The following article is an opinion piece and reflects the views of only the author and not those of AllOnGeorgia.
Sen. William Ligon Jr. serves as Chairman of the Banking and Financial Institutions Committee. He represents the 3rd Senate District which includes Brantley, Camden, Glynn, and McIntosh counties and portions of Charlton County. He can be reached by phone at 404.463.1383 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
This week in the Senate, we heard our first two pieces of legislation on the Senate floor and worked on vetting several bills in Senate committees. The committee process is vital to reviewing and passing thorough language that won’t have any unintended consequences, and though some of the bills we heard did not pass committee this week, I am certain that working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will produce impactful and sound legislation.
Speaking of unintended consequences, the first piece of legislation that the Senate passed unanimously this week was a result of passing legislation too quickly last year. That law currently allows drivers traveling in the opposite direction to pass a stopped school bus if the two directions are separated by a turn lane. Obviously, this is dangerous and students who walk across these lanes of traffic are being put in danger. Senate Bill 25 would clarify existing law relating to when a driver must stop if they encounter a stopped school bus while driving on a separate roadway. Under SB 25, the vehicle does not need to stop if there is a separation by a grass median, unpaved area or physical barrier. Clearing up this confusion is vital and I am sure this bill will receive favorable consideration in the House before making it to the Governor’s desk.
The second piece of legislation to pass through our chamber this week was Senate Resolution 19. Our district is well aware of the increasing traffic on our roads, especially near the Ports of Savannah and Brunswick as freight and cargo is coming into our district and shipped across the country as it comes into and is exported from the United States. Senate Resolution 19 would create the Georgia Commission on Freight, Innovation and Logistics. This commission would be charged with creating a comprehensive business strategy for increasing statewide freight infrastructure. This would expand Georgia’s economy and keep our state competitive by allowing easier movement of freight carriers. I think this legislation is important in ensuring we find the best way to keep freight moving and our citizens safe on the roads they use every day.
Additionally, I want to let you know about a piece of legislation I introduced this week, SR 114. This is an urging resolution to encourage our representatives and senators in Congress to pass funding to secure the southern border. Obviously, the media coverage on this topic has been relatively one-sided to say the least. But if there’s one thing you can’t argue, it’s facts. In the last two years, approximately 235,000 illegal immigrants have been arrested in the United States and more than half of those arrests were for violent crimes against Americans, 4,000 of whom were murdered. I don’t think anyone is opposed to legal immigration, as it is a well vetted process that allows citizens from all walks of life to live the American dream. But illegal immigrants pose a threat to citizens, as we know nothing about them, their past or their intentions in this county. Unfortunately, most of these people are coming from the southern border. While I understand these men, women and children would like the opportunity to come to our country, they must do so legally. A border barrier seems to me the only way to stop this influx of illegal immigrants while protecting Americans and legal immigrants’ dreams.
Lastly, we received and approved the adjournment resolution from the House. House Resolution 152 lays out the remaining 29 legislative days and sets crossover day, which is the last day Senate bills can be first voted on, on the Senate floor, as March 7th. Sine Die, the last day of the 2019 legislative session, will be on April 2nd. If you would like to visit the Capitol during a “session” day, you can find the schedule here:http://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/en-US/Display/20192020/HR/152.
As the session continues, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office with any questions or concerns. I look forward to keeping you updated on these bills, as well as others.