February 22nd, 2017 marked the 22nd of Georgia’s Legislative session. It also marked the day that I shadowed GA House Representative Keishia Waites of District 60. District 60 incompassess parts of Fulton, Clayton and Dekalb County.
The day started as I met Representative Waites in the Speaker of the House David Ralston’s office. While waiting, I was able to make the acquaintance of Georgia’s junior senator David Perdue and Congressman Sanford Bishop. Congressman Bishop is a Morehouse brother from the class of 1968.
Regrettably, I forgot to mention the concerns that I have that the congressmen can take on at the federal level. Concerns such as: stopping the construction of the Dakota oil pipeline, impeaching Donald Trump, banning GMO food, marijuana decriminalization, free and quality education, assault rifle bans, The Wall, Flint Michigan water crisis and to show me the ropes because someone has to take their place
From there we went to the House’s Floor to go through the typical legislative day, beginning with prayer, announcements, recognitions, followed by voting on bills.
The most important bill voted on and passed was HB 37: postsecondary institutions in Georgia shall not adopt sanctuary policies. Meaning that colleges and universities that with illegal immigrants enrolled have to report the status of the illegal immigrant, if not, Georgia students at the institution receiving Hope Scholarship money will not receive the funds for their education. The bill passed with 112 yea’s. Interestingly, Valencia Stovall of District 74 voted for its passage. To me this bill is about immigration, not protecting Georgians.
Post-session I attended the Georgia’s Black Caucus meeting, headed by Senator Lester Jackson of District 2 and the vice Sandra Scott of District 76. The Caucus conducted a hearing of the gambling bill presented this year. While blacks make up roughly 30% of Georgians and 25% of Georgia’s tax revenue, the Black Caucus wanted to be sure that the Black community gets it share of the $2 billion investment: 14%. Revenue from the introduction of casinos is to fund education, such as Hope and Pre-K. In addition, the Caucus expressed concerns that revenue from gambling should be divided equally, thus insuring HBCU’s get their much needed funding.
I rounded the day off with the Georgia Restaurant Association’s 9th annual Taste of Georgia…...I was stuffed.
Thanks you Representative Waites for the experience. #Priceless