Cobb County state legislators discussed the upcoming legislative session at a Cobb County Republican breakfast Saturday morning in Marietta. A crowd of about 150 gathered to hear state senators and representatives from districts in Cobb County discuss health care policy, taxes, transportation, gun rights and other issues.
State Sen. Barry Loudermilk (R-Cassville) began the discussion by asserting that the states have to take a leading role in restoring our nation in the absence of leadership from the Obama White House. He agreed with the opinion from a participant in the audience that states should reassert their powers under the 10th Amendment, which says that powers not delegated to the federal government are reserved to the states or to the people.
State Sen. Judson Hill (R-Marietta) said he would continue to work on free-market health care solutions and improving transportation in Cobb County.
State Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-Marietta) will be focused on a bill to prevent the abuse of prescription narcotics. She is also determined to improve mental health practices in the state, since Georgia is under federal court oversight to improve its mental health facilities. Sen. Hill also agreed that the state needs changes in its mental health system.
State Rep. John Carson (R-Marietta) is working on a bill to change the law to allow counties and municipalities the authority to approve fractional Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) levies. Currently, if a county or municipality wants to establish a SPLOST, it can only do so in penny increments. Carson’s SPLOST reform, which has the support of Cobb County Commission Chairman Tim Lee and the Georgia Tea Party, would allow for a fractional amount, such as a half-percent or quarter-percent, to be voted on by the citizens.
The other reform Carson is proposing is to shorten the time between the successful enactment of a SPLOST and the time it can take effect. Presently, 80 days must pass before a SPLOST can be implemented, and this does not allow a SPLOST vote in November to be implemented on January 1. Carson’s bill would change that by allowing a SPLOST approved by the voters to take effect in 45 days, which would allow a SPLOST approved in November to begin the first of January.
State Rep.-elect Charles Gregory (R-Marietta) has pre-filed several bills dealing with the right to carry firearms. One bill would allow firearms on college campuses in the state. Currently, college campuses are so-called “gun-free zones,” which in the opinion of many invite crime because criminals know that the only people who are armed on campus are the police. Gregory is also introducing a bill that would give churches the freedom to decide whether they will allow guns on their property.