Harrell Talks With Citizens
State Rep. Brett Harrell hosts his first town hall meeting since being sworn in.
Rep. Brett Harrell (R-Snellville) met with his constituents Saturday during a special town hall forum, his first since being sworn in as District 106's newest legislator.
Meeting with a crowd of about 25 citizens and city council, Harrell detailed his first visit to state legislature, noting that they were already a quarter through legislation, only four weeks into the new year.
"I’m having a blast," Harrell said. "There is a lot to see and learn."
Since joining the state legislature, Harrell has become a member of the information and audits, transportation, and regulated industries committees.
Harrell said he is in awe of the caliber of his fellow freshman class, noting that many legislators are already tackling under-examined issues affecting the metro-Atlanta area. Together they are working on transportation, water and education issues, with budget issues up next and immigration on the table within the next few weeks.
U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Ga.) also attended the meeting, and he offered an update on the top issues being looked at on a national level. The budget is among top concerns, he said.
“Congress cut their own budget first, and we did it on our own," he said, commenting on a recent House vote to end public financing for presidential campaigns and political conventions.
The Congressional Budget Office expects such a change to save taxpayers $617 million over 10 years.
"That’s real money," he said, but added that it would take thousands of additional costs to bring the federal spending in order.
Woodall praised Harrell for the job he's done so far in the state legislature.
“Thinking about all the big decisions being made and as far as making people happy, why is it that Brett can get it right in 40 days and the national group can’t get it right in two years?," Woodall said. "We’re not going to be back on track until Brett handles more money on the local level than I handle in DC."
During the forum, Harrell invited discussion of six bill that he is in support of:
- House Bill 33, a motion to override the senate’s overturning of Sonny Perdue’s veto of the zero-based budgeting bill.
- House Bill 47, a health insurance bill that would allow health policies sold in other states to be sold in Georgia, as long as their providers are licensed within the state.
- House Bill 59, an immigration bill that mandates that all students attending a publicly funded university must be a documented citizen of the United States. This bill comes after last year’s highly publicized issue of an illegal immigrant attending Kennesaw State University with in-state tuition.
- House Bill 69, a Sunday sales bill which will allow local jurisdictions to decide for themselves by referendum to allow for the sale of alcoholic packages and liquor on Sundays.
- House Bill 81, which regulates fiscal bills that have an impact on schools. This bill would increase oversight and review of an bill that has a direct effect on the revenues or expenditures of local school systems.
- An online clearing house bill, which would allow any online class offered by any Georgia school system to be open and available to students all over the state for completion for credit. The money garnered from the course would be directed to the school system that offers the class.