By: Sen. Blake Tillery (R – Vidalia)
Week eight in the Senate was a wild one as we approach Crossover Day, which signifies the last day Senate bills can be passed in the Senate this year. The month of March will be the busiest yet as we will switch gears and focus our attention on House bills.
This week, we saw 24 bills on the Senate floor and we will see another 32 bills tomorrow. We normally don’t see nearly as many bills in the Senate, but because everyone is trying to get all their bills out of the Senate and into the House for consideration, we saw an increase in the bills heard. We will likely be in chamber from 10 a.m. to about midnight on Friday getting as much done as we possibly can. That being said, I will update you on everything that happened on Friday, next week!
This week was especially important for me as my first sponsored bill was on the floor. Senate Bill 130 is about waiving the right to council and the way that process must be done for children and adults. This bill would ensure that if an adult waives the right to council before a hearing or a child waives the right to council at arraignment, it is done knowingly, voluntarily and on the record.
As is tradition in the Senate, I was “hazed” while presenting my first bill. This is something that happens no matter how simple or “good” your bill is, and I was more than happy to partake in a little light-hearted fun. The bill is essentially a “right to not hire an attorney,” which, because of my profession, got a lot of interesting comments from my colleagues in the Senate on why I wanted to put myself out of a job. This bill passed unanimously, and I am happy to see my bill being supported. I certainly hope SB 130 garners the same consideration in the House.
Sine Die, the 40th day of the legislative session, is on March 30, 2017. As we work towards that day which signifies the last day to pass legislation in 2017, I will keep you updated on any significant House bills that come before the Senate, as well as those concerning rural cellphone service and coal ash. As always, I am honored to represent and serve you at the state Capitol and hope that you contact me with any questions, comments or concerns regarding legislation!