The first session of the 155th Georgia General Assembly officially convened on Jan. 14, 2019. Last week was busy with normal Senate business beginning and the inauguration of the first new governor in eight years -- and first new lieutenant governor in 12 years -- took place.

I was honored to serve on the escort committee for the governor and lieutenant governor and was humbled that my colleagues elected me as the Senate Majority Leader. This will be my first session as the Majority Leader of the Senate Republican Caucus and I look forward to pushing a conservative, business cognizant agenda through our chambers and to the governor.

In addition to starting the session, Gov. Brian P. Kemp and Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan took their oath of office last Monday and we were able to hear the governor’s budget priorities during his annual State of the State address on Thursday. I agree with a majority of what the governor mentioned and believe his priorities align with those of the majority caucus. We can certainly build on the foundation Gov. Nathan Deal left us and we should be able to grow our state into the best state in which to do small business.

I’d like to highlight some of the points the governor prioritized last week and explain why these priorities are good for everyone in our state, not just certain people.

First, school safety is something that has been covered nationwide by the press and an issue that we are not going to take lightly. In his address, Gov. Kemp shared his proposal of a $69 million, one-time fund to our 2,294 public schools for security purposes. Legislation has already been filed in the Senate that details steps schools and safety officials can take to streamline the process of reporting and acting on threats. In addition, the legislation addresses an allocation of funding for specialized mental health counselors as well as updates on codes for the schools themselves.

In addition to school safety, the governor addressed other priorities that will come up during this year’s session. The expansion of broadband and health care access are two topics of interest not only by the governor, but by the General Assembly as a whole. While our urban areas continue to economically prosper, it is important that the entire state of Georgia grows together. I am confident that we are in good hands with our new leadership, and that all pieces of legislation passed on to the governor will be thoroughly vetted.

As always, if you ever have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact my office. If you are ever at the Capitol, I encourage you to come by and visit, my door is always open. Thank you for allowing me to serve District 30 under the Gold Dome, I look forward to keeping you updated throughout this session.

State Sen. Mike Dugan, R-Carrollton, serves as the Majority Leader of the Senate. He represents the 30th Senate District which includes portions of Carroll, Douglas and Paulding counties. He can be reached at 404-463-2478 or by email at mike.dugan@senate.ga.gov.

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