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Summary for 10th Week of 2021 Session

Summary for 10th Week of 2021 Session Summary for 10th Week of 2021 Session

The 10th week of the legislative session kicked off on Monday, March 15. During this week, Senate bills made their way out of their assigned House committees and were voted on in the House Chamber. Legislative Day 40, or “Sine Die,” is quickly approaching, but there is still much more work to be done before we adjourn on March 31.

On Tuesday, we convened for a joint session with some of our Senate colleagues to hear Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Herold D. Melton deliver the annual State of the Judiciary address. During this meeting, we received an update on what Georgia’s courts have accomplished during the previous year and what lies ahead for our judicial branch. During his speech, Chief Justice Melton reflected on his upcoming retirement from the Supreme Court, where he has served for the last 16 years. He also announced that the Supreme Court unanimously voted to name Presiding Justice David Nahmias, who also joined us for the address, as the next chief justice.

My colleagues and I passed Senate Bill 163 this week to provide a solution to the court’s handling of backlogged cases. Although the trial suspension, which was a result of the pandemic, was lifted in recent weeks, it could take the courts up to three years to catch up on these trials. When the Statewide Judiciary Emergency eventually ends, SB 163 would allow chief judges of Georgia’s superior court judicial circuits or state courts to continue to suspend statutory speedy trial deadlines until the deadlines could be reasonably met. This week, the House overwhelmingly passed Senate Bill 88, which offers several innovative solutions meant to strengthen the teacher pipeline for Georgia schools. First, SB 88 would allow the Georgia teacher of the year to serve as advisor ex officio to the State Board of Education. Additionally, this bill would require local school systems to support a nontraditional teacher certification pathway for veterans to become certified teachers.

Senate Bill 34 was also passed, which supports survivors of human trafficking as they rebuild their lives in Georgia. This bill would also allow human trafficking victims to petition for a name change “under seal,” which means these petitions would be processed by the court confidentially and would not become a part of public record. Senate Bill 34 has been sent to the governor’s office to be signed into law.

We only have five legislative days remaining this session. Next week, we’ll return to vote on more Senate bills on the House floor, as well as give final approval to House bills that were amended by the Senate. Even with the end of session in sight, I hope to continue to hear what you think about legislative matters that impact our community and our state. You may reach me directly at 404-6560116, or by email at [email protected] ga.gov. As always, thank you for allowing me to serve as your representative and I look forward to seeing you soon.

As the State Representative for District 149, Robert Pruitt serves Dodge County, Telfair County, Wheeler County, Cadwell, and Hazlehurst. During the second week of the 2021 Legislative Session, Rep Pruitt was appointed to serve on the Industry and Trade, Economic Development, and Small Business committees for the next two years. Robert and his wife Kelly have been long time residents of Eastman.

By Rep. Robert Pruitt (District 149)

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