Source: US State of Georgia
By: Sen. Larry Walker (R – Perry)
This week signified the beginning of the 2020 legislative session and by extension, the second season of the 155th General Assembly. As I took my seat in the Senate Chamber on Monday, I was reminded of the incredible opportunity I have to serve you, members of District 20. Thank you for allowing me to represent you under the Gold Dome and I look forward to allowing your voice to be heard in future legislation. Our gaveling in on Monday marked the first of many meetings to come, discussing the most important issues concerning all Georgians. The next few months will be a busy time and I will continue to update you on our progress.
However, while we end the first four legislative days of the year, I cannot forget our colleague and my dear friend who will be absent this session. Sen. Greg Kirk was a man of strong faith and conviction, and was an influential figure in the State Senate. Whenenver he spoke, he was a voice of reason and wisdom. The Chamber won’t be the same without Sen. Kirk’s fun loving personality, but we will continue to honor him by working to better Georgia. Sen. Kirk’s positive energy will be missed, along with the handsome smile he freely gave to everyone he met.
As we move forward with the legislative work to come, I want to remind you of the committees that I serve on in the Senate. This year, I will remain with my involvement as member of the Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee, Appropriations Committee, Health and Human Services Committee, and Insurance and Labor Committee. I will also continue my position as Ex-Officio of the Veterans, Military and Homeland Security Committee, as well as the Rules Committee. This year, we will tackle some of the most critical issues affecting our citizens and I have no doubt we will see many legislative successes.
One of the legislative priorities that I, and other members, have pushed for is reform on the collection of sales tax in Georgia through House Bill 276. HB 276 will help protect small and large Georgia-grown businesses by ensuring they are not placed at an unfair disadvantage compared to out-of-state e-commerce retailers and other online providers. Currently, our brick-and-mortar businesses are collecting and remitting sales taxes that other 3rd party entities ought to pay, but are not. HB 276 establishes a mechanism by which the state will collect sales tax from any marketplace facilitators that generate at least $100,000 in sales in Georgia. Our plan through this piece of legislation is to broaden our revenue stream and collect all the money that is owed to the State. I believe, by compelling sales tax compliance from e-commerce facilitators, we will improve the sustainability of our local economies and enhance local economic develpoment.
Governor Kemp outlined some of his own priorities during his second annual State of the State address on Thursday. Re-iterating one of his top concerns from last year, the Governor called for a greater allocation of resources into our local law enforcement to help push tougher anti-gang legislaiton and a reduction in human trafficking. The safety of all citizens is our number one priority as public servants and I am grateful for the Governor’s continued dedication to Georgia’s families. Other pressing issues in the Governor’s address include extra funding into education, as seen through a proposed $2,000 teacher pay raise, and an expansion of improved access to quality heatlhcare.
The next few months in the state Capitol will be busy and I look forward to updating you on all future legislation. If you ever have any questions or concerns about the issues being discussed in the State Legislature, please reach out to my office. I have been truly blessed with the privilege to serve you and I thank you for your endless support.
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Sen. Larry Walker serves as Caucus Vice Chairman for the Majority Party. He represents the 20th Senate District, which includes Bleckley, Houston, Laurens and Pulaski counties. He may be reached by phone at (404) 656-0095 or by email at email@example.com.