The ninth week of Session was mostly committee work as the House starts to work on Senate bills and the Senate works on House bills. Each bill has to be approved in an identical form by both chambers before it can be sent to the Governor.
The biggest Senate bill I am personally working on is SB 48, the Dyslexia Bill. It is hard to believe, but almost 20 percent of children (almost 300,000 in Georgia alone) today suffer from some sort of dyslexia, yet the word is not found in any Georgia law, nor is it considered a special need by our education system. Most states address dyslexia. It is time that Georgia does the same.
Perhaps, the second most important task we faced this year (a balance budget is always the most important), has been completed by the House agreeing with some minor Senate changes to the Ballot Bill, HB 316. This bill requires that all voting in Georgia be conducted on a touchscreen machine that creates a paper ballot which would count as the actual vote by a separate machine. Those paper ballots would then be kept and could be recounted in case of discrepancies.
It should be noted that no Georgia ballot machine has ever been hacked. None of these machines will ever be connected to the internet and the casings on the machines prevent physical tampering. Voting participation is way up, not down in Georgia; especially among minorities which are at record participation numbers … up 24 percent since 2016. The vast majority of Election Board Supervisors (94 percent) want the system in this bill, as do 79 percent of the citizens of Georgia.
I also want to comment on the LIFE Act, as I have received a lot of emails about this, mostly negative. The bill would restrict most abortions after a heartbeat could be detected, with exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother. I supported this bill because I truly believe that abortion is the root cause of the crassness of our society, and the inadvertent reason we are often so hateful to each other.
Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta once said, “The greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?”
I believe she is right. I know for a fact that 55 million Americans are not alive today because we devalued their life.
I realize this is a galvanizing issue, and that people of good intent come to opposite conclusions. I greatly value everyone’s opinion and hope you respect mine. As for me, I come down on the fact that the geography of a few short centimeters should not be the difference between the Constitutional rights of Life and Liberty vs the death of an innocent child.
I hope you will continue to pray for me as I struggle to serve the good peoples of Newton and Morgan Counties.
Belton is a Republican from District 112, serving in the Georgia House of Representatives.