January 5, 2007
Georgia's General Assembly returns to work Monday (January 8) for the start of the 2007 Legislative Session, and Augusta is sending several new lawmakers.
Unlike in the nation's capitol, in Georgia's state capitol, the Republicans will be in control of both the House and Senate.
"I believe we're going as a group that is going to try to bring things back to Augusta that are positive for everybody," said Representative-Elect Barbara Sims.
Quincy Murphy is Augusta's only returning representative in the state house.
Barbara Sims, Henry Wayne Howard, Hardie Davis and Gloria Frazier are heading to Atlanta for the first time.
Across the hall, J.B. Powell and Ed Tarver return as senators.
But will the lack of political experience in the House hurt the local delegation?
"Certainly it's going to take some time for them to get accustomed and acclimated, but I think that we have some really smart legislators from the House side," said Sen. Tarver.
"I think it might be a good thing that we have people that are willing to learn from the very beginning, and we are going to go as a group together that have never done this before," Rep.-Elect Sims said.
Topics expected to be tackled this session include sex offender laws and voter ID, which will likely appear as a constitutional amendment.
And expect to see our local lawmakers push for funding for bus monitors and for the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame.
"We've got a big health issue, and we've got to address health issue problems," Rep.-Elect Sims said. "We've got transportation issue deficit, not this year, but last year as far as our highways are concerned. And safety for our citizens is important to me too."
As the delegation prepares to get down to the nitty gritty, we'll see if they'll do as they say and put partisan politics aside and work together.
For the last few years, our delegation has talked about making changes to the local government, like giving the mayor more power. We'll see if those things make it to the floor this go-round.
Also this year, the Senate has a new leader: Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle.
News 12 will be live in Atlanta on Monday for the opening day of legislative session.