Albers said he also wants the Legislature to allow for the creation of a so-called Milton County, a new county that would encompass residents in north Fulton County.
“I plan to have a very productive session in the Georgia Senate serving the people,” Albers said via email.
Rep. Wendell Willard, who also serves as attorney for the city of Sandy Springs, said he’s working on a rewrite of the juvenile justice code to treat truants differently than car thieves, saving taxpayers money in the process.
Willard also supports a rewrite of the state’s forfeiture laws to make them more “user-friendly and transparent.”
He also supports legislation to protect senior citizens, saying he’d like to increase the penalties for people who mistreat or take advantage of the elderly.
“We’re going to hopefully improve the laws there to make it a greater deterrent to try that,” Willard said.