By: Sen. Blake Tillery (R – Vidalia)

The first week of the 2018 legislative session has come and gone, and it was certainly one to remember. On top of the General Assembly convening the Senate appointed and elected a new President Pro Tempore, Sen. Butch Miller of Gainesville, and Governor Nathan Deal delivered his annual State of the State address and of course the University of Georgia Bulldogs played for a national championship.


We hit the ground running and won’t stop until the 40 day session has come to an end.  Day 3 of this year’s session was as busy as the last week of last year. Day 1 brought a pleasant surprise as I was appointed to the Senate Appropriations Committee. I am extremely grateful for the Committee on Assignments, Lt. Governor Cagle and Appropriations Chairman Jack Hill of Reidsville for allowing me to serve in this capacity. This committee is a prestigious and an important part of our state’s government because of its work on the budget. Next week will be a big week for this committee as it marks the start of “budget hearings” or the time when individual state agencies present their requests to the committee. Passing a balanced budget is the only duty constitutionally required of the General Assembly, so technically we could only pass one bill a year. However, I don’t think it would sit well with our constituents if we spend 40 days on the budget and nothing else.


In addition to the Appropriations Committee, I am returning as a member of the Judiciary, State Institutions and Properties and Economic Development and Tourism committees. I look forward to working on each of these committees and ensuring that bills coming before the committee are closely looked at.


Speaking of committee meetings, the first committee meeting of the year took place on Wednesday and we just so happened to pick up right where I left off on sine die in 2017 with the Adoption Bill, or, as it’s known informally, HB 159. This bill is an over 100 page document that updates the adoption codes in Georgia, something that hasn’t been updated since 1990. It’s imperative that we pass this bill for the thousands of kids stuck in foster care and for the many couples out there who want to adopt. This bill was recommitted to the Judiciary Committee on the 40th legislative day and now it is being heard again. Our hope is to have this bill passed in the committee, on the Senate Floor and send it to the Governor’s desk for approval at the end of session.


I always love having home folks up at the Capitol and encourage you to please let me know if you are here during the Legislative Session. Already, we had some folks from Wayne, Appling, Jeff Davis, Toombs and Montgomery counties come by this week. Seeing y’all is always a good reminder of how lucky I am to be representing our home in the state Senate.


If you have any other questions or concerns, feel free to send me an email or call my district office at 912-537-3030 or call my capitol office at 404-646-0089. If you have any questions, comments or concerns about bills or how things work at the capitol, please let me know. I love to hear your ideas and answer any questions I can.


Thanks for the opportunity to serve you.