ATLANTA — Over the past two weeks, the Senate has been hearing and voting on bills, the budget hearings have started and we welcomed several special guests to the Senate Chamber.
The weeks and legislative days seem to be moving along quickly — just 30 days remain in the 2018 legislative session!
Last week, we heard our first big bill in the Senate, the adoption bill. It passed on the Senate floor, though I’m opposed to the bill in its current form. It’s imperative we help the more than 13,000 kids in foster care find loving and permanent homes. But this bill isn’t the clean, straightforward adoption bill we need. It includes another measure the governor vetoed last year, House Bill 359. This would take power away from the Division of Family and Children Services by allowing parents to grant temporary custody to certain people without going through DFCS or the probate court.
With this language, the bill will likely garner disapproval from the governor and the House. Because the addition of this language makes this bill careless and jeopardizes its future passage, I am not willing to vote “yes.” When the bill is clean of this language, I am more than happy to support adoption code updates.
In addition to revising the adoption bill, we have a few other bills that will need our attention. I will give weekly updates as they are introduced.
In the governor’s State of the State address, he mentioned our state has advanced under his administration. While he has done great things for our state, particularly in the business sector, there is still a lot that could be done, including raising minimum wage and helping communities gain access to quality health care. These should be the priorities of everyone, as we have seen a major increase in the amount of hospitals in rural Georgia that struggle.
Minimum wage is not enough for a living wage. I look forward to doing everything I can to support legislation that will help people across our state, receive the health benefits they need and ensure they can provide for their family.
There are many students who are interested in what happens at the State Capitol. If you are above the age of 12, I encourage you to be a Senate page. It’s a wonderful opportunity to see your government at work first-hand and an excellent opportunity to learn something new! As an added plus, you get an excused absence from school and will get to meet many legislators from around our state!
If there is anything I can do for you at the Capitol, please let me know. I always enjoy having visitors and would be more than happy to talk to you about what you believe is important. Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office if you ever find yourself under the Gold Dome!
Tonya Anderson, a Democrat from Lithonia, represents portions of DeKalb, Newton and Rockdale counties in the state Senate. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.