Appointed committees are assigned potential legislation for review and discussion before it can be presented before the Senate body at large. Legislation must be voted on and pass out of committee before it can be introduced in the rules committee for a vote. If it passes out of the rules committee, it then goes to the Senate floor for a full vote. If it passes the Senate by a majority vote, then it goes to the House committee on the subject matter, then their rules committee, and to the House floor for a full vote. The committees can and do perform the work more efficiently and thoroughly than a full Senate body. The volume of business in today’s Georgia Legislature is considerable. It would be difficult to complete if the entire body attempted to study every bill upon its introduction so the Lt. Governor appoints members with experience and skills to the areas that they most closely align with and can add the most skills to the conversation and content area.
Education and Youth – I have over 25 years of experience in education in both early childhood and K-12. My unique background in education and business allows me to focus on making education the highest priority for all children in Georgia. We must improve teacher morale, student performance, and parental engagement. The cycle of poverty can most likely be broken through establishing a new funding formula and improving policies that promote teacher –student interaction. I strongly support local control of education and therefore, do not support the creation of another state agency to address failing schools in our state.
Economic Development – As a business owner and Rockdale County Commissioner for 8 years, I know the importance of a strong tax digest which is created through business development. The ED committee focused on streamlining business legislation to create opportunities in the state of Georgia for expansion and recruitment. This ultimately means that jobs will be created and we must make sure that we have a workforce that is well –trained and ready for the new growth. In the District, her goal is to open a career academy in Lithonia that would allow high school students to find career paths at an earlier age so that they have job skills that can help support their hopes and dreams. At night, the program would be for adult learners who would use the same space to learn trades related to the construction industry and other relevant job skills that can help support our vibrant manufacturing and bio-science focused community. There are plenty of job opportunities but we must focus on connecting the right people with the right employer.
Health and Human Services – This committee is critical for keeping Georgians healthy and we work to find expansion options for healthcare for those who are not currently being served in Georgia. Legislative work includes addressing healthcare shortages in rural Georgia as well as the closing of over 5 rural hospitals. Additional work includes reducing opioid use and medical marijuana expansion.
State Institutions and Properties – On a recent trip to Lee Annandale Women’s State Prison, I learned first hand about how our tax dollars are efficiently being used for vocational training programs that give inmates new skills to positively impact their lives and make them self- sustaining upon release. Training and education opportunities help restore lives and create taxpayers.
MARTOC – this committee provides the legislative oversight for MARTA transit system. Senator Van Ness has been appointed to Chair the Public Safety committee. Meetings occur throughout the year in preparation for the legislative session which starts in January each year. Legislative funding is also a discussion for the group and routes are encouraged for areas with higher density and potentially high ridership participation.